Chief Officer of Motorcycle and Power Products at Atlas Honda, Noriaki Abe, unveiled Honda’s inaugural electric vehicle (EV) motorcycle, the Honda BENLY-e, as part of the celebration of Atlas Honda’s 60 years of operations in Pakistan. The unveiling took place during a ceremony at Atlas Honda’s Sheikhupura plant and was attended by Shinji Aoyama, Executive Vice President and COO of Honda Motor Company and Toshio Kuwahara, President and CEO of Asian Honda Motor Company, according to a press release on Tuesday.
Abe stated that the Honda BENLY-e will undergo trial marketing and future products will be developed based on market feedback to ensure that Honda offers the best to society and customers. He noted that Honda products have become an integral part of daily life for many in Pakistan and the joint venture between Atlas Group and Honda Motor Company has been a leader in the manufacture of motorcycles and auto parts since 1963.
Aoyama mentioned that the mobility industry is experiencing a rapid transformation and Honda Motor is well positioned for the future. Kuwahara emphasized that Pakistan is a critical market and Honda is committed to introducing attractive products for Pakistani customers.
Atlas Honda President and CEO Saquib H Shirazi highlighted the company’s achievements, including the expansion of its product line and up to 95% localization. “The company has developed the largest network of local auto parts manufacturers and dealers. With more than 10,000 touch points, the company has created direct employment opportunities for more than 150,000 people,” he said.
Regarding the introduction of Atlas Honda’s EV motorcycle, Electric Two Wheelers Manufacturing Group-Pakistan Chief Coordinator Muhammad Sabir Sheikh told The Express Tribune that it was a positive initiative to support the EV bike industry in Pakistan. He acknowledged the rapid growth of the China-based industry and predicted a market shift in 2024. While noting the expected costliness of the Honda EV motorcycle, he highlighted its potential to benefit the industry given Atlas Honda’s leadership in the two-wheeler market.
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Sheikh highlighted the environmental benefits of EV bikes, providing a pollution-free environment and reducing the cost of importing fuel into the country. He urged the government to formulate a policy to limit the age of old petrol vehicles to control pollution, especially in Punjab where smog has become a major concern. The price of the Honda EV has yet to be announced and Sheikh expects it to take a few months to hit the market.
Automotive expert Mashood Khan is positive about Atlas Honda’s entry into the EV bike industry, considering the company’s market leadership and extensive infrastructure. He suggested that the company should focus on offering competitive pricing, given the usual higher costs associated with EV bikes compared to gasoline-powered bikes. Khan acknowledged that Honda is aware of customer preferences and financial constraints due to lingering inflation.
He also commented on the late entry into the EV bike industry, stressing the importance of setting new trends, introducing affordable EV bikes and supporting the automotive aftermarket community that is facing challenges in the current economic climate.
Published in The Express Tribune, November 29u2023.
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