US vehicle maker Polaris Industries launched Indian Motorcycle, the world's oldest bike brand, in India on Wednesday in a bid to corner a bigger share of the country's growing ultra-premium bike market.
The company's Indian unit rode in with three premium cruiser motorcycles - the Chief Classic priced at Rs 26.5 lakh, the Rs 29.5-lakh Chief Vintage and the Chieftain at Rs 33 lakh.
Grabbing a larger slice of the premium motorcycle market may not be easy.
Indian Motorcycle will compete with market leader Harley Davidson, which entered the country about three years ago, and British motorcycle brand Triumph, which was recently launched in India.
The ultra-premium over 1600 cc bike segment only sold 200 units in 2012/13 but industry experts estimates see a 50 per cent increase in 2013/14.
Indian Motorcycles wants to corner 10 per cent of that market, which works out to making between Rs 8 and 10 crore in the next one year.
IN PICTURES:The different models on offer in Indian Motorcycle range
The motorcycles have more features than many entry-level sedans in India. Some models have premium leather seats, keyless start, electronic wind screen, Bluetooth to sync a phone and allow music streaming.
"People are buying motorcycles for a lot more than travelling to office and back home," says Pankaj Dubey, country head and Managing Director of Indian Motorcycles in India.
The iconic India Motorcycle is hoping to tap the growing popularity of vintage models in India in the last few years.
"Triumph is not just a motorcycle, but a way of life. India is an exceptionally exciting market for us and the premium motorcycle segment in the country is seeing tremendous growth," Paul Stroud, Director Sales & Marketing (Global) of Triumph Motorcycles, said in a statement.
The Indian Motorcycle brand was launched in 1901. The company that manufactured the bike supplied motorcycles to the military during the World War II, but did not build a distribution system like iconic brand Harley Davidson. The military stopped buying after the war, and its business ceased. The bankrupt company hit the road again after it was bought by British entrepreneur Stephen Julius. Polaris bought the brand from Julius In 2011.
Indian Motorcycles is opening its first showroom in Delhi.
"We want to go slowly in India, we don't want to be huge quickly," says Ross Clifford, Director of Motorcycles APLA with Polaris Industries.