About Honda Motorcycle and Scooter India
Honda entered India as Shriram Honda Power Equipment Limited (now Honda Siel Power Products Ltd) in May 1985, as joint venture between the Honda Motor Company, Japan, and Siel Ltd. dealing mostly in manufacture and distribution of power products. Post liberalization, the Honda Motor Company established four other subsidiaries, one of which was Honda Motorcycle and Scooter India (Private) Ltd (HMSI), an adjuvant dealing primarily with the manufacturing and distribution of two-wheelers in India, the density of which has been increasing exponentially on Indian roads.
Established in August 1999, the foundation stone of the first factory of HMSI was laid on 14th December 1990 and completed in January 2000. Honda's joint venture with Hero started off HMSI's product line with scooters. The first to enter in the market from the base of the HMSI in Manesar was the Honda Activa.
Honda Activa began as an easy-to-ride two-wheeler. It had a four-stroke, single cylinder engine with air cooling. It had a great pick-up and thanks to its user-friendly features it was highly reliable. Its launch was coincident with the generational movement from heavy manual scooters to lighter, automatic ones, and thus, Activa became an instant hit in India. This vehicle featured the dual options of kick-starting as well as self-starting. This ensured a consumer range of not only the young generation, but also the older one, which was more used to the two-stroke, kick-starting Chetak. Its USP includes a comfortable yet stable ride, offering a stylish exterior and greatly controlled drive.
Next in line was the Honda Dio, which was introduced in 2001. Dio, too, like Activa, rode the wave of exponential preference for lightweight scooters to its popularity, and is India's first moto scooter. As its predecessor, it was equipped with an air-cooled, four-stroke, single cylinder engine. Its USP over Activa included a wedge design which offered the Dio a slimmer, more aerodynamic look. This innovative sleek design made it easier to navigate in traffic. The long front suspension of the Dio offered it a long stroke. Coming fitted with a highly efficient shock absorption system afforded Dio riders a comfortable and smooth ride.
Then came Honda Eterno, India's first 150 cc geared scooter. It had the same air-cooled, four-stroke, single cylinder engine as its predecessors, but where Activa and Dio had a capacity of a little more than 100 cc, this beauty came loaded with 150 cc capacity. Built for performance, Eterno was lightweight, it was sturdy and it was fuel efficient. It could accelerate fast, as well as offer a smooth ride on any kind of road. The entire design of this class of scooters meant it was built keeping in mind the needs of an average India. Not too heavy on style, this scooter made the perfect family vehicle with its wide and flat foot board. Built with wheel-side design (packing the engine and drive system into a single unit) making the engine compact and light, Eterno outshone its predecessors in the category of lightweight scooters.
In 2013, Honda launched its first personal compact scooter, Activa-I, before which Honda had launched scooters only in the categories of moto scooters and family scooters. Designed entirely to have a unisex appeal, the Activa-I is lightweight, compact, and easy to handle. It is fitted with an innovative combi-brake system, that is purported to reduce breaking distance by 24%. Yet again, this model comes fitted with the air-cooled four-stroke engine. With a 109 cc engine, Activa-I can be truly said to be back to the personal compact lightweight category. The wide front panel marries rider protection with good aesthetics while the specially designed ergonomic grab rail ensures that rider can put the scooter on stand with less force. Additionally, the style and looks of Activa-I have been tweaked to give it a fresher, more appealing finish. It is quite visible that every effort has been put into making this a unisex scooter. Even the colour range offered is rather peppy and fresh – beige metallic, pearl sunbeam white, alpha red metallic and purple metallic. All this USP combined, and with its marvelously great looks, Activa-I is sure to give its competitors a run for their money.