08 March, 2012

Highway notes

20 years ago we used to see the odd domestic (Indian) tourist in Goa - they'd drive in from a neighbouring state in a Hindustani Ambassador with the whole family and mother-in-law to visit the beach, paddle, and gawp at the licentious hippies they'd heard so much about. Dad would drink a bottle of Kingfisher and be rolling drunk. Mother-in-law furious. Good times.

Today there are large groups of domestic tourists at every attraction. That stuff you've been hearing about booming middle classes and the BRIC economies is patently obvious on the ground. Sure there's still a MASSIVE amount of poverty everywhere but it's clearly boom times for a lot of folk.

And they all want vehicles... SO many cars on the road. Little white Maruti Suzukis everywhere driven with brio, zeal and zero mechanical sympathy. And for every car on the road there's a shit ton of two-wheelers as anyone who's spent time in Asia knows. 

The new Bajaj Pulsar looks like a proper small bike - anybody who tells you they'd need something bigger for commuting is lying, sure you may WANT something bigger, go ahead knock yourself out... but NEED? I know where there's a few hundred million experts who'd disagree.

It's a new 2012 model and the magazines estimate it'll be INR90-95,000 thats £1134 - 1197 in English. Holy fucking Cow! as I believe they say in India.

Mahindra's new Duro for 2012 is a 125cc twist 'n' go scoot - one of the most popular and numerous bikes in India. Remember the old cliche about the Cub paying for your Fireblade? Sure it definitely looks built down to a price...

...but that price is £636 OTR!

You can buy a GSXR thou in India today, it'll run you £19.5k - India has historically had incredibly high import taxes to protect domestic industry. meanwhile the local domestic partnerships (KTM, Yamaha, Honda etc etc) are making bigger 'proper looking' bikes for the aspiring riders coming through with a wee bit of money that cost a fraction of the imports. And there are MILLIONS of these aspiring bike buyers. HUNDREDS of millions.

You don't need to be a Harvard MBA to see where this is going do you?

Just one more observation.

You know how everybody points and laughs when a manufacturer styles their scoot with some of the styling cues of the top of the range superbike? Ha ha... what a joke etc. 

That wasn't meant for you Mr European who already owns a superbike. It's called brand building and it works1. It's for the folk who aspire to the superbike and want a little piece of the magic for themselves. If you can engender brand loyalty in India you can wallpaper your outhouse in hundred dollar bills. 

The days when the opinions of European riders had a large influence on the bikes global manufacturers made may be on the wane...

1 what else could possibly explain the existence of the BMW X3?

Labels: , ,

0 Step to the white courtesy phone:

Post a Comment

<< Home