Yamaha sees no improvement in rural sales in 2016

Japanese automobile major Yamaha on Thursday said at the India launch of its Roadster Motard Yamaha MT-09 that slow rural demand was affecting the sales of its entry-level 100-150cc-plus motorcycles in India. The company believes sales growth in this segment would remain slow this year.
“There is a problem in rural sales; a bad monsoon has affected the market and the consumer sentiment is not bullish. It will take some time to bounce back. I think 2016 will also be like last year, and sales will remain flat. There might be growth of four-five per cent, but that is the most I foresee. I think 2017 onwards there will be some revival,” said Roy Kurian, vice-president (sales & marketing).
Kurian added motorcycle customers in this segment, interestingly, were shifting towards scooters or the semi-premium segment. “In the basic standard segment, there has been a sharp decline, and that is where we are seeing customers moving from motorcycles to scooters. A major hit is coming in the standard segment which is going to continue for some time,” he said.
The company has taken a top-down approach of having semi-premium and premium two-wheelers in India. It also plans to bolster this segment with new launches of motorcycles and scooters.
“We already have a FZ-series of motorcycles in India. Now we are launching this MT series. We will definitely be strengthening our top segments. The kind of response from the customer will also decide our future course of action,” Kurian added.
Yamaha launched the MT-09 street motorcycle, priced at Rs 10.20 lakh (ex-showroom Delhi). The motorcycle will be available at select outlets across the country.
The motorcycle comes with an 847cc liquid-cooled, four-stroke, in-line triple-cylinder, fuel-injected engine, with anti-lock braking system (ABS). The model will be imported as a completely built unit (CBU) by Yamaha Motor India.
According to Yamaha, the company saw five per cent growth in 2015, thanks to the sluggish market. It plans to increase its production capacity and hopes to grow at a steady pace this year.
“We will looking at 800,000-plus sales this year. We sold around 600,000 vehicles last year. We already have a new plant in Chennai with a capacity of 180,000 two-wheelers overall. Gradually, as sales increase, we will keep on adding more lines,” Kurian added. The company does not plan to start production of bigger-engine motorcycles in India anytime soon.