CHENNAI: Yamaha’s new plant in Chennai will be inaugurated in early November, said Masaki Asano, MD of Yamaha Motor India Sales. Only the second plant to be opened in the country by the Japanese bike major, this one will focus for the most part on producing Yamaha’s range of scooters.
“We will be inaugurating the new plant next month, but operations will begin only in 2015,” he said, speaking on the sidelines of an event here on Wednesday.
The date has not been set yet as several of Yamaha Motors’ top brass are looking into their calendars now.
In addition to their existing production plant in Surajpur, the Chennai plant will independently produce 400,000 motorcycles annually - when it is at full capacity. While this might seem like industrial overkill for a company that sold only 4.7 lakh bikes in 2013, the growth rate and sales in 2014 have been motivators.
“This year alone we have been selling about 50,000 bikes every month and we have our eyes set on selling 6 lakh units by the end of the year. With our phenomenal growth rate, having the production capacity makes sense,” said Roy Kurian, vice-president of sales and marketing.
Export projections have also risen marginally from 1.7 lakh units last year, to a target of 2 lakh.
From a company that struck gold with its YZF, FZ and Fazer sportsbikes, it may appear strange that the focus is shifting to scooters, but Yamaha says that the decision is market-driven.
“Plenty of women are looking for powerful commuting options. Middle class homes need a second vehicle and most often they opt for a scooter, not another bike,” reasoned Asano, who was at the helm oh Yamaha India when they launched the Ray in 2012.
“There is a clear shift from bikes to scooters and almost 50 per cent of our domestic sales this year have been scooters. And that demand factor is growing by about 25 per cent every year, so tapping into that market is the right way forward for us,” said Kurian.