Italian motorcycle brand Benelli is considering setting up a R&D facility in India, as well as assemble and manufacture bikes in India, in the brand's second innings in the country. Benelli has tied up with Hyderabad-based Mahavir Group's Adishwar Auto Ride International (AARI) as its new partner in India, after parting ways with Pune's DSK group. The company has chosen Telangana to set up a new assembly and manufacturing facility, where bikes will be assembled with a considerable amount of local-made components to keep costs competitive. The company is also doing a feasibility study to set up a R&D facility in India (the first outside of Italy and China) and also consider full-fledged manufacturing of bikes in India.
"They are very strongly looking at designing and making bikes for the Indian consumer, because they understand that today India is the most important market, and it's a market that can survive by itself. And maybe for certain, 'make in India' models, and even 'make for India' models, they could be manufactured here in India and exported to countries close by. So, they are exploring what percentage of the portfolio should be manufactured in India, what percentage of the portfolio should be localised, and from the findings of this task force is when they will decide what should be the scale of the investment, what needs to be the scale of the project," Vikas Jhabakh, Managing Director, Benelli India told Carandbike in an exclusive interaction.
"We are talking about adventure, we are talking about touring, we are talking about many other ways of motorcycling. So, we believe that from that segment of 150-200 cc motorcycles, the small ones, there's a huge amount of users waiting for affordable 300 and 500 cc motorcycles. And that is where Benelli is one of the leading companies in the world, in that segment, with cost affordable, price affordable performance motorcycles. We are very excited because it's in the right moment Benelli is planning to launch several different motorcycles in the range of 300-500 cc," Dantes Bustos, Chief Marketing Office, Benelli Global told Carandbike.
With the new partnership in place, Benelli is expected to introduce two 500 cc motorcycles by the end of 2018, the Leoncino 500, and the TRK 500. The Leoncino 500 is a scrambler-styled naked bike which will be offered in two variants, while the TRK 500 is the middleweight adventure model from the Italian brand.