The Japanese have woken up and how. First it was Suzuki and then it was Honda, with both 2-wheeler majors announcing entry level commuter motorcycles to boost its market share in the country. Now Yamaha has woken up too and is looking at boosting its volumes in India. Yamaha recently announced its new plant in Tamil Nadu, which will help the company to boost production significantly. Now Yamaha is looking at producing the world’s cheapest motorcycle, which would retail below $500 (Rs. 28,000/-). This new entry-level motorcycle is being developed for the Indian and Africa markets.

“Our product benchmark right now (on cost) is the YBR 110 and Crux, but we would like to develop a bike in the low-cost segment for markets like Africa. The target is to make a bike that will cost $500 (about Rs. 27,500). I think such a bike will have a lot of demand in Africa as well as in India,” Hiroyuki Suzuki, MD and CEO, Yamaha India, said.

This new bike would be the Nano among motorcycles and would be produced at India and exported to other under-developed countries. Currently the cheapest Yamaha motorcycle in India is the Crux 110cc which is priced at Rs. 38,365, while the cheapest motorcycle in India is the Hero CD Dawn, priced at Rs. 36,300/-. In an attempt to undercut the Hero Splendor, Bajaj Platina and TVS Star City, Yamaha is taking a very brave step to go from a maker of premium and performance motorcycles to a one which makes bikes for the masses.

Yamaha will also have to compete with Hero MotoCorp, which too is eying the same segment with a sub Rs.30,000/- motorcycle. Bajaj Auto has always been firm about not focusing on volumes, with the Chakan based automaker’s focus solely relying on profit margins. While Hero MotoCorp does have the ability to support the volumes for a sub Rs. 30,000/- motorcycle, it is yet to be seen how Yamaha will tackle the high volumes and additional stress on its dealership network.

Source – Hindustan Times