— Honda Motor Co. on Thursday announced plans to open its first bike-related sport shop in the United States.
The Honda-owned store in downtown Los Angeles will be called The Bike Shop and it will sell bike accessories, apparel, accessories and accessories-related gear, such as apparel and accessories, bike parts, bicycles and accessories.
Honda’s bike-shop concept first came to light during a visit to San Francisco, where the company unveiled its first motorcycle-related store.
The Honda-run sport shop is the first of many to open in the future, said Andy O’Neill, executive vice president of sales at Honda, during a call with analysts Thursday.
“We are very excited about this new venture and excited about the new opportunity that’s going to exist,” he said.
The store, which is expected to open later this year, will be located on the third floor of the former Pacific Amphitheatre in the center of downtown Los Feliz, where a large portion of the city’s population lives.
O’Neill said the store will be open seven days a week and will be equipped with bike racks, bike parking and bicycle storage.
“It will be a hub for a large network of bikes, bikes, and accessories,” he told analysts.
The bike shop will also be available for rent, with rental prices starting at $1,500.HONDA plans to hire 150 employees to staff the shop.
“This will be one of the largest bicycle shops in the world,” O’Neil said.
“As you know, there’s only a couple of bike shops in this country that can match the size of this store.”
A few years ago, Honda started selling bicycle accessories at stores in the Philippines and Thailand.
The company said it is now the third-largest manufacturer of bike accessories in the Middle East, and the Philippines has a higher percentage of its population biking than any other country in the region.
Honda said it will expand its bike-accessories business into the Middle Eastern market.
O’thania said the new store will have a similar concept to the Honda Center in Irvine, California, which opened last year.
“They’re really trying to expand,” he added.
“I don’t know if it’s a perfect fit, but I think it’s something we can do.”
O’Neil noted that Honda is already operating a similar store in Chicago, but that Honda’s is in a different location.
Honda has about 200 employees at its Irvine, Calif., location.
The California store is expected open later in the year.
Othania said that Honda will be selling bikes at its stores in several other cities in the near future.
“When we talk about a new company, we look at a lot of places, but we want to have the best opportunity for the customers, so we want a big presence in those markets as well,” he noted.
Otomo Yoshimura, a vice president for marketing at Honda Motor, told analysts that the new business will focus on the U to Asia market.
“Our new business model is the opportunity for a Japanese company to expand into a global market,” he explained.
O’dolan added that Honda has no plans to add more bicycle dealerships in the Asian market, but said it may eventually consider it.
“If we have a great opportunity to expand further in Asia, we will consider it,” he predicted.