Company Description: Yamaha made its initial foray into India in 1985. In
August 2001, Yamaha India became a 100 pc subsidiary of Yamaha Motor Co., Ltd,
Japan (YMC). In 2008, Mitsui & Co., Ltd. entered into an agreement with YMC
to become a joint-investor in the motorcycle manufacturing company “India
Yamaha Motor Private Limited (IYM)”.
IYM operates from
its state-of-the-art manufacturing units at Surajpur in Uttar Pradesh and
Faridabad in Haryana and produces motorcycles both for domestic & export
markets. With a strong workforce of more than 2,000 employees, IYM is highly
customer-driven and has a countrywide network of over 400 dealers. Presently,
its product portfolio includes VMAX (1,679cc), MT01 (1,670cc), YZF-R1 (998cc),
FZ1 (998cc), Fazer (153cc), FZ-S (153cc), FZ16 (153cc), SZ, SZ-X & SZ-R
(153cc), YZF-R15 (150cc), SS125 (123cc), YBR 125 (123cc), YBR 110 (106cc) and
Before being promoted as
the National Business Head of India Yamaha Motor, you served the company in
various capacities in different parts of the country. How has your experience
I joined this company in 2003. In 2001 we set up the 100
per cent subsidiary of Yamaha. From there we started our journey and we worked
on products like Crux, the G 5, etc. We did not have a Yamaha DNA product at
that time. That time we were struggling. The motorcycle market was evolving and
people were mileage conscious. Earlier we had the RX100. I was a marketing
manager in south India in 2003. I moved to MP as a Business Manager, then to UP
and then finally moved back to the South as a Zonal Manager. In 2008 we decided
to change the image of Yamaha. For customers, Yamaha meant versatility and
power. The core value of the brand was all about innovativeness, stylishness
and performance. Our real products actually started rolling out from 2008. In June we launched the R15 and that actually
clicked so well. Though it was priced at Rs 1 lakh, the customers wanted
it. Immediately after that we launched
the FZ series beginning with FZ 16.
Today, we are dealing with a product that is actually required by the
market. The expectancy and deliverance is not only matching but we are
surpassing that. Despite being a premium product we are successful.
The company is operating
out of two plants, one in Surajpur and the other in Faridabad. What is rolled
out in these plants? What are the capacities here?
Our products are mainly made here in Surajpur. In
Faridabad we make spare parts and some assembly is happening there. Both put together we have a capacity to
manufacture 9 lakh bikes per annum. This year (2010-11 fiscal) we are looking
at around 3.5 lakh units.
You have Bollywood hunk
John Abraham as your brand ambassador. Do you agree with the fact that his macho
image is more appropriate for bigger bikes like V-max and MT1 etc?
I agree with you. He does not gell with bikes like the
Crux and G5, but he definitely gells with the FZ bikes. He has added value to our products. There is
only one guy in Bollywood who is a biker. He is a real fit for bikers. I think
we have chosen the right guy to be our brand ambassador. He is well accepted by
the youth. This is not the first time we
are using him. We used him in 2005. At that time we did not have the right
products but today we have the right products.
Is the company bringing
some big events like MotoGP into India?
We do have a racing event that takes place in Chennai.
The kind of activities we do, no other brand is so active. We are into racing and we shall continue with
racing activities in India. The bigger events will follow later.
When will you foray into
the commuter segment?
We would like to cater to the commuter mass. When we
launched the R15 it was part of our top down approach. We wanted to actually
cater to all the bad boys. Bad boys, in
the sense guys who are different and want something new. We call them
innovators and these are basically good boys in the real sense. First we catered to the niche segment and
then we came down with our FZ and then followed it up with FZX and FZR. Now
when we stabilise further we shall go down to mass segment. Right now we are
not very aggressively thinking on this. We would like to focus more on this
segment right now. The reason is that the 150 cc segment is growing almost by
50 per cent month on month, year on year. We would aim at a 20 per cent market
share in this segment alone. We shall
also be looking at 100 cc bikes.
Are you considering
re-launching a bike like the RX 100?
This is the benchmark bike. It is the father of all
bikes. RX 100 is a package delivered to the customer at that time. It was such
a powerful machine and had such a small chassis. The handling and
manoeuvrability of the bike were so good.
A biker likes to have full control of his bike and this bike was just
that. He was in total control. There was a definite chemistry between the rider
and the bike. The same chemistry we are
trying to give in the FZ and all our other bikes. But definitely the two-stroke
will never come back. There is definitely a difference between two stroke and
Do you have plans to bring
in a CNG bike? What about electric bikes and scooters?
not at least in the near future! The pollution norms for bikes in India will
change beyond 2014-15 and we are working on products that would meet those
emissions. Scooter is another segment which is growing very fast. Today 20 per
cent of the two-wheeler market comprises scooters. There are only two segments
that are growing 50 per en year on year. One is the deluxe segment. The second
is the scooter segment. Scooters are growing because there are more employment
opportunities for women. Plus, a scooter
is used by the entire family. In both ‘A’ and ‘B’ category towns, with more and
more women getting employed, sales of scooters are going up. We have definite
plans to bring scooters in India. I cannot tell you the time for this but it
won’t be delayed. We are definitely working on it.
The R15 is being exported
from India. Any plans to make it a hub for these bikes?
Yes, we are focussing on exports. That is another part of
our business. Along with domestic sales we are also focussing on exports. These
bikes are exported to African and Asian countries.
Yamaha does not have an
R&D centre here. So is all this done in Japan?
We do not have an R&D centre per se but we have an
R&D department which works closely with R&D Japan. So a lot of R&D
inputs are given from India. Definitely all the machines are tested out there
in Japan. Indonesia which is one of the
biggest markets for us, there also everything is done from Japan. We have a 46
per cent market share in that country.
What has been the demand
for your super bikes?
We started actually with superbikes in India. In December
2007 we launched MT01 and YZF R1. We showed to people that this is what Yamaha
is all about. We make such kind of bikes. We planned to do around 80 to 100
bikes a year which we are doing comfortably every year. This market will
gradually grow. You will not see a
sudden growth in this segment. But there are players who are still coming into
this segment with lower price models. In two or three years time one can see
some movement in this segment because the base is so small now. These are
basically CBU imports. But this market is growing and this is one segment where
all manufacturers will be focussing. There are two different types of customers
here. One is less than 28 years of age and the other is more than 35 years of
age. The first category is those youngsters who have parent’s money. The second
category is those who are not young but wanted to buy this bike when they were
young but now are successful. They can be doctors, engineers, entrepreneurs
Is there a high attrition
rate at India Yamaha?
The expats who come from Japan come with a specific
mission. Somebody who has proven himself in other markets comes here in an
assignment. As for the Indians, those who left have been here for a few years.
Every organisation has such a movement and it is very normal. Yamaha is
unnecessarily getting highlighted on this.
What would be your major
task in this company?
I would like to
increase the speed of doing things in the organisation---the speed in
everything. This has to be done in order to meet our targets for 2014. By that
time we would be looking at one million bikes. To do that we need to make many
changes and a lot of dynamic actions need to be taken. I can see the changes
taking place in the last few months. The changes will be evident within a year.
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