Friday, May 22, 2009

With the success of the FZ16 & YZF-R15, Yamaha India is back with a vengeance.

So does this dual-blast attack leave the current premium segment topdog, Bajaj Auto panting? Pawan Chabra answers...

What’s ‘power’ when it comes to two wheelers? Is it more vital than ‘mileage’, for aren’t bikes supposed to go light when it comes to burning that lethal hole in your wallet? So what’s more important? Well, the answer is – both, depending on when! Confused? Recall how Yamaha set the Indian roads on fire for two-wheelers with the launch of its RX100, then considered perhaps the most therapeutic creation man had ever created for India! That was reality then, and suddenly ‘power’ had attained an all new meaning for the Indian two-wheeler freaks! Cut to today, you’d learn to appreciate that the bookish types were after all right when they’d claimed how fuel costs would one day become an important determinant of consumer choice in this product category. Power-bikes had failed in the face of Hero Honda’s ‘fuel-efficiency’ might. Yamaha, was merrily grounded, and worse, with time, it faded into the past... living merely for the sake of its past glories!

Then the inevitable happened, proving how no thought, technology or even product for that matter lasts forever. And suddenly power-hungry speedo-maniacs found another reason to raise a toast to the longevity of their adrenaline glands! The Pune-based Bajaj Auto launched the Pulsar range in the year 2000, and the premium segment simply came alive... resurrected! Power-bikes were back into being fashionable amongst the Indian populace! And this trend continues till date. So what’s the latest in this game of Mr. Might versus Mr. Mileage? Well, Mr. Might continues to rule (at least for now), and has even found another contender to don the top hat in Yamaha India!

Interestingly so, Yamaha’s slumber has been broken. And don’t bless the ever rising summer temperatures in India for this; it was perhaps the pain of having been banished from two-wheeler stardom as long as 13 years back that played the alarm gong! The R15 & FZ16 launches just worked magic for the company – precisely what the doctor had prescribed. Even though the models are not crank happy rocket-ships like the legendry RX100, they offer much more for the present style & performance craving youth. The premium offerings have taken the market by storm. If numbers speak louder than words, here are some for the uninformed: Yamaha posted a mind numbing 192% growth in the month of January 2009 (sales for January 2008 stood at 18,320 units), while on the other hand, arch-rival Bajaj saw its sales deflated by a heart-rending 34%. The irony is that,w Yamaha can continue giving more nightmares to Bajaj. But is comeback ‘sustainable’ is the question to be asked...

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Source : IIPM Editorial, 2009

An Initiative of IIPM, Malay Chaudhuri and Arindam chaudhuri (Renowned Management Guru and Economist).

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