Benelli, one of the oldest Italian motorcycle manufacturers, has tied up with Hyderabad-based Mahavir Group to run business in India.
This is the company's second foray in the Indian market. Benelli, the iconic company established in 1911, had earlier entered India in association with Pune based DSK Group in 2014 and launched a range of motorcycle starting from TNT300. However, DSK Group ran into financial troubles last year and that led to the future of Benelli brand in India hanging.
The strategic partnership between Benelli and Adishwar Auto Ride India (AARI), a new company under Mahavir Group announced on Monday will soon set up a manufacturing facility near Hyderabad. The plant will be spread over three acres and is expected to be operational by October 2018 as part of phase 1. The second phase will be a large setup that will span over 20 acres.
The current 18 DSK Benelli dealerships in the country will continue operations under the new entity. As part of the restructuring business, the DSK part in the name will be omitted to for just Benelli. The new entity also plans to add nearly 20 new dealerships in the next two years to ramp up business.
Three core models to start off
The new business plan will see, Benelli India focusing on three bike models - TNT 300 naked, the 302R faired motorcycle and the popular TNT 600i four-cylinder naked. This also indicates single-cylinder TNT 25 and the faired TNT 600GT has been discontinued.
The TNT300 will be soon replaced by the 302S revealed at the 2017 EICMA show in November. Compared to the TNT 300, the new 302S features far more modern and contemporary styling. The 302S boast off modern-looking headlamp with LED DRLs along the side. The split section in the middle will remind us of the new KTM 390 Duke.
Get ready for the product onslaught
By the end of 2019, Benelli plans to launch at least seven models in India. The new Leoncino scrambler and the adventure bike TRK 502, powered by a 499.6cc, liquid-cooled, inline twin-cylinder engine, are expected enter market by the end of this financial year.
Interestingly, both the bikes will come in two variants each. The Leoncino will be offered in standard and the more off-road biased Leoncino Trail version while TRK will be available as the standard 502 and the more off-road focussed 502X.
Later next year, Benelli will also bring Imperiale 400, a retro-styled, single cylinder motorcycle that will go up against Royal Enfield Classic range. It will be the most affordable Benelli bike in India while the Imperiale 530, a higher capacity version that goes up against Royal Enfield Classic 500 is also planned for India.
On a later stage, Benelli also has plans to bring its 250cc range to India. The models in question will be the Leoncino 250 and the TRK 250, and both will be powered by a 249cc, single-cylinder motor producing 25.8hp and 21.2Nm of peak torque.
A report in Autocar claims Benelli will increase the localisation of its upcoming bikes to keep the price in check. This indicates the new Benelli range will pose the challenge to Royal Enfield, Kawasaki and many other bike makers in India.