Chinese-owned Italian bike maker Benelli will continue its Indian operations in a new partnership with Hyderabad-based Adishwar Auto Ride India, a subsidiary of Mahavir Group, the company has announced in a statement. Benelli has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the Telangana government to set up a manufacturing facility near Hyderabad where its indian partner is headquartered. Mahavir Group will now be looking after the Italian brand's motorcycle sales and service, as well as expansion operations in the future. The partnership will be extended in three phases, of which the first phase will see the company set up its plant spread over three acres and will be operational by October 2018. The second phase, meanwhile, will see the plant expanded to over 20 acres.
George Wang, Director – Benelli said, “Our partnership with the Telangana Government and Adishwar Auto Ride India reassures our long-term goal and manufacturing of make in India super bikes. India has been the largest producers of two-wheeler in the world and we have witnessed a growing demand across categories including super bike. Over the years, Benelli has gained a leadership position in the Indian super bike segment with loyal customer base and the introduction of various products from time to time as per the market demand. Currently, we have 21 per cent market share in the super bike segment in India and our aim is to surpass 30 per cent by 2021. We have also established robust after sales service in India to build a relationship of mutual trust and knowledge with our customers.”
Yashwant Jhabakh, Chairman – Mahavir Group said, “It is indeed a significant moment for us as we spearhead to the next level in the automobile industry, from being a prominent dealer for multiple brands to managing operations of a global brand like Benelli in India. We have eminent skills, resources and unmatched experience that will boost Benelli's product strength across the country. With this partnership, we aim to build significant market share for Benelli in the super bike segment in the years to come.”
The new facility from Mahavir Group will be bringing the Benelli bikes via the Completely Knocked Down (CKD) route, importing the bikes from Italy and South East Asia regions. The company says it commands a market share of 21 per cent in the premium motorcycle segment and aims to take it to 30 per cent in the future by 2021.
Benelli was one of the faster growing premium bike makers in India when it first arrived in 2014, in partnership with DSK Motowheels. However, the latter recently ran into financial issues which prompted Benelli to severe ties and look for a partnership elsewhere. Similarly, Korea's Hyosung that also partnered with DSK in India, has now formed-up with Kinetic and is expected to operate via the company's Motoroyale outlets.
The immediate take away from the announcement is that customers as well as the 18-odd dealers need not worry about Benelli's future in India. The company is clear that it wants to continue operations in the country and we should hear about the brand's new launches soon.
Speaking of which, Benelli is expected to continue from where DSK stepped out. The first products coming to India will be the Leoncino scrambler and TRK 502 adventure motorcycle. The Benelli Imperiale 400 that is a Royal Enfield Classic rival is also slated to arrive in India in the future. Meanwhile, products including the TNT 402S and 752S that debuted at EICMA last year could also make it here in the future. That said, the launch timeline is expected to stretch well into next year for most new offerings. The middleweight segment promises immense growth in India and that will be Benelli's focus in the months to come.