While the global pandemic undeniably encouraged more of us to order everything online than ever before, the fact is, motorcycle OEMs were already pursuing the path of online vehicle sales. Take MV Agusta, for example. In September, 2019, it first started offering its entire bike line via its online store. You’d still need to pick the bike up from your local dealer, but if you already knew what you wanted, you could very easily tap your way to a new bike from the comfort of your phone.
In December, 2019, Vespa soon followed suit, allowing purchases of new scooters (with or without accessories and gear) via its website. Bajaj, KTM, and Husqvarna launched their own online booking platform in India in February, 2021. Then Aprilia launched its own online sales platform for its entire motorcycle line just one month later, in March, 2021.
Fast-forward to October, 2021, and Honda just launched its own online sales platform. Now, before you get too excited, it’s just for cars at the moment. Also, it’s currently only available if you’re in Tokyo, Japan. Also, there only appear to be four different car models available using this service, but it’s most likely scaleable depending on how well this first foray into online sales goes.
The service is called Honda ON, and it just opened its virtual doors to the Tokyo-based public on October 4, 2021. You can choose between the N-Box, Fit, Vezel, or Freed via monthly subscription plans. It’s similar to what we Americans think of as an auto lease, except Honda’s arrangement also includes your auto insurance, documentation fees, registration fees, and maintenance. Honda says this makes it easier for customers to budget, because the monthly fee always remains the same. No surprises will pop up when it’s time to renew your road registration, for example.
Unsurprisingly, the first question that came to the minds of our colleagues at Japanese motorcycle magazine Young Machine was, “will Honda consider doing this for motorcycles, too?” It’s certainly the first thing we thought, and we’re betting it’s the first thing you thought, as well. YM reached out to Honda Japan to ask. Their rep said that they weren’t planning for it, but that they would consider it.
Of course, even if Honda did initiate such a program, chances are excellent that it, too, would at least start in Tokyo. Perhaps it would even stay there, if it didn’t attract enough users to justify expanding it beyond that area. In any case, while it’s possible that we might see Honda online bike sales at some point in the future, it doesn’t look as though it’s likely to happen anytime soon. Cue the sad trombone now, then drown it out with your bike engine.