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Yamaha plans to make global models in India

PANJIM: Japanese bike major Yamahaplans to take the made-in-India brand global. The company has decided to develop and manufacture 'global models' here that would be sold in emerging markets, European countries and its home market Japan. 

"India is a low-cost market , but we are not looking at just that. We want to develop sporty and stylish models from here and these would be for European markets and Asian markets," 
Hiroyuki Yanagi , president and CEO of Yamaha Motor Co told TOI here.

The company, he said, wants to make India a location for developing and manufacturing "commuter" bikes or those powered by engines ranging between 100cc and 200cc. Other markets for these vehicles would be South America and even Japan where it has already started export of 150cc R15 and 150cc FZ series bikes. Yamaha, a popular brand in India till late nineties, lost out when others like Hero MotoCorp (formerly Hero Honda), Bajaj Auto, Honda 
Motorcycle and Scooter India and TVS gained ground. 

The company is looking to change its fortunes by launching new models aimed at both the domestic market as well as overseas. It has also ventured into the fast-growing scooter segment with the launch of the Ray model last year for women, and the range has been complemented by the introduction of Ray Z for men. 

Yanagi said the company expects sales in India to grow at a rapid pace, even though the base is relatively small at the moment. The company's wholly-owned subsidiary India Yamaha Motor (IYM) sold 4.9 lakh units in 2012 and is among the top 10 operations of Yamaha globally at present. This included 1.4 lakh units sold overseas. Yanagi said with rapid expansion and new model introductions , he expects India to become one of the company's top-five markets by 2016. The company would be rolling out at least two-to-three new models and variants every year, and these would be both in motorcycle and scooter segments . 

Yamaha has undertaken one of its most ambitious projects in India by kickstarting the development for its cheapest (sub $500 or below Rs 27,000 approximately) motorcycle and scooter models here. The company in April announced the establishment of a new motorcycle R&D set-up at Surajpur and this is Yamaha's fifth overseas research centre on the lines of similar ones in 
Italy, Taiwan, China and Thailand . Among other markets, the low-cost products would also be exported to China, in perhaps the first instance of a major made-in-India automobile product making its way to the dragon land.