Mumbai: Although Yamaha Motor India Pvt. Ltd, or YMI, aims to corner a tenth of India’s motorcycle market after the launch of its rapid-selling, top-end motorbike, analysts say the firm’s ambitious plans hinge on how fast it can expand its distribution network.
YMI began selling in mid-June a 150cc sports bike branded YZF R15, pricing it at an aggressive Rs97,425 each—approximately Rs15,000 to Rs18,000 more expensive than rival products such as Bajaj Auto Ltd’s Pulsar 220 DTS-Fi or Hero Honda Motors Ltd’s Karizma.
Driving sales: Yamaha’s 150cc sports bike YZF R15. The bike, launched in mid-June, helped the company sell 11,798 motorcycles in July
YMI has sold around 6,100 of the R15 bikes since launch, said Pankaj Dubey, the company’s divisional head of sales. There is a 15-day waiting period to buy the bike, he said.
The R15 launch helped YMI sell 11,798 bikes in July, a 34% growth over the same month last year. This jump was helped in a big way by R15 sales, Dubey said, adding that he expected its sale to stabilize at 4,000 a month.
None of the firm’s other offerings—Gladiator, Libero or Crux—found so much demand from Indian customers, who preferred fuel-efficient, value-for-money products from Hero Honda and Bajaj.
YMI and other bike makers do not disclose model-wise sales data. The so-called performance segment that the R15 and Karizma belong to account for close to 30% of the five million motorcycles sold a year in the domestic market.
Still, analysts said it was too early for YMI to target a 10% market share. “I don’t think these 6,000 units a month is going to make a difference to the company unless one sees them clocking numbers steadily,” said Hitesh Kuvelkar, associate director of research at First Global Securities Ltd. “Moreover, it’s only a matter of time before the likes of Bajaj and Hero Honda bring out new models that will compete with the R15.”
YMI will set up company-owned outlets in Pune, Delhi, Mumbai and Kolkata that would sell the R15 and other premium bikes the firm will launch in the next one year. “We are also upgrading our existing 300 dealerships across the country,” Dubey said.
Yamaha first entered India in 1985 along with partners Escorts Ltd, a maker of tractors. In its 15-year partnership, it sold 2.5 million bikes, getting a 7.2% share of the market. In 2000, trying to compete with the more fuel-efficient bikes in the market, Yamaha also started to make low-end motorcyles. In five years, its market share fell from 8.4% to 3.6% in 2005-06, as it sold about 200,000 bikes.