Interview with Jose Villegas

Global Sales & Marketing Director, UM International, LLC

Date: 12 Sep 2017 | Author: P.Tharyan
Jose Villegas, Global Sales & Marketing Director, UM International, LLC

Are you satisfied with the way consumers have accepted your products in India?

Basically the Renegade Commando and the Renegade Sports S that we had launched last year were the BS III carburetted version. It was for a short period of time before the BS IV regulations came in. We have delivered more than 10,000 units in the last 10 to 11 months. We have received very good feedback from the customers on the product, on the riding experience, the features and the comfort. We have designed these products keeping in mind the Indian terrain, the customers and their preferences. With the launch of the new Renegade Commando Mojave and Classic we are extending the Renegade family to reach out to different kinds of customers looking for cruisers.

UM was an unknown brand in India. Are people now more aware of this brand?

The fact that we are not known in India has given us a lot of possibility to define the brand as we want it in India. Worldwide, we sell different kinds of motorcycles in different categories with different displacements, in India we are focussing only on the Renegade family which are cruisers. Realistically we are into our first year and we have not done much of noise. We were enhancing our production capacity and stabilising our product, this is our first product in India, manufactured in India with a lot of components coming from many different places. We decided strategically to start very slow. We have around 59 dealers in India in less than 18 months. 

We have positioned UM as an exclusive brand. We are not a massive brand. Our intention is to give our customer a more premium-ness and exclusiveness within the segment. It is now that we are starting our aggressive market across the nation, this month. We are prepared in all aspects. 

How do you foresee demand for your motorcycles shaping up in the coming times?

Today India is the largest market in the world in terms of units sold. It is largely a market for lower cc and less expensive bikes. We see India as an evolving and rapidly growing market. Consumers are looking for higher displacement bikes with more features. There is more focus today on brands

It is not what the bike gives you but what the brand gives you. We think it is an aspirational market. We also see a shift to higher cc motorcycles happening very rapidly. This 250cc to 400cc segment will pick up sales very quickly. We have a very clear road map for India market ten years down the road. India is also becoming a very big development hub for us, not only for the Indian market but for exports also.

Next year we shall start exporting these Renegade models to Europe. We are launching ABS. India is becoming a hub for higher cc motorcycles and the Renegade Classic segment of bikes. Today we are actually exporting to Nepal and Bhutan. For Europe we already have the Euro IV homologation Type. We have not launched the 300cc bike because we do not have ABS. We have not been able to meet the demand of the domestic market. Our marketing and advertising is now going to come into place. Our first priority is to feed our dealers, our Indian consumers. Our main focus is to consolidate our position in India.

Is it challenging for you to compete with big brands like Royal Enfield and Bajaj Auto in the 300 Plus cc motorcycle market?

Every large company today was once small and was competing against larger companies at that time. The fact that we are small makes us very agile, we take decisions very quickly, we grab opportunities and we are very connected to the market. . We are talking to our customers, we are riding our bikes. This is a company driven by riders. We are not obsessed of reaching the number one position or dethroning the leader. We believe that we are making an excellent product. We are creating a segment of Rs 1.5 lakh to Rs 2 lakh with beautifully loaded cruisers, with great style and great performance. The product not only looks good, but it rides good, it has good top speed without vibrations, it has good torque, good pick up, good handling and good cornering. This product was designed based on the feedback of clients. We spent two years doing focus group, prototypes, riding, and we are focussing on ourselves, rather than on the competition. We are very sure of the product we have, we know it’s tough but we also have a very clear strategy moving forward product wise, engine wise, platform wise, etc. We are very hungry and we are very aggressive.

What made you come out with the new Renegade Commando Classic and Mojave?

Cruisers are a world of customisation. If you look at the big brands in cruisers in higher cc, there are versions and versions of the cruisers. That is the nice thing about the cruiser segment. You make some changes, you put some chrome, you do some cosmetic changes, it then appeals to another kind of customers. But this Commando Classic particularly has only one purpose in mind—to give the bike to the customer which is ready for touring which is not available in the market today. We put premium saddle bags, we have put high leg guards, we have added a standard windshield and we have added a tank cover with a pouch. The chrome is appealing to those customers who want bling, bling. The Mojave colour is inspired by the desert of Mojave in Arizona in the US. We took the existing Commando which is the largest selling of our product range, and we said let us dress it for adventure. I believe that this is the most exciting time for any brand to take up a challenge, to make things with a lot of passion, because this is how we do things. These products have our signature in them. 

The recently launched UM motorcycles

Tags UM Motorcycles Jose Villegas UM International UM Lohia Two Wheelers UM International UM Lohia Lohai Auto UM Renegade Commando UM Renegade Sport S UM Renegade Commando Classic UM renegade Mojave

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Jose Villegas
Date - 12 Sep 2017

Global Sales & Marketing Director, UM International, LLC

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