Interview with Shirish Kulkarni

Chairman, DSK Motowheels

Date: 07 Sep 2016 | Author: P.Tharyan
Shirish Kulkarni

 It seems that DSK Motowheels which has two separate tie-ups, one with Hyosung and the other with Benelli, is now in the news more because of Benelli. Does that mean the Hyosung tie up has taken a back seat? How will you describe the progress made by your company in India so far?

We are working with both of our partners with great synergy. There are many projects in the pipeline, along with product launches from DSK Hyosung, which are in the final phase for their 2017 rollout. This includes the all new DSK Hyosung GV250 (FMC), DSK Hyosung GT300R and an all new DSK Hyosung GT650R (FMC).

We already offer an extremely wide range of bikes from 250cc onwards to cater to every customer segment. DSK Hyosung is already a well settled player in the industry and its brand positioning is well entrenched. Besides, DSK Benelli comprises of Street naked and touring motorcycles and DSK Hyosung consists of sportsbikes and cruisers. Therefore, they have very different offerings targeted towards different customers and demographics. Hence there is minimal overlapping in terms of strategy. In fact, the two brands also help us as a company to offer a wider and more comprehensive range of superbiking experiences to our patrons.

At present we enjoy 23 percent market share in the superbike industry, with a sale of 2200 units of DSK Benelli superbikes and 1500 units of DSK Hyosung superbikes last fiscal year.

DSK Motowheels has always believed in exploring new avenues and dimensions in the market. This has allowed us to secure a sizable market share in the Indian superbike industry. Apart from our sales in Tier –I cities, DSK Motowheels has also experienced a 60% surge in demands from tier-II and tier-III cities, owing to our strategic tie-ups.

Do you credit yourself for bringing in superbikes at some affordable prices? What is the USP of the Benelli motorcycles? Is it the price, the styling, the performance or a combination of several factors?

India is a complex market and requires a unique strategy to address its requirements. It is, on one hand, driven by quality and consumer experience, whilst, on the other, the price point of a product also plays a significant role. Moreover, providing a distinct style and performance is imperative.

At DSK Motowheels we focus on all the factors that govern the consumer psyche, and price our products at affordable rates without compromising on quality. We took the first steps towards making superbikes ‘within the means’ for aspiring owners in the country.

Our USP is our feature rich and quality products that deliver the most cutting-edge experience to motor-biking lovers. What’s more, our superbikes are priced most competitively, making them all the more attractive to the discerning Indian consumer. Additionally, we also offer a large sales and service network pan-India and pride ourselves on providing the best customer centric service and after sales support in the Indian superbike market. All of these innate qualities of the DSK Motowheels brand make us perfectly poised to be market leaders in India.

Overall, Do you see the Indian premium motorcycle segment growing? What about the business of motorcycle accessories?

The Indian superbike industry is growing steadily and is demonstrating a robust expansion on the back of heightened demand. There is an increased inclination in India towards a superbiking culture and adventure enthusiasts are taking their passion more seriously than ever before. In fact, as per SIAM data, considering only the superbikes that come via the CKD and CBU route, the industry has recorded 38 percent growth in the last financial year. These numbers exemplify that superbike enthusiasts are going all out and are willing to spend considerable sums to own the motorcycle of their dreams.

As far as accessories are concerned, we already have accessories on offer and are introducing more varieties and options for consumers to customize their bikes. Accessories help bike owners to reflect their own style through their machines and that’s why they form a core part of our offerings. From superlative CNC parts, riding gear, helmets with sleek design features to quirky and creative stickers and decals, DSK Benelli and DSK Hyosung owners have access to an entire range of attractive accessories to make sure their bikes are an extension of their own personality and taste.

What is the road map for increasing your dealerships in the country? You already have 17 outlets in major cities.

Yes, in terms of the dealer network for DSK Benelli, we currently have 17 showrooms across India, with the 18th Showroom coming up in Siliguri in September 2016. We’re looking at opening 14 more showrooms by the end of fiscal year 2016 – 17, targeting both tier-II and tier-III cities. For DSK Hyosung, we have 32 showrooms pan India and this number is growing steadily.

You are into CKD operations too. Currently of your entire portfolio are all bikes brought into India through the CKD route? Can you briefly tell us about your plant capacities? Any plans to manufacture the bikes here using Indian components?

We have recently shifted our CKD plant from Wai, Maharashtra to Takwe, near Pune. This shift has enabled us to achieve a production capacity of 500 – 600 units per month.

The plant currently operates in single-shift and has two assembly lines – one each for the engine and for the motorcycles where Benelli and Hyosung models are assembled. The company plans to begin its capacity expansion program at the plant post the launch of the Benelli 302R.

By 2018, we should reach a production capacity of 50,000 units per year. Meanwhile, the plans for manufacturing are still underway.

Tags DSK interview Shirish Kulkarni Benelli 302R DSK Benelli superbikes DSK Hyosung GT650R (FMC) DSK Hyosung GV250 (FMC) DSK Hyosung GT300R DSK Benelli DSK Motowheels Hyosung

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Shirish Kulkarni
Date - 07 Sep 2016

Chairman, DSK Motowheels

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