Italian motorcycle maker Benelli, owned by China's QianJiang group, is planning to roll out as many as 12 bikes in the country by next year as it seeks to tap the fast-growing 300-cc and above segment. The first bike will be launched in October this year. "We plan to come out with a total of 12 models from now till next year. This year we have two new models - Benelli TRK 50O and the Benelli Leoncino 500 - which have a total of four versions on road," said Dante Bustos, senior director marketing and communication for Americas, Asia and Africa regions, Benelli.
For the next year, the company plans to bring another two more versions with different engines, he said, adding, "We are also planning to bring in the new model of Imperiale 400 and 530 to India." The firm has recently signed an initial pact with Telangana government and Adishwar Auto Ride International (AARI), a subsidiary of Mahavir Group, for setting a local manufacturing facility. The facility, with an initial capacity of 7,000 bikes per year, will be located near Hyderabad where the complete knock-down (CKD) units would be assembled.
However, the capacity can be increased depending on the demand. The partnership entitles Adishwar to assemble, manufacture bikes and import exclusive range of the bikes from Italy and Southeast Asian regions. Benelli had earlier also partnered with Pune-based DSK Motowheels of DSK group for marketing its bikes in the country with engine capacities in 250cc to 1,200cc range which was discontinued after an alleged fraud by the group. When asked about the investment on product and network development, Bustos did not disclose the investment, saying, "It is too early to talk about."
Meanwhile, Bustos also said that the company will set up a research and development facility in the country, which will initially cater to the local market needs, but may be used for global product development as well going forward. "We consider India as a hub for innovation and software development in the world and we want to use this resource as part of our new team to integrate new digital solutions to connect motorcycles, users and factories with the dealers, in a totally different way," he said.
Benelli Adiswar Auto Ride India's managing director, Vikas Jhabakh, said that the firm was aiming to nearly double the volumes and grab a 30 per cent market share in the first year of its operations. "We sold a total of 5,300 bikes between 2015 and 2017 or on an average 1,700 units per year, with an accumulated market share of 21 per cent. Now we are expecting to sell around 3,000 units in the first year of operations and take the market share to 30 per cent," he said.
This would be achieved through a combination of increased footprints across the country, the new product portfolio, expanded network and renewed focus on marketing, he added. "We currently have 18 dealerships and plan to have 20 more touch points by 2019, and will be adding another 20 by the end of 2020. So by the end of 2020, we hope to have 55-60 touch points across the country," said Jhabakh. Established in 1911, Benelli is one of the oldest Italian motorcycle manufacturers in the world and has a presence in over 60 countries.