Honda Two Wheelers to hire more for Research and Development in India
By 2020, Honda wants to dominate the two wheeler world globally and this means that the Japanese firm would have to power ahead of Hero MotoCorp, which is the world’s largest two wheeler maker by volumes. However, Honda wants to take a different approach to reach the top. Unlike Hero MotoCorp, which has continued to rely on minor stylistic and feature changes amongst many of its commuter motorcycles to expand its line up, and along the way its market share. Honda wants to go one step ahead and differentiate its products by infusing them with more than just paint and sticker jobs.
To this effect, the Japanese two wheeler major is upping its Research and Development spend in India, with plans afoot of hiring up to 300 engineers dedicated to this effort. Honda is also moving its R&D efforts to Manesar, Haryana, and this new facility will be responsible for new product development, going beyond minor changes. In May 2012, Honda will gun directly for Hero MotoCorp best selling motorcycle, the Splendor, with the Dream Yuga 110. The Dream Yuga 110 is essentially a Honda Shine with the CB Twister’s 110cc four stroke engine, perhaps tuned for better fuel economy.
The 2012 Honda Dream Yuga 110 is expected to bring in the big volumes for Honda in India as the economy commuter motorcycle market is still the major volumes driver in India as the motorcycle is mainly seen as a basic mode of transport for the common man. Hero MotoCorp is extremely strong in the Indian hinterland, as its entry products that typically deliver high fuel economy numbers, are preferred to other brand. Honda will also target the Indian ruralscape with the Dream Yuga and to achieve this, the brand is expected to come up with a dedicated advertising campaign in many Indian languages over the next few months.
The other advantage of having a full fledged R&D unit in India for Honda is that it can respond to market changes more quickly than before. In the coming years, one can expect more made-for-India products from Honda as it aims to take leadership position in the country. Hero MotoCorp too is aggressively expanding its R&D capabilities with AVL and Erik Buell Racing being two of its partners who are working on new product development. Hero MotoCorp is also looking to export its motorcycles to many markets including Africa and South America, to which it previously didn’t have access to, due to its tie up with Honda.