US-based super luxury motorcycle maker Indian Motorcycle expects to achieve double digit growth in 2019 riding on new launches. Arshad Khan caught up with Pankaj Dubey, MD & country head of parent Polaris India, to see what the company has in store for Indian customers and the challenges confronting the segment. Excerpts:
How have the last few years played out for super luxury motorcycles in India, and for Indian Motorcycle in particular?
The luxury motorcycle market has not seen much growth in the last couple of years in comparison to the growth seen in the preceding decade. But, with the increase in customers and their love for luxury motorcycles, the market for these kinds of bikes had taken a step ahead. For Indian Motorcycle too the customer fan base had increased...
We are expecting a double digit growth in the industry this year and we are looking forward to launching some exciting products to achieve this growth.
Which models have done well in India and which do you think will be the most sought after this year?
Indian Scout Bobber has done very well last year. This year we are launching a new segment with the Indian FTR 1200 S in the market.
We hope that enthusiasts will show their love for this bike since we have gone a step ahead from the luxury cruiser motorcycle segment to the luxury street bike segment.
Do you believe reduction in custom duties and taxes will widen the market base and improve operations?
The discussion around liberalisation of import norms and reduction in custom duties will definitely benefit the luxury two-wheeler industry in India. It is imperative (and we expect) that the Government supports our efforts by reducing taxes on luxury two-wheelers to encourage the industry.
In addition to this, we would like to have a consistent tax structure, which will give us a good horizon to plan our products and investments effectively. (Earlier, the import duties on Completely Built Units and Completely Knocked Down products were 75 per cent and 25 per cent respectively, which was subsequently reduced to 50 per cent and 20 per cent.)
Are there plans to set up an assembling unit in India in the near future?
Currently, we are importing our products from the US and we do not have any firm plans to manufacture these bikes in India. Whether we do so depends on business growth and sufficient demand.
How do you plan to expand your dealership network and take the brand beyond the metros?
Our plans are bullish for the market and we plan to expand our dealership network in several cities like Kochi, Jaipur, Pune and Bhuvaneshwar, as enthusiasts from several different regions are approaching us and showing their interest in purchasing our luxury motorcycles. We are hoping to make a strong dealership network in tier-2 and tier-3 cities in the future.