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Italian bike maker Benelli to revive its brand in India

T E Narasimhan/Chennai 15 Mar 19 | 03:15 PM

File photo of Benelli TRK502 and Benelli TRK502X

Century-old Italian bike maker Benelli has chalked out strategies to revive its brand in India. The company is looking to launch  250-800cc bikes and made-in India scooters. 

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Availability of products and spare parts in the market were a challenge for the Italian bike maker, which has now roped in Adishwar Auto Ride India as a partner to rebuild its brand.

After inaugurating a new showroom in Chennai, Benelli India's Managing Director Vikas Jhabakh told Business Standard that the Benelli business had come to a halt in the middle with few dealers opting to move out of the business. "You can't really blame anyone there. But we are lucky we have 20 running operational dealerships right now and this will be doubled by end of December 2019," he said. The focus for the last few months has been on opening showrooms, which will also take care of services and spare parts.

Banelli is now gearing up with new launches to create excitement amidst riders. Currently, the company has five offerings in the 300cc, 500cc and 600cc segments and is planning to strengthen it with five new products this year, including Leoncino 500, Imperiale 400 and 502 C motorcycles, among others.

India’s 250-500cc motorcycle segment is expected to grow more than 25% annually through 2021. The segment in India grew to 8.33 lakh units at the end of 2017-18, accounting for 6.6 per cent of the overall motorcycle market. Royal Enfield holds nearly 95 per cent of the share in this segment.

"Benelli wants to launch Imperiale starting from India as the product is designed for the domestic market as well as for exports," said Jhabakh.

"We will not be able to replace the Royal Enfield and Jawa. We will create our own space and our own story, which will talk about a 100-year old legacy instead of copying RE and JAWA stories," said Jhabakh.

The company may also launch vehicles in the commuter segment, scooters, electric vehicles among others. This would be backed by a production facility in India which will be set up as a joint venture betweenBenelli along with its India partner. 

"While it will be difficult to put any numbers now, on an average each production line would cost around $1 million, excluding land", said Jhabakh. He is hoping that the facility will be ready in two years.

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