Yamaha’s future plans unveiled: interview with Yamaha senior vice president

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Yamaha recently made waves in the scooter segment by releasing the most powerful scooter in the 150-160cc class, the Yamaha Aerox 155. Not only that, the Japanese manufacturer also introduced the Yamaha R15 V4 and R15 M, armed with a few first-segment features. We reached out to the bike maker’s senior vice president Ravinder Singh and got some insightful details on what the company has been up to and its future launch plans:

What is the localization level obtained for the Aerox 155?

Being the first maxi-sport offering of its kind in India, our main focus with the Yamaha Aerox 155 has been to price aggressively, as it is a revolutionary product in the 150cc scooter segment. Thus, to control the price component, the Aerox 155 is manufactured in our factory in Kanchipuram (Tamil Nadu). Only the motor for the scooter – which we will start manufacturing in India once we see high numbers and growth in the segment – is imported from Indonesia.

Yamaha India had presented the Nmax at Auto Expo a few years ago, the reasoning behind the choice of the Aerox 155 over the old one?

The Aerox 155 and the Nmax 155 are two high performance scooters from the Yamaha range, but designed for different segments. The Nmax is designed to appeal to a more mature audience while the Aerox 155 is aimed at the younger generation, who seek an elegant, sporty and exciting ride. It is also Yamaha’s target audience in India, and the Aerox 155 fulfills this requirement in every respect, being India’s first 150cc maxi-sport scooter.

The 125cc motorcycle space has seen a lot of action in recent years due to the increasing cost of motorcycles in general. Will we see Yamaha come back to this segment?

Yamaha’s target customers are the young Indian generation. The priority of this segment is to find their own identity and driving personality as well as exciting performance. This target group is more feature and technology conscious, and our efforts have always been to satisfy this age group with our innovation, technology and advanced features. We are committed to having a strong presence in the 125cc and 150cc premium scooter and 150cc and 250cc motorcycle spaces, with a strategically planned product portfolio that is designed to meet the expectations of every rider. We will continue to expand our product portfolio in these segments in the future as well, in order to meet the needs of young people.

The R15 V4 makes slightly less horsepower on paper than the BS6 version. What was the reason for the lower power output?

The engine has been readjusted with a slight reduction in power and an increase in torque. This was done to improve the performance of city driving. The aerodynamics were also revised, which not only helped improve air resistance but also improved top speed compared to version 3.0.

Will the MT-15 also get the USD fork option and a new console as an update?

We will notify you at the appropriate time.

Can we expect the R3 to return when the Euro5 version was recently unveiled?

Regarding the entry into the 300cc space, we take a very close look at the market and related trends, and can present our range of big bikes when the market is mature enough. For now, we are focused on strengthening our portfolio of premium 125cc and 150cc scooters, as well as expanding the range of 150cc and 250cc motorcycles.

Yamaha is one of the few brands to be missed in the popular ADV segment in India. Will that change anytime soon?

The Indian adventure and premium motorcycle market segment has enormous long-term potential given increasing purchasing power, ambitious levels for luxury brands and changing lifestyles of new age millennials. The Indian two-wheeler market has seen an influx of luxury and premium motorcycle manufacturers and the numbers will continue to grow, making India a much better two-wheeler market. At Yamaha, we research and analyze trends in the adventure motorcycle segment and can consider entering the segment at the appropriate time.

What was your strategy with the Aerox 155? What kind of numbers do you expect?

The 150cc scooter segment in India is in its infancy with very few players in the market, but the Aerox 155 brings with it a host of first segment features, built on the Maxi-Sports Scooter concept. Our strategy is to offer Yamaha’s R DNA to the younger generation in the scooter segment with its premium offer, the Aerox 155, which is developed on the lines of the YZF-R15 V4 supersport motorcycle. The scooter is sure to make an impact on customers with its range of features, style and performance, perpetuating the R-DNA. Since this product is aimed at premium audience, we will mainly focus on the digital platform to promote it with 1 to 1 marketing concept. As for the numbers, we will study the market response this year and we will set a goal starting next year.

After the Y-Connect and the Connect-X, do we see another app, or an update to them, since both don’t provide navigation aids unlike the competition?

At Yamaha, it’s an ongoing process for us to make sure our customers are ahead of the curve when it comes to experiencing the latest technology and advanced features in the premium segment. We will also continue to introduce connected mobility solutions in the future and when it comes to updates, the Y-Connect and Connect-X apps will receive regular updates to ensure a smooth customer ownership experience.

Do you have CKD assembly plans for big bikes in the future?

Rising purchasing power, improving lifestyles and levels of aspiration of the current generation to own luxury brands indicate immense potential for growth in the big bike segment. In fact, over the years there has been an increase in the number of luxury and premium motorcycle manufacturers also entering the Indian two-wheeler industry. Thus, the change in lifestyle and increasing competition will undoubtedly make India a large and flourishing bicycle market. But the Indian superbike market is still in its infancy. Nonetheless, we have taken a very close look at the large bicycle market and related trends and may introduce a wider range of superbikes when the market is mature enough.

With Royal Enfield entering motorsport, does Yamaha India have specific plans for Indian motorsport?

Currently there are no plans; however, we are evaluating the possibilities and will notify you in due course.


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