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Yamaha looks to revamp India play with new scooters, sports bikes

The Japanese two-wheeler brand is desperate to revamp its presence in India given its consistent lacklustre performance during the past several years

April 23, 2019 / 05:21 PM IST

Yamaha Motor Corporation is rebuilding its India growth story through new product launches and possible alliances, which it hopes will push sales by at least half.

The Japanese two-wheeler brand is desperate to revamp its presence in India given its lacklustre performance during the past several years.

With a share of less than four percent, Yamaha has severely under-performed in India compared to its fellow Japanese giant Honda, which commands a 26 percent market share. This is despite Honda entering India, 16 years after Yamaha.

Yamaha now aims to launch a global scooter platform as well as ‘several new motorcycles in the sports category’. The scooter will be positioned in a higher engine displacement category (possibly 125cc and above) than its current range of 100cc.

The company at present in not present in the 125cc and above segments, which is dominated by Honda and Suzuki.


“India volumes did not rise as per our expectations because the models we have are powered by smaller displacement engines in the scooter segment as compared to competition. We ended up losing market share,” said a senior executive of Yamaha talking about the company’s mid-term management plan.

Yamaha Motor clocked domestic sales of 8.04 lakh units during FY19, a growth of 1.5 percent over last fiscal. This was below the industry’s performance of 4.86 percent growth with sales of 21.18 million units, according to data shared by the Society of Indian Automobile Manufacturers.

In the scooter space, Yamaha saw its sales dip 12 percent year-on-year, whereas the rest of the industry saw 0.27 percent dip in volumes. In the motorcycle space, its volumes grew 16.5 percent even as the rest of the industry grew 7.76 percent.

"We need to understand what our strengths are and how we can use them to win in India. We should know what is expected from the Yamaha brand. We will rebuild the business base and branding in this market. And we will develop the Yamaha network by using land mobility as our strength to develop new areas,” the executive added.

Yamaha exited the 100cc bike segment (budget bike category) several months ago after several years of fruitless drive to establish itself as ‘reliable and high mileage’ brand. The budget category is dominated by Hero MotoCorp followed by Bajaj Auto.

With a renewed pipeline of new launches, Yamaha hopes to clock domestic sales of 1.2 million units and exports of 328,000 units by 2021. In FY19, Yamaha exported 243,205 units.

“We will fully utilise our plant capacity in order to sell 1.2 million units in the domestic market and 1.5 million overall. We will reinforce our competitiveness in the scooter segment by launching a global platform. We aim to create land mobility synergies including alliance opportunities,” the executive said.

India has become the world’s largest motorcycle market, with total demand for new models crossing 21.18 million units in 2018-19. The scooter category, in particular, has shown remarkable growth, and now accounts for roughly one-third of total demand.

“For India, we expect that demand in 2018 will exceed 21 million units, reaching 22.5 million this year. Based on that premise, we plan to increase the number of wholesale units that was less than 800,000 last year to 840,000 this year. As we will introduce several new models in the sports category, we expect the topline to grow more than growth in unit number,” the statement said.
Swaraj Baggonkar
first published: Apr 23, 2019 12:53 pm