Hero Electric to enter European markets

The Indian electric vehicle manufacturer plans on introducing Europe-Only bikes

 

 

Hero Electric, one of India’s leading electric two wheeler manufacturer is all set to enter the European market by 2012. For this, Hero is developing electric bikes that utilize Hero’s in house technical expertise along with technology support from a Taiwanese Firm. The company plans on manufacturing the bikes in India and then exporting them to Europe. These bikes will only be available in the European market and not in the domestic market. The launch is expected to happen within a years time and apparently the company is in talks with distributors in Europe. After which the bikes will be sent for homologation process to various countries in Europe. Pricing and other specification of the bike have not been revealed yet. The company is excited about entering a new and big market however, theyare also expecting low sales initially.

 

Words: Ravi Chandnani

Segway to hit Indian shores

The personal transport maker introduces the x2 and i2 in the country

A word that best describes the current state of Indian automobile market really well is – BUZZING!
Almost every week a new player enters this market by introducing its product to woo a fraction of the 1.2 billion Indians. Segway Inc. the US based personal mobile vehicle maker is the latest firm docking at the Indian shores. The firm makes zero-emission, battery operated two-wheelers on which a person stands and can zip around narrow indoor paths or out-doors, at a max speed of around 25 km/h. You might remember it from the Mall Cop movie.

This could be an ideal toy of the spoilt rich brats as it has a steep price of over Rs 3 lakh, making it out of reach for most of us. Now, why would a flourishing US firm enter a market at the other end of the globe? Obviously, Segway sees some sizable profit in India and the spoilt brats make up just a fraction of their target audience. According to Jason G Barton, Vice President, Worldwide Sales, Segway Inc. says that the company’s focus will be on commercial usage and for policing where it sees tremendous potential. These vehicles can be of high practical utility at places like the Special Economic Zones (SEZ), airports, golf courses, malls and large factories. You know, just like Paul Blart did in Mall Cop.

The US firm has tied up with Bird Group of Companies, which is into high-end retail covering BMW cars to luxury yachts. Ankur Bhatia, Executive Director, Bird Group, said that its prime target would be commercial establishments and the firm will also offer it on lease. The fun and practical Segways will be imported from New Hampshire near Boston the Indian partner will display and market it through its 30 centres across the country. To start with Segway will offer base models namely the x2 and i2. As these pictures suggest, the i2 the saner of the two apt for indoor use, while the more rugged x2 can be used outdoors. The fun two-wheelers are now available in India. Now, it’s too short a notice to save that big an amount. Guess we have to join the security force of an upmarket mall to get you a ride report.

Words: Sarmad Kadiri

KTM’s future plans

Dutch magazine spill the beans on KTM’s strategy for the next two years

Recently, our friends from Nieuwsmotor.nl visited the KTM headquarters in Mattighofen, Austria, and went back home with some very interesting tidbits, skillfully gleaned out of Robert Prielinger, head of R&D for KTM’s streetbikes. We have the extract here.

According to Prielinger, KTM will launch all-new versions of the Super Duke and Adventure bikes in 2012, which will be fitted with brand-new twin-cylinder engines. The 2012/2013 KTM Super Duke is likely to be a very high-tech machine, with a 1200cc V-twin and advanced electronics, including sports-ABS, traction control and ride-by-wire technologies. The off-road-oriented 2012 Adventure would be available with at least two engine sizes – 1200cc/1000cc and 700cc/800cc. Next year, the KTM Duke 690 may be replaced with the Duke 700, fitted with a revised single-cylinder engine and revamped styling. There might also be a more expensive ‘R’ version of the Duke 700, with higher-spec components.

KTM, in collaboration with Bajaj who now owns more than a third of it, will also continue to develop smaller streetbikes for India and other Asian markets and some of these bikes will also make their way to Europe by mid-2011. The two companies have started working in close coordination in the area of technology development. In fact, the 2011 RC8R even uses dual spark plugs in each of its cylinder heads, which is a development of Bajaj’s patented DTSi technology. The two companies will continue to develop small capacity single- and twin-cylinder motorcycle engines for Asian markets, while Bajaj will also introduce the KTM brand in India shortly, which is the world’s second largest motorcycle market.

 

Words: Saeed Akhtar

New CEO astride Royal Enfield

Dr. Venki Padmanabhan takes the riding seat as R. L Ravichandran moves on to the Eicher Board

Royal Enfield Motors, manufacturer of the iconic Bullet motorcycle has announced the appointment of Dr. Venki Padmanabhan as the company’s new Chief Executive Officer. The motorcycle maker has in the recent years strengthened their brand image in India and internationally by their witty commercials and bike rides. Dr. Padmanabhan will have the task of taking this to the next step.

Dr. Padmanabhan first joined Royal Enfield two years ago, acting as COO under marketing wizard CEO R.L. Ravichandran. During that time, the company posted a 21-percent growth in sales volume, 54-percent growth in sales turnover and a return to two digit profitability. Prior to joining Royal Enfield, Dr. Padmanabhan, a citizen of the United States and an Overseas Citizen of India, was Managing Director of Chrysler’s South East Asia Global Sourcing Office based in Chennai, India and responsible for $1 billion worth of material sourced to its parent manufacturing units in the United States.

Words: Sarmad Kadiri

Royal Enfield headed westwards

The Chennai based company is all set to enter the Brazilian market

Royal Enfield, the classic Indian motorcycle manufacturer has a strong desire to enter the Latin American market and wishes to begin this venture with Brazil. The company is apparently in talks with various contract manufacturers in Brazil. RE is looking for a contract manufacturer as the company doesn’t want to raise the stakes too high and enter an unknown market all by themselves. The Brazilian two-wheeler market is approximately 6-7million units a year and it would benefit RE if they enter this market. This venture will also help them to create a bigger footprint the world of two-wheelers. However, the company has not released any information confirming these plans. But we expect RE to do it shortly.

Words: Ravi Chandnani

Royal Enfield aiming high

A twin-cylinder engine bike on the anvil

 

 

Come 2013 and we might be able to see a twin-cylinder machine bearing the Royal Enfield marque. Though it may sound difficult to believe, the Chennai-based motorcycle company is said to be working on such a bike. The big bike is apparently in the concept phase and the company hopes to finish it by 2013. Along with the twin-cylinder engine bike the company will also roll out a new avatar of the Thunderbird and a new range of bikes with café racer-inspired styling. It seems that Royal Enfield are viewing Harley-Davidson as a threat now and are gearing up to compete with the American legend.

Words: Ravi Chandnani

Aprilia RSV4 Superbike unveiled in India

Piaggio showcases the spectacular line up of its global two wheelers

 

Piaggio Vehicles Pvt. Ltd., the Indian subsidiary of Piaggio & C s.p.a. of Italy, today unveiled the superbike Aprilia RSV4 Factory at the Mumbai International Motor Show along with the original, iconic scooter Vespa LX 125. Aprilia has been a part of the Piaggio Group since 2004 and the Aprilia RSV4 Factory is the flagship from the Aprilia stable. Its super compact 180 HP, 999.6 cc, 65° V-four cylinder engine is designed for maximum power and uses ride-by-wire multimap technology and a sophisticated electronic injection system with 2 injectors and adjustable height ducts for superior performance. All four variants of the RSV4 will be on sale here, and prices will start from Rs. 13 lakh for the base version, going upto 18 lakh for the fully-loaded models. Piaggio also showcased the Vespa LX 125 at MIMS to give buyers a foretaste of what to expect when the iconic Vespa brand hits Indian roads next year.

Speaking at the ocassion, Mr. Ravi Chopra, Chairman and Managing Director of Piaggio Vehicles Pvt. Ltd. Stated, “Piaggio India is proud to unveil the superbike Aprilia RSV4 in India. This bike is a living example of the technological superiority that Piaggio offers to consumers across the globe. We are in the process of bringing our global line-up of highly successful superbikes to India. We believe that today’s young and mobile Indian has a strong appetite for powerful bikes, and we see immense potential for Aprilia in India. This bike has set world racing tracks ablaze with it sheer power and technology and it will hit Indian roads soon. We are also looking forward to the launch of the iconic Vespa in the country soon. The Vespa LX 125 is much more than a scooter – it’s the original, timeless 2-wheeler that has become a “way of life” in market after market around the world”.

 

Hamara Pulsar, Hamara Discover

Bajaj to drop its name; retain only the core models’ names

 

 The brand that gave India the slogan ‘Hamara Bajaj’, a catchphrase synonymous with a whole generation, will cease to exist come April this year. Bajaj Auto Managing Director Rajiv Bajaj recently stated his intention to remove the Bajaj brand and, in its place, establish its top-selling Pulsar and Discover as separate brands in their their own light. This is not an unusual move for brands in European and foreign countries but will certainly be a first for Indian automotive manufacturers who rely on family names for their product range (read TVS, Mahindra and Tata).

“Actually I don’t want that (Bajaj) name. We have already started the process so today on a Pulsar, the Bajaj name is seen only on the engine. The same is the case with Discover. Our three-wheeler has Bajaj in small font while the initial ‘RE’ is in much bigger font. One day, We will drop the Bajaj name from there also completely”, Rajiv Bajaj disclosed in a recent interview. “Consumers know that the product is coming from Bajaj, just like I know my Audi is coming from Volkswagen. But there is no Volkswagen on the Audi product. This creates a perception that there is something more in the product”, he added.

The project is spearheaded by Fitch, the international design agency that have collaborated with brands as diverse as Aditya Birla Group, Boeing, Reliance ADAG, Tata and Microsoft in the past.

Words: Saeed Akhtar

Face/Off

 Two of the world’s greatest racing personalities come together for an epic duel. On ice.

 

 

You might not have heard of it before but Ducati and Ferrari has an annual event, somewhere up in the Dolomites mountains in Northern Italy, wherein the racing arms of both the manufacturers launch their latest team lineups and jointly share the limelight. And this year, the Wrooom Ferrari & Ducati Press Ski Meeting (that’s what the event is called) will play host to a traditional ice race between Valentino Rossi and Fernando Alonso. Ducati MotoGP team manager Vittoriano Guareschi has revealed that Rossi is fit enough to race the former F1 world champion at this year’s ‘Wrooom’ event, to be held on January 10th. Guareschi also allayed all apprehensions about Rossi’s fitness, specifically his recent shoulder injury, saying that the World Champion has recuperated and is in perfect condition for the coming MotoGP season.

This year’s Wrooom event will also give the Ducatisti their first opportunity to view the new Marlboro Ducati livery and the first public appearance of Rossi in red leathers.

Words: Saeed Akhtar

New motorcycle norm

Motorcycles to be EMC – Compliant

Recently the Ministry of Surface Transport and Ministry of Road Transport and Highways announced a new norm according to which all new models that are to be introduced in the market will have be EMC (Electromagnetic) compliant. This norm will ensure that the electromagnetic waves emitted by a two wheeler is under admissible limit and doesn’t interfere with any electronic controllers that are present on it. This EMC norm came into force from January 1st and 70% of the current two-wheelers in the market have already been tested for it at the EMC Tech Center. The ministry has also said that vehicle manufacturers have to come up with a system in order to meet the standards.

Words: Ravi Chandnani