Yuh Motoyama, senior general manager, engineering section (motorcycle business operations), said, “The research and development (R&D) unit is an integrated development centre, the second such for Yamaha globally. The vendor base in India is strong and cost-competitive and the potential to source parts from here for our operations globally is very promising.” YMC had inaugurated its first integrated development centre in Asean in Thailand last year.
Besides purchasing, YMRI would work closely with engineers at the Yamaha headquarters in Japan to develop low-cost models.
“YMRI is the fifth foreign R&D facility for Yamaha. Every centre has a mandate. While the unit in Taiwan concentrates on developing products in the 150-cc category, the centre in Italy focuses on developing two-wheelers for the European market. While platforms would continue to be made in Japan, YMRI will modify them to create low-cost products for the domestic market”, added Motoyama. The ‘root model’ can then be altered for exports to markets in Africa and Latin America.
Toshikazu Kobayashi, managing director, YMRI, said, “Our aim is to develop the lowest-cost model and parts in the world. Our aim is to develop a low-cost bike at around $ 500 for both the domestic as well as exports markets.”
He, however, declined to specify a timeline for launching the product in the Indian market. Yamaha’s move is a part of its strategy to expand its footprint in the mass commuter segment in the country.
Yamaha, at present, has marginal share in the low-cost commuter segment with the YBR110 and Crux which together sells around 4300 odd units every month. The segment accounts for over 65 per cent of motorcycle sales in India.
Additionally, to enhance its presence in the domestic two-wheeler industry India Yamaha Motor (IYM) will launch a new scooter every year till 2016. Hiroyuki Suzuki, chief executive officer and managing director, IYM said, “We intend to sell one million units by 2016 and grab 10 per cent of the domestic two-wheeler industry. In the scooter segment, we will launch one new product every year to attain market share of 20 per cent in the same period.”
In the current financial year the company is eyeing sales of 710,000 units, which is an increase of around 45 per cent over the 490,000 units sold last fiscal. While 500,000 units will be sold in the domestic market, the remaining numbers would come in from exports.