Triumph Motorcycles India, a
subsidiary of UK based Triumph Motorcycles has every reason to be excited about
its debut in India. For a superbike manufacturer, selling 1326 units in fiscal
2014-15 has come as a pleasant surprise and the company is gearing up to bring
in more models into India in Completely Knocked Down (CKD) form. The company
launched its products in November 2013 but went about retailing its bikes in
January 2014. The bikes are assembled
at a plant in Manesar in Haryana. The company has plans to expand the
assembling operations as it has bought one more plot of land adjacent to the
Triumph made a big bang entry into India with around 10 models. How has
the progress been for your company? According to SIAM data you sold around 1326
models last fiscal. Is that on target and has it met your expectations?
As of now we are more than
satisfied with what we have done. We launched our products in November 2013 but
we went about retailing our bikes by mod-January 2014. It’s been really great
in terms of growth in India. We had a three-pronged strategy for India. One,
was to get a product into India at the right price point. Two, was to get the
network and reach so that a customer can access the bike in the main town
itself. Third, was to do a great after sales service. This was something we
found missing in India. I am proud to say that we are the only company in India
which has launched 12 products together on the same day. This clearly shows the
commitment Triumph Motorcycle has for the Indian market. We have 10 dealerships
in the country and the 11th is coming up in Indore and will be
operational by mid May 2015. We have a
network coming up in Jaipur soon.
You have a plant in Manesar to assemble Triumph motorcycles. I presume
the bikes are coming in CKD form, so how many different models are being
assembled currently in the country?
Between CKD and CBU there is a
huge advantage that you get to pass on to the consumer when you come through
the CKD route. Our strategy has always been to bring products at the right
price point. When we started operations in India we only had only 11 brands and
we have only six of them through CKD and the balance through CBU. Today we have
almost 14 brands and out of these 8 are CKDs and the remaining CBU. We shall be
bringing more models through CKD route. For CKDs the import duty ranges from
10pc to 30pc. In the case of CBU, duties including cess cross 100pc. Our
Manesar plant is today capable of doing a lot of CKDs. We assemble a lot of
bikes in Manesar. We have fully trained Indian technicians working there. We
have a flexible manufacturing system. We can produce as many as we want. When
we started off, we had almost three to six months of waiting. We have brought
that time to two and a half months to three months.
Triumph has five manufacturing
facilities across the globe. We have two plants in Thailand. When you bring
products into India you need to produce products of world quality. Each is an
investment in terms of production line, the number of parts imported etc. First
you try to put together a product with the maximum volume. Last year we had
Tiger which we brought into India through the CBU route. Now it is CKD. Our objective
is to maximise as many products through CKDs. Now with the FTA being open
between India and Thailand, we need to look into that also.
Within the superbike motorcycle segment, is price a consideration? I mean, does a more affordable model become a
runaway hit just because it is priced much lower than the others? How do
purchase decisions vary in this segment?
If you look at the Indian
industry which we call the premium industry, which I define at starting from
500 cc and Rs 5 lakh plus, I do not think there is something price sensitive,
rather Indians are value conscious. We simply got labelled as price conscious
people. If there is a particular value that you get at a certain price, then
you go for it. Look at gold, people think it offers value because the price of
gold has remained more or less stable for the last three or four years.
Consumers look for value for money. Triumph has been successful because we
brought in technology, we also got in the ease to buy a bike through different
finance schemes. We also offer road side assistance. If you were to have a
breakdown, the bike can be picked using the roadside assistance. We have a full
PCA—Parts, clothing and accessories in Manesar. For any demand arising out of
any part of the country, we are able to cater to the part at a far shorter span
of time. A lot of manufacturers import bikes in CBU and their hub is outside
India and when the customer needs a part, then there is a transit time of
minimum six to eight weeks. In our case its less than half that time.
Does easy finance also play a role in purchase of superbikes? What’s
been your experience on this front? Do your buyers take a loan for buying your
products, as is the case with several other prominent brands in India?
We have tied up in the
organised finance area with HDFC Bank which does 35 pc of our finance. Apart
from that we have nationalised banks and other banks like ICICI bank and Yes
Bank. Overall there would be financing to the tune of 50-55pc. I am not counting
nationalised banks here, personal loans like a father giving his son, or a
company giving a person, etc. For normal motorcycles, the duration of loans
last two to three years, here in our case it ranges from six months to two
For dealerships, what kind of a strategy have you adopted for India.
Only tier one city or is it also tier II locations? What about tapping the
We feel that Nepal being so
close to India, we can cater to them from India through CKD route. In terms of
India, we had taken a strategic decision from Day1 to be at the right places at
the right time. What I mean by that is typically when a bike company comes in,
they put a shop in Mumbai and Delhi and then try the market and see whether it
is working there or not. If it works well then he expands, if not, he stays
there. We put 10 dealerships simultaneously in India. We started from
Bangalore, went to Hyderabad, from there we went to Mumbai, then Ahmedabad,
Kochi, Chennai and Pune. Delhi was one of our last stores. We also did
Chandigarh and Kolkata. Today we are present in all zones.
Being a Brit company we do
everything systematically. We did a lot of research, a lot of analysis. We knew
where the market is. I personally have been in the auto space for more almost
two decades. We identified markets which had a potential and where people were
looking for a bike like ours. Just to give you an example, Kochi has absolutely
surprised us. I typically call it the Punjab of South. They want big cars and
bikes, they can afford them and the entire Kerala state is so beautiful and
what better way to explore the state than to do it on a bike! Triumph is a way
Are your riders also bonding (forming groups and going for rides
together etc) after buying your motorcycles?
Yes, we have ten groups in
India. We call it the Rider Association of Triumph and is codenamed the RAT
globally. We have BRATs in Bangalore, we have H RATs in Hyderabad, we have
similar associations in Delhi and Kolkata too. In every state one group is
being formed and they ride out together. Brotherhood and community building are
very important. This way you can also tell us how our products can deliver in
terms of riding safely. We lay a lot of emphasis on these rides. The basic
ethos of the brand Triumph is ‘For The Ride’. That is our tag line. We make
bikes for the rider. Also one must remember, we do not just sell bikes, we sell
clothing, accessories, etc
Your company invested in some land at Narasapur, in Kolar District,
about 52 kms from Bangalore to set up a manufacturing plant. Is that project
It is a matter of priority. We
have set our priority to be in the premium and luxury segment of the market.
That is our strategy too. For that we have invested in Manesar a lot. Being a
private limited company, we do not share the investments. We had one plot in
Manesar and now we have added another. I am there to serve anyone who wants the
best of technology, best of style, best of reliability, best of ride and best
of experience. In that space we want to operate and we do not want to go
down. Our investments in Manesar will
increase. We have done a lot of investments, like I told you. Our priority is
to invest more and more in Manesar. We are more focussed on building up the
premium and luxury motorcycle segment. Karnataka was just a part of the
investment. It was not huge. As much as 95 pc of the investments we have done
in India so far has been in Manesar. The Karnataka investment is not on
priority. It was a bit of an investment. It was not large. Our focus from day
one has been to be in the premium segment.
If you were to divide the
industry into two parts: 500cc and Rs 5 lakh plus and 500cc and Rs 5 lakh
below, we have our brand in the plus segment. There are very few brands that
compete here. We have a 33pc market share. We want to occupy that space. An
Indian is no more just and Indian, he is a global Indian. We are there to offer
him right power, good style, good reliability and good ride. We are offering
the global best product.
Will Manesar become a manufacturing hub?
It is too early to comment.
But then Triumph has five flexible plants around the globe. We can ship in and
ship out any time. This is a very good thing. The closest plant is Thailand.
Our endeavour is to bring more bikes in the CKD form and use the advantage it
offers for the customers. If CKD gets him the advantage, then we do CKD. If
Free Trade Agreement brings that, we do that.