November 16, 2012: Suzuki Motorcycle India (SMI), which had announced plans to set up a second plant at Rohtak for manufacturing scooters and motorcycles earlier this year, is to invest Rs 500 crore in the facility. To be spread across 50 acres, the plant will have a production capacity of 500,000 units per annum.
The company’s existing production unit at Gurgaon rolls out 460,000 units annually, manufacturing five models (Motorcycles: GS150R, SlingShot Plus, Hayate; Scooters: Access, Swish125). With many new scooters and motorcycle models in readiness to be produced at the Rohtak plant, SMI is optimistic of touching a production capacity of 1 million units by 2015 when the new facility will go on stream.
According to Atul Gupta, vice president-sales and marketing (pictured), the investment will be funded by Suzuki Motor Corporation of Japan. SMI, which is a subsidiary of Suzuki, Japan, has so far experienced limited growth in India compared to its Japanese counterpart Honda Motorcycle & Scooter India. SMI entered the mass segment in May this year with its 112.8cc Hayate commuter bike which competes with the Hero Splendor and Honda Dream Yuga.
Like HMSI, Suzuki Motorcycle India also witnessed its highest sales on Dhanteras day during this festive season with 10,000 units sold wherein both the Hayate and the 124cc Access and Swish scooters contributed the major share. With this fillip, it hopes to close November with sales of over 40,000 units with scooters sales contributing the chunk at 30,000 units and the Hayate 10,000 units.
Going forward, the Hayate along with the two scooters will play an important role in the two-wheeler manufacturer’s growth gameplan in India. At present, both the Access and Swish have a waiting period of around 6-9 months as the current production capacity at the Gurgaon plant is 30,000 units per month compared to the demand for 50,000 units, says Gupta.
Undaunted by the growing popularity of the 109cc Honda Dream Yuga which crossed sales of 100,000 units a month ago, he feels that the Suzuki Hayate commands its own clientele and market in a different space to the competition.
Meanwhile, SMI is doubling its dealership count to 600 outlets in 24 months from the current 300 to keep pace with expansion in the product portfolio. The company claims it holds a market share of 20-21 percent in the scooter segment and 3 percent in bikes.
The company is optimistic of closing this fiscal at sales of 500,000 units of which scooters will contribute 350,000 units. In October 2012, it sold 36,205 units and a cumulative total of 242,843 units in the April-October 2012 period, a YoY growth of 38.21 percent.
In September , the company kicked off its first exports of 100 units of its GS150R motorcycles to Columbia as part of the testing-of-waters exercise in that market. At present the company’s portfolio comprises the five products made at the Gurgaon plant and motorcycles like the Intruder, Bandit, GSX R1000 and Hayabusa that are imported in Completely Built Unit (CBU) form.
Like other two-wheeler OEMs, Suzuki Motorcycle India too plans to introduce new scooter and bike models in 2013 but remains tight-lipped about further details.