The Telegraph
Monday , April 29 , 2013
Since 1st March, 1999
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Action hots up in high-end bike market

New Delhi, April 28: Bike makers are revving up to launch a slew of models with powerful engines and hefty price tags ranging from Rs 1.5 lakh to Rs 6 lakh.

According to data by the Society of Indian Automobile Manufacturers (Siam), bike sales in the 250-500cc category have jumped 35 per cent to 1,20,694 units in 2012-13 despite the economic slowdown and an increase in fuel costs.

Bikes in the mass segment of below 200cc, however, showed stagnant or marginal growth.

The competition is set to intensify in the 250-500cc category as players such as Royal Enfield and Hero MotoCorp are planning launches to grab a bigger share of the market.

Austrian dirt and street bike maker KTM is set to launch its Duke 390 in India with partner Bajaj Auto.

The Duke 390 — likely to be priced Rs 2 lakh onwards — is expected to be launched in the last week of May. The chassis was unveiled at the 2012 EICMA show held in Milan.

Bajaj will launch its next edition of the Pulsar — the 375 — later this year. Both KTM and Bajaj will cater to the entry-level sports bike segment.

Royal Enfield will soon come up with its much-awaited Continental GT Café Racer with a four-stroke, single-cylinder, 535cc fuel injected engine and a power output of 36bhp. The company has reportedly claimed the Café Racer is 21kg lighter than its other 500cc motorcycle.

Though the launch date and the price of Café Racer is under wraps, analysts estimate it will be priced at around Rs 2.5 lakh to Rs 3 lakh. The company recently launched its Bullet 500 for Rs 1.53 lakh.

Meanwhile, Hero MotoCorp plans to enter the segment next year. The company is developing a 250cc motorcycle on a completely new platform with the help of their American technology partner Erik Buell Racing (EBR). The initial development is being done at the EBR centre in the US.

Hero will locally manufacture the bike to bring down costs. It will price it competitively to attract both urban and rural customers. Hero might launch the bike during the 2014 Auto Expo and start production later that year. This model is likely to be exported to other countries as well.

Chennai-based two-wheeler major TVS Motor Co Ltd and BMW Motorrad recently announced it would jointly develop bikes which are expected to hit the market in 2015. The TVS manufacturing facilities will produce two distinct models in the below 500cc category — one each for TVS and BMW. These will be sold through their independent networks. TVS is planning to invest about 20 million euros in the project

DSK Motowheels Pvt Ltd is also planning to invest Rs 350 crore to set up a plant in Maharashtra to assemble and manufacture Korean bikes Hyosung.

The company plans to set up shop in more smaller towns such as Bhopal, Baroda, Mysore and Dehradun in the next few months.

At present, five Hyosung models starting from 250cc and priced between Rs 2.8 lakh and Rs 5.89 lakh, are available in the country.