Yamaha to develop 'world's cheapest motorbike' in India

Japanese two-wheeler maker Yamaha Motor Co today said it is working to develop in India the ''world's cheapest motorcycle'', tentatively priced at around $500 or Rs28,000.

The company has established its fifth global R&D centre in the country with a new entity at Surajpur in Uttar Pradesh called Yamaha Motor Research and Development India Pvt Ltd, which will be the hub of R&D efforts in the country. It plans to set up another R&D centre by 2015 at its upcoming Chennai facility.

''We are aiming to develop lowest cost model and lowest cost parts in the world. The market conditions keep changing and pricing depends that. We would like to develop a cheapest motorcycle in the world which will cost about $500 for India as well for exports to markets like Africa, ASEAN, the Philippines and Latin America,'' YMRI managing director Toshikazu Kobayashi told reporters in Delhi.

While the company did not give any timeline for the launch for the model, Kobayashi said the bike will have an engine capacity of 100 cc or more as "smaller bikes with smaller engine do not have good balance".

He added that as a part of Yamaha's plan for 2013, the company will work on the development of the low cost model, followed by developing an India-specific version. This will be followed by developing a global model.

Going forward, the company will expand presence in the commuter segment, especially in the Indian market.

"We have been focusing on sporty, stylish and performance bikes in India so far. Now we are looking to increase our presence in the commuter segment. Developing the product in India will give us a substantial cost advantage and enable us to price it competitively," India Yamaha Motor chief executive officer and managing director Hiroyuki Suzuki said.

He said the company is looking to sell 7.1 lakh units of motorcycles and scooters this year, including 2.1 lakh units in exports. The Indian unit IYM had sold a total of 4.9 lakh in 2012.

"Our long-term target is to sell a total of 28 lakh units by 2018. We are aiming to sell 10 lakh units in 2015 that will include exports," he added.

In order to enhance its position in the Indian market, the company will launch a new scooter model each year till 2016, apart from setting up the two R&D centres.