The 250cc premium sports motorcycle segment is growing at a faster pace than the rest of the market with new launches like the KTM Duke 200 and the Bajaj Pulsar 200 NS seeing good demand. Yamaha though, thus far has limited itself with 150cc offerings like the R15 and the FZ16. These motorcycles have been the biggest sellers for the Japanese two wheeler brand, lifting it out of the doldrums as it struggled to make the switch from two stroke motorcycles to four stroke offerings in the noughties, even as emission norms tightened.
2012 Yamaha R15 Version 2.0 used as an illustration
Four years after the first R15 was showcased at the 2008 Indian Auto Expo, Yamaha could finally break out of the 150cc segment to build bigger motorcycles for the Indian motorcycle market. 250cc motorcycle offerings based on the R-series or the FZ-series are likely to be offered in the future. Apart from these initial details, nothing much is known about the price points or the likely launch time frame of these 250cc motorcycles. By 2016, Yamaha is aiming to develop an all new motorcycle range for the Indian market, designed and developed in the country.
Currently, India plays host of three 250cc motorcycles, in the form of the Kawasaki Ninja 250R, the Hyosung GT250R and the Honda CBR250R. Of these, the Ninja and the Hyosung are brought assembled in the country through CKD kits while the CBR250R is completely manufactured in India. This has ensured that the CBR250R is very well priced, and quite naturally, the Honda sells many more times than the Kawasaki and the Hyosung put together. Similarly, the best approach for Yamaha would be to build the 250cc motorcycle in India from ground up.
In the coming years, many more 250cc+ offerings will make their debut in India with Bajaj Auto leading the charge with bigger capacity motorcycles. Bajaj plans to launch a 375cc variant of the Pulsar in 2013, before which a KTM Duke 375 is expected to break cover in the same year. Both these motorcycles are expected to be priced well within 2 lakh rupees, and the value-for-money factor, which Bajaj is renowned for, is expected to be at the fore of both these sporty premium offerings. Both the Pulsar 375 as well as the KTM Duke 375 are expected to be heavily localized, and built at the Chakan plant, off Pune.