The company, a wholly-owned division of Polaris Industries Inc that sells a range of imported bikes priced between Rs 15.68 lakh and Rs 43.96 lakh, was unable to operate fully in the Indian market due to non-availability of BS-VI compliant models besides the disruption due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Globally, we are registering growth everywhere, we are getting market share. There is a double-digit growth in North America, in Asia-Pacific, in Europe and in Japan. It gives a clear indication that the brand is growing everywhere,” Polaris India Pvt Ltd Country Manager Lalit Sharma told PTI.
As for the Indian market, he said last year was very tough for everyone and unfortunately or fortunately, it was more of a “cooling period for us because we were not having any Euro V (BS-VI) motorcycles at that time. We received the new set of motorcycles early this year only”.
However, Sharma added this year is pretty strong with the company.
“We have a new set of motorcycles… The new Chief series and more affordable bikes are coming up… Customer inquiries and orders have gone tremendously up. New customers are coming in and dealers are pretty positive,” he said.
Before 2020, Indian Motorcycle had around 25-30 per cent market share in the country’s premium bike segment that is, at present, close to around 1,000 units a year.
When asked if Indian Motorcycle would look to regain that market share this year with the arrival of the new bikes, he said, “I think we will focus on that because that’s the kind of solid growth which we are targeting this year. And definitely, we will see the overall industry by the end of this year and where we are and what needs to be done in the next year.”
Commenting on the impact due to the pandemic, Sharma said, “If we talk about premium motorcycling, it’s all about brotherhood and it’s more of a social gathering (through group riding). Technically speaking, it has been impacted by the pandemic globally, not just in India.”
Due to the pandemic, the rides that the company used to organise in different parts of India were completely halted, he added.
However, with the situation improving, Sharma said the company is keeping a close eye with the local regulations and has started allowing dealers to organise regional rides in small sets of customers by following all COVID-19 protocols.
“Now, the rides are picking up slowly. The customers are coming forward and they are showing keen interest in the new set of motorcycles and things are shaping up very well,” he added.
However, while inquiries have gone up ‘tremendously’ , doing demonstrations to customers continues to be a big challenge as many of the customers are still not willing to visit the showrooms and are not very eager to take a test ride.
On the prospects of the premium motorcycle market in India, he said that while many people are not that comfortable in spending Rs 20 lakh to Rs 40 lakh for buying a motorcycle but there are “a set of customers or enthusiasts who are fans of certain brands”.
“They’re spending money and definitely we are targeting them and we are moving in the right direction,” Sharma said.