Wednesday, October 4, 2023

Benelli India plans product portfolio expansion in 2021


Benelli India plans to launch a new motorcycle every month or two from January 2021

Benelli India, the Chinese Italian premium high-performance motorcycle manufacturer fully-owned by Qjian Jiang Group aims to expand its product portfolio after postponing launches and upgrades of motorcycles in 2020. As the company reveals, from January 2021 onwards, it will start launching BS-VI complying new and upgraded motorcycles, every month or two.

As Vikas Jhabakh, MD, Benelli India, said in an interview, “We are bullish on 2021 as we are planning to reintroduce and expand our range of products.” Interestingly, the company is also mulling the plan to introduce electric model as well. “We are open to introducing electric range in India, but at present, we are very closely monitoring the policies and will bring it when we see enough scalability of the market,” said Jhabakh.

Upcoming Benelli India launches:

  • Benelli TRK 502 – 500cc adventure tourer
  • Benelli TRK 502X – 500cc off-roader
  • Benelli Leoncino 500 – 500cc street naked scrambler
  • Benelli 302S – 300cc tourer
  • Benelli 302R – 300cc supersport
  • Benelli Leoncino 250 – 250cc street naked
  • Benelli TNT 600i – 600cc street naked

Benelli India halted its product launch schedule this year due to the Covid-19 pandemic that led to the nationwide lockdown and consumption slump in the auto market.

The company planned to launch a host of new and updated motorcycles. However, the sudden breakout of the Coronavirus pandemic and announcement of nationwide of lockdown resulted in postponing that. Now, with the economic activities resumed and gradual revival in demand in the auto market, the company is aiming to expect a revival in its own activity in Q1 of 2021.

Jhabakh said Benelli India had a fairly packed product launch calendar. But when the country went into lockdown, it decided to postpone these launches because the company started witnessing inefficiencies coming into the system.

Benelli India Imperiale 400

As he also added, the premium bikemaker aims to revamp its entire portfolio with BS-VI models ranging between 250cc and 500cc. Currently, only one of its products (Imperiale 400) complies with the BS-VI emission norms that were implemented across the country from 1st April 2020.

Meanwhile, Benelli has revealed the production iterations of its Leoncino 800 and Leoncino 800 Trail motorcycles that were first showcased at the EICMA 2019. Benelli has not revealed pricing for these 754cc, liquid-cooled, parallel-twin engine powered motorcycles, but a launch in the near future is certain. However, there is no indication that these two models will make their way to India anytime soon.

Post-starting its operation in January 2019, Benelli India is claimed to have seen strong demand across the country. Launch of the Imperiale 400 retro-themed motorcycle helped the company in expanding sales numbers and network. This model competes with rivals like Royal Enfield Classic 350, Jawa Forty-Two and recently introduced Honda H’ness CB350.

Benelli India Imperiale 400

The company sees the post-lockdown economic activity across India encouraging than it thought. With the growing demand for personal mobility, Benelli India expects to further growth in the two-wheeler segment in the coming months. Anticipating the growth, the motorcycle manufacturer company is enhancing its retail network in an attempt to spread its footprint across the country. In the last two weeks, it has opened two new 3S showrooms in Vapi of Gujarat and Lucknow in Uttar Pradesh, taking the outlet count for Benelli India to 35 across the country.

The Indian two-wheeler market has been witnessing a surge in demand for premium models for the last couple of years. The arrival of the brands like Benelli, Triumph, KTM, Ducati etc has helped in boosting the trend. However, with the Covid-19 pandemic fallout, the trend has hit a bump despite the surge in personal mobility trend in the post-lockdown phase. The commuter segment has been witnessing rising sales, while the pace has been slowed down in the premium segment.

However, Benelli India doesn’t see the Covid-19 impact on premiumisation of the domestic two-wheeler industry as severe. Countering the view, Jhabakh said, “More than daily commuting reasons, people buying premium bikes are opting for lifestyle and ride culture. And this particular customer base has bounced back quite strongly post-lockdown that helped us in achieving more volumes compared to last year.”

Benelli India showroom

Benelli India’s retail sales surged 103.06% YoY to 199 units in October 2020, according to the data released by Federation of Automobile Dealers Associations (FADA), thanks to the Imperiale 400 that is priced between Rs 1.99 lakh and Rs 2.11 lakh (ex-showroom). In the year-ago month, Benelli India sold 98 units in the domestic market.

Among other premium motorcycles brands, Harley Davidson that announced its exit from India in September and later joined hands with Hero MotoCorp, sold 120 units in October 2020, as compared to 178 units sold in the same month a year ago. Kawasaki’s retail sales in October 2020 was 112 units, as compared to 281 units in October 2019.

Triumph Motorcycles that aims 20% growth in India in this financial year, sold 72 units last month, as compared 77 units retailed in the same month a year ago. Ducati sold 9 units only last month, while it retailed 18 units in the same month in 2019. BMW Motorrad, the two-wheeler wing of the German automobile giant has sold 104 units in October 2020, as compared to 218 units sold in the same month a year ago.

Also Read: Harley-Davidson’s India ride with Hero on seat: Tough test ahead

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