Hero Honda and Pleasure

Hero Honda, the motorcycle manufacturer who incidentally manufactures the single largest selling model (the Splendor) of motorbike has launched a 100 cc scooter targeted at women. It goes by the name Pleasure.


honda pleasure website
Honda pleasure website

Hero Honda was the baap of the market with its CD-100 and its now famous "Fill it, shut it, forget it" campaign. Those were the times when the country was recovering from Bajajs scooters. With the window opened to foreign colloboration, the 4 stroke Hero Honda CD100, 2 stroke TVS suzuki AX100 and the (legendary) Yamaha Rx100 were the new horses in every bikers stable. Times changed over the next 15 years.

Bajaj changed itself from a fuddy duddy scooter company known for its Chetak to the company known for the Pulsar. TVS moved away from suzuki and launched its Fiero and now plan to move to Indonesia. Hero Honda launched its CBZ, but it was beaten to a pulp by the nimbler, powerful and fuel efficient Fiero and Pulsar. Bajaj and TVS in the meantime expanded their portfolio to include better and more efficient bikes, but Hero Honda went back to the drawing board and could come up with no better than CD100 SS and Splendor something (rehashes as you can imagine from the name). They launched Passion and Ambition, two other bikes both of which lacked the idea that their names conveyed. Honda too launched its operations in India with the superb Activa and Unicorn that comes with Honda reliability. Kinetic motors, the original variomatic company, too launched its Nova, which if not as smooth as the Activa is a pretty good machine.

Hero Honda is not really known for innovation as much as sitting on its laurels. With the base of its bread and butter models the stage was set for the company to do something spectacular. Both Bajaj and TVS have done so on their own right, but HH to me, is a fuddy duddy. The launch of Pleasure does nothing to change this perception. Note that I write this without riding Pleasure. Whats the big idea in marketing a scooter to women? Especially when there is nothing "different" about it? The variomatic segment has a solid performer in Activa, stylish Dio, good looking Nova, youthful Scooty and now a women only Pleasure?

I think Pleasure has got its strategy wrong. By saying women (and only women), they are losing a good part of the market. Now, no young college lad will ever buy it (they do buy variomatics, it is not only women who drive variomatics). I am not saying marketing to women is wrong, but I would go the Scooty way with a Preity Zinta, subtle yet leaving the positioning as "youth". Scooty does have some smart features too. Why will a girl buy Pleasure? Whats the compelling feature in it? There are many things that can be designed to appeal to women in a bike like this, but this is just hollow marketing.

by Neelakantan

source: http://ecophilo.blogspot.co...
issued: Monday, February 06, 2006
updated: Monday, February 06, 2006

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