Scooters are all the rage in the commuter segment these days. Yamaha India too is busy grabbing its share of pie in that space with quite a few products. However, their new strategy is to move away from the entry-level commuter segment and place those tuning forks towards the premium end of things. Yes, the R3 exists, but it isn’t locally made and as a result, is priced too high. According to the newly appointed chairman of Yamaha India, Mr Motofumi Shitara, the japanese brand is carving out a new plan to re-establish itself in the highly competitive, but lucrative , Indian two-wheeler space.
In an interview, he mentioned that Yamaha India will let their scooters play the mass market game and their motorcycles from now on, will offer a more premium, performance oriented experience. The sub 150cc bikes they make will be shipped out to their export markets in Latin America and Africa. He said, “Yamaha needs to have a bigger foothold in the Indian market in the coming 5-7 years, reaching about 10% market share and volume of 2.5-3 million units by 2025. The company is studying motorbikes of above 300 cc and premium scooters with engine displacement of 125-150 cc.”
With an aim to bring excitement back in the Yamaha India portfolio, the company will also invest INR 100 crore over the next three years to fortify its local R&D centre. For fans of the Yamaha RX 100, he said that in the current scenario, a motorcycle like that would not make much sense, however, he did mention that he would like to see a new bike in their upcoming portfolio which captures the same essence.
Realising the change in attitude towards motorcycling, as the nation’s spending capacity has now increased, he said, “With growth in India’s middle-class and the number of youngsters, people will move to premium bikes. We expect people to upgrade in the future and we will have a suitable portfolio to meet their needs. Majority of young customers like to have differentiated products and they are bored with the majority of the mass market models.”
Although Yamaha has bikes like the R1 in its portfolio for India, it hasn’t been marketed very aggressively. A strange strategy, because a product like the Yamaha R1 has great brand recall in India. Its name is as popular as the Suzuki Hayabusa, which without a doubt is the most popular superbike name in the country.