Chennai: TVS Motor Co. Ltd re-entered the so-called executive segment of two-wheelers with the launch of its 125cc bike Phoenix, and hopes to gain a 17% market share by the next fiscal with its upcoming launches.
“The executive segment, that is (two-wheelers) selling in the price range of Rs.50,000 to Rs.60,000, accounts for 40% of the market today, and we hope to make our presence felt in this segment with this launch,” said chairman and managing director Venu Srinivasan.
After TVS Victor, a 125cc bike that was withdrawn from the market four-five years ago, the company has not had a good product in this segment, he said.
“We did have the Centra and Flame, and unfortunately they both did not click with the market. We’ve now developed a product through which we hope to deliver at least 15-20% more value than the existing products in this segment,” he said.
TVS Phoenix has a new engine called the EcoThrust that the company says will provide good pick-up and is fuel-efficient. The bike has a digital speedometer, a low battery reminder and a digital fuel gauge, with a 67 km per litre mileage, it said.
TVS Motor hopes to begin regaining its market share with four more launches by 2013 calendar year. Srinivasan said the firm will launch scooters and mopeds in addition to relaunching the TVS Victor in nine months. “With the Phoenix and the upcoming launches, we hope to get a 17% market share, from the current 13%,” Srinivasan said.
Credit rating agency ICRA, in its February report, said it expects steady growth in the executive segment, but said competition is likely to get intense as two-wheeler makers are getting aggressive with model refurbishments and more launches.
TVS hopes to narrow the gap with bigger rivals Hero MotoCorp Ltd, Honda Motorcycle and Scooter India Ltd, and Bajaj Auto Ltd, who already have a significant presence in the executive segment. Hero has a strong foothold in the segment with its Super Splendour, Glamour and Ignitor models; Bajaj Auto has Discover 125 ST, and Honda, the CB Shine.
“If you see the market, the executive segment is already chock-a-block, and TVS has been quite late to come up with a vehicle in this space. So a lot rides on this vehicle for TVS now,” said Ajay Sheitya, an analyst at Centrum Broking.
In six months, TVS Motor hopes to be selling 20,000 units of Phoenix a month. The bikes will be exported to 50 countries initially and, after a few modifications, to 50 more countries from January, Srinivasan said.
The company spent Rs.50 crore and took a year-and-a-half to develop the Phoenix, said Vinay Harne, president, new product development, at TVS Motor. He didn’t reveal the product development cost of the other vehicles the company plans to launch, but he said it takes Rs.30-40 crore to develop a two-wheeler.
The drum-brake variant of the TVS Phoenix is priced Rs.51,000 in Chennai and the disc-brake model Rs.53,000, not adding taxes and other charges.