The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Hero Honda ups sales target

New Delhi, Oct. 24: Hero Honda has increased its sales targets for the year to 2.2 million bikes on the back of the strong performance of its newly-launched ‘Ambition,’ the 133cc ‘powerf-u-e-l’ bike.

The two-wheeler major is now conducting an internal survey to ramp up production at its two factories till the third one is completed.

Hero Honda sold 819,167 vehicles between April-September and feels that the sales thrust in the Diwali season will come from the high-end bikes.

Looking at the demand for the high-powered bikes, the company has decided to push sales of its high-end motorcycles CBZ and Ambition in order to reach the target and arrest its sliding market share. With competition eating into the share of its flagship models Splendor and Passion, it is the above-125cc segment that is still a bit uncluttered.

“The two-wheeler market is facing stiff competition and it is becoming harder to hold on to market share. Changes are required on a timely basis to keep customer interest alive. With new competition coming in the 100-110 cc and 125cc categories, the interest in the previous models is a little low. However, in the higher-end category, Hero Honda still has the best products,” senior vice-president (marketing and sales) Atul Sobti said.

To push sales of CBZ and bring it at par with rivals like TVS Fiero and Bajaj Pulsar, Hero Honda has introduced self-start in the 156 cc model. This addition will however make the bike Rs 4,500 costlier over and above its price of Rs 63,785 (ex-showroom Delhi).

CBZ and Ambition together in September have clocked sales of 7,518 motorcycles, The best sales in the segment were clocked by Bajaj Pulsar and Eliminator at 150cc and 180cc, which together sold 14,574 vehicles. The 135cc bike Yamaha RXZ pegged at Rs 50,000 sold 12,554 bikes. It is priced lower because of its 2-stroke technology. TVS Fiero has sold only Rs 3,068 bikes.

“As technology becomes more important, Hero Honda will become more stronger. With the 200cc bike set to rollout soon, we are confident of recovering our market share by March next year. The fiscal will end strongly and though the bottomline will belong to the volume products, it will be the niche above-125 cc segment that will remain the focus,” Sobti said.

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