As powersports sales remain relatively flat across the U.S., manufacturers and their financial partners are seeking expansion in Asia, where smaller vehicles are often better for navigating crowded streets.
In the past month, three stories have come out of the market that gives a snapshot of the evolving landscape. Partnerships are driving innovation, OEMs are renewing their focus on pre-owned bikes, and the industry is expanding its physical presence.
Pre-Owned Superbikes Category Growing
Ducati, Harley Davidson, Royal Enfield, and Triumph have all signaled they will increase their efforts to attract consumers in the luxury superbike segment in India — especially among pre-owned units, according to the Times of India.
Royal Enfield last week announced plans to build 10 used dealerships across India within the year while other manufacturers followed suite acknowledging the opportunity for improved sales.
“Currently 15% of our metro volumes come from the exchange of second-hand motorcycles and in non-metros, too, it is around 5-6%,” said Vimal Sumbly, chief executive officer of Triumph India, in the report. “We are studying this business and in 12-18 months we will get into the [pre-owned] motorcycle business. We will start with the top 3-4 metro cities within our existing network but we may, going ahead, look at exclusive pre-owned showrooms as well.”
Today, most used bikes are sold on independent secondary markets and the OEMs are looking to offer financing and other perks to attract consumers to their stores.
“The pre-owned market still largely remains an unorganized sector, but if and when we do get into this market we will be committed to offering used bike costumers the same experience, quality and services as the new bike customers,” said Sergi Canovas, managing director of Ducati India. “This means perfect condition bikes checked by Ducati, warranty, RSA, and finance — something that they cannot find outside of the Ducati official network.”
New Line of Light Commercial Vehicles Coming to China
Italian manufacturer Piaggio Group — perhaps best known for the creation of the Vespa brand — signed an agreement with Chinese commercial vehicle manufacturer Foton Motor Group to develop “innovative solutions” in the light commercial vehicle space.
The vehicle types are planned to be mini pickup and minivan models designed to “meet the growing demand for commercial mobility solutions particularly suited to intra-city travel,” according to a joint press release. With payload capacities of up to 1.5 tons and “eco-friendly engines,” these vehicles will largely be used in the industrial space.
CFMOTO and KTM Expand in China
A new 1-million-square-foot production facility kicked off construction in Hangzhou, China this month to be jointly used and owned by motorcycle manufacturers CFMOTO and KTM, according to a press release.
Ten different motorcycle models will be designed and produced at the facility from both OEMs reflecting a 2011 strategic cooperation agreement between the two companies.
“The joint venture will bring CFMOTO’s R&D and manufacturing capability to a whole new level,” Minjie Lai, general manager of CFMOTO said. “CFMOTO will benefit from KTM’s advanced technology and profound experience from years of being a leader in the powersports industry. KTM recognized how our manufacturing capacity, supply chain management, and channel development could help implement their global strategy.”