While Triumph recently announced it was shelving plans for a 250cc bike made in India for the regional market, it does not mean the company is walking away from the subcontinent.
In fact, Triumph, and a lot of other motorcycle companies, are focussing attention on this rapidly growing market where the burgeoning middle class is seeking bigger and better motorcycles as status symbols of their new wealth.
The very fact that Triumph dropped the 250 project, while also announcing it will introduce the Thunderbird LT later this month shows that they are keen to sell their more expensive and bigger capacity bikes here.
This follows other moves by Harley-Davidson, BMW Ducati and Indian motorcycles to enter the market with status symbol bikes. Harley is even manufacturing its Street 500 and 750 models in India. It will be the first time the American company has manufactured a bike outside the USA.
Meanwhile, the Japanese manufacturers are also stepping up production in the country.
India is now Honda’s biggest market in the world. It has moved to second place in the Indian two-wheeler market behind Hero and plans to launch one new motorcycle in every quarter.
The Honda Motorcycle and Scooter India (HMSI) company will also open its fourth indian manufacturing plant in the beginning of 2016.
Suzuki Motorcycles India is also developing four new products specifically for India over the next two years. The company plans to make India a manufacturing hub for motorcycles to be exported to countries in Latin America, Africa and the Middle East.
And Yamaha has just announced it will produce a range of economical “Blue Core” bikes for the country.
What this mean for the rest of the world is that we will soon be getting bikes made in India. The first we will get in Australia will be the new Harley Street 500 arriving on February 1. Indian-made bikes are guaranteed to be cheaper and manufacturers like Harley will go out of their way to ensure that the quality – and their brand integrity – is not adversely affected.