If you’ve noticed this, India Yamaha Motor has the highest number of 150cc bikes on sales. There is the MT-15, FZS as well as the YZF-R15, with several variants of each. Of this, the latter is the costliest whereas for the price-conscious, the FZ series does make sense. Yamaha India though recently did the reverse of what many a motorcycle maker will do – reduce the price of its motorcycle. While the official press release didn’t state a specific reason, except for the part that input costs were reduced, we got in touch with Ravinder Singh, senior vice president of India Yamaha Motor, and asked a few of the queries which we had as well as those that our regular readers/viewers have been sending in. Ravinder revealed details on the direction of the company’s electric plans, on how the company is working on electric vehicles, and other bits.
Ravinder Singh (RS): It is too early to comment on the impact of FZ25’s price revision, as the prices were only recently updated. The company was able to achieve this price reduction by reducing production input costs, which is also the case with the Fascino 125 Fi Hybrid.
RS: The Fascino 125 Fi Hybrid is Yamaha’s first step towards entering the EV space in the Indian market. The Fascino 125 Fi Hybrid with electric power assist is just one of many technological advancements achieved in the field of electric mobility by Yamaha, which we plan to introduce in the Indian market over time.
While we welcome and appreciate the new EV policies being introduced by state governments to strengthen the demand for EVs, via attractive subsidy and incentive schemes, there are bigger challenges related to investments. We are contemplating on factors like pricing, performance, and infrastructure before we roll out any products for the Indian market. Mainly since the success of EVs solely depends on the acceptance of customers at large, which is only possible with proper availability of infrastructure, charging stations, battery production and swapping infrastructure for electric vehicles.
Speaking of global partnership, a consortium was established by Yamaha Motor Co. Ltd., Honda Motor Co. Ltd., Kawasaki Heavy Industries, Ltd., and Suzuki Motor Corporation in April 2019, aimed at increasing the adoption of electric motorcycles in Japan. Since its inception, the Consortium has been formulating standards for mutual-use swappable batteries and their replacement systems, as a solution to the issues preventing widespread adoption of electric motorcycles.
With the heightening worldwide demand for the electrification of mobility to realize a carbon-neutral society, and to ensure international mutual-use (international standardization), the Consortium has also been cooperating with the “e-Yan OSAKA” field tests conducted by the Japan Automobile Manufacturers Association’s Electric Motorcycle Promotion Subcommittee in collaboration with Osaka Prefecture and the national university corporation Osaka University.
RS: The Indian big bike market is still at a nascent stage. However, increased purchasing power, improved lifestyles, and aspirational levels of today’s generation towards owning luxury brands indicate immense growth possibilities.
As far as entering the 300cc space with a made-in-India performance motorcycle is concerned, we are analysing the market and trends related to it very closely, and may introduce our range of big bikes, when the market is mature enough. For now, our focus is on strengthening the 125cc scooter portfolio, along with expanding our premium 150cc and 250cc motorcycle range.
RS: The 125cc scooter market is estimated to grow at 10 per cent between 2020 and 2025. This segment consists of passionate riders that are young and dynamic, and love to experiment with various riding styles. This is a vibrant representation of Yamaha’s target audience and the company has much to offer to these customers through its existing line-up, which includes the newly launched Fascino 125 Fi Hybrid, and the Ray ZR 125 Fi, which showcase some unique features like hybrid technology, in-built side stand engine cut-off switch, stop & start system and Smart Motor Generator, Connect-X App, etc.
In the current scenario, we will continue to strengthen our market in the 125cc segment by creating awareness about the performance, technology, mileage, safety and utility offered by our 125cc scooter range. Simultaneously, we will also connect with our target market to gather their feedback, while closely monitoring the competition in order to identify the scope for new segments to utilise our global expertise and fulfill our customer’s expectations.
RS: India is not only the world’s largest two-wheeler market but also one of the most diverse markets. Here, a customer’s buying preference changes from one region to the other. Now, about 51 per cent of the total two-wheeler purchases comprise of commuter segment models up to 125cc segment, and we feel that this section of buyers will aspire to own a premium product that’s exciting, stylish and sporty, eventually making a shift to the 150cc class, which has grown up as an important market, where almost every motorcyclist converges for new product options that are exciting yet commuter-friendly. Since 2015, the 150cc category became the new age commuter segment, holding enormous value with many new/first-time buyers preferring them for their multi-utility, performance, and cost-effectiveness.
Note: We also checked with Yamaha India if they will be offering the connected vehicle tech in their 150 as well as 250cc bikes. There was also the question if the hybrid tech in the Fascino will also be offered with the bigger bikes or not. Ravinder said that it will be disclosed to us at an appropriate time.
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