Iconic British brand Triumph Motorcycles
raised its sales target in India by 20% for this year after it got 325 bookings in just three months of its launch in the country.
It now aims to sell three times more than what its US rival Harley-Davidson
sold in its first year of operations in India.
“When we launched our products in Auto Expo this year, we said that we want to sell at least 500 units in the first six months. We have already received bookings for 325 bikes with only two stores operational as of now,” Triumph India’s managing director Vimal Sumbly
said from Kochi, where he inaugurated his company’s third dealership after Bangalore and Hyderabad, which were opened in January.
The firm has delivered some 130 bikes so far. Sumbly plans to add four more stores by mid-May.
“After that, the next one dealership will come up in Kolkata. We have increased the sales target for this year,” Sumbly said. Triumph will sell 1,200 bikes this year as against 1,000 planned initially, he said.
Rival Harley-Davidson sold about 400 bikes in 2009-10 when it started selling in India. In the year ended 31 March, it sold 1,884 bikes.
Triumph sells 11 models in the country in categories such as classics, adventure, cruisers and super sports, priced between Rs.5.5 lakh and Rs.22 lakh.
The British biking company, owned by father-son duo John and Nick Bloor (originally property developers), has come a long way from when its India entry was in limbo due to the unexpected resignation of Ashish Joshi
, who quit as managing director in April 2012. Joshi was heading Royal Enfield
’s European operations before joining Triumph.
Then in February 2013, British Prime Minister David Cameron
set the ball rolling by inviting top Triumph brass at Leicestershire to join him on his India visit. This time, Triumph came up with another plan to assemble completely knocked-down (CKD) kits at a factory in the Gurgaon-Manesar area in Haryana. Its earlier plan was to build a factory at Narsapur near Bangalore. That land will now primarily be used for producing smaller bikes that will also be exported.
Ever since, Sumbly said, Triumph has had a smooth ride in India. “It has become a luxury brand in the country. What is really helping us today is the range of bikes that we brought to India with and the work that we have done on the service front,” he said.
Triumph offers roadside assistance within 200km of any of its showrooms. “If I tell you that 80% of customers have paid cash upfront, would you believe that?” Sumbly said.
Mohanty is delighted with Triumph’s performance and prefers it for all his long trips. “The idea is freedom to do and explore things. You would not want any bottleneck in that,” Mohanty said over phone. “Though I am totally in love with my Harley, I do not want to take a backup every time I plan a long trip.”
For Mohanty, Harley is a prized possession that he would never sell as he has fallen “in love” with it. But “on the other hand, I think a Triumph is more suited for Indian roads. You can take out the machine alone and you won’t be stranded anywhere,” Mohanty said.
Praveen Ker, an electronics professional, who has lived abroad and was familiar with Triumph, says he waited eight years for Triumph to come to India.
“Harley was an option. Yet I waited for Triumph to come to India purely because its brand appeal is different,” Ker said. He expects to decide on a Triumph “soon”.