Honda Motorcycle & Scooter India today 17th of April launched the a new 110 cc motorcycle the Dream Neo.
Text: Sandeep Goswami/Old Fox
Photos: Sunil Gupta and Sandeep Goswami
So Honda decides another release in the econo-commuter category. 110cc, 8 and a half horses and promising three quarters of the magic 100 kms to a liter figure. Why? Because they are here to do business and not earn brownie points from a handful of 'we want more cc - more power' gang. According to their market research, more than 60% of two-wheeler sales lie in the 100-110cc category and the sales are mostly defined by initial cost, mileage, brand (which implies reliability and good post-sales experience) and utility. Looks and performance almost come as an afterthought as satisfying the 4 afore-stated conditions usually takes the wind out of looks and performance anyways. Feeding these last two in any case leads to an unacceptable increase in the first of the former 4 conditions - the initial cost.
This particular segment in India is akin to the endless pit. Keep dropping models into it and it doesn't seem to fill up even one bit. The potential sales volumes are so massive that even a small percentage of them is enough to make the company cash registers ring loud and melodious. With good low-end torque @ a low 5500 rpm (perceived by the target market as good 'pick-up) and high ground clearance this bike is targetted as much at the urban commuter as it is for the semi-urban and rural buyer. Spreading the target market when allied with an expanding sales and service network will help Honda sell it well. There will be cannibalistic sales vis a vis the Dream yuga as even Mr. Guleria admitted during the question/answer session but also as he said that it doesn't matter much since Honda is happy when it is Honda that's selling. Hero in any case has been at it since donkey's years and earned its bread and butter on this very strategy.
I see lots of comments that 'ridicule' any small capacity motorcycle launch. Such ridiculing usually fails to get in touch with the base engineering and market realities of the product and focus only upon the smallness, the ordinariness and the 'punyness' (to coin a new word here) of the product. There's an almost childish wish lurking behind it all that wants every new bike to be high-power/high-performance. Low volume sales will ever be a deterrent when it comes to performance bikes. But all said and done, things are changing for the better despite the feeling that all we are getting are weaklings on wheels by the supposed strongmen of the industry. The product portfolio expands to exploit market demand. Rarely is it the other way round when we see an addition to the product range meant to trigger demand. Such courage is left for bungee jumping or crocodile hunting There's nothing more real than money and every corporation planning to be around and grow has its finger stuck on that fact. They might 'sell' a dream but that selling is just to make sure they sleep well themselves. So do make space in your 'passionate' hearts for puny motorcycles not for the cause of the corporations but because your less financially endowed or more utilitarian brethren also need a set of good wheels with an engine in between to ride around on.
The Dream Neo is of course another bike in a crowd. What it does to the sales charts is pure conjecture as of now. And even though it seems retrograde in a major safety aspect like brakes which happen to be small drums across the range without even an option of a disc up front, the rest of the engineering seems sound enough and should stand well to typical commuter use. The low initial price, the Honda assurance and the high claimed mileage are the more apparent 'selling points' here. Have deleted the 'unique' from USP as there's almost zilch possibility of being truly unique in this over-populated category while remaining within the low initial cost constraints. So in a nutshell the Dream Neo is another entry in a crowded class. Not great but not bad either. And in a class where function rules over form, being there at times is more than enough. One request to Honda though - please give us at least one performance bike for every 3 'Dreams'. Please! All right make it 4 Dreams if you want to but don't skew the ratios any further!! After all brownie points could be the seed for sales points someday huh? Goodwill IS afterall a vital organ in the physiology of a brand.
With this launch it intends to "rewrite the commuter mass motorcycles equation" in India! This will be the most affordable two wheeler ever from Honda and will be sold under the 'Dream' series of motorcycles. With this motorcycle Honda aims for 150% growth in the commuter segment of motorcycles in India. Honda claims that the Dream Neo will give 74 kmpl!
The bike will sport the Honda Eco Technology and claims to have the best in class performance.
Keita Muramatsu, President & CEO, HMSI -
YS Guleria, Vice President, Sales & Marketing, HMSI -Dream Neo is Honda's next big leap towards creating deep inroads into the Indian Consumer segment. Our newly opened technical comprising of R&D, Engineering, Purchase & Quality team, overcame the challenge of improving mileage and meeting the competitive price point. Backed by our product launches & network expansion, Honda aims to grow over 150% in 100-110cc motorcycle segment YOY. Overall, we are confident of customer demand for Honda 2 wheelers and eye 43% growth with 39.3 lakh units sales in FY 14.
Pricing of the bike will be Rs 43150/- ex showroom Delhi.Creating a new paradigm in mass mobility, Dream Neo is Honda's most affordable and most efficient 2 wheeler in India. While Dream Neo is loaded with attractive and best in class features like Top Mileage of 74 kmpl, it is being delivered at a truly aggressive pricing to delight Indian Customers. Finally Dream Neo is a package which is hard to resist by 100-110 cc mass motorcycle consumer market.
The bike will have three versions -
a. Self starter, drums, alloys and tubeless
b. Drums, Alloy and tubeless
c. Drums, spokes and tuff up tubes
The bike will sport a dual tone colour scheme.
The engine produces a claimed 8.25 bhp @ 7500 rpm and 8.63 Nm @ 5500 rpm.
Wheelbase of the bike is 1258 mm. The rear suspension is a 5 step adjustable type. Frame will be a single down tube diamond frame.