Why Can't Honda Sell India's $900 100cc Street Motorcycle In The USA?
Right Now You Have To Shell Out Between $3,000 & $6,000 (!) To Ride Away On The Smallest Street Motorcycles!
You have to wonder why GM and Chrysler went under. Could it have anything to do with the fact that they were simply not producing the types of automobiles that the customer wanted? Both manufacturers were total losers when it came to smaller economy models. The Caliber was the most economical offering from Chrysler and it was a rolling pile of dung that looked like an elephant sat on a minivan, performed like a slug on wheels, and was as long lasting as a nitroglycerin milkshake machine. On the GM side, the profoundly repugnant, dated, poorly designed, badly built, underperforming and ridiculously fuel thristy (I have a friend who gets a completely unacceptable 26 mpg on his '09) Korean Daewoo Kalos rebadged as a Chevy Aveo is an embarrassment with a bowtie badge.
Now that we're on the subject of not providing the vehicles that the public wants, let's discuss the various motorcycle manufacturers. These companies are so damned busy carrying on a horsepower and displacement war where gargantuan, Brobdignanian 2.3 litre juggernaut motorcycles that generate 140+ horsepower are considered "sedate cruisers," and you can buy a motorcycle straight off the dealership floor that will comfortably break 200 mph, that they have completely ignored the overwhelming market demand for an affordable, small, easy to handle, "starter bike" for students, commuters, shoppers, and Sunday cruise riders.
There are only four, count them, four street legal motorcycles offered for sale in North America in the 2009 model year that are even as small as 125cc. They are:
2009 Aprilia RS125 - MSRP: $5,499
2009 Honda CBR125R - MSRP: $2,999
2009 Husqvarna SM125 - MSRP: $5,799
2009 Kawasaki Eliminator 125 - MSRP: $2,799
Suzuki, Yamaha, BMW, Harley Davidson, Triumph and other manufacturers are not represented because, obviously, they couldn't give a rodent's derriere about small entry level motorcycles.
These prices are utterly outrageous. It would cost well over $6,000 to ride the Husky out of the dealership once tax, PDI, etc. is tagged on.
Where do "entry level" riders have $6,000 to blow on a starter bike? Where? In Dubai? Brunei? Certainly not in the USA or Canada!
If you shop around you can find brand new 2009 economy cars for $7,999. And the manufacturers are trying to sell "entry level" motorcycles for a couple of grand less?
Completely looney tunes.
That's why I read with special interest that Honda was about to debut a 100cc single cylinder motorcycle in India that would sell for approximately 42,000 rupees. That works out to $882 with the current exchange rate, and as compared to the laughably overpriced small bike dreck that is currently in North American dealers showroom floors, it's the deal of the century!
There is NO excuse to not sell a sub $1,000 100cc Honda single in North America today. It's not like you have to re-engineer a 100cc motorcycle for emissions, crashworthiness, safety standards and all the overbearing standards which stifle importation of low priced automobiles from countries such as India and China. Very minor tweaking of Honda's India 100cc would make it more than suitable for North American sales.
And, yes, there would be sales. Lots of them. North America is ripe for another "You meet the nicest people on a Honda" campaign. A 100cc Honda is the perfect substitute for legs, and at over 100 mpg, would be gobbled up as fast as they could be produced for the North American market.
So, what about it Honda? Are you still going to try to keep foisting inexcusably outrageous hyperbike suicide machines like the Honda CBR1000RR, or two wheeled Krystal Koach limousines like the Gold Wing, or are you going to start listening to your customers who want A NICE, CHEAP, ECONOMICAL, RELIABLE, FUN LITTLE BIKE???
The 100 cc Honda Single was sold in North America in a wide variety of models to suit almost every "entry level" street and even mild off-road rider untl 1975:
Many of the Honda 100 images come from this Vintage Honda site.