BMW Motorrad and TVS Motors: Strange albeit possible bedfellows?
Hosur based two and three wheeler maker TVS Motors is said to be in talks with the two wheeler division of BMW, BMW Motorrad. Apart from this initial bit of information trickling in, not much is known about the finer details on the talks and where it could lead both makers to. That said, the initial speculation surrounding the talks seems to suggest some kind of co-operation between the TVS and BMW. While TVS Motors builds two wheelers and three wheelers, BMW Motorrad exclusively builds high performance motorcycles and scooters.
Strange bedfellows as they may seem, both two wheeler makers bring unique competencies that could work fantastically well when co-ordinated. TVS is a strong player in the entry level commuter motorcycle segment up to 200cc. Also, the Indian major is one of the most progressive when it comes to having a dedicated research and development wing, a wing that has contributed to many new products and innovations thus far. Also, TVS is the only motorcycle maker in the country to have a dedicated racing effort under the TVS Racing banner, competing in many forms of two wheeled motorsports, right from circuit racing and motocross to competing at the drag strips and hill climbs.
TVS is also developing hybrid two wheelers, which could be the next big growth engine for the two wheeler maker. BMW Motorrad on the other hand, is known for its expensive and cutting edge range of motorcycles that have a distinct design philosophy, putting function over form. BMW too, is involved in racing in a big manner and the S100RR superbike is just one example of BMW putting its racing expertise from the racetrack, onto the road, quite similar to the way TVS has put the Apache series of motorcycles into production, after extensively racing its predecessor, the Fiero.
Previously, TVS had a long standing and highly successful joint venture with Japanese automaker Suzuki, to build motorcycles for the Indian market. This successful JV, spanned for over a decade before Suzuki called it quits to go it alone in India. Ever since, TVS has managed to successfully develop a range of products with its homegrown research capabilities. A few memorable homegrown albeit unsuccessful ones at the hustings, were the likes of the TVS Centra commuter motorcycles and the Spectra 150cc four stroke scooter. A big success that followed these products was the TVS Victor range of commuter motorcycles, a range which will be relaunched later this year.
Now, coming back to the possible co-operation/collaboration TVS and BMW Motorrad, the alliance could be related to BMW wanting to enter the mass volume spectrum of two wheelers, a market segment that is highly lucrative, especially that of high performance sports motorcycles in the range of 250cc to 650cc. BMW currently does not have motorcycles under 600cc and TVS too does not have motorcycles displacing over 200cc. So, a joint development program could give TVS the edge in technology that BMW possesses, while BMW could have access to high quality, low cost manufacturing. Did we just hear a pact something akin to the Bajaj-KTM alliance? Well, the possibilities seem endless. Watch this space.