Toshikazu Kobayashi - Managing Director, Yamaha R&D India
INTERVIEW WITH TOSHIKAZU KOBAYASHI, MANAGING DIRECTOR, YAMAHA R&D INDIA
Currently, the most affordable Yamaha bike is made in China. Will we see synergies from R&D in China for the Indian project?
At present in the Yamaha Group, the China model is the cheapest bike right now. If you look at our portfolio in India, our Crux model is nearly priced at Rs 40,000 which is almost at par with the current pricing of the low-cost bike made in China.Basically, our concept of product development for the most affordable bike within the entire Yamaha Group to be made in India means a focus on 100 percent localisation including raw materials. We import raw materials and components from Asian countries and from Japan. Our target is 100 percent localisation, one step at a time. New product development will happen as per global Yamaha standards which are applicable to other countries also. There is only one global standard unless Yamaha’s top boss, Yanagi, approves the change in standards from global to Indian. In that case, we can use Indian raw materials also. Our localisation for the Crux is about 90-95 percent.
What are the challenges Yamaha faces while strategising to develop the said low-cost bike in India?
I see a lot of our suppliers improving their quality levels. We have started exporting components to number of countries. Some of them require quality-specific improvements and we are working with our vendors to achieve the targets.
In which areas do Indian vendors need change?
Indian parts suppliers are good with plastic, metal and mechanical components but not competitive when it comes to electrical parts.
With a new plant coming up near Chennai, are your vendors moving there?
It's happening both ways. Some are coming with us, some new ones are going to start supplying to us, and some others will stay in North India but will supply us to Chennai via timely logistics.We have announced a vendor park for our south India plant and have also invited vendors from Japan to set up base there.
With regard to the Yamaha range here, are you looking at more engine options in the 110cc, 125cc and above 150cc categories?
We are following a top-down strategy. So after the R15, our focus has been on the FZ, SZ bikes and then the scooter. So gradually we will expand into other segments. For the above-150cc segment, we are studying the products of our competitors. AMIT PANDAY
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