Honda targets youth with upgraded popular scooter in Thailand

BANGKOK, NNA - Honda Motor Co. has launched its popular sport scooter model loaded with a larger engine in Thailand to appeal to young people and further strengthen its leadership position in the major Southeast Asian motorcycle market.

The fifth generation of Honda Click, which boasts the second-biggest cumulative sales of over 2.4 million units among its motorbike models in the country, is equipped with a 150 cc engine for the first time since the series launch in 2006 in response to local needs for longer-distance travel.

The model, priced at 60,200 baht (about $1,900), also features a smart engine key that locates the vehicle to protect it from theft, a function only available for higher-grade scooter models before, according to Suchart Arunsaengroj, vice president of A.P. Honda Co., a Thai distributer of the Japanese motorcycle giant.

"We want to serve customers who prefer more powerful engines," said Suchart, adding that Honda is targeting technology-conscious young urban users. The latest Click series includes a model with a 125 cc engine to be put on sale later this month.

Honda, holding a share of over 70 percent in the Thai motorcycle market, is upbeat about this year's new motorbike sales, forecasting a 2 percent year-on-year gain to 1.85 million units in the total of all market players and a 4 percent increase to 1.48 million in its own sales, Suchart said.

A.P. Honda also plans to release the first hybrid Honda PCX scooter in the middle of this year and a fully electric model in the fourth quarter to spur market demand. (NNA/Kyodo)