Honda Motor is looking at harnessing the distribution network and customer base of its two-wheeler business to push car sales in India, as the Japanese company seeks to double its share in an automobile market dominated by Maruti Suzuki and Hyundai Motor.
In major markets globally, the Japanese automaker manages two-and four-wheeler businesses under one company. In India, where Honda entered in association with different partners — SIEL for cars and the Hero Group for two- wheelers — it has separate units to handle the two.
Shinji Aoyama, who held the reins at Honda Motorcycle & Scooter India (HMSI) at the time when Honda and Hero ended their joint venture in 2010, is currently the chief officer (Asia & Oceania) at the parent and the man behind the latest move.
The aim is to reach the double-digit mark in the Indian market share in the next five years, Aoyama said. In the April-June quarter, Honda's share was a mere 5.3 per cent in the Indian passenger car market, where Maruti sold one in every two units.
It was the fifth largest manufacturer during the three-month period, behind Maruti, Hyundai, Mahindra & Mahindra and Tata Motors. With two-wheeler operations in India bringing in strong growth, the emphasis for Honda is to turn around the automobile business, Aoyama said.
Collaborating with two-wheeler dealer partners, the company expects, will help it expand quickly to rural markets, which bring in nearly a third of volumes for Maruti. "I think we can collaborate more as far as dealer network is concerned. HMSI dealers (who) sell with profit can reinvest in Honda's automobile business. This is (already) happening. We will accelerate this momentum," Aoyama said.” For automobiles, personally, I have to focus more on the business, our position is still (in) a single-digit. I want to make it double-digit, it is a very difficult task. In five years' time, I want to realise this to 10 per cent."