Benelli India will launch 2-3 New Models by The end of The Fiscal Year: VIKAS JHABAH

In an exclusive interview with HT Auto, Vikas Jhabakh, MD of Benelli India, discusses the company’s future expansion plans and current portfolio.

Benelli India has been growing its business at an impressive rate for a premium motorcycle brand in the country. This fiscal year, the company has already introduced a few products, including the new TRK 502 range and the new 502C, and it now claims that several more products are on the way.

In an exclusive interview with HT Auto, Vikas Jhabakh, MD of Benelli India, discusses the company’s future expansion plans and current portfolio.

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How has the brand’s journey in the country gone so far? What impact did the collaboration with Mahavir Group’s AARI have on the overall business?

In early 2019, the brand was relaunched as Adishwar Auto Ride India (AARI). Benelli has made a number of customer-centric changes as part of AARI, including lower service costs, longer warranty periods, service DIY sessions, and improved workshop touchpoints across India. Benelli launched the Imperiale 400, our retro-classic offering, toward the end of 2019, and this has helped the brand become more accessible to a wider consumer base.

We’ve also built a strong riding community for Benelli in India over the last three years, organising customer rides and training programmes all over the country. Our dealership network has grown to 47 locations, covering 42 cities. In the coming year, we’ll be launching more motorcycles and dealerships in India.

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How is the demand for superbikes/premium bikes in the country, given that the majority of your bikes are in the 300-500cc range?

The 125cc to 150cc motorcycle market in India is extremely concentrated. Improvements in India’s overall macroeconomic conditions (GDP, per capita income, etc.) combined with easy access to global cultures (via social media, television, etc.) have redefined the country’s standard of living. As a result, there is a growing demand for super/premium bikes in India, and we are seeing a lot of upgrades from 125/150cc bikes to higher cc bikes.

We believe that this trend will continue in the coming years. The premium motorcycle market, which ranges from 2.5 lakh to 10-12 lakh and sells around 30,000 units per year, is made up of vehicles priced between 2.5 lakh and 10-12 lakh. This market is expected to grow at a rate of 20% to 25% per year.

How many variants are currently available in showrooms across India? What is the range of prices?

The Imperiale 400 (Retro-Classic), Leoncino 500 (Neo-Retro Scrambler), TRK 502 (Adventure Touring), TRK 502X (Off-Road Adventure), and the newly launched 502c are among the five motorcycles in our product line-up (Urban Cruiser).
Our products are priced between Rs. 2 lakh and Rs. 5 lakh.

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Can you tell us about the upcoming new variants? When do you think the new bikes will be available in the country?

We are constantly looking for new ways to bring the right products to the Indian market. We’re currently collaborating closely with our corporate headquarters and plan to introduce 2-3 new models to the market by the end of the fiscal year.

Tell us about your nationwide dealer network. Do you intend to expand the number of dealers?

At the moment, we have 47 dealerships in 42 cities. Yes, by the end of this fiscal year, we intend to open a few more. It is always our goal to get closer to our customers, and we are always looking into the possibility of opening stores in cities where we do not currently have a presence.

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What is the plant’s current assembling capacity in Telangana?

We recently increased our Telangana plant’s assembly capacity to 40,000 units per year from 7,000 units per year by adding new assembly lines to prepare for future demand.

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