Honda Motorcycle and Scooter India (HMSI) is readying for the launch of a new sports bike next month. The forthcoming product, the country's third largest two-wheeler producer said, would take on Bajaj Auto's freshly-introduced product under the KTM brand.
The CBR 150R of the Japanese subsidiary to be launch in March is priced at about Rs 115,000, pitting it directly against the KTM Duke 200 (Rs 117,000). Only last month had Bajaj Auto, India's second largest two-wheeler maker, launched the Austrian-brand street bike.
The CBR 150R, powered by engine of around 150cc, is a downsized clone of the popular CBR 250R that HMSI sells at little over Rs 145,000. The new bike will also compete against Yamaha's R15 sports bike, which recently received a face-lift and is priced at Rs 107,000.
Though Bajaj's KTM bike offers better power with a slightly bigger engine in straight comparison, HMSI chose to price its CBR 150R at a premium than Yamaha and fractionally lower than KTM Duke.
HMSI had showcased the CBR 150R at the Auto Expo early last month without disclosing price details. The bike, which will be fully built in India, had received strong response from the visitors, according to company officials.
The company hopes to sell more than 3,500 units of the CBR 150R every month after its launch. Currently, Yamaha's R15 version 2.0 clocks sales of around 3,000 units per month.
This will be the third new offering by HMSI this year after it launched a face-lifted Dio with a new engine this month.
The Delhi-based company, which recently overtook Chennai-based TVS Motors to claim the third spot, has lined up seven new products for launch this year.
The company has lined up a face-lifted CBR 250R model for launch by this month-end. The new 2012 edition, also show-cased at the Auto Expo, will be dearer by Rs 1,500 offering a new colour combination.
Naresh Rattan, vice-president, sales and marketing, HMSI said the company was due to launch the CBR 250R shortly in the market. "The new bike has gone under production by the middle of this month," he added.
The CBR 250R has seen some substantial slide in sales in the recent months. The company saw sales of under 140 units of the bike in January as against its usual tally of around 2,500-3,000 units every month.
"There is no dearth of demand for premium priced bikes in India despite a broader slowdown in demand for the commuter bikes witnessed by a few players," Rattan noted. "The market is growing rapidly even is such times."
HMSI is phasing out the current generation of the bike from the distribution channels before trying to launch a face-lifted version.
Further, the company has been facing problems regarding components supplies from Thailand.
"There have been issues relating to components shortage due to the recent floods in Thailand which has impacted local production," revealed Rattan. "This matter is being sorted out before we launch the new version."
Besides the commuter segment bikes, the company is lining up latest versions of imported models, such as the CB1000R and the CBR Fireblade for launch.