Catching Up With Yamaha’s Senior VP: On New Bike Launches, Current Strategies And More

Yamaha’s senior management gives us a clearer picture of what the Japanese brand has been up to and what to expect from it going forward

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Yamaha recently made waves in the scooter segment by launching the most powerful scooter in the 150-160cc category, the Yamaha Aerox 155. Not only this, the Japanese manufacturer also introduced the feature-packed Yamaha R15 V4 and R15 M, armed with quite a few segment-first features. We got in touch with the bikemaker’s Senior Vice President Ravinder Singh and got some insightful details on what the company has been doing, and its future launch plans:

How much localisation was achieved for the Aerox 155?

Being the first of its kind maxi-sports offering in India, our major focus with the Yamaha Aerox 155 has been on pricing it aggressively, as it is a revolutionary product in the 150cc scooter segment. Hence, to keep the price component in check, the Aerox 155 is being manufactured in our plant in Kanchipuram (Tamil Nadu). Only the engine of the scooter -- which we will start manufacturing in India once we see strong numbers and growth in the segment -- is being imported from Indonesia. 

Yamaha India had showcased the Nmax at the Auto Expo a couple of years back, reasoning behind selecting the Aerox 155 over the former? 

The Aerox 155 and the Nmax 155 are two very capable scooters in the Yamaha lineup, but designed for different segments. The Nmax is designed to cater a more matured audience while the Aerox 155 is focused towards the young generation, who are looking for a stylish, sporty and exciting to ride. This is also Yamaha’s target audience in India, and the Aerox 155 fulfils that requirement in every way, being India’s first 150cc maxi-sports scooter.

The 125cc motorcycle space has witnessed a lot of action in the past few years owing to the rising cost of motorcycles in general. Will we see Yamaha make a comeback in this segment? 

Yamaha’s target customers are the young generation of India. The priority of this segment is to find their own identity and riding personality along with exciting performance. This target group is more feature- and tech-conscious, and our efforts have always been to satisfy this age group with our innovation, technology, and advanced features. We are committed to having a strong presence in the premium 125cc & 150cc scooter, and 150cc & 250cc motorcycle spaces, with a strategically planned product portfolio that is designed to cater to every rider’s expectation. We will continue to expand our product portfolio in these segments in the future as well, to meet the requirements of the youth.

The R15 V4 makes slightly less power on paper than the BS6 version. What was the reason for the lower power output?

The engine has been re-tuned with a mild reduction in power and increase in torque. This was done to improve the riding performance in the city. The aerodynamics have also been revised, which has not only helped improve the air resistance but also improved the top speed when compared to the Version 3.0.

Will the MT-15 also get the USD fork option and new console as an update?

We will let you know at an appropriate time.

Can we expect the R3 to make a comeback as the Euro5 version was recently unveiled?

As far as entering the 300cc space is concerned, we are analysing the market and trends related to it very closely, and may introduce our range of big bikes when the market is mature enough. For now, our focus is on strengthening our premium 125cc & 150cc scooter portfolio, along with expanding the 150cc and 250cc motorcycle range.

Yamaha is one of the few brands missing out in the popular ADV segment in India. Will this change anytime soon?

The Indian adventure and premium motorcycle market segment has massive potential in the long run considering the increased purchasing power, aspirational levels for luxury brands and evolving lifestyles of new-age millennials. The Indian two-wheeler market has seen an influx of luxury and premium motorcycle manufacturers and the numbers will continue to grow, making India a much more conducive two-wheeler market. At Yamaha, we are studying and analysing the trends in the adventure motorcycle segment and may look at entering the segment at an appropriate time.

What has been your strategy with the Aerox 155? What kind of numbers are you expecting from it?

The 150cc scooter segment in India is at a nascent stage with very few players in the market but the Aerox 155 brings along with it a host of segment first features, built on the Maxi-Sports Scooter concept. Our strategy is to offer the young generation with Yamaha’s R-DNA in the scooter segment with its premium offering, the Aerox 155, which is developed on the lines of the supersport motorcycle YZF-R15 V4. The scooter is sure to create an impact on customers with its range of features, style and performance, carrying forward the R-DNA. Since this product is targeted towards the premium audience, we will be majorly focusing on the digital platform to promote it with the 1 to 1 marketing concept. As far as numbers are concerned, we will be studying the market response this year & set a target from the next year onwards.

After the Y-Connect and the Connect-X, do we see any other app, or an update to these, since both do not provide navigation assist unlike the competitors?

At Yamaha, it is an ongoing process for us to ensure that our customers are ahead when it comes to experiencing the latest technologies and advanced features in the premium segment. We will continue to introduce connected mobility solutions going forward as well and as far as updates are concerned, the Y-Connect and Connect-X App will receive regular updates to ensure a smooth customer ownership experience.

Any plans for CKD assembly for big bikes in the future?

Increased purchasing power, improved lifestyles, and aspirational levels of today’s generation towards owning luxury brands indicate immense growth possibilities in the big bike segment. In fact, over the years there has been a surge in the number of luxury and premium motorcycle manufacturers entering the Indian two-wheeler industry as well. So, the shift in lifestyle along with growing competition will undoubtedly make India a flourishing big bike market. But the Indian superbike market is still in a nascent stage. Nonetheless, we have been analysing the big bike market and trends related to it very closely and may introduce a wider range of superbikes when the market is mature enough.

With Royal Enfield entering motorsports, does Yamaha India have any specific plans for Indian motorsport?

Currently, there are no plans; however, we are evaluating the possibilities and will let you know at an appropriate time.

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