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Yamaha targets 33 pc sales in 2004

Vipin V. Nair

New Delhi , Jan. 16

YAMAHA Motor is betting on its new launches and improved dealer networks to boost sales in India by over 33 per cent in the current year, a top company official has said.

"Our target is to sell 3.5 lakh bikes this year," said Mr Hiroshi Sakurai, Director Senior Vice-President, Sales and Marketing Operation at Yamaha Motor India Pvt Ltd.

Speaking to Business Line here at the Auto Expo, Mr Sakurai said the company sold 2.62 lakh bikes in 2003, down 20 per cent from 3.27 lakh units in 2002. Bulk of the sales in 2003 came from Libero, which sold over one lakh units, and the Crux model. The company also sells the Enticer, a cruiser model, and RX 135 in India. The new Libero LX, priced Rs 1,000 lower than the existing model, and Fazer, a new 125 cc bike, will be key to Yamaha's growth during the year. The Libero LX will sport a new headlamp and new meter cluster and is priced at Rs 39,800 (ex-showroom Delhi). The Fazer will be launched by middle of this year.

Yamaha has recently announced an investment of Rs 100 crore in Indian operations. Mr Sakurai said Yamaha will emphasis on providing quality after-sales support to customers and would further strengthen the dealer network. "The customers here don't yet know what is real Yamaha. Our goal is how to improve our quality," he said.Mr Sakurai said Yamaha will introduce high-powered bikes as and when the Indian market is ready for such two-wheelers. He ruled out the possibilities of importing such bikes for a niche segment, saying that the company will have to be ready with after-sale support across India for such a strategy.

Asked whether Yamaha will enter the scooter market to take on its rival, Honda Motor, Mr Sakurai said the volumes in India for scooters is still rather low for the company to launch scooters. On the plans for exports, he said Yamaha is working towards making India its hub for developing smaller bikes for the global market.

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