India Yamaha Motor is planning to roll out the MT-03, expected to be a naked version of the 41bhp, 321cc liquid-cooled, twin-cylinder YZF-R3. The latter was launched in India in August 2015 at a starting price of Rs 3,25,000(ex-showroom, Delhi).
Sources aware of this development confirm that the company will commercially launch the new model at Auto Expo 2016. It is understood that the YZF-R3, currently imported into India as CKD units and assembled at the company’s Surajpur plant, have given a reasonable entry point to Yamaha in the thriving mid-sized motorcycle category (defined by models with 250cc-800cc engines).
The company is said to have sold close to 560 units of YZF-R3s in India so far, which could be considered as a decent start in the said class.
That said, it can be recalled that while launching the YZF-R3 at Buddh International Circuit in Greater Noida last year, Roy Kurian, vice-president, sales and marketing, Yamaha Motor India, had formally announced that the company management is targeting sales of close to 2,000 units of the R3 in its first year in India.
Besides accompanying the YZF-R3, the incoming MT-03, which would be lighter and more affordable than its faired-sibling, is also expected to consolidate the company’s position in the said class of motorcycles, and thereby boost its sales in 2016.
Speaking to our sister publication Autocar Professional, a source aware of Yamaha’s plans revealed that “the company has been very seriously mulling over launching a street bike that could be powered by either a 250cc engine or a 320cc powertrain. Earlier, the company management was in the favour of rolling out a 250cc street-naked model for potential urban Indian buyers.
However, just like the decision went in favour of the updated 321cc R3, the company will now launch the MT-03 very soon. Also, not to forget, they now have well-set local assembly operations for this class.”
The company, however, has not confirmed any plans. But an official communication issued did say “the signature event of the Indian auto industry ‘Auto Expo 2016’ is just around the corner and India Yamaha Motor is excited to showcase their line of products which will reflect the brand’s DNA: sports, style and innovation.”
Commenting on the expo, Kurian said, “We believe in our spirit of being young at heart, offering head-turning style, racing and speed. The launch of our stylish scooter Fascino and the class-leading powerful bike YZF-R3 have given us immense popularity, which proves our likeability as a two-wheeler brand that revs your heart”.
The theme of the Yamaha booth at the Auto Expo this year will focus on ‘Generation Y’ and will celebrate the spirit of youth.
India Yamaha Motor is also learnt to be weighing new models for Indian buyers’ new-found interest in the mid-sized motorcycle segment. Sources say that just like how the company management had showcased the YZF-R25 in the 2014 Auto Expo to gauge the response from the industry and then later launched the YZF-R3, they might do the same with a bigger mid-size motorcycle, possibly in the 600cc-700cc engine displacement class.
To estimate a rough size of the mid-size motorcycle category, industry statistics convey that while the models with single-cylinder engines account for a majority share, the costlier, twin-cylinder models are also seeing growing sales. Models with twin-cylinder engines in the 250cc-800cc category have fetched close to 4,000 units of sales to the industry between April-December 2015. This can be extrapolated into an all-time high sales growth of more than 5,000 units for this league of motorcycles in the ongoing financial year.
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