Chinese-owned Italian motorcycle brand, Benelli has dropped its plans of setting up a global manufacturing facility in our country. The development follows the government’s plan to ban internal combustion engine-powered two-wheelers under 150 cc of displacement.
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The plans to set up a facility in India were aimed to increase the production capability, as the plant is China is running at full capacity. The Indian plant would have manufactured low-displacement products. Speaking to Economic Times, Vikas Jhabakh, Managing Director, Benelli India, said:
We were considering making mass-market bikes also from here to export to other markets... Keeping in mind the vision of the government, setting up manufacturing is not a viable option because these are projects that take a really long time to pay back.
The manufacturing plant would have added at least 200,000 units annually to the brand’s capacity and employed about 400 people. Meanwhile, the company has doubled its capacity at its CKD assembly facility near Hyderabad. The company announced through its social media handles:
Benelli India is proud to announce that we have increased our production capacity at our assembly facility in Hyderabad from 7,000 units to 20,000 units annually. We further have the opportunity to double our production capacity to 40,000 units annually based on market demand.
In other news, the company plans to launch a new product in the sub-INR 2 lakh price bracket that would compete with the Royal Enfield Classic 350, Jawa Classic and the Jawa Forty-Two. The upcoming “budget” motorcycle in the sub-500 cc displacement segment will be the Imperiale 400. Benelli India would source components locally to keep the costs low and offer the Imperiale 400 at competitive prices.
The brand would also add two new products in the 250 cc displacement segment. While the company has remained tight-lipped about the details, we expect the TRK 251 and the Leoncino 250 to be these models. Regular followers would know that Benelli India recently introduced the Leoncino 500 in India at INR 4.79 lakh (ex-showroom India). The Leoncino 500 is available in a single variant but the company may bring the Trail and Sport versions of the middleweight scrambler if it witnesses promising demand.
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Benelli may also introduce new scooters in our market in the 150 cc to 250 cc segment.