Ducati evaluating the Monster 696 for India

Ducati evaluating the Monster 696 for India

Autocar Pro News DeskBy Autocar Pro News Desk calendar 01 Apr 2013 Views icon2956 Views Share - Share to Facebook Share to Twitter Share to LinkedIn Share to Whatsapp
Ducati evaluating the Monster 696 for India
The recent hike, following the 2013-14 Union Budget, in the customs duty on imported bikes (800cc and above) from the earlier 60 percent to 75 percent could prove a blessing in disguise for Indian superbike enthusiasts.

While Harley-Davidson was the first superbike manufacturer to react by adding three models (including the iconic Fat Boy) to its Indian assembly line-up and thereby cutting costs substantially, a close reading of the Bologna-based superbike manufacturer Ducati Motor Holding leads to preliminary indications that the company may be evaluating the prospect of introducing its entry-level motorcycle, the Monster 696 in India in the coming months.

More popularly known for lending its lower, smaller trellis frame and sharing some components as well with the Monster 795, the 696 from the ‘Monster’ family is similar in appearance to its bigger sibling. Interestingly, the bike’s kerb weight is almost the same (2kg lesser than the M795) and it has the same wheelbase (1450mm), saddle height (770mm), fuel tank capacity (15 litres), rim and tyre (front and rear), brake (front and rear) measurements as the M795. However, it is powered by the 696cc, L-twin cylinder, air-cooled, Desmodromic engine which develops peak power of nearly 79bhp at 9000rpm. Falling in the below-800cc category, where the applicable custom duties remain unchanged at 60 percent, the Monster 696 could be an exciting and even more practical bike for Indian riders.

Though low cost of ownership and Ducati are not synonymous with each other, the launch of the Asia-specific Monster 795 last year had indicated that the company is working towards tapping emerging Asian markets by bringing in relatively affordable models. “Given the overall situation of the Monster 795 assembled in Thailand, we, along with our local importer in India, are currently evaluating the most appropriate steps for the market,” says an official statement from the company in response to a questionnaire from Autocar Professional.

Ducati currently assembles the Diavel, the Multistrada 1200 and the M795 (standard and ABS models) at its Thailand facility. Going forward, the strategically located assembly facility in Thailand will play a vital role in capturing a larger market share for Ducati bikes in the Asian markets via expansion of its assembly operations. “This is exactly the reason why the company decided to open an assembly plant in Thailand and, since we started, we have already seen our sales growing all over the region. We are determined to continue, keeping into consideration the reality of every single market,” elucidates the official statement.

As a part of its strategy to make its bikes more affordable, the global sourcing team at Ducati is looking out for sourcing more components made in India and nearby countries. “We are already sourcing some parts in India. It wouldn’t be a surprise if our colleagues in the global sourcing team increase the number of parts purchased in India. There are already several suppliers who comply with our stringent quality requirements,” the statement adds.

Ducati also confirmed that it will continue its approach of importing CBUs into India. “At the moment, no cooperation plan is underway with Volkswagen in India,” it adds. Meanwhile, the next batch of the Monster 795s will arrive in India in May 2013.

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