Outsourcing is helping present third-world countries become former third-world countries. And where some motorcycle markets expand, others shrink. I wonder what Harley Davidson will do when the American motorcycle market shrinks? I like Harley and want them to survive for another hundred years. Maybe Harley should start making V-twin scooters called "scruisers"?
From a guy who has ridden motorcycles in india for 10 years ..
More than half the Indian population ride motorcycles , because cars feel claustrophobic in the huge traffic growth.
I guess they will be making small capacity motorcycle as they do now. Big bores ? i think are still too much for the indian market until the roads improve, personally i'd rather hit a cow at 80 KMPH than on a bigger motorcycle at 160 KMPH.
Having said that it , old carburetted 600's like the 2002 ninja zx6 (or the yamaha equivalent ) i have would do well i think if the price is rt with some serious cooling modifications with the normal 100+ F temperatures there .
The Indian market is nothing like people in the US are accostomed to. the two wheeler there is as much a common mode of transport there as cars are over here in the US and sales are driven by the lifestyle needs and constraints of the Indian consumer.
bikes have to be cheap. With cars starting new at a bit over $4,000, and perfectly good lightly used cars coming in at $2500 or less, motorcycles are constrained to remain small. Somebody who can buy an expensive motorcycle will buy a car instead.
This means that motorcycles there are mostly single cylinder machines of 100 to 150cc that get 150mpg or better and cost about $1500. You see thousands of these things everyday and are the backbone of personal transport.
The Japanese got things started but have lately fallen behind. THe problem for them is that Indian manufacturers like Bajaj have learned to engineer and produce motorcycles domestically and do it very well. the R&D costs for the japanese manufacturers in Japan are far too high when they have to produce a machine equal to a Bajaj. Moreover, they do not have the option of producing pricier machines that are superior to the domestic machines because the market is extremely price sensitive.
There are other manufacturers besides Bajaj that are doing work domestically such as LML and TVS, but Bajaj is the company to watch because their Pulsar model really is a very good machine that demonstrates that Bajaj can do the job. Baja is an engineering focused company and I expect them to grow their abilities and competencies.
but I do not expect them try to stake it out in the US. For one thing, there is far too much potential in India, China, the Philipines, South america, other south and southeast asian countries. For another, Bajaj has built its business model supplying to a commuter market, not a hobby market. Its skill and competence is not in making sexy race bikes that westerners would buy to look good on. bajaj street cred: 0. If people here scoff at already established Hyosung, what chance does bajaj have?
But Bajaj is not a small company, however. It earned $174M in after tax profit last year.
what about the foreign companies? Honda and Yamaha used to own the market a decade ago. Yamaha had the really zingy RX100 that really was a lot of fun to drive and often wish I could have one here in the US for round town work. Honda produced in cooperation with Indian partner Hero Honda the CD100 model which brought phenomenal fuel economy, unbreakable reliability, and neglibile running costs. THis Honda model is still going strong in India, 20 years later. Honda sells about 1.7 million units of these a year. Just think about that. Yamaha however faltered when emissions regulations and fuel price shifts ended the interest in two strokes and Yamaha did not respond with 4 strokes that would capture interest in the market.
Part of this is related to the fact that Yamaha was working through an Indian partner, Escorts, which had started with the Yamaha RD350. The RX100 was just another off the shelf model. But when the market changed, Escorts was unable to get Yamaha interested in developing models for the now more discerning Indian consumer and Yamaha sales and the brand in the country collapsed.
Honda has recently struck out on its own, apart from hero Honda, with a line of scooters and a motorcyle called the Unicorn. This will leave the venerable CD100 going on its own, while the Honda brand is free to develop and produce motorcycles to fit other niches. I expect Yamaha wants to do the same thing. I suspect that they now see the value of the Indian market and are now interested in developing models and production facilities. But they have a climb ahead of them. The yamaha name is mud in India right now. THey'll have to create motorcycles that meet the price and economy demands of the Indian consumer while also offering performance, quality, and appeal. Its not going to be easy. Honda and Bajaj are going to make it very tough for Yamaha. THey never should have let their brand and market presence collapse in India.
While Indians are not affluent, and Indian motorcycles are far from sexy, the profits to be had there from the sheer number of motorcycle sold are enormous.
My love of all things two-wheeled began when as a 6-year old I would ride with my uncle on his scooter through the streets of Calcutta (now Kolkata).
If you think navigating American cities is taxing, try the major metropolitan areas of South and Southeast Asia. It's sheer madness, but millions of Indians do so every day (and lady passengers in saris ride side saddle!) with no sweat off their brow. Poor roads, loris, rickshaws, taxis, other autos, cows and their dung, street dogs, and pedestrians conspire to create an urban obstacle course most Americans would go out of their way to avoid. Indian motorcycles are built tough and built to last through mish mash of Indian urban life. They have done a good job.
thanks for the excellent analysis of the India market. It's fun to watch the transformation of India into a world power house via education, igenuity, and hard work. The U.S. could learn some valuable lessons. I work with SW engineers from India everyday. I find them professional, intelligent, hard working, creative and team players. Ego takes a back seat to the sucess of the team.
Yep read my Go India Go post. India has invested in education. The U.S. is falling way behind in engineering and science. W. doesn't read so why should we expect U.S. kids to. U.S. teachers are woefully inadequate to teach math and science. Kids are getting the message not to pick tech careers cause they can't compete and these jobs will be outsourced. Most of the Indian SW engineers I work with can write better English than I and my U.S. born cohorts. U.S. companies have this misplaced confidence that they are better managers(Jack Welsh of GE) than Indian companies. i.e. the MBAs here think they can hire engineers there and be successful. Trouble is India is training their next generation of managers too (who have technical backgrounds, unlike U.S. types) who won't be satisfied with taking orders from a NY MBA with no techie background. Nor should they. More power to them.
I spend a good deal of time working in India. Mainly in Chennai (Madras). You can't imagine the skill of the Indian rider. The enfield bullet is the ducati 999 of India. The bike of choice seems to be the hero honda.
the 50-125cc bike is the mainstay. they ride the wheels off them. i'm buying a bullet myself and going to try to survive the traffic. the rules of the road are stated as follows. when you can go, then go. when you can't, stop.
Their brain power that I am seeing coming from Inida is impressive. India's top high school students consider MIT and CalTech inferior to IIT. Employers here are thinking the same thing now. Did you see the 60 minutes piece? There has been several pieces on the WSJ as well.
Japan has no natural resources i.e. power to speak of, yet they are a true world power. Why can't India?</a>
Some people you just have to draw pictures for.......
In 1953 INDIAN MOTORCYCLES of SPRINGFIELD MASS. contracted to Royal Enfield of Birmingham UK to build twin cylinder overhead valve motorcycles for them, as the technology was beyond Indian Motorcycles resources at the time, in a last ditch effort to compete with Triumph, BSA, Norton and even Royal Enfield themselves.
These bikes became know (to Indian Motocycles chagrin) as Indian Enfields. That was what I was refering to as eekadog so tactfully pointed out. I am in no way "sheltered" thank you, I believe the educated class of India are more than capable of handing us our lunch in a number of areas.
I also think women from India are smokin' hot, and I can cook Aloo Gobi and Chicken Tikka Masala all day long.
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