Honda has strong future plans for India. The Japanese two-wheeler giant wants to expand its empire in our country by launching a handful of new motorcycles including multiple twin-cylinder 500 cc bikes, one of which would be manufactured in India with heavy localisation. Reports suggest that Honda may start manufacturing twin-cylinder bikes in our country before KTM.
As per earlier reports, Honda has planned to launch four new 500 cc motorcycles in India within a year. These bikes would include Honda Rebel 500, Honda CBR500R, Honda CB500F and Honda CB500X. All of them are already on sale in various international markets and powered by a 471 cc parallel-twin, liquid-cooled, DOHC engine. Right now, there’s a big gap between the Honda CB300R and Honda CBR650R in the Japanese brand’s product line-up for the Indian market. The company seeks to fill this void with the 500 cc bikes.
Honda understands our price-sensitive market. It knows that while launching new products is necessary, ensuring that they have low price tags is equally important. Bringing motorcycles via CKD and CBU route attracts huge taxes. That’s why for one of its upcoming 500 cc bikes, Honda would like to manufacture in India with heavy localisation.
Right now, it is unclear as to which 500 cc motorcycle would Honda pick for production in India. Chances are that it could be one of the aforementioned models. Honda would first bring that specific motorbike in India via the CKD route. It would analyse the response it gets in the market and if everything goes fine, it would consider manufacturing it in the country. This model is said to hit the showrooms in 2021. However, the COVID-19 pandemic might have caused some delays.
On the other hand, all the KTM bikes that Bajaj Auto manufactures are single-cylinder motorcycles. In fact, the only twin-cylinder motorcycle in the Austrian brand’s product line-up in India is the KTM 790 Duke, which was brought in as a CKD import and thus had a steep price of INR 8.64 lakh (ex-showroom). Right now, the 790 Duke is not on sale as it hasn’t been updated to the BS6 emission norms yet.