Moneycontrol
Last Updated : Jul 18, 2017 05:56 PM IST | Source: Moneycontrol.com

Honda applies brakes on power scooter launches for time being

Power scooters are motorcycle substitute in the high power range. They are not only used in city traffic but are preferred for highway commutes as well because of their higher power and greater riding comfort

Honda Cliq
Honda Cliq

While the trend of premiumisation in motorcycles caught on at a much faster pace, in scooters, this trend will take time.

The market leader in scooters, Honda, has decided against launching scooters with bigger engines that are on par with their motorcycle counterparts.

A majority of today’s generation scooters are powered by 100-110cc petrol engines serving dual purpose of generating enough power for everyday commute as well as returning healthy mileage. One in every three two-wheeler is a scooter at present compared to one in five, a few years ago.

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Power scooters are in the range of 150cc and above and deliver greater power, but compromise on mileage. While there are several such scooters sold in the international market, they have negligible presence in India.

Italy’s Piaggio-owned Aprilia is the only company to have launched a 150cc scooter, SR 150, priced at Rs 70,000. The Italian company, however, has maintained that SR 150’s launch is not about generating ‘big’ volumes but about strengthening brand Aprilia in India.

The maximum that the Indian scooter makers have stretched themselves on the engine front is up to 125cc. These scooters are 12-15 percent more expensive than smaller capacity scooters and offer slightly more power. Honda, Mahindra and Piaggio (Vespa) have launched scooters in this segment.

“We have not seen huge response for the Activa 125 though the initial response was very encouraging. Therefore, we feel that bigger displacement scooters will not justify in terms of volumes in this market. We would rather focus on small capacity, economical scooters. The trend of power scooters to catch on will take time,” said a senior executive from Honda Motorcycle and Scooter India, speaking to Moneycontrol.

In contrast, mass market motorcycles have progressed from 100cc to 400cc in a span of 15 years. The mileage-king, 100cc-powered Hero Splendor, which continues to be the highest-selling motorcycle in India, has seen demand dwindle in the recent year.

Bigger 125cc bikes such as Honda Shine, which return a mileage nearly on par with the 100cc counterparts, have become the primary choice for buyers seeking entry-level bikes. Companies such as Bajaj Auto, KTM, Honda, TVS, BMW and Yamaha have launched, or are preparing to launch, bikes having engines more than 200cc.

Several years ago, Pune-based Kinetic Motor had launched a 165cc Italian power scooter Blaze which it had bought from Italjet Moto. Italjet also participated in MotoGP races.

Market share of scooters have hit a high of 34 percent by the end of the first quarter selling 1.64 million units, recording growth of 20 percent, according to data shared by the Society of Indian Automobile Manufacturers. The domestic two-wheeler industry (motorcycles + scooters + mopeds) saw volumes of 4.89 million units during the same quarter, a growth of just 8 percent.
First Published on Jul 18, 2017 04:29 pm
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