Jan 3, 2007

New Year Wishlist

Here's my expanded (as in non-bullet point-ed) wishlist for 2007. Wish me luck!

Bajaj begins greater production of the 220 DTS-Fi. Which proves to be a hit, with the company unable to figure out where the damn demand is coming from. Hero Honda is on a high, with the CBZ X-Treme and the new CD-Deluxe both over reaching their sales projections. Both customers are excited about the products. Which is a good sign. Honda sits on the fence and watches this. Yamaha plays hush hush even as news of a powerful, exciting model begins to filter out. Suzuki plays their strange game, holding its 125cc scooter close and not releasing any information whatsoever. Enfield push back the launch of their unit gearbox (again). Hopefully, March, they say. TVS is suprised at the sudden slump in December sales. Hopes to regain momentum in January. The CD-Deluxe and the CBZ X-Treme hit TVS' star performers - Star and Apache hard.

TVS unveils the first glimpse of their updated Apache. It's promising and expected to go on regular sale by early April. Till then, sales and enthusiasts likely to hold their horses. Yamaha plays hush hush as more news filters out regarding a performance oriented premium segment player. Suzuki quietly readies their scooter. Bajaj starts selling the Kristal, which is a mild success. Women seem to like the TVS Scooty Pep more. On the other hand, the new Bajaj 200 does rather well. At the expense of the 180, but still. The new bike is well received.

Suzuki unveil their scooter. Yamaha finally takes the wraps off their bike too. It turns out not to be a CBZ X-Treme beater at all. It's much bigger! Yamaha's stock with enthusiasts appears to be on the return. Bajaj unveil the first details of the Blade, expect to begin selling it by March. Kinetic resnares the spotlight by launching their first SYM-line scooter. It turns out similar to Suzuki's baby, the scooter battle is on.

The financial year rolls over with Hero Honda and Bajaj inches away from each other in sales terms. Hero Honda still leads. But only just. Bajaj consolidates its market share with unexpectedly strong sales for the bigger sales, and the Blade is another huge hit. The Blaze takes quite a hit from the Bajaj. The fuel injected Karizma comes out and proves to be qualitatively superior to the Bajaj, but expensive. Market outlook is uncertain. Yamaha take the wraps of a powerful new motorcycle, which easily bests both the Karizma and the P220. Enthusiasts, RD350 fans especially, celebrate late into the night. The Yamaha turns out to be expensive, and worth the expense. Suzuki's scooter is a minor hit, and proves to be the most popular of the manufacturer's line in India. Which isn't saying much, of course. Enfield is finally ready to take the wraps off its new line of integrated-box Bullets. Honda unveils an updated more aggressive Unicorn with alloy wheels and all. Sales finally edge upward.

Enfield shows off the more powerful, more sorted unit-gearbox Bullets. It works well and is quite powerful, but Bullet fans are unable to digest the slick shifts and clamour for the old gearbox. Sigh. Bajaj goes quiet for a while, notching up sales and keeps itself busy stabilising the supply. Meanwhile, Yamaha is under pressure to supply more and more of their bike. Smiles reappear on Yamaha faces. Suzuki wonders what they need to do and look to the Hayabusa for help. The sudden spurt in premium segment numbers catches Honda and TVS off-guard and both are unable to capitalise for now. TVS finally start selling the upgraded Apache. The Pulsar 150 remains the market leader, while the Unicorn, Apache slot into a scrappy third and fourth behind the CBZ X-Treme which is now doing an easy 22,000 units per month, without taking any sales away from the P150.

The slowest month in the calendar brings only one news. But it's big. New norms for 550cc and above multi-cylinder motorcycles are under consideration. On the table are emission and homologation waivers for these bikes, as long as sale price abroad is north of US$4500. Enthusiasts can finally start dreaming real dreams. CD100 buyers wonder what the fuss is. While naysayers smirk snidely.

Harley Davidson announces their India plans, naming the most unexpected of Indian partners. Honda also announce India plans, the CBR600RR is announced as the primary candidate. Kinetic launches the Euro, their second Italjet.

Yamaha joins the big bike wagon and decides to go the whole hog launching the R1 and becomes the first manufacturer to actually have a big bike on sale. The response, once more, is unexpectedly warm. Honda, HD et al put their CBU programs into high gear. Yamaha announces the launch of the R6 by December also. Rearset runs out to arrange the downpayment needed to get his grubby hands on the bike. The Wife looks on amused. But not disapproving.

Bajaj steals the March on all but Yamaha by putting up the Kawasaki ZX-6R and the ER-5 as the twin CBU inning openers. Enthiusiasts cannot believe the turn the year has suddenly taken. Rearset, meanwhile, finally gets his dream R1. Gets a numberplate with the obligatory small line at the bottom that reads 'We two R1.' rearset thinks that's funny. The Wife does not. rearset also feels sad that he can't plug his blog on the numberplate for two reasons 1) no space 2) that wouldn't be anonymous, right?

Suzuki, Honda, Harley and KTM launch bikes in India at one go. It's a packed month as the action hits the roof. Hayabusa? CBR600RR? Fat-Boy? SuperDuke? Oh yeah, baby. TVS launches their 200cc Apache with fuel injection. It's a great bike, but is lost in the glitter of the bigger products.

Kinetic launches the Jupiter 250 in India. The launch comes when Big bikes have stolen scooter thunder (again). Uh oh. The festive season sees a whole bunch of variants, upgrades and restickered small bikes. But the big news is huge discounts on the 2007 models of the big bikes, even as the motorcycle shows unwraps the latest 2008 goodies. All the manufacturer also announce plans for more models. And cruisers seem to be the flavour of 2008.

Press reports unnecessarily dramatic reports of MotoGP coming to India. Inside sources are quoted as saying that talks are far along. Sales of the big bikes are growing, and all those people who asked 'where are the roads?' are still asking that same question, but seem to grasp that big bike buyers are not looking for the answer. They're looking to upgrade to better, faster machinery already. Hooray!


Anonymous said...

Good Luck with your wishlist!

I'm especially hoping your Yamaha hush-hush will ring true in the coming months.

'We two R1' indeed!


Yogesh Sarkar said...


Hrishikesh said...

Hope atlease some of this becomes reality.

Anonymous said...

Rearset, you're making me dream dreams now. R1s? CBRs? ZX-6Rs In India? My brain is going numb, my head is spinning, my eyes are wide open, my jaw just hit my knees.
Gotta get Rs 10 lakh from somewhere. Any suggestions on how to earn that kind of money? I'm a qualified good-for-nothing bum, if that helps... :-)

Anonymous said...

What do you mean R1s and CBRs? Are you actually trying to say the brand-new Hero Honda CD Deluxe is not good enough for us? Would you really say anyone needs anything more than the CD Deluxe? Come on now.

Prathap S said...

the next version of P150/180/200 will have finger-print/iris recognition, carbon fibre components, blinkers-rearview combo, adjustable footpegs-n-handlebars, single-sided swingarm, pink-color scheme for Pulsar-women special ed, double-FI one for each sparky, infra-red headlights, APPLE iPhone touch screen interface for switchgear, self-inflateable or run-flat tyres, red engine and alloy wheels FEAR-RED advertisements

------but the bottom line is SAME PETROL TANK ! to go with PULSIE heritage.

rearset said...