Pune: India’s superbike spectrum is set for a heady road ahead with iconic Italian brand Benelli re-entering India on a strong pitch with plans to assemble established models and manufacture ‘made for
India’ bikes by 2020.
Benelli has entered into a strategic partnership with Adhishwar Auto Ride India, a subsidiary of Hyderabad-based Mahavir Group, one of the leading automobile dealers with over 30 years of experience in auto sector.
“The Benelli bikes we are offering will be in price segment between Rs 2 and 8 lakh, essentially targeting the young generation with offerings of 8-10 variants between 300cc to 600cc,” Vikas Jhabakh, Director of Mahavir Group, told Sakal Times in an interview.
Benelli had been in India for a few years through a distributor, who had to shut shop due to financial issues, but Jhabakh has ensured that his partnership with the Italian bike maker will continue to service every Benelli owner.
“Superbikes is a segment that is growing very steadily in India and owners of these bikes expect service and spares on regular basis and we will ensure that spares will be made available even for the discontinued bikes,” said Jabhakh, who as a youngster dabbled in karting as a hobby, something that runs in the genes of this family.
His father was a passionate rally driver before Mahavir Group came along. Jabhakh’s cousin Jeet currently competes in National Racing Championship’s VW Ameo Cup One-Make series.
“Racing runs in the family no doubt. My father drove all over south India despite opposition from my grandfather, but automobile was something that was a passion and here we are trying to make a difference,” said Jabhakh of his decision to get into partnership with Benelli.
“We are setting up assemply plant for Benelli in Hyderabad, which would be ready by first quarter of next year and start rolling out the marquee bikes that already have demand in Indian market,” informed Jabhakh.
Benelli in India
Currently, Benelli has about 21 per cent market share in the superbike segment in India with an aim to touch 30 per cent by 2021.
The company built its customer base thanks to robust after sales service that built a relationship of mutual trust and knowledge with its customers.
In Pune, Benelli has over 750 owners and now with Mahavir group bringing new ideas, the Italian brand is aiming to sell another 425 plus vehicles in the next one year. The USP will be 12 new superbikes that Benelli would introduce in India by end of 2019.
Benelli recently signed an MoU with Telangana government to set up an indigenous manufacturing facility, in line with the “Make in India” project.
Benelli’s manufacturing facility will be set up in two phases. The first phase, spread over 3 acres, is executed through AARI-Mahavir Group and will be operational by October 2018. The second phase will be a larger setup that will span across 20 acres of area.
One of the major breakthrough that Jabhakh managed was to convince existing Benelli dealers to stay on.
“About 15-17 dealers have agreed to continue with us and we will be honouring warranties of all existing customers. No customer will suffer for spares whatever the model they own,” said Jabhakh, who intends to extend dealer network to 20 in 2019 and add 20 more touch-points by 2020.
“We want to be within 100-200-km from each customer across India to provide them best possible service.”
This is crucial since more bike makers are coming up with newer ideas – specially Bajaj, which is a planning “Nexa-type” adventure for two-wheelers. Bajaj already has KTM and Duke in their portfolio besides being in the advanced stage of getting iconic British brand Triumph on board.
Born in Italy in 1911, Benelli has heritage, emotion and innovation, which has become legendary throughout more than 100 years of ground breaking models, advanced technology, victories and world-renowned pilots.
One of the oldest Italian motorcycle manufacturers with presence in over 60 countries, including America, Africa, Europe and Asia Pacific. Benelli’s product portfolio includes more than 20 variants and till date, 5,650 units have been sold across India. In 2005, Benelli became part of Qjian Jiang (QJ) group, China. In the super modern factory of QJ, which is located in Wenling, about 500 km from Shanghai, the production capacity is about 12,00,000 per year.