Pune-based DSK Motowheels, a part of the DSK Group which assembles and retails premium motorcycles in India under the Benelli and Hyosung brands, plans to launch the Benelli Tornado 302 sportsbike closer to the festive season later this year.
The Benelli Tornado 302 is a faired sibling of the Benelli TNT 300, which was launched in India in March 2015 (along with four other Benelli models), and is one of the best-selling models for the company. While both models share several components, they also share the four-stroke, in-line two-cylinder, liquid-cooled, 300cc engine that develops peak power in the range of 36-38bhp.
Once launched, the incoming fully-faired Tornado 302, which is currently under homologation, will compete with Kawasaki’s popular parallel-twin, 39bhp, 296cc, Ninja 300 and Yamaha’s twin-cylinder, 40bhp, 321cc, YZF-R3 in the entry-level sportsbike segment. While the Kawasaki Ninja 300 currently retails for a price tag of close to Rs 3.75 lakh (ex-showroom, Mumbai), the Yamaha YZF-R3 sells for Rs 3.26 lakh (ex-showroom, Delhi). The Benelli TNT 300 retails for close to Rs 2.85 lakh (ex-showroom, Pune).
Talking to Autocar Professional, Shirish Kulkarni, chairman, DSK Motowheels, said: “We plan to launch the Benelli Tornado 302 by Diwali. The model is already in homologation and its components are already cleared. However, we are still a month away before we secure all necessary certifications. We are planning to begin the retail sales of this model around October-November this year. The TNT 300 has been performing well in the market for us and, hence, it made sense to bring this model to our showrooms.”
Just like its naked sibling, the Tornado 302 will be assembled at the company’s all-new Talegaon assembly facility. The plant currently operates in single-shift and has two assembly lines – one each for the engine and for the motorcycles where Benelli and Hyosung models are assembled.
The company plans to begin its capacity expansion program at the plant post the launch of the Benelli Tornado 302. According to Kulkarni, the assembly capacity peaked in March this year when up to 480 motorcycles were assembled on the single line.
“Our highest monthly production stood around 480 units when our production teams had to work very hard to accommodate that number in our assembly operations to cater to the demand. Now we know where we stand in terms of utilising the plant’s existing capacity. We will make appropriate investments as soon as we ramp our capacity and bring new models. After the launch of the Tornado 302, we will begin installing another assembly line at the plant,” he added.
The launch of the incoming twin-cylinder, liquid-cooled, 500cc Benelli TRK 502 adventure-tourer is now pushed for December 2016-January 2017, revealed Kulkarni. The company is currently working on upgrading its model line-up for BS IV emission and the mandatory ABS norms.
According to the company, it sold close to 2,200 units under DSK Benelli via 15 dealerships and around 1,500 units under DSK Hyosung in FY2015-16.
DSK Motowheels has revised the sales target for the Benelli brand this fiscal and is targeting 4,000 units in FY2016-17. It has a network of 18 dealerships under DSK Benelli and plans to add another 4-5 stores by December 2016.