‘We expect the Monster 797 to be a significant sales driver for Ducati in India.’

Ravi Avalur, Ducati India’s MD, on the likelihood of starting CKD operations, bringing the Supersport, Scrambler Desert Sled and Scrambler Cafe racer, and how rationalisation of prices is drawing consumer demand.

Autocar Pro News Desk By Autocar Pro News Desk calendar 15 Jun 2017 Views icon8867 Views Share - Share to Facebook Share to Twitter Share to LinkedIn Share to Whatsapp
‘We expect the Monster 797 to be a significant sales driver for Ducati in India.’

Ducati recently expanded its product range in India with the launch of the Monster 797 and Multistrada 950. Ravi Avalur, Ducati India’s managing director, speaks to Sumantra B Barooah and Mayank Dhingra on the likelihood of starting CKD operations in India, introducing the Supersport, the Scrambler Desert Sled and the Scrambler Cafe racer, and how rationalisation of prices is drawing consumer demand.

What is the brand positioning of the two new models that Ducati India has launched – the Monster 797 and Multistrada 950? Are they aimed at first-time buyers of premium motorcycles?
With the Monster 797 and the Multistrada 950, we have introduced accessible product offerings, accessible in terms of affordability and cost of ownership as well as ease of riding. Both these bikes are designed to be exhilarating but not intimidating. With the Monster’s pricing of Rs 770,000 (ex-showroom, India), we feel it is quite accessible and expect it to be a significant sales driver for the brand in the country.

Since the Monster brand in itself commands enthusiast aspirations, the pricing makes it more approachable now. The initial booking response has also been very good across all our dealerships.

Is Ducati also looking to commence CKD operations in India, similar to other premium motorcycle brands?
Ducati India is going to take a different approach from the competition and continue offering its products in the Indian market as CBUs from the manufacturing facility that we have in Thailand and use the benefits of the FTA between India and Thailand, rather than immediately replicating a similar setup here. As of now, that is not the priority. However, as one never says never, hopefully, in a short span of time, that could also be another step coming from us.   

Our current focus lies more on the downstream activities, including the sales and aftersales network in India. We will be expanding to close to 10 outlets by the end of FY2018 from the current six, with cities like Kolkata included in the immediate plan of action.

Ducati plans to expand its India model range with three new motorcycles this year. How are they going to be positioned and what roles would they play?
Yes, we will be launching the Supersport, the Scrambler Desert Sled and the Scrambler Cafe racer. The Desert Sled is going to offer more off-road abilities too in the Scrambler package and is a very exciting motorcycle. The Scrambler Cafe racer is a very unique interpretation of the cafe racer design amalgamated into a Ducati Scrambler. The Supersport, on the other hand, defines its own category, with having been designed for doing duty both on the track, as well as on the road, but suits very nicely to riders riding predominantly on the road. So, it is a full faired sports bike but with easy ergonomics designed for regular road riding.

What are the key factors for Ducati and other major players in the premium motorcycle space getting more confident about India and introducing their global offerings here?
I feel that the strength of the Indian economy, along with the strength of the Indian automotive market, has been giving a good push for companies to play with more fervour in the country. Also, an increasing trend of people moving towards more premium products, which is also driven by an increasing alignment of prices with the global standards, has been a key motivating factor. Earlier, import duties used to be sky high but the scenario now is completely different and we are able to offer such high-end products at prices similar to what prevail in markets abroad.

There are many factors leading to our rapidly soaring run-rate in the Indian market. Firstly, the growth of the premium motorcycle space in the country is quite visibly clear since the past few years. Secondly, we have been putting in strong efforts in the expansion of our dealer network. And last, but not the least, would be the consistent introduction of new models in our portfolio, which has been a significant contributor in placing Ducati firmly in the Indian context.

What is your plan of action in the near future to enhance market reach?
Ducati India currently has a network of six dealerships with one each in Delhi, Mumbai, Pune, Ahmedabad, Bengaluru and Kochi. The next dealership opening will be in Kolkata, with one in Chennai slated to come up soon after that; Hyderabad is also in the pipeline to get its own outlet by the first half of CY2018.

I think a network of 9-10 dealers is quite sufficient for the Indian market because there is also a need to maintain certain global standards which the Ducati brand stands for. We focus quite strongly on the showroom experience that one gets at any of our premises, which is absolutely top-notch and in sync with what is available at any Ducati showroom around the world.

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