AP Honda, the distributor of Honda motorcycles in Thailand, targets sales of 1.4 million units this year, out of the expected 1.85 million sales of the whole industry.
The company aims to ensure its dominance of the market this quarter with the launch of two redesigned models, the PCX150 and MSX125.
AP Honda president Chiaki Kato said Thailand’s motorcycle industry was hurt by the bumpy economy last year. The economic fluctuations started with the slow exports at the beginning of the year resulting from appreciation of the baht. Then came the domestic political crisis and the fluctuating prices of agricultural products towards the end of the year.
All these factors pulled economic growth down to 2.8 per cent from its original forecast of 5.5 per cent. New motorcycle registration was affected, dropping 6 per cent year on year to 2,004,000 units.
However, models such as the Zoomer-X and MSX125 received a massive response from Thais, which helped Honda sales to manage 1,493,000 units, equivalent to 1-per-cent growth from 2012. Honda grabbed a 74.5-per-cent market share and maintained its No 1 position in the country’s motorcycle industry, which it has held for 25 consecutive years. AP Honda is launching a revised three-year medium-term plan (2014-16) to adapt the organisation to the changing business environment. The three-step plan focuses on sustainability.
The first step is to become a leader in social responsibility.
The second step is to establish great value for the motorcycle industry by delivering only the best products, developed especially for Thai consumers. Within the next three years, AP Honda plans to launch 12 new models, as well as to nurture a big-bike culture among Thai consumers.
The third step is to maximise brand value through road-safety, environmental and social events. The goal is to earn recognition from all of society, whether they ride motorcycles or not.
“Under the new revised plan, to be employed between 2014 and 2016, AP Honda is ready to make itself a beloved and recognised brand in Thai society. That will be implemented through events and creative products that give priority to safety and the environment. That will make us a sustainable organisation,” Kato said.
Honda is ready to boost market demand in the current quarter with the new look of its PCX150. First launched in 2009, this premium automatic-transmission motorcycle received a tremendous response from users and its accumulated sales recently reached 130,000 units. This year’s model features a new design from head to tail, equipped with sleek LED (light-emitting diode) lamps considered the most modern in the local motorcycle industry.
Honda is also introducing a new MSX125 mini-bike. It has also added a new colour option, yellow, to the Zoomer-X to appeal to younger riders, Kato said.