Suzuki Motorcycle India will export the new version of the Access 125 scooter to the neighbouring markets of Sri Lanka and Nepal.
Some of the other models from the Suzuki stable are shipped to the Philippines and Cambodia in addition to South Africa and Latin America. Almost 90 percent of the exports of the premium Gixxer bike are to Latin America while the Lets scooter is exported to South Africa in limited numbers in addition to the Gixxer and GS150R motorcycles, Kenji Hirozawa, vice-president of Suzuki Motorcycle India, told Autocar Professional at the launch of the Access 125 in Delhi a few days ago.
With the new scooter, the Japanese company is targeting domestic sales of 370,000 units and exports of 60,000 units in 2016-17. The focus is now to be on 125cc scooters along with premium and niche motorcycles above 150cc. In 2014-15, Suzuki Motorcycle India sold a total of 340,506 two-wheelers (-4.44% YoY) and exported 32,736 units (+224.38%). In fiscal year 2015-16, the manufacturer has sold 269,355 units (-6.37% YoY) and exported 47,508 units (+110.20% YoY). Suzuki is maintaining a conservative target for exports but is hopeful that overall sales will touch the 400,000 mark this fiscal.
At present Suzuki produces the Access 125, Lets and Swish 125 scooters in India besides the Gixxer, Gixxer SF, Slingshot Plus and Hayate motorcycles. Recently, it began local assembly of the Hayabusa superbike, which sells around 120 units per annum, at its Gurgaon plants. Company officials are optimistic that after the recent price-cut from Rs 16 lakh to Rs 13.5 lakh following local assembly of the CKD model, sales will pick up.
While Suzuki does not have a dedicated R&D centre in India, development of the products for India is undertaken in Japan while all the studies take place in India. The modus operandi is that Japanese engineers come to India, take back the local data, work on it and return. Testing is undertaken in India in sync with engineers who are stationed here for the project.
Meanwhile, among the Access 125’s highlights is its new engine based on Suzuki Eco Performance technology to make it more fuel efficient. Lightweighting measures have helped engine weight reduce by 6kg while the new scooter frame has brought down overall vehicle weight by 14kg, says Suresh Babu national head, Product Planning and Marketing. “Altogether, the suspension and the economy get better while the comfort level has increased,” he adds.
Babu reveals that for lightweighting, there was no substitution of material. Instead, the latest technologies were applied and the frame changed to a new, round tubular unit. It was built to accommodate a lighter weight material retaining the same strength and stability of the vehicle. “So it is just the technology. Things are getting better and lighter,” he says.
The development time of the new Access 125 was spread over 24 months. Parallelly, Suzuki is working on a slew of new models – both scooters and motorcycles – till 2020 with a focus on premium and niche bikes. Despatches of the new Access 125 have commenced to dealerships with the scooter expected to reach retail outlets next week in Delhi as display models. Mass production of the latest Suzuki on two wheels will commence next month. Stay tuned for further updates.