Italian motorcycle maker Benelli on Thursday launched five super bikes through its joint venture with Pune-based DSK Motowheels. The company plans to launch four more bikes by the end of December as it looks to take on the likes of Harley Davidson, Honda, Suzuki and Kawasaki among others in the fast growing high-end bike market.
Of the five bikes launched, the smallest is Benelli TNT300, with a 300-cc engine, that is priced at Rs 2.83 lakh (ex-showroom Delhi). The mid-range 600-cc duo of TNT 600i and 600 GT are priced at Rs 5.15 lakh and Rs 5.62 lakh respectively, while the expected best-seller, the 900-cc TNT 899 will cost Rs 9.48 lakh.
The company’s premium offering, the 1,200-cc superbike TNTR1130, will cost Rs 11.81 lakh, and will seek to woo fans of the 1-litre class bikes of Yamaha, Honda, Suzuki and Kawasaki with its competitive pricing and performance.
The super bike market in India is currently around 9,000-10,000 units per year. DSK-Benelli has set an ambitious target of selling 3,000 units in its first year, and plans to open nine dealerships in next few days (Pune, Mumbai, Bangalore, Chennai, Hyderabad, Delhi, Ahmedabad, Kolkata and Goa) in the first phase. It will open 11 more outlets by the end of the year, Shirish Kulkarni, chairman DSK Motowheels said.
“You can expect two (more) bikes by Diwali (TNT25 and 1130 Amazonas) and maybe another two by the end of the year or first quarter next year,” he said.
Benelli’s bikes will be assembled at DSK’s plant in Wai near Pune, which can handle about 15 bikes now. DSK is also in partnership with Korean bikemaker Hyosung, which are also assembled at Wai, but the two ventures will remain separate at the front-end.
Kulkarni said the will look at setting up another assembly plant near Pune at some point of time.
“The way Benelli is preparing for the Indian market, either, we need to move to a new setup with Benelli or get Hyosung to a different setup, depends on how things shape up. We have started identifying properties, probably Pune would be the next base,” Kulkarni said.
Benelli currently sells around 100,000 units a year globally. Despite being a late entrant, the company sees huge growth opportunities in India.
“We see immense untapped potential in the Indian superbiking space…Indian market could become one of the biggest market for Benelli,” said George Wang, board director, Benelli.
If Benelli succeds in India, the company could look at India-specific products in the future, Wang added.