Benelli is setting up a new facility in India
The Italian pressed the fast forward button on its expansionby Sagar, on
In a country that is price conscious, it was a gamble played by motorcycle manufacturers when they decided to bring in their higher segment motorbikes into India. But luckily, people started investing in premium motorcycles that were lauded in the performance and engineering arena. More and more players started entering the Indian subcontinent to showcase their entry level performance machines. And the gamble paid off.
Now, Benelli, another Italian manufacturer (albeit owned by a Chinese firm) is setting up an assembly unit in the subcontinent. In a partnership deal with Adishwar Auto Ride India-Mahavir Group, Benelli will be selling their machines only to the Indian market.
If statistics are to be believed, India is in the highest rankings in terms of growing economy. The market in India sees an upward trend ever since 2010, thanks to the improved rural infrastructure and rising income levels, affordability has become a norm for people from small towns and villages too.
With regards to volumes, China was the global leader for more than a decade with most manufacturing companies having a factory in China due to its readily available resources. That being said, there is microscopic development regarding R&D within the industry when compared to the motorcycle culture like in the West.
Then in 2017, India surpassed China with a total of 17.7 million motorcycles and scooters sold annually, which is about 48,000 a day compared with China at 16.8m. Becoming the biggest market for two-wheelers, it saw multiple international manufacturers setting up manufacturing or assembly units here.
Now, Benelli has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the Telangana government to set up its plant at Medical, Pochampally, Hyderabad. This plant will assemble close to seven models of Benelli from China-sourced CKD kits with a total capacity of 7000 units per year in the first phase.
This facility can also be scaled to assemble 10,000 units depending on the demand and future plans. In 2019, the plan is to bring in 12 models. For the second phase, Benelli will be expanding the existing 3-acre facility to a whopping 20 acre to enable manufacturing for both local and international markets.
Harley Davidson built all its Street models in India and also assembles many models for the local market. BMW Motorrad has partnered with TVS Motors to support them with the manufacturing and distribution of smaller capacity motorcycles, starting with the G 310R/GS. India also recently became the top production base for Honda worldwide with 6.4 million two-wheelers coming from the sub-continent alone. All 4 Japanese bigwigs have a factory there to manufacture/assemble and export to the world.
We also know that India-based Bajaj Auto handles most of the KTM’s operation for a decade now including manufacturing all the sub-500cc Dukes and the RCs at Bajaj’s Chakan plant and selling them all over the globe. Along with this, Bajaj-KTM has also now secured a similar takeout with the Husqvarna brand because of KTM’s acquisition of the Husky in 2013. Then in 2017, Triumph entered a global partnership with Bajaj to handle operations together and bring in sophisticated 400cc – 800cc motorcycles with a low cost of production.