Yamaha has returned after a circuitous, if profitable, detour into the scooter market to its core competence - performance. At an event today, it launched the new YZF-R3. The R3 is powered by a liquid-cooled, fuel-injected 321cc eight valve DOHC parallel twin cylinder engine. The motorcycle will be assembled in India.
The Yamaha R3 is a small sportsbike that plays in the same segment as the KTM RC 390 or the Kawasaki Ninja 300 in most markets. In India, however, taxation rules and a relatively small market has prevented price parity between the singles manufactured here and twins assembled here so far.
Yamaha says it will assemble the R3 here at its facility in Noida/new plant in Chennai. Yamaha declined to reveal future plans for the new assembly line the R3 uses - most CKD assembly lines cannot be sustained on the sales of one product alone.
Yamaha will source R3 kits from Indonesia and says they get the same duty advantages as a Thai-sourced kit - which is how bikes like the Ninja 300 and many Triumphs come to India.
The challenge before a twin-cylinder 250 in India really is pricing because KTM's excellent price strategy has proved to be a tough challenge in this extremely value conscious market. Yamaha officials say that local production of the YZF-R3 was not feasible because low overall volumes make it hard to justify the effort and investment.
Yamaha say the motorcycle will be sold by approximately 100 dealers selected from its full network. These dealers will be equipped to sell a more complex motorcycle to a more mature buyer. Yamaha has also ensured that these dealers are able to fully service and maintain the company's only multi-cylinder product outside of their CBU range.
Yamaha will offer two colours the blue and white and the all-black. Yamaha have also pulled off a coup by pricing the YZF-R3 at just Rs 3.25 lakh ex-showroom Delhi. Stay tuned for a first ride story later today
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