`India's ultra-luxury two-wheeler segment has great potential`

In an interview with Reema Sharma of Zee Media, Pankaj Dubey, Country Head & Managing Director, Polaris India Pvt. Ltd, shared his views on ultra-luxury bikes, positioning of the Indian Motorcycles among bike lovers and the company's strategy ahead.

Luxury motorcycles in India have always generated a lot of interest and demand due to their unmatched quality and dynamic looks.

In an interview with Reema Sharma of Zee Media, Pankaj Dubey, Country Head & Managing Director, Polaris India Pvt. Ltd, shared his views on ultra-luxury bikes, positioning of the Indian Motorcycles among bike lovers and the company's strategy ahead.

Excerpts...

1. What is the future of ultra-luxury motorcycles in India?

The future outlook of the ultra-luxury two-wheeler segment in India is very positive and shows a lot of potential. The good thing is that this segment is growing and will continue to do so with increasing aspiration and appetite for luxury.

2. You have recently launched the 2015 Indian Roadmaster and the new Indian Chief Dark Horse. What has been the response so far?

We unveiled the Indian Chief Dark Horse and the Indian Roadmaster in May this year. It was a milestone event for us as on the same day, we also opened our second Indian Motorcycle dealership in Bengaluru and handed over the keys of the new Indian Chief Dark Horse to its first customer soon after its debut in the Indian market.

The response has been very encouraging. Both the bikes have already been booked and pre-sold.

3. How easy or difficult will it be for the Indian Motorcycles to carve a niche in the premium motorcycle segment where bike manufacturers Harley Davidson and Triumph are competing?

A lot of people in the country are aware of our brand and the slice of history, pride and quality we offer with our products.

The products are close to the heart of our customers and enthusiasts, and carry a lot of aspirational value. The quality of product is our main USP, therefore the Indian Motorcycle stands its own ground with its great product.

The biggest advantage is heritage and legacy of the brand. We are the oldest American motorcycle brand, and that gives us a lot of leverage. But that’s not all. Another major strength we have is design and engineering prowess of Polaris. The Thunder Stroke 111 (1811 cc) engine is absolutely amazing. Thanks to this engine, the drivability of the Indian Motorcycle is much better than the competition. The maneuverability is great too.

4. Your luxury bikes have better features than even some entry level sedans. Is that an advantage, a challenge or a threat?

It is a clear advantage for us. We did research in India before we came in and found that the customers in this segment are more inclined towards cruisers or touring bikes, and that’s where the Indian Motorcycle fits in.

We brought in the entire Indian Motorcycle’s Chief range – Indian Chief Classic, Indian Chief Vintage, Indian Chieftain and Indian Scout to India.

Since the introduction of these motorcycles in the Indian market in January 2014, there has been a lot of excitement amongst the motorcycle aficionados across the country. These luxury motorcycles are generating a lot of interest.

5. In terms of volume and growth, what is your strategy ahead?

Our network expansion underlines the fact that the market is expanding and we have recieved an overwhelming response from customers and enthusiasts alike. We need to expand along with the growing market and need to reach out to potential customers, wherever they are in the country. By end of this year we should have around eight dealerships and in another two down the line we will cover around 15 markets in the country. The volumes will really pick up going ahead. We foresee a high double-digit growth in over the next decade.

6. Do you have any plans for the non-luxury bike segment for the Indian market?

As such there are no plans for the non-luxury segment, we are focusing and synchronizing our energies in luxury segment.