Yamaha Gets Serious About India with $500 Motorcycle

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I wax on about the importance of the Indian market with far too much regularity to regurgitate it yet another time, but its suffices to say that like Ron Burgundy, India is a pretty big deal. With two of the three largest motorcycle manufacturers in the world coming from India, and the country continuing to account for a massive amount of the world’s two-wheeler consumption (India is the second largest consumer of motorcycles in the world, by volume), it should come with little surprise then that Japanese motorcycle manufacturer Yamaha wants a bigger piece of the pie.

Yamaha currently accounts for roughly 500,000 of the 10+ million units sold per year in India (read: less than 5% of the total Indian motorcycle market), and the Japanese company is already offering several cheap motorcycle options in India. However, hoping to increase that figure to 600,000 next year, and to continue future growth in the market down the line, the tuning-fork brand has let it slip that a $500 motorcycle is in the works. Game on Honda.

The new $500 model is a part of Yamaha’s overall strategy to gain a larger foothold in the Indian market, as the Japanese company hopes to increase its marketshare to 10% of the Indian motorcycle market by the year 2016. With roughly 70% of all motorcycle sales in India occurring in the 100cc-125cc range, Yamaha is feeling the pressure to bring more entry-level machines to its Indian offering. For instance, rival and Indian-market sales dominator Hero MotoCorp offers six entry-level models to Indian riders.

With the Indian motorcycle market growing 12% in the last fiscal year through March 2012, and nearly 1 in 25 citizens a motorcycle rider, the Indian market is the happy hunting ground for motorcycle manufacturers who are watching their American and European sales continue to dwindle. The only question that remains is why other large motorcycle OEMs aren’t bringing more smaller-displacement offerings to India.

Source: Wall Street Journal