Interview: Dimitris Raptis, head of sales, Asia, China, Pacific & South Africa, BMW Motorrad talks about the G 310 R, G 310 GS and future BMW motorcycles
BMW Motorrad told OVERDRIVE in Munich that they are at work homologating the G 310 R and the G 310 GS motorcycles for India. While the launch date is still not set, Dimitris Raptis, sales head, Asia, Pacific, China and South Africa said, "It would be safe to say that definitely the bike will be launched in the second half of 2018." When asked which bike he meant, Raptis said, "Both!" implying the G 310 R as well as the G 310 GS.
When can we buy the 310s?
We are very happy that we are at the last mile of the road. We will be able to launch both bikes in the second half of 2018. I hope that both bikes will be ready at dealers to be sold right at the start. We want to offer enough quantity for the market so that we can cover the customers demand.
I don't see that as a delay, but as a natural sequence of events. As a process for BMW Motorrad, we launch all the products first in Europe and Germany, and then to the other regions. In India, it is a local sale so we have to adapt our internal processes in terms of invoicing, supply and all the IT processes that stay behind the final sale. We also have to adapt the product to meet the local homologation requirements.
India as a manufacturing base...
The decision to manufacture in India was based on the fact that India has extensive know-how in producing motorcycles of lower engine capacity. This in combination with our production and development experience is beneficial for BMW Motorrad and TVS, our partner. That was the basis to produce motorcycle in India to export all over the world.
310 pricing strategy?
We look for the right price for the right product. This is our major requirement as a company, our major concern. Of course, competition plays a role as well, but it is a second consideration. But I can assure that the price will be right for the product.
The Indian market so far?
The CBU and core models are the important part of our business worldwide. On the other side, the G 310 GS and R project is giving us the possibility to attract new customers to the BMW Motorrad world. And for India, this is a very good combination that gives us the confidence that we can be successful.
310s and CBUs. What's in the middle?
The gap can be naturally filled by the used bike business but this will take some time. We will definitely consider some possibilities in the CKD area or utilising our facility in Thailand, but for the moment we are in the evaluation phase. So for 2018 we will not do something in this area. But definitely it is a valid consideration for us - we are evaluating what would be the best choice to follow for the future.
This is just the start. Our major consideration is to establish a strong dealership network in India. Our target is to cover the Tier I cities
first. We cover four cities already. In the next phase, we are going to launch the brand in Delhi and Kochi and then in the beginning of the next year we are considering other cities like Kolkata, Hyderabad and Chandigarh, for example.
Tier II cities?
First of all we need to establish our presence and that will go hand-to-hand with sales development. So definitely we will expand in the future but we want to set up step by step in the Indian market and make sure that our dealers are sustainable and profitable.
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