Benelli may enter Indian scooter market

Benelli, one of Europe's oldest two-wheeler makers, launched its first set of 5 motorcycles in India yesterday.

By Sumantra B Barooah calendar 20 Mar 2015 Views icon13784 Views Share - Share to Facebook Share to Twitter Share to LinkedIn Share to Whatsapp
Benelli's sister brand Keeway has developed the Cityblade (125cc and 150cc) primarily for Asian markets.

Benelli's sister brand Keeway has developed the Cityblade (125cc and 150cc) primarily for Asian markets.

Benelli, one of Europe's oldest two-wheeler makers, launched its first set of 5 motorcycles in India yesterday. It may not be too long before the company enters the Indian scooter market too.

The Indian scooter market has been witnessing a healthy growth trend over the past year and a half and sales rose by 19 percent in February 2015, selling 370,527 units. For the April 2014-February 2015 period, cumulative scooter sales are 4,109,628 units, a 26.59 percent increase over the corresponding period the previous fiscal.

As this market evolves, some new sub-categories are taking shape which cater to young customers who look at a scooter as more than a commuting machine. Benelli could be looking at such segments to launch its products. One of them could be a new scooter called Cityblade that Benelli's sister brand Keeway has developed primarily for Asian markets. "I think it could be interesting for India," a Benelli official told Autocar Professional. The new scooter will have two variants – 125cc and 150cc.

The Cityblade, which measures 1950mm long, 755mm wide and 1130mm tall, has a seat height of 760mm and has a dry weight of 123kg. The 1-cylinder/4-stroke/2-valve engine develops 11.3bhp at 8000rpm in 150cc guise, and 9.25bhp at 7500rpm in 125cc guise. Suspension is telescopic coil spring oil damped front (89mm) and rear (65mm). Fuel tank capacity is 7 litres. Maximum payload is 165kg. Top speed is a claimed 90kph for both models.

Benelli's existing portfolio has 5 scooter models ranging from 50cc to 350cc. Scooters contribute to the majority of Benelli's sales in many markets in Europe and South East Asia. In India, it will take some time before its scooter strategy as the company feels it will have to offer locally produced models to be competitive. "If we enter this market we must localise 100 percent, or at least 90 percent, which takes time. But we will concentrate (on this segment), we will research," George Wang, Board Director, Benelli told Autocar Professional.

For now, Benelli and its Indian partner DSK's focus is on building the brand and gaining acceptance among the growing base of premium motorcycle customers.

More news on Benelli: 

Find out why Benelli sees India as its No. 1 or 2 market globally in 5 years

Benelli rides into India, launches five sports bikes

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