Friday, June 22, 2007

Yamaha plans to launch a 150cc bike by mid-2008

In yet another bid to capture marketshare in India’s two-wheeler market, Japanese bikemaker Yamaha Motorcycles India Ltd plans to launch a 150cc motorcycle by mid-2008 after showcasing in the next Auto Expo to be held in Delhi in January next year. The proposed bike would use the four-valve engine of the company’s Viper range and resemble the Yamaha R1.

The new bike would offer about 14 bhp, industry sources said, and would take Bajaj Auto’s flagship Pulsar and Hero Honda’s CBZ X-treme and Karizma head-on. Yamaha is likely to price the upcoming bike around Rs 80,000-90,000 to give it a distinct identity.

“We are still giving final touches to the specifications such as styling and engine and hence feel that it would be premature to comment on the same at this point of time,” said a Yamaha India official.

“In accordance with Yamaha’s image and expectations of customers, the company is planning to launch the new products for niche markets,” he added. Yamaha is all set to launch two superbikes — YZF-R1 (1000 cc and MT-01 (1670 cc) this calendar year.

Yamaha India has constantly been losing sales on a monthly basis, registering a decline of 59.4% in May this year. During May, the company sold 13,649 bikes. During April-May, the company’s total sales plunged by 55.77% to 26,962 units.

“To sell such a premium product Yamaha would have to revamp its whole distribution network so that the customers may find the showrooms inviting enough and can trust the dealer for service and maintenance of such a high-value product,” said Pradeep Saxena, senior vice-president, TNS Automotive.

In a dealer satisfaction survey carried by TNS in the end-2006, Yamaha ranked second from the bottom, next to Kinetic. The performance segment comprising Hero Honda Karizma, Bajaj Avenger and the Pulsar 200 is about 1 lakh units per annum.

Source:- Economictimes.Indiatimess