AP Honda to Introduce Hybrid Motorcycle to Thai Market

AP Honda

Honda wants to introduce a hybrid motorcycle to the Thai market starting next year, according to AP Honda, the local Thai distributor of the Japanese motorcycle brand.

AP Honda vice president Suchart Arunsaengroj said the hybrid motorcycle is a part of the company's three-year business plan from 2017-2019. Within this time frame, AP Honda hopes to introduce 19 new motorcycles to the Land of Smiles.

AP Honda's parent company, Japan's Honda Motor Co., unveiled the Honda PCX HyCX Elbrid and Pectric at the 45th Tokyo Motor Show held last November. Both models is set to arrive in Thailand starting next year. The hybrid model is the first of the two set for release, but Suchart declined to disclose exactly when this will happen.

"We haven't decided whether we will produce the vehicles locally in Lat Krabang or import them from Japan, as the retail price is not set yet," Suchart said. "There is no investment privilege for motorcycle  producers, and subsidies for buyers are insufficient."

Nevertheless, Honda motorcycles benefit from the import duty exemption established by the Japan-Thailand Economic Partnership Agreement, which eliminated a 30-percent tariff that the government placed on motorcycle imports. Since April of this year, that tariff has been zero. This could mean that despite the advanced technology, Honda's hybrid motorcycles can still be well within the budget of Thailand’s motorcycle-riding public.

Suchart divulged that the Thai Motorcycle Enterprise Association and the Thai Automotive Industry Association have met with the Office of Industrial Economics to come up with additional strategies to further stimulate the local motorcycle consumer market.

"Most car and motorcycle distributors are concerned about the consumer response to electric vehicles because these models are costly," he said. "Batteries, their core component, cost 200,000-300,000 baht for both cars and motorcycles."

In Thailand, automatic motorcycles account for 35 percent of the market, while the family segment (small motorcycles) represents 49 percent. The remaining 16 percent belongs to sport motorcycles and big bikes.

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