Hero Honda to launch a 200cc motorbike; price not decided yet

New Delhi: Hero Honda Motors will launch a 200cc motorcycle in May 2003 and is yet to take a final decision on the branding and pricing of the product.

Atul Sobti, senior vice-president (marketing and sales), Hero Honda Motors, said his company is targeting the bike at the premium market and will also target car owners apart from others since it is an offering in the premium segment. “The bike will be sold more in bigger and cosmopolitan cities like Mumbai, Delhi, Chandigarh and Bangalore.“

The motorcycle market in the past one year has been shifting towards the 125-cc and higher-engine displacement bikes from the regular 100-cc displacement ones. For instance Bajaj Auto launched its 175cc cruiser bike, the Eliminator; Yamaha came up with the 125cc Enticer; and the latest one to hit the market is the 250cc Aquilla cruiser bike from Kinetic Engineering.

Hero Honda's strategy is in line with this shift. Six months ago, the company launched the 125cc Ambition, which is currently selling around 10,000 units a month. Sobti said while the new 200cc bike product will not be a cruiser it will have sporty features. “The company plans to sell about 2,000 of the new motorcycle per month.“

Hero Honda has bikes like the Ambition, CBZ, Passion and the Splendor. Of which the Passion's contribution to the total sales slid from 30 per cent to around 20-25 per cent in the past one year while the Splendor's contribution has increased from around 50 per cent to 55 per cent of the sales. The CBZ is a low seller and sells around 2,500 units a month.

The company is expected to close fiscal 2002-03 with an advertising and marketing spend of Rs 120 crore to Rs 125 crore — up from Rs 90 crore in 2001-02. Hero Honda recently appointed Maximise, a WPP company, as its agency of record. And the company is one of the major sponsors of ICC Cricket World Cup 2003.