Bombardier plans to bring three-wheeled motorcycles to India

Firm seeks nod to import vehicles; centre examining whether the products should be sold as bikes or three-wheelers
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First Published: Thu, Sep 12 2013. 06 15 PM IST
It is not clear whether BRP will bring the products to India on its own or through a local partner. Photo: Bombardier
It is not clear whether BRP will bring the products to India on its own or through a local partner. Photo: Bombardier
Updated: Fri, Sep 13 2013. 12 47 AM IST
New Delhi: Bombardier Recreational Products Inc. (BRP) has sought the Indian government’s permission to introduce its Y-shaped three-wheeled motorcycles in the country.
BRP, which was sold by Canada-based Bombardier Inc. to a group of investors led by Bain Capital in 2003, has approached the directorate general of foreign trade (DGFT) for permission to sell its Spyder Roadster model in India. DGFT has, in turn, has written to the ministry of road transport and highways and the ministry of heavy industries seeking their views on whether the product should be allowed to be sold as two-wheelers or as three-wheelers. Mint has reviewed the DGFT letter dated 5 September.
BRP has hired consultant Tecnova India Pvt. Ltd to lobby with the government. An email sent to BRP on Thursday remained unanswered till press time. Ravi Avalur, partner and vice-president of Tecnova, confirmed the development. “We are working with BRP and I am the head of the project. I can’t comment anything more than that,” Avalur said.
In the 5 September letter, G. Parthasarathi, joint director general of foreign trade, sought the opinion of the ministry of heavy industries and department of road transport and highways on “...whether this motorcycle (3-wheeled Spyder Roadster) to be imported under motorcycle category or 3-wheeler category”.
India currently does not have a separate category for such vehicles. Parthasarathi has asked the ministries to furnish their views and comments on the subject.
The Spyder Roadster is classified by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration of the US as a three-wheeled motorcycle.
It is not clear whether BRP will bring the products to India on its own or through a local partner.
The cheapest of the Spyder range, 2013 Can-Am Spyder RS, sells for $16,699 (Rs.10.63 lakh) in the US.
India imposes an import duty of 60% on completely built vehicles, 30% on semi knocked-down kits and 10% on completely knocked-down units.
BRP also sells the Ski-Doo and Lynx brand snowmobiles, Sea-Doo personal watercraft and jet boats .
In 2007, BRP announced the launch of a new three-wheeled roadster called the Spyder, which was released in Q4 2007 under the Can-Am brand.
Powered by a Rotax 998cc V-twin engine, the product has two different transmission options. There is the sequential manual 5-speed transmission, which has a traditional 5-speed manual transmission plus reverse. The other option is the Sequential Electronic 5-Speed , which has a semi-automatic 5-speed transmission with reverse.
Although there is little scope for such vehicles in the country, it would add “diversity to the market”, said Anil Sharma, a senior analyst at IHS Automotive. “It is an interesting idea and signifies the fact that Indian market is coming of age. It could be a meaningful addition.”
Sharma expects Bombardier to sell “a few hundreds or thousands” of the vehicles in the country.
“They will cater to the very niche customers, the ones who have enough disposable income. But the number of buyers will be limited,” he said.
At least 5,000 Can-Am Spyder RT and ST motorcycles from the 2013 model are being recalled as they posed a fire risk, The New York Times reported on 6 September.
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First Published: Thu, Sep 12 2013. 06 15 PM IST
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