Vespa is Back

Italian scooter giant to make their official entry next month

Vespa, the whooly-owned subsidiary of Piaggio & Co. S.p.A., is back in India and this time they are flying solo. The Italian company, as much a global fashion trendsetter as it is a scooter manufacturer, is no stranger to the Indian two-wheeler market, having had a highly successful joint venture with LML from 1984 until its abrupt end in 1989.

 

Piaggio Group President, Mr. Matteo Colaninno, will be commercially launching Vespa in its new avatar in Mumbai on 26th April, 2012. This will be followed by the plant inauguration at Baramati, on the outskirts of Pune. We reckon their first offering will be the trendy LX 125 scooter displayed at the Auto Expo this year, aimed at young and fashion conscious college-goers. All we can say is, welcome back, Vespa.

Triumph To Set Up Facility In Karnataka

Triumph sets shop in KarnatakaTriumph Motorcycles have signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with the Karnataka government to set up a bike assembly plant in the state within a year.

The renowned UK-based bike-makers were on the lookout for a location for their facility close to a port, so that they could import completely knocked-down (CKD) units and, in the future, also export the bikes manufactured in India. They have now zeroed in on Narasapur in Kolar district, on the Bengaluru-Chennai highway, about 50 km away from Honda’s upcoming motorcycle plant.

After the UK and Thailand, India is the third country where the company is going to set up its manufacturing facility. The new facility will help Triumph price their motorcycles competitively in the world’s second largest two-wheeler market. It may be recalled that last year Harley-Davidson started similar operations at a facility in Haryana.

Triumph had announced that they would be assembling the Bonneville, Street Triple, Speed Triple and Daytona 675 models locally. The company is already working on a smaller capacity motorcycle, around 350 cc, which will ensure the numbers to justify the setting up of the facility. Later, the company might consider full manufacturing as well. The plant will take about a year to reach completion, but the bikes will be launched before that via the CBU (completely built-up units) to generate initial brand awareness. The introductory prices will also be kept low, keeping in mind the plans of local assembly, which will help the company avoid import duties.

Triumph’s head office will be based in New Delhi. They will appoint four dealers this year and another 12 over the coming three years.

Baby CBR launched

Honda launches the CBR 150R in India in two variants

Ladies and gentlemen, say hello to the smallest CBR ever. Honda have launched the CBR 150R in India in two variants, Standard and Deluxe. While the Standard will retail for Rs. 1,16,385, the Deluxe variant will set you back by Rs. 1,17,385 (both prices, ex-showroom, Delhi). The Standard variant will be available in 2 shades– Black with Pearl Sunbeam White and Sports Red with Pearl Sunbeam White while the Deluxe model (with special graphics) will be available in Black with Candy Palm Green & Vibrant Orange with Pearl Sunbeam White colour.

Powered by a liquid-cooled fuel-injected DOHC engine producing 18.3PS of peak power and 12.6 Nm of peak torque, this CBR packs a sizeable punch that belies its small package. Disc brakes are standard at both the front and the rear. Visually, the CBR 150R bears a striking resemblance to its bigger sibling, the CBR 250R, thanks to its adoption of Honda’s dual layered full body cowling, albeit smaller in every aspect. Apart from the powertrain, the only major difference is the twin tubular frame on the CBR 150R, which endows the bike with excellent rigidity and stability.

Honda has already started taking bookings for the CBR 150R and the first deliveries are expected to happen by the end of this Month.

Tuning-Forked Ray

Yamaha to launch Ray scooter this Diwali

At this year’s Auto Expo, Yamaha showcased a pink-purple and black scooter named ‘Ray.’ And now the news is that this 125cc scooter is going to become a production reality. There had been rumors that Yamaha was entering into the scooter segment in India and recent news shows that the Japanese bike manufacturer will be making an entry into the scooter segment with the Ray around Diwali.

Their flagship scooter is set to target female customers primarily and will have chic styling, vivid colours, a smooth engine feel and a large underseat storage space. The company has also picked John Abraham as the scooters brand ambassador and this may help convincing the PYTs to choose this scooter over other options in the market. The pricing for this 125cc scooter hasn’t been disclosed yet but we expect it to be priced between Rs 40-50K.

Yamaha is also planning to set up a new plant in South India and, if their present offerings are anything to go by, we reckon their upcoming entries into the bike and scooter segment should be some of the most exciting, sporty and stylish offerings in their own categories. Bring it on!

Heroic Bid On Ducati?

Is Hero MotoCorp considering to take over Ducati?

Since 2010, when Hero decided to part ways with technology partner, Honda of Japan, the Indian company has been on the lookout for a viable long-term partner that could bring along a thorough know-how of two-wheeler technologies. Being the world’s biggest two-wheeler makers, Hero know how to sell bikes; all they
need is strong R&D that churns out fresh, attractive and dependable vehicles, which have been the pillar of Hero products in the last three decades.|

Internationally, news agencies are abuzz with reports of Ducati Motor Holding SpA being on the lookout for financial support and a possible buy-out. The Italian superbike maker has a profile that fits perfectly to complete Hero MotoCorp’s dream of becoming a global player. No wonder, this has given rise to rumours that the Indian company is in talks with bankers to buy Ducati. In doing so, the company would gain access to Ducati’s advanced technology, which will come rather handy once Hero and Honda’s licensing comes to an end in 2014.

Speaking to the media, Pawan Kant Munjal, MD, Hero MotoCorp, said that a number of bankers had approached them with a proposition for Ducati buy-out and that Hero had been talking to a number of people. And it’s not just Ducati, but the company speaks to whoever that comes to them.

Other prominent front-runners include the German automobile giants, Volkswagen and BMW. Though there was speculation that even Mahindra & Mahindra had shown interest in this acquisition, it now seems to have fizzled out. Hero MotoCorp have the funds to make the final bid and the current slowdown in European economy would also ensure that they get the iconic Italian company for a good price. The big question that now remains is will Hero MotoCorp manage to do in the global two-wheeler industry what Tata Motors did by acquiring Jaguar and Land Rover in the four-wheeler segment? Well, your guess is as good as ours.

 

Heinrich Switches From Bajaj To BMW Motorrad

Edgar Heinrich BMW Motorrad DesignEdgar Heinrich, currently with Bajaj Auto’s Product Design department, will join the BMW Motorrad Design Studio as head of design from July 1, 2012, taking over from David Robb.

Heinrich began his career as a motorcycle designer with BMW in 1986 as Head of Vehicle Design (Motorcycles). He was also involved in the design development of the six-cylinder touring bikes and the new maxi-scooters.

In July 2009 he came to India as Vice President, Product Design, Bajaj Auto Ltd, and currently heads their styling and model studio, responsible for brand definition and brand strategies for two and four-wheeler design. He is the man behind the design of the Pulsar 200NS that adorns our March’12 magazine cover.

 

KTM to launch Power Wear in India

KTM Power WearBajaj Auto has began deliveries of KTM 200 Duke across India in a phased manner through dedicated 32 KTM store (formerly Pro-biking Showrooms).

Some of our readers, who had booked the bike early, have confirmed deliveries in cities like Hyderabad, Bangalore, Pune among others.

During the Hyderabad launch Prakhar Muktibodh, Area Sales Manager, KTM South confirmed the introduction of KTM riding gear and merchandise soon. Talking to reporters Muktibodh said, that the KTM brand has a wide range of accessories and parts that go well with bike lovers. As a part of expanding the business in India, the company is set to bring in these merchandise, including jackets, gloves and helmets. He further added that KTM will launch Power Wear accessories like jackets, gloves, stickers and helmets in a month’s time, before introducing Power Parts like aluminium sprockets, high-grade plastics and alloys and accessories and other fittings, which will be available at the KTM stores.

The KTM 200 Duke is priced at Rs 1.30 lakh on the road Pune, with a liquid-cooled engine that produces 25 PS of peak power and weighs just 136 kg, which give it outstanding power to weight ratio. While the naked bike design makes it fun to ride in the city.

Read the KTM 200 Duke review click here

 

Winged Assault

Honda CBR150R coming next month

Fast on the heels of the launch of the Honda CBR 250R, which met with an immensely positive reception, Honda is now gearing up to launch its smaller sibling, the CBR150R in the country. Powered by a liquid-cooled fuel-injected DOHC engine producing 18.3PS of peak power and 12.6Nm of peak torque, the CBR packs a sizeable punch that belies its small package. Disc brakes are standard at both front and rear. Visually, the CBR 150R bears a stark resemblance to its bigger sibling, the CBR 250R tthanaks to its adoption of Honda’s dual layered full body cowling, albeit smaller in every aspect. Apart from the powertrain, the only major difference is the twin tubular frame on the CBR 150R, which endows the bike with excellent rigidity and stablity. Expect the CBR 150R to go on sale for around Rs 1.2 lakh when it goes on sale later next month.

Suzuki Swish 125 Scooter launched

After the initial announcement at the Auto Expo last month, Suzuki Motocycles India has now launched the Swish 125 automatic scooter in India with a price tag of INR 45,431(ex-showroom Delhi).

Like its name indicates, the Swish 125 features a 125cc four-stroke engine, borrowed from the Access 125 scooter, that produces 8.7PS of maximum power and a peak torque figure of 9 Nm.

Visually, the Swish looks like a younger and sportier scooter, compared to the slightly-dowdy looking Access 125. The graphics and paint scheme also attenuate this youthful image, and should prove popular with the college-going generation. Suzuki is initially doing a soft launch, in select cities, and the full launch is tentatively scheduled around the end of March. The Japanese subsidiary will also be launching the Hayate 115cc motorcycle in April this year.

HMSI Start Phase II Of Tapukara Plant

Honda's Tapukara plant ribbon cuttingHonda Motorcycle & Scooter India (HMSI) commenced the second phase of production operations at their second two-wheeler production plant in the Tapukara Industrial Area in Rajasthan.

This will help the company to expand its production by another six lakh units per annum, giving it a cumulative production capacity of 28 lakh units per annum. The Japanese automobile major has invested more than Rs 1,000 crore in the second plant and doubled the annual production capacity. The second assembly line is flexible enough to manufacture both scooter and motorcycle models, which includes the Activa, CB Twister and CB Shine, at this plant in addition to the existing Manesar plant.

Honda’s third plant in the vicinity of Bengaluru was announced in 2011 and it is scheduled to become operational in the first half of 2013, with an annual production capacity of 1.2 million units. This capacity expansion plan will increase HMSI’s total annual production capacity to four million units.

 

HMSI Start Phase II Of Tapukara Plant

 

Honda Motorcycle & Scooter India (HMSI) commenced the second phase of production operations at their second two-wheeler production plant in the Tapukara Industrial Area in Rajasthan. This will help the company to expand its production by another six lakh units per annum, giving it a cumulative production capacity of 28 lakh units per annum.

 

The Japanese automobile major has invested more than Rs 1,000 crore in the second plant and doubled the annual production capacity. The second assembly line is flexible to manufacture both scooter and motorcycle models, which include the Activa, CB Twister and CB Shine, at this plant in addition to the existing Manesar plant.

 

Honda’s third plant in the vicinity of Bengaluru was announced in 2011 and it is scheduled to become operational in the first half of 2013, with an annual production capacity of 1.2 million units. This capacity expansion plan will increase HMSI’s total annual production capacity to four million units.