Suzuki Motorcycle India, a subsidiary of Suzuki Motor Corporation, today launched its latest offering in the 150cc space, christened the Suzuki Intruder 150.
The new motorcycle borrows its name and styling from the legendary Intruder 1800, which was launched in 1985 and is globally positioned as a premium cruiser. The Intruder 150 sees the use of flowing lines across the bike, which give it a rather imposing yet unconventional design, which is unique to the segment and although makes it look distinct, will be highly subjective to everyone's taste.
The motorcycle is based on the same platform as the Suzuki Gixxer 150, and the company says it has reworked the rear swingarm, which is now a bit elongated to include the Intruder’s low-slung stance. The Intruder comes with 41mm regular telescopic forks at the front and a mono-shock suspension at the rear. It also gets a fully digital speedometer console, as well as a single channel ABS from Bosch.
The Intruder comes powered by the same BS IV-compliant 150cc single-cylinder, air-cooled motor that does duty on the Gixxer. While it currently comes equipped with a carburettor, Sanjeev Rajasekharan, executive vice-president, sales and marketing, Suzuki Motorcycle India, says, “We will be upgrading the Intruder to get a fuel injection system within the next six months.”
The Intruder 150 has been designed and developed in India and the company will be manufacturing it at its plant in Gurgaon, in Haryana. Suzuki is targeting young customers looking for a cruiser-styled motorcycle in this segment and expects sales of around 40,000 units in the first year.
New plant on the anvil, riding away from commuter segment
According to Satoshi Uchida, managing director, Suzuki Motorcycle India, “There has been a gradual shift in customer preference for premium and stylish motorcycles in the recent past and that prompted us to cater to this demand with the Intruder 150.”
“We are also going to completely move away from the commuter motorcycle segment, and our focus will lie entirely on bringing scooters and over 150cc segment products in the motorcycle space in the future. Going forward, Suzuki Motorcycle India will introduce at least two such products every year into our portfolio and cater to the premium spectrum of the market”, he added.
The two-wheeler space has seen sizeable growth in the recent times, with FY2017 closing with sales of 17,587,000 units and registering an overall growth of 6.9 percent. While motorcycles grew at 3.7 percent, it is the scooter segment which saw considerably better growth at 11.3 percent. The company, which sold close to 160,188 units (Scooters: 125,318: Motorcycles: 34,870) between April-September 2016, has already sold over 241,394 units (Scooters: 202,771; Motorcycles: 38,623) in H1 of FY2018, registering a notable growth of over 50 percent and increasing its market share to 5.3 percent (H1FY2017: 3.8%).
Suzuki Motorcycle India also projects sales volumes of 500,000 units by end of the current financial year. Southern India and its five states including Tamil Nadu, Kerala, Karnataka, Telangana and Andhra Pradesh with their large office going population contribute 30 percent to the company's domestic sales, with scooters being a hit with the masses.
Satoshi Uchida says, “Our target is to reach annual sales of 1 million units by end of FY2019-20, which will be split with an 80:20 ratio (Scooters: 800,000; Motorcycles: 200,000). Domestic volumes will contribute 90 percent of this goal.”
Although its current manufacturing can take a maximum capacity of 1,000,000 units, Rajasekharan says, “While there will be a ramp up in the capacity of the existing plant to take it from 500,000 to 10,00,000 units, we will also be investing in a second plant, to support our growth beyond 2020. The feasibility study is on and between January-March 2018, we would arrive at a decision over the location and the capacity of the new facility.”
The new plant will also fuel its exports, which currently form 10 percent of its total sales and Nepal, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh and South Africa remain the key destinations.
The company also aims to expand its network, which currently stands at a total of 907 outlets, including dealerships (467), branches (127) and Suzuki authorised service stations (338). The plan for FY2018 is to take the number to 1,087 with 510 showrooms, 149 branches and 428 authorised service centres and FY2019-20 will add 200 more outlets.