Suzuki Motorcycles is betting heavily on Bangalore to help it grow in the two-wheeler market. At present, the Japanese company has a thin slice of the Indian market. Atul Gupta, Executive Vice-President for Sales and Marketing, Suzuki Motorcycle India Pvt. Ltd, told The Hindu that the company has targeted annual sales of 10 lakh vehicles in the next three years, up from about current level of four lakh.

Describing the prevailing market condition as “grim”, Mr. Gupta said Suzuki’s challenge is in quickly increasing its ‘touch points’ (dealer and service centres). “We have 600 whereas each of our competitors has at least 2,000,” he said.

Bangalore accounts for about one-tenth its national sales and is the highest among all Indian cities. “Growth in Bangalore is the key to our success. We plan to increase our share of sales in the city to 15 per cent in the next 18 months,” Mr. Gupta said. The company plans to increase the number of outlets from 32 to 50 in this period. “Scaling up is not easy because the capital cost is quite high,” Mr. Gupta said.

Suzuki faces an uphill task because after ending its tie-up with TVS, it has been on its own for all of 18 months whereas its competitors have been active for over 18 years, Mr. Gupta said. The tie-up with TVS, which is based in Tamil Nadu, “partly explains” why sales in the South and West account for almost two-thirds of national sales, he said.

The company plans to expand capacity at its Gurgaon plant from 5.4 lakh vehicles per year to 10 lakh within the next three years, he said. “By then we expect to double our market share to six per cent,” he added.

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