With a Gen Y target audience, Honda aims for newcomers
The wild success of the Honda Ruckus immediately comes to mind when considering Honda’s unveiling last month of its 125cc Grom motorcycle. And the Grom crowd certainly figures to fit the bill in terms of accessorizing and customizing Honda’s latest buzz-creating release. But the Grom also figures to bring in its fair share of new faces to powersports.
“It’s created quite the stir,” Bill Savino, manager of motorcycle press for American Honda Motor Co., Inc., said days after its mid-May release. “We expected a lot, and we always do. We’ve had this Ruckus market for so many years, and there are so many of these Rucksters, and they’re looking at this Grom and they immediately get it. They know that there’s this avenue of a clean sheet of paper to do whatever they want with it. On top of that, it looks really cool from the get-go.”
The Ruckus first launched back in 2003. Its worldwide success has not gone unnoticed, especially by aftermarket accessory manufacturers. And while the Grom has yet to hit showroom floors, there’s already chatter about its potential.
“You can look at that Ruckus crowd and see what they’ve been doing to them, putting in bigger motors and stretching them out and all these cool custom things. Now with Grom, it’s a full-size motorcycle with a 4-speed transmission and a 125cc motor, and all the cool stuff to be able to have some fun with it.”
Aftermarket accessories already are available for the Asian-branded Grom, the MSX 125. It’s dubbed the Grom for the Japanese and North American markets.
Grom’s appeal, Savino says, makes it easy for riders of various backgrounds to hop on board.
“We’re not just talking about the young Generation Y group that wants something like this,” he said. “Think about all the people who can put these things on motorhomes, or use them for daily transportation to from point A to point B. For $2,995, you really can’t go wrong.”
Grom certainly fits the role of being a unique entrant in the Honda lineup, and the company plans to take untraditional routes to locate potential newcomers to riding. Reaching non-participants and Gen Y prospects brings with it a new media outreach approach.
“We are doing it a little different with Grom. You won’t see a ton of commercials or a bunch of print ads. You’re going to see a lot of digital, a lot of direct,” Savino said. “We’re going to go in avenues where we believe we can touch these people. We’re counting on our dealers to do some cool stuff with Grom to attract new customers.”
Savino says that Grom’s looks, price and its 125cc motor “make it pretty accessible for just about any new rider.” Select rider education centers across the U.S. also will be offering Groms for training purposes.
“When all of us in our 30s, 40s and 50s were kids, coming into motorcycling was easy,” he added. “There were so many different seats and sizes, all at reasonable prices. We’re finally getting back to that again with the CBR250 and the CBR500 we just launched, the CTX and now this. You have to have all these different sizes and different fits for all the different people who are out there. Grom is another avenue to gain interest from Generation Yers.”
Some dealers had already taken deposits from customers who want to be first in line when the Grom hits showrooms in August. It’s capable for two-up with rear pegs, Savino said, noting “it’s definitely roomy enough.”
It’s friendly at the gas tank as well, with a rating of more than 100 miles per gallon.
“We’re looking for big things out of it,” Savino said. “You can feel the energy. It’s fun. It puts a huge smile on your face. It brings you back to the old days, when not huge ccs got everyone fired up. It’s all about the cool and versatility and usability. It’s all about what you need.”