In a bid to enter Asian markets and expand its foothold

India celebrated its 72nd Independence Day yesterday and is in the highest rankings in terms of growing economy. It looks like our motorcycle industry is also heading to the subcontinent in the jive to make more money. Why wouldn’t they? India became the biggest market for two-wheelers in the world, and it saw multiple international manufacturers setting up manufacturing or assembly units here.

The most recent speculation coming to the surface is the Italian Red making contact with Hero Motocorp trying to figure out how to make a 300cc baby. Although not official, these rumors don’t seem to slip away, and we strongly believe these to be true since all major manufacturers these days are looking at new ways to expand their market reach by introducing smaller displacement models to newer Asian countries.

Ducati asking Hero's hand for a 300cc manufacturing partner ?
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The most recent manufacturer to enter the smaller displacement segment just to enter these countries is Harley Davidson. Harnessing such potential, Harley Davidson will be fueling its growth in developing markets like India and China through strategic alliance and will be sharing its global growth roadmap through 2022. The firm is currently planning a 250cc to 500cc motorcycle to be manufactured in India or their new Thailand plant.

Ducati is also gunning for a similar strategic alliance to expand its foothold on the world market, and Hero Motocorp might just be the answer to it. As a matter of fact, Ducati has already given the responsibility to make their transmission gears to Hero MotoCorp, courtesy to its experienced manufacturing and quality control.

2018 Ducati Monster 1200 25° Anniversario Exterior
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Ducati Monster 1200 25° Anniversario
Gets new livery, solid machined parts, aluminum and carbon-fiber

Taking this alliance to the next step, Ducati will look at channelizing Hero’s vast manufacturing experience to produce sub 500cc motorcycles for the world market. While R&D of their products will happen in Europe, the manufacturing will take place in the Indian subcontinent itself. This will ensure accessibility to high-quality products at a competitive price to its existing and new customers alike.

The Monster range could be the first one to receive this highly speculated 300cc mill to cater Asian markets. Of course, the pricing will be imminently low and so will be the margins. But with more a country of 1.3 billion people, the increase in demand for premium motorcycles has been on the rise constantly for over a decade and shows no signs of coming down.

2015 Ducati Superbike Panigale R High Resolution Exterior
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Andrea Buzzoni, Global sales & marketing Director for Ducati told the scribe “These thoughts could become a reality in the medium to long-term. In India, you have robust two-wheeler players, who have competence regarding engineering, production capacity”. On talks about initiating strategies with the Indian manufacturers, he commented: “Once we take this decision, why not… But for sure, if we decide for the small-cc motorcycle segment, I think we will have to evaluate on a very competent Indian manufacturer.”

Other international brands making headways into Indian markets

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.

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 rest of 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.

Source: Economic Times

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