New Delhi: If you’re the kind who enjoys the more than occasional rush of adrenalin that comes with negotiating sharp turns and hairpin bends at top speed, then your bouquet of strong speed machines has just grown a bit wider. Provided your pocket is just as loaded as your attitude. Leading Japanese bike producer Yamaha introduced two power-packed sports bikes — the 998cc YZF–R1 and the 1,680cc MT01 — here on Tuesday, targeting a niche class of avid bikers.
Easy rider: Tomotaka Ishikawa, CEO & M, Yamaha Motor India, poses with the newly launched Torque Sports MT01 bike in New Delhi. Reuters / Vijay Mathur
Both are six-gear road machines and share the same ex-showroom price at Rs10.5 lakh each. The bikes are available in New Delhi, Chennai, Bangalore and Ahmedabad initially. While Bangalore has two dealers, each of the other cities would offer the bikes through a single dealer.
“We are also planning to market these bikes in Mumbai, Pune and Chandigarh in the near future. In fact, we plan to sell these bikes in 10 cities within six months,” said P. Sam, Yamaha Group head, marketing & sales, on the sidelines of the launch. “We have a network plan to distribute these bikes through 50 outlets across the country by 2010,” he added.
Tomotaka Ishikawa, CEO & MD, Yamaha Motor India, highlighted the technical superiority of the new bikes, which many “Indian manufacturers may not have”. Responding to a question on falling sales of Yamaha bikes in India, Ishikawa said: “Unfortunately, customers do not appreciate our technology today.”
Hit by the sharp downfall in sales of the existing 100cc and 125cc categories, from 35,000 last year to 18,000 in the current fiscal year, Yamaha has bet upon its flagship big bikes to revamp its sales graph in India. The company currently has a 3% market share in the country.
“This is not a volume-generating exercise but a brand-building experience. We would prefer event-based marketing,” Sam told this correspondent. The company has a n annual target of selling 400 to 500 units of the newly launched machines.
Yamaha would go for niche magazines and lifestyle publications to advertise the YZF–R1 and MT01, instead of mass media advertising, the Group head said regarding the advertising strategy of the new bikes. The comapny would also use rock music as a platform to popularise the new products.
Yamaha would eventually enter the 150cc and scooter segments of the Indian two-wheeler industry, Sam said.
Does he foresee stiff competition from Harley Davidson, which is also into the premium brand segment? Not really, feels Sam, adding that both brands have their loyal set of customers. “You wont find a Yamaha guy buying a Harley and vice versa,” he quips.
Yes, but Harley is an older brand. “So? So are Harley riders!”
That says it all.