Honda is preparing to take its India-based subsidiary to the next level. After years of cranking out bikes in India, for India, Honda’s now prepping to offer those models outside the country.
After weeks of rumours, several of India’s general news publications and motorcycle-specific outlets say Big Red’s in-country subsidiary (officially Honda Motorcycle and Scooter India Pvt Ltd) is setting up an export division, based out of the industrial hub of Manesar. Honda is already planning to sell some of the India-built bikes in its Japanese home market. No doubt we’ll soon see the more utilitarian machines headed to markets like Central and South America, while the flashy models might also make it to Europe or even North America.
This is a new move for Honda’s Indian subsidiary, which has long focused on production for that country. The original Hero Honda team-up not only served as a handy way of beating India’s punitive import laws, it actually rose to become the world’s largest motorcycle manufacturer by volume. Honda’s been going it alone since splitting with Hero roughly a decade back, and has recently started branching out into slightly larger, more luxurious models, after years of focusing on practical commuters, which dominate India’s moto-landscape.
No doubt the H’Ness series, aka the CB350, will be one of the machines Honda’s most keen to export. Unveiled last year, this bike is a bit anemic in the power department, but looks good and comes with modern gadgetry like LED headlight, EFI, ABS and traction control. If the price is right, this machine will bring many young budget-minded buyers into the Honda brand.