Benelli, Ducati, MV Agusta, Aprilia, Moto Guzzi – what is common between these five brands? Well, all of them entered the Indian 2-wheeler market not so long ago and all of them are Italian. Yes, there is something about Italian bikes and somehow none of them want to stay away from our country. Among these brands, it’s only Benelli which has taken the pain of setting up local assembly of its motorcycles and that’s the reason why sales of the TNT 600i have out-shined its rivals.
Benelli managed to sell 3000 units in its first year which is outstanding for a brand which not many were familiar with in India. However, things have slowed down at Benelli camp, just like they did at Hyosung but with new partners managing Benelli’s India operations, we expect a strong comeback. Smaller motorcycles is the way forward if volumes is what you are seeking and it seems like Benelli is headed in that very direction with plenty of middle-weight motorcycles planned for launch in India later this decade.
Italian motorcycles are all about form over function but aren’t bikes supposed to be this way?
Then there is Aprilia which has gone one step ahead and done local manufacturing of its products in India, but it’s a scooter and not a performance bike with multiple cylinders. Still, it’s the best scooter for an enthusiast who wants to have fun while grocery shopping. But we expect more from Aprilia, more so since it has the fantastic RS 125, we want a quarter-litre mini-RSV4 which could be the only real competition to KTM, after the BMW G 310 R of course.
Unfortunately though, all our dreams of owning a pocket-rocket Aprilia bike have been put on hold as the Auto Expo debutants, the RS 150 and Tuono 150 are still stuck in market research and feasibility studies, sigh! Aprilia’s sister concern Moto Guzzi isn’t too active in India, offering cruiser bikes with limited appeal due to the lack of brand awareness. Meanwhile, MV Agusta has huge popularity, after all, everyone knows they have pioneered motorcycle art with their designs.
But the high prices and limited dealer reach puts the F4 maker out of contention, more so because Ducati is offering so many motorcycles in India, that there is something from Bologna for almost every rider out there, starting with the Scrambler. Heck, Ducati is going the full hog and also doing events in India, right from multiple day adventures to track days, surely a leaf out of KTM’s orange books. Now only if the Italians take ‘Make in India’ seriously..