MANILA - A growing economy is driving demand for big bikes in the Philippines, elevating the status of the motorcycle that is more associated with utility than leisure, Japan's Honda said.
Honda brought its big bikes to Manila during the Christmas Season last year, challenging early market entrants Harley Davidson and Ducati. The company was "slightly conservative" on the Philippines, said Honda Pilippines president and CEO Daiki Mihara.
Honda expects to sell around 500 big bikes this year, compared to 500,000 small models it sold last year, he said. The company had long relied on small engine bikes used for commuting and deliveries to drive sales in the Philippines.
"The economy grows, then maybe people also look for big bikes for leisure, not only for commuting purpose," Mihara said.
The company decided to bring its big bikes to the country after a flurry of requests from the motorcycle community, many of which were for the 500cc Rebel cruiser, he said.
The 471cc Rebel is the least expensive model in Honda’s big bikes lineup, but it’s by no means cheap. With a starting price of P369,000, it is more than eight times the price of Honda’s cheapest commuter model, the Wave 110 Alpha, which costs P44,900.
Its most expensive bike in the lineup, the CBR 1000RR superbike, has a starting price of P1.35 million, which is more than the P1.138 million price of the 1.8-liter Honda Civic sedan.
Big bike sales are unlikely to be affected by the tax reform law, as the company is targeting the affluent segment of the market, he said.