Yamaha Motor Co Ltd builds 175,000 bikes a year.
So what’s next for them? The company plans to up the ante on research and development operations in India. At stake is their vision of designing the lowest cost motorcycle in the market and shoring up their volume numbers in the fast-growing Indian domestic market.
“Until this year, basic development of products was being done by Yamaha at our headquarters in Japan. We have an R&D center to make minor changes on models in India. Our R and D team should be independent and capable of developing a new motorcycle in the commuter segment,” said Hiroyuki Suzuki, CEO and Managing Director of India Yamaha Motor.
The new rock-bottom priced model will be manufactured in Chennai, India and exported to markets in Africa and will be sold in India as well.
Yamaha is simply the latest entrant in the rush of foreign companies trying to use the enormous India doorway as a entre into emerging motorcycle markets worldwide. Hyundai of Korea makes cars in India for sale in Eastern Europe and Africa. Honda is also making a low cost motorcycle in India, the $900 110 cc ‘Dream Yuga.’ Ford launched a new car model, the Figo, as a test bed for what the company hopes will be a series of models they can sell worldwide.
But Yamaha wasn’t content to just come up with a cheap model, they plan to develop “the world’s cheapest motorcycle” and plan to price it at an astounding ‘sub-$500.’
The cheapest motorcycle on the Indian market right now is Hero MotoCorp’s CD Dawn.
“Our product benchmark right now is the YBR 110 and Crux. The target is to make a bike that will cost $500. I think such a bike will have a lot of demand in Africa as well as in India,” Suzuki said.
In the Indian market, the entry level segment includes bikes like the Bajaj Platina, Honda CB Twister, Hero MotoCorp CD Dawn/Deluxe and Splendor, TVS Star Sport, the Yamaha Crux and the YBR110.
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