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Thread: Interviews of Prominent Personalities of the industry.

  1. #31
    Moderator Samarth 619's Avatar
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    Unhappy Re: Interviews of Prominent Personalities of the industry.

    Motorcycle market to remain tough, says Rahul Bajaj

    The company has decided to exit the cargo three-wheeler segment and focus solely on the passenger segment.

    With no improvement in demand in sight, Bajaj Auto Chairman Rahul Bajaj has warned of a tough environment ahead for the motorcycle market. In 2012-13, Bajaj Auto, the largest exporter of two- and three-wheelers in India, recorded a fall of two per cent in domestic and export sales, after three consecutive years of growth.

    ""Despite being an optimist, I do not see signs of a substantial recovery in the near future yet.""

    In his comment in the company’s sixth annual report, Rahul Bajaj said, “Despite being an optimist, I do not see signs of a substantial recovery in the near future yet. The decline in growth may have bottomed out, but incremental growth will be modest…In such an environment, the domestic market for motorcycles will be very tough. Your company will have to fight to gain market share, and do so in ways that do not erode its healthy Ebitda (earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation) margin. The management and employees of Bajaj Auto, led by Rajiv Bajaj, have more than enough capability to meet the challenge.”

    Last year, the Pune-based company reported sales of 3.75 million units. At 2.46 million, domestic motorcycle sales reported a decline of four per cent. Market share in the domestic motorcycle segment stood at 24.4 per cent, against 25.4 per cent in the previous year.

    “Urban, as well as rural markets were affected by relatively high interest rates on consumer loans, high inflation and a deep sense of uncertainty. Consumer durables purchase decisions were pushed back and motorcycles were no exception. This was particularly true of models in the upper-end performance segment, which represents a substantial proportion of Bajaj Auto’s motorcycle business,” the report said.

    Last year, the company’s three-wheelers, too, took a knock, declining seven per cent to 4,80,057 units. This was largely due to a fall in exports. Tough market conditions in Sri Lanka stifled export demand.

    The company has decided to exit the cargo three-wheeler segment and focus solely on the passenger segment. Last year, the company pushed new motorcycle models such as Pulsar 200NS, Discover 125ST and Discover 100T.

    PT Bajaj Auto Indonesia, a subsidiary company, reported losses had doubled to Rs 24 crore and motorcycle sales had halved to 11,198 units. Owing to losses, Bajaj Auto has further impaired its investments in PT Bajaj Auto Indonesia by Rs 35.52 crore. In 2010-11, there was an impairment provision of Rs 102.27 crore.

    Now, the total impairment provision stands at Rs 137.79 crore.

    In September 2012, Bajaj Auto had announced a distribution arrangement with Kawasaki Motors to market and distribute Pulsar NS motorcycles in Indonesia. It was expected this would boost exports to Indonesia from the second half of 2013-14, the report said.

    Source: Motorcycle market to remain tough, says Rahul Bajaj | Business Standard

  2. #32
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    Default Shinji Aoyama : Dislodging Splendor is not our objective

    Source : Business Line

    Shinji Aoyama is no stranger to India. He was President of Hondas two-wheeler operations here from 2007 to 2011, a period which saw the company part ways with the Hero group, its partner of over two decades.Today, from his headquarters in Japan, Aoyama oversees Hondas two-wheeler operations across the world. As Director and Operating Officer of Honda Motor Company & Chief Operating Officer of Motorcycle Operations, India is a high priority market for him. There is also the added challenge of Honda Motorcycle & Scooter India getting to the top position, clawing ahead of Hero MotoCorp, which Aoyama believes could happen by 2016.
    Excerpts from an interview with Murali Gopalan:
    Are you pleased with the way Honda is building its two-wheeler business in India?
    I am very happy with the current performance of Honda Motorcycle & Scooter India. The results are even better than my original plan made three years ago as the company has outpaced the original targeted timeline for these numbers.
    In your last India visit, you had indicated that Honda could become the top player in India by 2015-16 ahead of the planned target of 2020. Do you still stand by that assessment?
    Yes, to answer your question, I still maintain the same position. Unless and until the market grows again in a rapid manner to exceed our expansion of capacity, this target (of being the top player) may happen around 2016. Similarly, once the market start regaining volumes, there is an opportunity for Honda to reach higher levels of capacity.
    Your former partner, Hero MotoCorp, is still going strong with the Splendor. Do you believe dislodging this brand will be the toughest challenge for Honda as it aims to be the top player in India?
    Dislodging a brand is not my objective or scope of our business in India. The more we sell in the current market, the more we at Honda will take customers from competitors. As a result, some OEM brand may see a reduction in market share or volumes. While respecting all competitors, we should create a healthy industry and market especially from the viewpoint of road safety.
    What, in your view, is still keeping the Splendor going even though it is an old brand?
    Many Indian buyers think highly of a reliable product or brand. The Splendor has a long history which has been appreciated by people in India. The product still remains good.
    During our previous interactions, you had said India would emerge as Hondas top global market ahead of Indonesia and Vietnam. When will this happen?
    Today, sales volumes in India have already reached the second position for Honda's two-wheeler business after Indonesia. India may be the top market for Honda in 2015 or 2016.
    Your sales mix shows that the Activa (and the scooter range) is still ahead of your motorcycles. How would you explain that?
    The sales performance of the Activa is far better than my expectations. Additional supply also helps create more and more customers. Today even in rural areas, the scooter segment boasts of high sales. This naturally accelerates demand for our scooter range.
    Would you, therefore, agree with the view that Honda is a brand whose association is stronger with scooters than motorcycles?
    Honda is still busy expanding capacity to meet the growing demand for scooters. I agree that the image of the brand is stronger in scooters than motorcycles. However, this will change over a longer time period.
    Do you also believe that the success of the Activa can play a big role in boosting Hondas motorcycle sales in India?
    Honda is still at the halfway mark when it comes to network creation. Obviously, success of the Activa will only help in expanding the overall sales channel.
    What is your own view of two-wheeler preferences in India? Do you think motorcycles will continue to stay ahead of scooters?
    For a while, I do think motorcycles will remain the top preference for Indian customers. However, this situation may change after a decade. Year after year, the scooter is becoming more important in the market since it offers greater versatility when it comes to usage.
    Honda has said in the past that it must offer high-tech products at competitive prices to meet local competition in India. Would that tempt you to offer ultra low-cost bikes in the future?
    I believe there is a possibility for ultra low-cost bikes to generate a new demand trend. We should, however, study more about this kind of a product for India.
    Finally, as you build more plants, does it become particularly challenging getting suppliers to new locations and coping with logistics?
    Definitely yes! We cannot grow without the support and simultaneous development of suppliers as well as logistics in our growth plan.

  3. #33
    Moderator The Monk's Avatar
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    Default Re: Shinji Aoyama : Dislodging Splendor is not our objective

    xBhp interviewed Atul Gupta, Vice President, Sales & Marketing, Suzuki Motorcycle India Pvt Ltd about the future of the company in India and the recently launched motorcycles, the Inazuma and Gixxer 155.

    X: How has the response been to the Gixxer?
    Atul Gupta: The Gixxer has been appreciated by knowledgeable enthusiasts. When the informed media says that the Gixxer is good, then it is actually good. All the media and press people have said that the Gixxer is very good offering from Suzuki. In terms of styling it has been very well received, as only styling is visible to everybody. In July, when the bike is launched, the performance will be as good as the styling mainly because of the technology called SEP (Suzuki Eco Power). This bike will be the first in India to feature SEP. It gives you the best of power, initial torque, low end power and top speed, without disappointing you on mileage. Generally, people would think that with this kind of power you can expect 40kmpl maximum, but it will be far more than that.

    X: Where do you plan to position the bike in terms of age segment and why the gap between launch and sale of the Gixxer?
    AG: College kids 20-22 will be targeted. The reason of the time difference between launch and sale is that Auto Expo is a fantastic platform to get maximum eyeballs and publicity for a new launch. That is the reason we have displayed and launched in Auto Expo.

    X: Is this bike on display, a production ready model or are you taking feedback from customers and planning to make changes?
    AG: This is a tested model, and is production ready. There is no possibility of change between the bike on display and the bike that will hit the roads in July.

    X: Will the Gixxer be sold alongside the GS150 or will the GS be phased out? Any plans to upgrade the GS, as it has not been updated for some time now?
    AG: The GS will remain as it is. The Gixxer will be a new addition to the 150cc segment. There is no change in the GS, that product has its own value and we would like to concentrate on the Gixxer.

    X: Now coming to the Inazuma, the Inazuma is priced very steeply, at par with the Ninja 300? Factors behind pricing?
    AG: One reason being that it is a CKD. Two, the tee shirt which you are wearing is a half sleeve which is a Ninja, but a full sleeve shirt is an Inazuma, there needs to be a differentiation between the two bikes. This bike is a very practical bike; it is very good for city and long ride. It is the first two cylinder bike in the street bike category. We do not have sale numbers expectations from the Inazuma. We only wish to showcase that we have a range of bikes with this level of technology. With the intention of showing our range of bikes, we will not reduce the price to sell a few more numbers. We do not want to put any numbers in general on big bikes.

    X: The Gixxer is the flagship bike for Suzuki, where does that leave the Inazuma?
    AG: The Gixxer is the flagship bike which has a target for the number of units that has to be sold, we would like to sell about 10000 units of it per month in the beginning. As far as the Inazuma is concerned there is not target, we are not looking for any numbers. It is for anyone interested in this bike.

    X: The Inazuma has a fantastic fit and finish as we found out in our review of the bike in Australia.
    AG: Yes, there are a lot of things borrowed from the big bikes, which are in the Inazuma, that is why the ride experience is fairly good.

    X: Overall strategy of Suzuki? What is your immediate goal?
    AG: Any company looks at numbers, but I will not comment on numbers here. But at Suzuki we are looking at the brand, to build the Suzuki brand. So when a person decides that they want to buy a bike or a scooter, they should think of Suzuki as a brand to buy from in the top 3. Irrespective of whether he/ she buys or not. And the person who does buy Suzuki, should say good, that they have made a good choice by buying a Suzuki. With keeping brand building in mind, we assume that sooner or later as we increase dealers, service centres and touchpoints the numbers will follow.

    X: Investment plans in After Sales Service?
    AG: We will have a very large set of sub dealers who have showrooms and service centres. And very importantly training of the people in that area, so that customer is satisfied with trained service and availability of parts.

    X: Will Suzuki focus on the scooter like Yamaha and Honda and commuter motorcycles?
    AG: We have to consolidate on scooter with Let’s. We are already doing very well in the scooter segment. For commuter motorcycles we are increasing and improving our distribution network, because without the increase of that we cannot hope to sell more mass market motorcycles in rural and semi urban areas.

    X: Where do you see the market 2-3 years down the line?
    AG: 70:30, maximum will be motorcycles, with 30% being scooters for the entire industry.

    X: Suzuki has not been a very aggressive player in the last few years, how do you hope to build the brand or will that approach change in the near future?
    AG: For a brand you do not need to be an aggressive player, brand does not come in one day. Brand takes time to build. People should not just remember Suzuki, but should remember the brand for all the good reasons. That is why we have the recent ‘Apna Suzuki Apna Way Of Life’ campaign. We wanted to differentiate from Maruti for four wheelers and TVS who were our partners earlier. From there we will take it forward. We just started it 6 months back.

    X: Is Salman Khan part of the strategy to connect with the rural market and help Suzuki build an identity there?
    AG: Yes, Salman Khan has given us a head start in the rural market; he has given us a certain identity in a short time. He has given us a unique identity.

    X: In the big bikes, Suzuki is the second highest seller after Harley, any plans to expand in this segment?
    AG: We are not into number games at all in big bikes. It is not our bread and butter; we are only in it for brand positioning. No plans for CKDs for the bigger bikes, we are testing with the Inazuma. Depending on the response we will see what we can do with the bigger bikes.

    X: Is there any plan for a fully faired quarter litre from Suzuki? Baby Gixxer?
    AG: Gixxer is very strong brand in the 1000cc, if we have brought that brand to the 150cc segment then if that brand also becomes very strong in the 150cc then we can take this brand forward to other capacities. But if it doesn’t then we cannot take this brand forward. For us this is a very important that it is a success in its category.

    X: Would a lot of diehard fans think that this is a dilution of the Gixxer Brand?
    AG: I think anybody would want their younger brothers to ride a smaller Gixxer. If they cannot afford a Gixxer 1000, then how do you make them happy. If the Gixxer becomes successful in 150cc, then I have to take it forward to a 250cc etc. If it is not successful then I have no option to leave it to 1000cc. I cannot comment because I do not know myself.
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