Honda is betting big on the performance motorcycle segment in India. The company will launch the CBR650F in the first half of next year and plans many more hot launches in the years to come.
After seeing the success of its superbikes imported via the CBU route, Honda is betting big on locally assembled performance bikes. The Japanese automaker retails the litre class CBR in the country along with the 1200cc VFR among others, selling a good 100 units every year. However, Honda isn’t content with just this, the company plans to make further inroads with middle-weight bikes. The company caught everyone by surprise when it announced at the 2014 Auto Expo its plans to locally assemble the CBR650F in the country.
The Honda CBR650F will become the first bike with a 4-cylinder engine to be locally assembled in India. Honda is still contemplating the route, whether it will be CKD or SKD but the automaker does plan to locally source a lot of components although the engine will be fully imported. The response to the CBR650R will be critical for Honda to chalk out plans to bring more models to the country. If the CBR650R is successful, Honda will launch more performance bikes via the CKD route, possibilities of the CBR500R coming to mind immediately.
Honda has gone slow with its quarter-litre offerings as the company was very bullish with the CBR250R but the bike failed to keep a steady momentum of sales in the market. This has led to the delay of the CBR300R which is set for launch early next year. Honda is not the first company to go the local assembly way with its middle-weight bike, Kawasaki and Triumph have been doing it since sometime now while Harley-Davidson too has invested heavily in local production. The CBR650F goes on sale around April 2015 and is expected to be priced at Rs. 7 lakhs.