Tokyo: Japanese auto major Honda is working to launch more fuel efficient two-wheelers in India to strengthen its presence post its split up with erstwhile partner Hero Group.
The company, which is enhancing its research and development centre in India, is also developing a 125 cc scooter to be introduced for the first time in the country.
"Honda has the largest share (of two-wheelers) in the world. However, in India we are still number four. So, we are challenger in Indian market," Honda R &D Co President, CEO and Representative Director Yoshiharu Yamamoto told PTI here.
Stating that the demand for models with good mileage is high in India, he said: "We need to introduce more products which Indian people want on a timely manner...We want to introduce more and more products which have very good fuel efficiency."
Yamamoto said the company is working to improve the fuel efficiency of its existing models and "will also introduce new models as well, particularly in the scooter segment".
After the break up with Hero Group, the company is stressing on need to widen product portfolio, particularly in the small scooter segment both in the upper and lower end of the market in India.
"In the past, we have been working with the Hero Group. Now, we have terminated the contract. So far, we had Hero Honda as brand. Now we have to be only Honda," Honda R & D Co Ltd Director, Managing Officer Director Tetsuo Suzuki said.
Last year, Honda and the Hero Group decided to end their 26-year-old joint venture Hero Honda and the Indian partner bought out the Japanese firm's entire 26 per cent stake for Rs 3,841.83 crore.
Since there is clear distinction between the upper and lower range, the company needs to focus on both from now on, he added.
While Suzuki did not give much details on the kind of models the company plans to launch in India, he said Honda is currently developing a 125 cc engine scooter for the Indian customers.
"Currently, we are developing a 125 cc scooter engine. It will go into the Indian market," he said but did not specify when the company will launch it in India.
At present, the company's wholly-owned arm, Honda Motorcycle and Scooter India(HMSI) only sells 110 cc engine scooters under the brands like Activa, Aviator and Dio. In 2009 the company had decided to phase out its geared 150-cc scooter Eterno due to falling sales.
First Published: Tuesday, November 29, 2011, 13:53