Benelli India to launch 2-3 new models by this fiscal: Vikas Jhabakh
Benelli India has been upscaling its business in the country at an impressive pace for a premium motorcycle brand. The company has already introduced a few products this year including the new TRK 502 range and the new 502C, now it says that several more products are in the lineup for this fiscal. Vikas Jhabakh, MD of Benelli India, opens up to HT Auto in an exclusive interview on the company's future expansion plans and current portfolio.
How has been the journey so far for the brand in the country? How the tie-up with Mahavir Group's AARI impacted the overall business?
The brand restarted operations under Adishwar Auto Ride India (AARI) in early 2019. Benelli under AARI has made many customer-centric changes such as reduction in service costs, extension of the warranty period, service DIY sessions, and an improvement in workshop touchpoints across India. Toward the end of 2019, Benelli had launched the Imperiale 400, our retro-classic offering, and this has helped the brand become more accessible to a wider consumer base.
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Over the last 3 years, we have also established a strong riding community for Benelli in India and have organised customer rides and training programs across India. We have now increased our dealership network to 47 locations covering 42 cities. We’ll be launching more motorcycles and dealerships in India in the coming year.
As most of your bikes come under the 300-500 cc category, how is the demand for superbikes/premium bikes in the country?
The Indian bike market is highly concentrated between the 125cc to 150cc categories. Improvement in the overall macro-economic conditions of India (GDP, per capita income, etc) in combination with easy access to global cultures (via social media, tv, etc) has redefined the standard of living for the people of India. This in turn is creating a demand for super/premium bikes in India and we are witnessing a lot of upgrades from the 125/150cc bike category to higher cc purchases.
We believe this trend is expected to continue over the next few years. The market between ₹2.5 lakh and ₹10-12 lakh constitutes the premium motorcycle market, which stands at around 30,000 units annually. This market is expected to grow at 20-25% annually.
Currently, how many variants are available at the showrooms across India? What is the price range?
We have 5 motorcycles in our product line-up that serves different segments including, Imperiale 400 (Retro-Classic), Leoncino 500 (Neo-Retro Scrambler), TRK 502 (Adventure Touring), TRK 502X (Off-Road Adventure), and the recently launched 502c (Urban Cruiser).
Our offerings fall under the ₹2 lakh- ₹5 lakh bracket.
Can you reveal the new variants coming up? When are you planning to launch the new bikes in the country?
We are always exploring the opportunity to bring the right products to the Indian market. We are currently working very closely with our headquarters and are looking to launch 2-3 new models in the market by end of this financial year.
Tell us about the dealer network across the country. Are you planning to increase the number of dealers?
We currently have 47 dealerships across 42 cities. Yes, we are planning to open a few more by the end of this financial year. It is always our mission to get closer to our customers and we are constantly evaluating opportunities of opening outlets in cities where we have no presence.
What is the current assembling capacity of the Telangana-based plant?
We recently expanded the assembly capacity at our plant in Telangana to 40,000 units per annum from 7,000 units per annum earlier by setting up new assembly lines to gear up for the future demand.