Tokyo: Yamaha Motor Co., the world’s second largest motorcycle maker, will introduce new models in India to stem five years of losses from its operations in the country.
Yamaha will introduce “India-only models” in the middle of next year, president Takashi Kajikawa said in an interview on Wednesday at the Tokyo Motor Show.
The models will be locally built and will be exported with some modifications.Selling new models in India may help Yamaha narrow the gap with its bigger rival, Honda Motor Co., which controls more than half of the world’s second biggest motorcycle market. Bike makers are building factories in the country as more Indians buy motorcycles as their main mode of personal transport.
“We want to revive sales with those models,” Kajikawa said. “In the past, we’ve failed to offer what people in India want.”
Sales of motorcycles and scooters gained 11% to a record 7.9 million units in the year ended 31 March, according to the Society of Indian Automobile Manufacturers.
Yamaha is the fourth largest motorcycle maker in India, lagging behind Honda and local manufacturers Bajaj Auto Ltd and TVS Motor Co.
Its sales fell 54% between April and September to 54,598 units, controlling 2% of the motorcycle market.
Honda and its affiliate, Hero Honda Motors Ltd, together controlled 58% of the market while Bajaj had 29%.
Yamaha, based in Shizuoka Prefecture, is trying to turn its Indian operations to profit after losing money in at least the past five years, Kajikawa said.
The company’s production in India totalled about 200,000 units last year, using only one-third of its annual capacity, he said. Yamaha has a plant near New Delhi.