India takes on the European motorcycle market

Freshly reincarnated through the Indian group Mahindra, the BSA brand cultivates a keen sense of historical reconstruction. The headlight of the 650 Gold Star is perfectly round, its tank is perfectly tapered, the exhaust extends horizontally and, as it should be, the wheels are lined with spokes. On the right side, we can even discern a dummy crankcase suggesting the presence of a carburetor, while the injection is electronic. On the single cylinder, another artifact suggests the presence of rocker rods, just as subliminal.

To conquer motorcycle Europe, which is doing quite well, the Mahindra automobile group has resurrected from its ashes the English brand Birmingham Small Arms (BSA), which was the world number one in motorcycles in the years 1950-1960, before disappearing body and property in 1973, swept away by the Japanese wave. This conglomerate, which also owns half of the capital of Peugeot Motocycles, now separated from the French car manufacturer of the same name, has also brought back the old Czechoslovak brand JAWA.

This return, greeted with a bit of emotion by the bikers who have been whitewashed under the harness, is the most recent episode of a full-blown offensive deployed by the major Indian two-wheeler manufacturers, determined to take advantage of their enormous capacity of production and their know-how to impose their machines of more than 125 cm3.

Read also | Article reserved for our subscribers Peugeot Motocycles on the path to resilience

For newcomers, the favorite recipe is to unearth a heritage brand in order to put together a catalog of motorcycles with a touching retro look but a perfectly modern design. These groups, which already manufacture motorcycles for BMW, Triumph, KTM, Husqvarna and Harley-Davidson, hope to reduce extreme dependence on their domestic market, the largest in the world.

This global offensive, fueled by low production costs and enormous economies of scale, echoes the strategy of Chinese car manufacturers. Except that the arrival of Indian motorcycles does not take place in a context of technological breakthrough because electric, although it is progressing among urban two-wheelers, hardly appeals to fans of large displacements. In addition, Chinese motorcycle manufacturers (Zontes, Orcal, CFMoto) have not yet deployed major resources to establish themselves, unlike Chinese car brands.

Launch of numerous models

Royal Enfield, present in Europe for around ten years, is an example to follow. The Chennai manufacturer has paved the way, increasing its production tenfold in ten years. This venerable brand of English motorcycles, which has been under the Indian flag for more than half a century, has made a remarkable breakthrough by playing the card of claimed classicism.

You have 54.39% of this article left to read. The rest is reserved for subscribers.

source site-30