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Q&A: Hiroyuki Suzuki, CEO & MD, Yamaha Motor India

'We'll penetrate smaller cities with top-end products'

Hiroyuki Suzuki
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Yamaha Motor India, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Japanese two-wheeler major Yamaha, has an ambitious target of selling one million units in the next couple of years. Hiroyuki Suzuki, CEO and managing director tells Probal Basak they plan to invest $10 million by 2012 in capacity expansion and extend its reach in smaller cities with top-end products to achieve the sales target. Edited excerpts:

You are planning to enter the scooter segment as your parent company Yamaha Motor Corporation is developing the product for the Indian market. How will that improve your position in the Indian market?
We are planning to launch scooters next year. We will share the details at an appropriate time. We definitely see our foray into the segment as something that will strengthen our foothold in the two-wheeler segment. We are hopeful our entry will provide an impetus to rev up sales and increase our market share.

Did the tsunami in Japan impact your Indian business?
Most of the components are imported from Indonesia, Thailand and other Southeast Asian countries, so, we did see any impact on our operations here.

You sold about 250,000 units last year, and are eying a market share of 10 per cent in the next couple of years, which means you have to sell more than one million units (as 11.8 million two-wheelers were sold in the country last year). How will you achieve that?
We will launch top-end products since we are doing quite well in the premium and deluxe segments where we aim to achieve 20 per cent share by the end of this year. We see a high demand for such products in the B and C category towns and in rural markets. We also aim to achieve one million unit sales by 2013 and look to invest $10 million by 2012 in capacity expansion as well as in new product development.

You have 13 models under your portfolio. Which are the ones doing well in terms of sales and what segment is going to be your focus to achieve the sales target?
Speaking in terms of sales, our premium and deluxe segment models (150cc+) YZF-R15, FZ series and SZ series have done extremely well in the Indian market. We have been able to achieve a market share of 14 per cent in deluxe segment over the last two months. We will continue to focus on this segment, particularly in B and C category towns to increase the penetration levels. However, our focus will not lessen in the entry-level segment as this segment has also been instrumental in driving sales.

There were reports you are coming up with a third plant? Do you have any location in mind?
We have facilities at Surajpur in Uttar Pradesh and Faridabad in Haryana. The Surajpur plant can roll out 600,000 motorcycles a year, which can be expanded to one million units, while the Faridabad plant can manufacture engines and other components. So, there is no immediate need. But yes, we will start planning for a new factory by the end of this year.

What is you growth strategy for this year?
We plan to sell 500,000 motorcycles this year (domestic 350,000 units and export 150,000 units) and look to achieve overall 10 per cent market share over the next few years with new product offerings, enhanced sales and service network and strong marketing initiatives.

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