The young man at the helm of DSK Motowheels, Hyosung’s official channel in India seems to be all geared to take the brand to new heights. He is looking at taking a route via customers’ hearts to success. Putting his focus on brand building, improving sales and services, and reducing the prices in the long term is his mantra to make Hyosung a more mainstream brand in India.
In a freewheeling chat with Deepak Dongre, Mr Kulkarni revealed a lot about what to expect from Hyosung in the coming here. Here we have the best excerpts from the interview.
Has there been any change in strategy with Hyosung since you took over after the company’s previous association with Kinetic and Garware?
We do not know what strategies Kinetic had put in place. We believe it was more of an experiment done by them. As regards Garware, they couldn’t understand the market depth and wanted Hyosung as a brand to do everything for them.
To start with DSK’s strategy, it has been our endeavour to strengthen the brand and make it a known name in the Indian premium motorcycling segment.
Also 3S (Sales, Service, Spares) is what we have been emphasizing at DSK Hyosung ensuring that whenever we open up a new dealership, there is always a service facility.
We are now moving into Tier-2 cities like Kolhapur, Lucknow, Agra, Imphal, Guwahati etc.
Given the current pricing of Hyosung motorcycles vis-à-vis the competition, are you planning for localization? What percentage drop in price are you expecting after localization?
Localisation should start around 2015-2016 and we expect the pricing to come down by 30-35%. For bikes with large volumes, we are expecting a further decrease in pricing. But it would all depend on feasibility and we would be localizing the models which have a greater demand in the market. Nonetheless, we would ensure that the cost advantage gained due to localization is passed onto our customers.
Have you shortlisted any vendors?
We are in the process of shortlisting vendors and a have already sent a few locally manufactured samples to Hyosung Korea for verification. 2-3 months down the line we would see a few components of Hyosung motorcycles being made here, but to the extent of 10-15%. Majority of the parts would continue to be imported.
Mr. Shirish Kulkarni with Autocar India ‘Premium Bike of the Year 2013-14’ Award for the Aquila
What is your current dealership count and what are your plans for the next 1 – 5 years?
Our current count stands at 31 dealerships and we plan to take it to 50 outlets by next year. Also we are looking at an annual sales figure of 2500 in the next 5 years.
What’s the difference in cost of spares and services of Hyosung motorcycles compared to its rivals?
We haven’t done a mapping as such. But from whatever we have come to know- the cost of spares and servicing are very much reasonable.
What can we expect from DSK Hyosung at the Auto Expo 2014? What about a new Hyosung 250 slated for unveiling?
The Hyosung GD250N was showcased at EICMA 2013 and right now the bike isn’t available with Hyosung Korea. The GD250N was more of a pilot project than a full-fledged production motorcycle. Unveiling of the GD250N at the Auto Expo 2014 is tentative at the moment and everything depends on Hyosung Korea. But we would be bringing the Hyosung GV250 Aquila to the Auto Expo 2014. The motorcycle is already under homologation and we’re expecting the formalities to be complete by January 2014.
What pricing can we expect for the Hyosung GV250 Aquila?
Around INR 2.70 to 2.90 lacs.
Any other new products in the pipeline?
We are planning for a 125cc commuter motorcycle by 2015 – 2016. Simultaneously we will also be starting off with localization of Hyosung bikes.