From high-performance bikes, including the iconic Harley Davidson and India’s own Royal Enfield, to mass market two-wheelers from Honda, Hero Honda, Bajaj and Yamaha – all are betting big on India, which is one of the world’s biggest bike markets. They all have displayed their latest offerings and future bikes at the ongoing Auto Expo to woo Indian bike enthusiasts.

The highlight of this year’s expo has been the formal entry of the US motorcycle manufacturer Harley-Davidson that has announced its plans to sell 12 motorcycles in India, priced between Rs.6.95 lakh and Rs.34.95 lakh, which includes variants of its various families such as Sportster, Dyna, Softail, Touring and Fat Boy.

“We will open bookings for Harley-Davidson motorcycles in April this year at our dealerships in New Delhi, Mumbai, Bangalore, Hyderabad and Chandigarh, while the delivery of bikes will begin in June 2010,” said Harley-Davidson India Managing Director Anoop Prakash.

Similarly, Royal Enfield, a part of Eicher Motors, has showcased three new motorcycles — Classic Chrome, Classic Battlegreen and the concept Caferacer — mainly aimed at overseas markets. Classic Chrome would be launched in mid-2010 and priced at about $6,000 and Rs.1.4 lakh for Indian market.

“We are also planning to shift its entire production to a new engine platform from April this year to make products compliant to stricter emission norms — Bharat Stage III,” said Eicher Motors MD and CEO Siddhartha Lal.

In the mass-bike segment, Japan’s Honda Motorcycle and Scooter India has introduced six new models, besides unveiling its latest global fun bike ‘VFR 1200S’ and experimental personal mobility device ‘U3X’. “We may introduce a couple of new bikes in 2010-11 to strengthen our product line-up,” said HMSI President and CEO Shinji Aoyama.

It hopes its sales to cross 15-lakh units in 2010-11, comprising 8-lakh scooters and 7-lakh motorcycles. Its Japanese counterpart Yamaha, which has launched an advanced version of its racing bike ‘YZS-R1’ at Rs.12.5 lakh and limited edition of its 150cc bike ‘YZS-R15’ at Rs.1 lakh, is also bullish on the Indian market and plans to capture 10 per cent market share by 2012.

“To improve our market share, we will make substantial investment in launching new models,” said India Yamaha Motor CEO Yukimine Tsuji. The Indian two-wheeler market comprises around 80 lakh units annually, of which 60 per cent is motorcycles.

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