TVS Motor Company on Thursday launched its controversial 125cc motorbike Flame, over whose twin spark plug technology it is involved in a patent and defamation battle with Bajaj Auto.
“The Flames is technologically the most advanced motorcycle in the country with a 3-valve engine and we are confident that its sales will be a big factor in reversing dipping sales during the year, TVS Motor CMD Venu Srinivasan told reporters here on Thursday. The non-disc brake version will be priced at Rs. 45,000 ex-Chennai while the disc version will cost Rs 3,000 more.
While the first 200 vehicles would be sold in Chennai this month the all India launch will happen in January 2008 with 20,000 Flames expected to be sold a month and would help TVS claim 10 per cent of the executive bike segment which constituted 50 per cent of motorcycle sales in the country.
Flame is equipped with a three-valve Controlled Combustion Variable Timing Intelligent (CC-Vti) technology that allowed one valve the supply fuel in slow speed while the other two kicked in during high speed.
“This ensures that while the bike packs enough power fuel economy is not compromised. The bike logged 82 kms/ltr under Indian Driving Conditions norms which is the highest mileage by any 125 cc bike in India,” Srinivasan explained.
Denying that the bike violated any existing patent Srinivasan pointed out that the
TVS has patented the CC-VTi technology in Austria and rest of the world. He also disclosed that Star Sport would be launched with a 17-inch wheel, which would improve mileage. “Since fuel prices are sure to go up very soon the improved mileage of TVS vehicles would be their key selling point other than the high quality build,” he observed.
Venu Srinivasan said that the company’s fourth quarter performance is expected to be the best for this year when the company hopes to sell 1.30 lakh motorcycles a month against the present figure of 75,000. Though the bottom line would improve during the fourth quarter the overall sales during the year is expected to fall by 10 per cent due to non-availability of finance for two wheelers he observed.
The company’s three-wheeler would hit the market in January and was expected to sell 40,000 units in its first full year.