High-end motorbike firms ready to rev up India sales

Written by Yogima Seth | New Delhi | Updated: Apr 2 2009, 05:19am hrs
Biking culture is evolving in India and so is the demand for super sporty bikes (priced around Rs 10 lakh and above). Consequently, players like Suzuki Motorcycles India (SMI) and India Yamaha Motor (IYM) are getting higher volumes than earlier estimated and have set high targets for 2009.

While Suzuki has sold 26 and 29 units of Hayabusa and Intruder (priced at Rs 12.5 lakh each) respectively since its launch in November last year, Yamaha managed to sell 107 units of R1 and MTO1 (Rs 10.5 lakh each) in 2008 as against the target of 50-60 bikes. Even Honda Motorcycle and Scooter India (HMSI) is betting big on the segment and has recently launched CB1000RR (which is priced at Rs 12.5 lakh) and CB1000R (priced at Rs 9.5 lakh). The top-end high performance bikes constitute a super niche segment that is neither dependent too much on finance and nor much impacted by the economic slowdown. Hence, the demand for such bikes is growing in India even when other two-wheeler segments are witnessing a slowdown, says Sanjay Tripathi, division head (product planning), IYM. The company is expecting 100% growth in sales of R1 and MT 01 in 2009 at 107 units. According to industry estimates, a little over 500 such super bikes are sold in India in a year, a very niche segment compared to an estimated 70 lakh two-wheelers that would be sold in the country this year, as biking culture continues to be at a very nascent stage in India even now. Indians have an aspiration and with these bikes we are trying to develop the fun culture that is prevalent in the US and Europe, says NK Rattan, vice president (sales and marketing), HMSI.

Though HMSI is yet to start the booking for these super bikes Rattan said there has been a good response and certain number of confirmations have come but the actual process will start only in April.