Suzuki Motorcycle India is planning to move on to the premium side of the fence and is mulling seriously about manufacturing exciting products locally. If these plans bear fruit, the legendary Suzuki GSX R400 could make a comeback after nearly two decades, since production ceased in May 1999. In an interview, Satoshi Uchida, MD, Suzuki Motorcycle India told ET that Suzuki is considering if it can make smaller versions of its famous big bike GSX in a 250 cc or 400 cc avatar and use India as a global base for its export.
Not just that, Suzuki Motorcycles India could also bring in an premium entry-level cruiser motorcycle and a bigger 150 cc scooter. The bike maker wishes to replicate the success story of its four wheeler division in India by focusing on the premium motorcycles and scooters segment. Suzuki Motorcycle India also wishes to go out all guns blazing and has charted out an ambitious plan to sell one million vehicles per annum by 2020 and take the Suzuki brand’s cumulative business in India to over 3 million.
They hope to achieve this target by increasing the volumes in India by more than two times over the next three years. Fueling this drive is an investment of INR 1,000 Crore which the company has allocated and set aside towards capacity expansion and new product development.
Mr Uchida, MD, Suzuki Motorcycle India told ET that Suzuki is shifting focus from the mass market (which it had targeted in the four-wheeler category). He said, “Since we are a late entrant, we need to have a different approach. Our immediate focus is on the fast-growing scooter space and premium motorcycles. Our aim is to grab 10% share in the segments that we operate. Once we reach scale, then we may look at mass market.”
Highlighting the current volatility in the automobile space, he added that the commuter 100-110 cc motorcycle segment share has come down from 66% to 51% over the past 3-4 years and with new regulations coming in, it will be difficult for Suzuki to retain its competitive edge in the mass market with small volumes. This has caused the bike maker to reboot its India strategy, where, Suzuki Motorcycle will now focus on strengthening its fundamentals, reworking on a new product portfolio which is heavily premium focused –– be it in motorcycles or scooters –– and revamping the 200+ dealer network with a fresh, new, premium interface which will greet customers by this year-end.
Made in India Suzuki GSX R400 Expected Specifications
The Suzuki GSX R400 was initially manufactured from 1984, until 1999, when the last motorcycle rolled off the production floor. What made it unique was its water-cooled, 398 cc inline-4, DOHC, 16 valve motor which spat out 53 hp @ 12,000 rpm and 3.8 kgm @ 9,500 rpm. If Suzuki goes ahead with the plan to manufacture the GSX R400 in India, expecting the new motorcycle to come powered by something just as fruity would be expecting a little too much. However, our guess is that the bike could be propelled by a twin-cylinder setup and power output could hover in the 50 – 60 bhp area. We’d be glad if this prediction comes out wrong though.
Made in India Suzuki GSX R400 Expected Price
If Suzuki goes ahead with its plan to introduce the GSX 250R too, expect the GSX R400 to be priced near the INR 3.5 lakh mark. However, since the motorcycle will be manufactured in India and exported elsewhere, the bike will definitely benefit from localisation.
Made in India Suzuki GSX R400 Expected Features
Expect the Made in India bike to come fitted with modern additions like ABS, high-quality rubber, an electronic instrument cluster, and maybe selectable power modes too. Upside down forks, clip on handlebars and bodywork made to cheat the wind could come as standard.
Made in India Suzuki GSX R400 Expected Launch Date
Since this will be an all-new product developed from scratch, do not start marking your wall just yet. If Suzuki goes ahead with the plan to manufacture this particular motorcycle in India, any concrete news about the bike will only start arriving sometime in 2019 or towards the end of 2018.