Mahavir Group-led Benelli India had stated that the Imperiale 400 cruiser would arrive in the first half of this year. However, in a recent development, it has emerged that the launch has been postponed.
Speaking to The Hindu, Vikas Jhabakh, Managing Director, Benelli India, stated that the Benelli Imperiale 400 will be launched towards the end of the current year or early next year. Jhabakh said:
We will be launching Imperiale 380 cc to 400 cc bikes either by the fourth quarter of calendar year 2019 or the first quarter of 2020. With this, we will take on Royal Enfield in the same segment.
The Benelli Imperiale 400 will target the Royal Enfield 350 and Jawa motorcycles. The Italian bike will arrive in India via the CKD route, with the assembly taking place at Benelli India's Hyderabad facility. The company does plan to set up a manufacturing plant in the country to offer the products at more competitive prices. Jhabakh added:
Currently, motorbikes are imported in completely knocked down condition and assembled. Going forward, we are planning to put up a manufacturing unit.
The Imperiale 400 could arrive between the INR 2-3 lakh (ex-showroom) price bracket. The motorcycle draws power from a 373.5 cc, single-cylinder, SOHC, air-cooled engine that employs a 5-speed transmission. The fuel-injected motor delivers 19.7 PS of power at 5,500 rpm and 28 Nm of peak torque at 3,500 rpm. As the launch is scheduled towards the end of the year or early next year, Benelli India will offer it directly in the BS-VI version.
The company also aims to expand its dealership network to 40 outlets across the country and sell 1,500 motorcycles in the current year.
Having started our journey this year, we will use this year for building brand, expanding dealership network to 40, entering more geographies and rolling out new products. Next year, we will be focussing aggressively on sale. This year, our target is to sell 1,500 superbikes and double it next year. We hope to garner 10% market share in 2019.