Ride into the new Honda motorcycle showroom at Alexandra
The partnership between motorcycle dealer Boon Siew and Japanese manufacturer Honda Motor began in 1957, when the late Loh Boon Siew - also known as Mr Honda - imported 12 Honda motorcycles, consisting of the Dream, Cub and Benly models, into Malaysia.
Over the past 60 years, the partnership - the second-longest in Asia - has flourished, and the two companies have just achieved yet another milestone.
Last month, Boon Siew Singapore, the sole distributor of Honda motorcycles and scooters, held the grand opening of its new Honda Motorcycle showroom in Alexandra Road. This will see Honda support Boon Siew Singapore fully in the latter's brand-building efforts.
Mr Yasutaka Uda, general manager of Honda Motorcycle's sales division, said at the ceremony, where he was guest of honour: "We expect that Singapore will continuously lead the Asian market, including the motorcycle business."
But Mr Nicholas Wong, general manager of Boon Siew Singapore, highlighted some of his concerns. He said: "Even though the motorcycle industry is an established business in Singapore, it seems the biking culture and options available to customers have been at a standstill for so many years."
Since the Additional Registration Fee (ARF), which increases the taxes on more luxury types of motorcycles, was announced, most of the exclusive brands have taken a hit.
He said: "The industry is facing challenges as other forms of mobility devices have been deployed in the market. Due to the openness of the Singapore economy, dealers are also (parallel) importing bikes by themselves. We will have to value add to the supply chain to remain competitive."
Mr Wong said the new showroom aims to bring Honda's passion closer to its dealers and customers.
He added: "We hope to leverage on the Leng Kee-Alexandra area for better exposure of our brand. We will provide customers with a comfortable and relaxed environment to make a purchase through our new lounge. At the same time, it serves as a springboard to support dealers in the western part of Singapore.
"Our showroom will give customers an idea of our vision for the future as it has now become an integral part of Honda branding and will anchor our brand for top-of-mind awareness."
As for the hottest Hondas to look out for next year, Mr Wong said: "Our 2B segment will still be dominated by our best-selling RS150R, and with the introduction of the CB125R, we will be able to capture new market segments for riders looking for an awesome ride.
"As for the 2A class, there's the CB400X and Super fours. In the class 2 segment, our Xadv and NC750X has been doing exceptionally well, not to mention our CRF1000, the aspirational model for all bikers looking for a touring adventure.
"We shall be launching the CB1000R soon and I expect this model to do extremely well."