Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Yamaha Motor plans to launch scooters

Yamaha Motor India (YMI), a fully-owned subsidiary of the $12-billion Japanese auto major Yamaha Motor Company, plans to foray into the fast growing automatic scooter segment.

Yamaha, which has several scooter models, ranging from 110 cc to 400 cc, is evaluating the right segment to foray into the Indian market. YMI managing director and CEO Tomotaka Ishikawa told ET, “We will enter the scooter market but are yet to finalise the segment and the products. Once we introduce our new range of bikes in early 2008, we will concentrate on the right kind of scooter for the Indian market. We plan to hit the premium segment first and target customers who prefer to go for style and power rather than use scooters for their commuting needs.”

The company is likely to introduce its automatic range of scooters with dual disc brakes and twin-shock chassis with high-powered liquid cooled engines in the premium segment. It may also hit the entry-level segment with its fuel-injected 125 cc four-stroke engine and compact-sized urban scooters. YMI has already commissioned a market survey to determine different volume generating scooter segments in India.

“We will have India-specific products, though our high-powered range in Europe and sub-150 cc Asian models could also be considered. We will bring new and better features in our scooters with comfortable suspension which will meet high safety standards,” Mr Ishikawa said.

Yamaha Majesty 400 Motoscooter

As part of its Rs 1,000-crore restructuring plan, YMI will increase its portfolio from the current three bikes it sells in the domestic market. While its high powered 150 cc to 250 cc scooters will hit the urban markets, the 100 cc to 125 cc scooters will target smaller cities and towns.

With a slew of launches in different segments, Yamaha is aiming to dent the scooter market which has remained positive despite the slump in two wheeler sales. While motorcycle sales, which forms 85% of the market, has fallen by 15%, scooters sales grew by 20% to 5.30 lakh units in the first half of this fiscal.

YMI will compete with Japanese arch-rival Honda Motorcycle & Scooter, which commands a 50% marketshare while TVS Motors and Hero Honda also sell a significant number. Recently Suzuki Motorcycles India and Kinetic Motor Company have also joined the fray by launching new scooters in the 125 cc segment while the Ludhania-based Hero Cycles has also introduced a wide range of electric scooters in technical collaboration of Ultra Motors of UK.

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