Honda is developing a new bike to compete against Royal Enfield in India. Reports cite that this bike will not be an outright cruiser, instead a lifestyle brand like the Ducati Scrambler which fans of the manufacturer can better relate in India. This negates the prospects of the Honda Rebel 300’s launch here.
Honda’s India R&D, which recently developed the Cliq utility scooter, is working in association with their peers abroad to develop the a bike. Hopefully it will debut at the 2018 Auto Expo, Delhi.
Report from Moneycontrol cites an anonymous source claiming:
“Even globally Honda does not have a direct answer to the product range and category that Royal Enfield has to offer. But we need to find a solution and we are working on that. In the US and Thailand Honda has something like the cruiser but those would not be an ideal fit as a challenge. What we are looking for is something on the lines of the Ducati Scrambler, something that carries a similar DNA. But again that’s a product kind that we are not familiar with and we are working on it. We should be out with a product of that kind by say 2020.”
Royal Enfield sells more than 60,000 bikes each year and their number is growing faster than ever. Bringing a direct competition in the line of the Rebel, may or may not prove successful for Honda. This is because Royal Enfield currently enjoys a distinct identity in India, which is hard for other manufacturer’s to replicate. With some of their premium bikes not doing well in the prie segment, this is not a risk that Honda will take. So a new and better bike, in the lines of a scrambler, Café Racer or possibly the CX-02 concept will be on the manufacturer’s mind.
Bajaj had recently launched the Dominar 400 as an indirect competitor for Royal Enfield, which they plan to extend to non-home markets as well. The new Honda bike could also be launched in other Asian and south-east Asian markets like Indonesia, Philippine and Thailand.
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