JAPANESE INCREASE SALES DRIVE IN INDIA
February 22 2007.

Suzuki, Honda and Yamaha are fortifying Indian production and marketing activities to fend off increasing competition from local rivals.
Suzuki resumed motorcycle sales in India last April after a four-year hiatus and now markets just one 125cc-engine model there. But this year, it plans to debut a 150cc model and an automatic-transmission-equipped scooter. Subsequently, Suzuki will double annual output capacity on the subcontinent to 200,000 units and will eventually lift annual production to 500,000.
Meanwhile, Honda is preparing to boost output. By 2010, Hero Honda Motors Ltd. -- in which Honda owns a 26% stake -- will build on the outskirts of New Delhi a motorcycle plant that will be able to churn out 9.5 million units a year. Together with a wholly owned Indian motorcycle subsidiary, this will boost Honda's annual output capacity in India by 50% to 7 million units.
Yamaha, whose lineup consists of mainly low-priced offerings, will bolster its 125cc motorcycles in a bid to tap demand among wealthy and younger customers.
The Indian motorcycle market grew 13% to 7.5 million units in fiscal 2005. It is now roughly 10 times the size of Japan's and trails China as the second-largest motorcycle market in the world.
Honda and its two joint ventures are ranked No. 1, with a roughly 50% share of the market. But local firm Bajaj Auto Ltd. is increasing its share by using high-quality parts in its popular 125cc model and keeping prices down.

Source: The Nikkei