Exclusive! China's Qianjiang Group's Keeway brand to debut in India under DSK Motowheels

by Amit Panday 23 Dec 2014

DSK Motowheels plans to introduce the he Blackster cruiser, powered by a twin-cylinder, air-cooled, four-stroke 248.9cc engine.

DSK Motowheels, a company owned by DSK Group, plans to roll out at least seven new motorcycles under the European brands – Benelli and Keeway in CY 2015.

It is known that the company will launch the TNT302 (parallel-twin, 300cc), TNT600i and TNT600GT (in-line four-cylinder, 600cc), TNT899 (in-line three-cylinder, 899cc) and TNT1130R (in-line three-cylinder, 1131cc) under the DSK Benelli entity in India in February 2015 as these models are currently undergoing the homologation at ARAI, Pune.

After the commercial launch in February next year, when the official prices of these models would be announced and the company would start accepting the bookings, DSK Motowheels is planning to bring the Blackster cruiser, which is powered by the twin-cylinder, air-cooled, four-stroke 248.9cc engine, along with another street bike model (possibly named TNT250) powered by a 250cc single-cylinder engine by June-July 2015 or later. These two new models are manufactured under the Keeway brand, with the engineering inputs from Benelli.

It is known that while Benelli is an Italian motorcycle brand with an ownership of Qianjiang Group of China, Keeway is also a European registered brand belonging to the same group. According to Keeway’s website, the product line under this brand covers motorcycles, scooters, EVs, ATVs and others with engine displacements available from 50cc up to 600cc. These products are sold in more than 80 countries worldwide.

Talking exclusively to Autocar Professional, Shirish Kulkarni, chairman, DSK Benelli, said: “We plan to bring the Blackster and the TNT250 for homologation by March-April 2015, and roll out the two models by July 2015 or later. All the models would come in completely knocked down kits and will be assembled at our Wai facility to begin with.”

DSK’s immediate priority is to add assembly capacity at its Wai facility, which currently rolls out a maximum of 10 Hyosung bikes per day or up to 3,000 units per year under a single shift. The company in the process of adding another shift at the said facility to cater to the demand for both – Hyosung as well the Benelli brands in the near future.

“While a greenfield plant is in the foresight, it is still at least two years away. We are yet to home in on a location for the same, and it is too early to make any comment in this regard. However, we are planning to build a facility with an annual assembly capacity of 100,000 units. It will essentially be an assembly facility but depending on how the talks progress (between DSK Group and the officials at QJ Group), we might also have a full-fledged production line in place at the same planned facility,” added Kulkarni.

According to him, the said facility will require at least Rs 400 crore of investment.

The company, under its DSK Hyosung entity, sells six models – GT250R, GT650R, GT650N, Aquila Pro, Aquila 250, and ST7. It estimates to sell close to 2,300-2,500 units of the Hyosung bikes in India during the ongoing financial year. “We are currently selling an average of 70 units of the Aquila 250 cruisers and 55 units of the GT250R per month. Further, the GT650R along with the popular Aquila 650 model do 70 units per month for us. The quarter-litre segment is obviously the best-selling segment for us as of now,” quipped Kulkarni.

The company, which is planning to set up separate dealerships for the Benelli brand of bikes, will issue as many as nine letters of intent (LIOs) by end-December 2014 for various dealership appointments for the Italian brand. It expects to set up seven to nine dealerships for Benelli by February across Delhi, Mumbai, Bangalore, Chennai, Kolkata, Pune, Ahmedabad, Hyderabad and Chandigarh.