Honda kickstarts 3-year plan to beat Hero to No.1 spot
Shinji Aoyama is a breath of fresh air. The Japanese honcho welcomes you with a namaskar. He is comfortable speaking English. He reels out numbers in lakhs and crores (typically Indian denominations). And he knows how to deal with swarming reporters looking for their daily fix without getting flustered. "One by one please. I will answer all your questions," he says calmly.
Aoyama is the operating officer of Honda Corporation's motorcycle business based out of Japan. And he has just infused some vroom in the local two-wheeler industry. "Very soon, we will make the dream to become No. 1 [in India] come true," he announced at a recent press conference. Former head of Honda Motorcycle and Scooter India (HMSI), who spent four years as India CEO between 2007 and 2011, Aoyama should know what he is talking about. "Given the current scenario in India, I believe it will not be 2020 but 2016 or even 2015 by when we will attain No. 1 position here," he says.
That Honda wants to be numero uno in India is hardly surprising. The two-wheeler giant is the leader in virtually every country it operates in, except China. In Brazil, it has a dominant 80% share, and controls half of the pie in Indonesia. What is eye-popping is the hurry in which Honda wants to rule Indian roads. A little over two years after it exited a joint venture with the Hero group, HMSI has overtaken TVS and more recently edged ahead of former No. 2 Bajaj Auto to become the second-largest two-wheeler company in India. Also Read: Honda Activa HET: Road Test