Honda Motorcyle & Scooter India, which holds almost half the scooter market in India, faces a big challenge with two of the world’s largest scooter makers readying a foray into the country.
Next year India Yamaha Motor and Piaggio will both launch their brands here. While Piaggio is bringing the world-famous ‘Vespa’, Yamaha is believed to be eyeing the entry-level scooter market, where currently HMSI is the undisputed leader.
Interestingly, Bajaj Auto recently vacated the scooter market, saying it did not generate enough volumes for the company whereas Hero MotoCorp—a late entrant—has seen healthy volume growth with its lone scooter brand called ‘Pleasure’.
A Tier I vendor, who supplies critical components to top two-wheeler makers in India, told DNA that Yamaha is working hard on its scooter plans and will be talking about volume targets by the end of the month.
“We have been asked to supply critical components to the Yamaha scooter brand...the first scooter should be out in the market next year and as far as I can see it will have a significant indigenisation level,” the vendor said.
A spokesperson for India Yamaha Motor declined to offer any comments. Yamaha would manufacture the scooters at its existing facilities at Surajpur and Faridabad.
As of now, HMSI holds sway over 45% of the scooter market in India, followed by TVS Motor Co and Hero MotoCorp. Other players include Suzuki Motorcycles and Mahindra Two Wheelers.
Meanwhile, Piaggio India’s Ravi Chopra confirmed plans to launch the first scooter under Vespa brand by the first quarter of next year. The company is putting up a 1.5 lakh unit plant for this purpose at Baramati at an investment of 30 million euros.
“The facility would be ready by December; by mid 2013 we will double capacity. First to roll out will be the Vespa scooter, followed by another under the Piaggio brand. We are also considering whether to launch bikes — we already have a wide portfolio of Aprilia bikes globally,” Chopra said.
Piaggio scooters first appeared in India in 1960s, when Bajaj got the licence to manufacture them here.
But the collaboration between Bajaj and Piaggio ended in the 1970s; the next decade saw Piaggio teaming up with LML Motors, but this too broke up by the beginning of this century.
In 2007 Piaggio re-entered India with three-wheelers. Chopra brushed aside the fact that this would virtually be third entry for Vespa in India, saying it was a global brand and needed no introduction to Indians.