Triumph Motorcycles, the iconic British bike maker, is in the driver’s seat in India. Vishal Sumbly, MD of Triumph Motorcycles India, has made it the fastest growing super bike in the country. Sumbly has been at the helm since July 2013 and shared his experiences with BT’s Chanchal Pal Chauhan in an exclusive interview. Edited excerpts.
Q. How has the three years been for Triumph?
A. We, at Triumph Motorcycles India, sell a complete experience – the experience of riding an iconic luxury premium motorcycle. As the market has evolved, Indian consumers have moved beyond regular commuting and have started taking biking as an indulgence. We are proving the fun of adventure and freedom with our motorcycle rendering a sense of both. The market is dynamic and consumers are therefore looking for motorcycles that suit individual riders’ needs, something that Triumph Motorcycles caters to through a range of products that suit the taste and riding style of all.
Q. How has the Indian market evolved for super bikes, given that these are expensive machines?
A. The superbike market has reached a sizeable proportion. The segment will swell to over 10,000 units during the fiscal and we are the fastest growing company in the segment. The riding culture in India is on a rise and fast catching up with the US and Europe. Today’s motorcycle enthusiasts do not only want a suave mean machine, but also an appropriate attire to go with their ride. Triumph offers exciting range of stylish riding gears, that include leather jackets, textile jackets, jeans, gloves and boots in the apparel line. On popular demand we have added accessories like sunglasses, watches and neckwear. So, the Indian riders are not just going international in destination tours but also want to be equipped with the best in the world.
Q. What is propelling the market for Triumph.
A. There is a general push in the market sentiment with the festivals around the corner. We have managed to trigger the demand with a special financial package. The customer no longer asks for the price but prefers the EMI that gives him the flexibility to buy the machines of his choice. Also, we have bikes right from Rs 7 lakh onwards that has opened a range of options for customers looking for upgrades from existing bikes and going for new purchases that were difficult earlier.
Q. What is your take on the new government measures like GST and a lower tax regime?
A. There has been a major incentive for global manufacturers like us. The GST will lead to a uniform tax across India with no price difference across states. It will minimise procedural delays and cut red-tapism that leads to inordinate delays for us. Also, the softer interest rates will lead to lower EMIs and that should propel the market in the right direction. Also the infrastructure push is going a long way in generating a strong push for superbikes allowing long rides on the highways. While ‘Digital India’ is allowing us to take our bikes to every nook and corner without the need of an brick and mortar presence and saving previous resources.
Q. How is the festival period going. Will it be a trigger in the long term?
A. Our segment is not much influenced by the festivals unlike the mass market brands. The customers are quite attuned to the developments in the segment and new launches and technology bring incremental footfalls. So today we launched the new T100 as the latest addition, priced at Rs. 7.78 lakh (ex-showroom Delhi) to the contemporary new Bonneville range. It is built to enhance the iconic Bonneville character and to satisfy today’s demand for bikes that combine timeless style with modern capabilities. Powered by a 900cc T100 is lighter than the T120, easy to manage and with over 150 accessories available. It would propel demand for the rest of the year. India is a large and growing market for classic motorcycles that fetch 45 per cent of our sales. With our range of new, exciting and accessible modern classics like the all new Triumph Bonneville T100, we would further strengthen our market position in the above 500cc, plus 5 lakh segment in India.