Honda Hopes to Strengthen Cycle Business

Japan's Honda Motor Co. Ltd. is working under a new three-year mid-term business plan. Among the company's goals: to strengthen its motorcycle business.

Honda sells more than 13 million powered two-wheelers annually.

"Motorcycle business is the driving force of Honda's growth and expansion, and it is one of the key strengths of Honda that other automakers do not have," Honda president and CEO Takeo Fukui recently told an audience in Japan.

Fukui said in a mid-year CEO speech that Honda believes commuter demand for motorcycles will continue to grow mainly in Asian and South American nations. And, "considering the global high price of crude oil, there is a good chance that motorcycles will be considered not only in developing countries but on a global basis," he says.

Fukui highlighted four ingredients of the plan, launched in April, which he says should help strengthening Honda's cycle business:

  • In the area of environmental technology, the OEM plans to install PGM-FI (Honda's Programmed Fuel Injection) on most of its motorcycles worldwide by the end of 2010.

  • In the area of safety technology, the manufacturer intends to install a motorcycle airbag system and ABS (Antilock Brake System) on more products. Honda plans to install ABS in all 250cc or larger class models worldwide, except off-road models, by the end of 2010.

  • In advancing nations, Honda plans to introduce a new model in the popular 100cc class that boasts high fuel efficiency, high performance, and low cost. Sales of this new model will begin first in Thailand in summer 2008 and then in other Asian countries.

  • Finally, in advanced nations, such as the U.S., Honda wants to improve the product attractiveness of medium- to large-size models and strengthen those aspects of a product that contribute to the joy of riding. Ingredients for that plan: The introduction of further environmental and safety technologies, including a Variable Cylinder Management (VCM) system to improve fuel efficiency and an electronically-controlled combined ABS (C-ABS) system designed to improve stability while stopping.