Jun 21, 2012

8 Bike Chronicles of India Special: Interview of Mr. Shivapada Ray (GM: Sales & Marketing, DSK Hyosung)

Mr. Ray speaks about DSK, brand strategy of DSK Hyosung, commitment to the Indian market and ambitions plans for the future..

SP: Hyosung has had 3 partners in India – Kinetic, Garware and now DSK. Kinetic and Garware were short lived. What can we expect from DSK?

SR: Let me clarify. Kinetic never had a partnership with Hyosung. Kinetic had just imported a few numbers of bikes and had sold it as limited edition along with their name on the bikes. It was merely a brand building exercise for them.

Shivapada Ray: GM - Sales and Marketing, DSK Hyosung

We will provide the most variety to the Indian customer in 250-700 cc

Hyosung did enter into a partnership with Garware and it went off very well. We sold around 600 vehicles in a year. And that is a very good number considering all of them were 650-700 cc vehicles. So far we have imported the vehicles as CKD (completely knocked down) kits from South Korea and assembled them here in India.

We now wanted to take it to the next level. i.e we were now looking to reduce the import content and manufacture as much as possible in India itself. Hyosung needed a partner which could bring in the additional capital and resources and the commitment to take it to the next level. Let me clarify that nobody wanted to sell off anything but when all the 3 parties involved (i.e Garware, DSK and ST Motors) sat together; they decided that it would be better for everybody that DSK now takes over the baton. DSK is a big business entity and are very serious about this new business venture.


SP: So can we expect India to become an export hub for Hyosung as well?

SR: Yes, give us some time and that should happen. Once we start to import less and manufacture parts in India, the prices of the products should also come down drastically.


SP: Talking about pricing, there is a general feeling out on the internet, especially among the enthusiasts that the GT250R is slightly overpriced (at Rs. 2.75 lakhs ex-showroom). What are your comments on that?

We have 3 India specific products planned to be launched in the next one year..

SR: As we import the bikes in CKD (completely knocked down) form which attracts import duties. Also the rising dollar rates with respect to the rupee do not makes things easy for us. It also does not make sense for us to sell the GT250R at a loss. We have priced the GT250R quite reasonably.

Look at it in this way, no other 250 cc in the market will give you exotic features like inverted front forks, double disc brakes at the front, projector headlamps, fully adjustable rear set foot pegs and lets not forget that in terms of looks, the GT250R does not look less than a 1,000 cc superbike. We therefore feel that it is priced quite well. But like I have mentioned earlier, once we start to manufacture out of India, the prices would come down to a very reasonable level.


SP: I agree that the GT250R has its own USP which makes it stand apart in the crowd. But from a prospective buyer’s point of view, one thing that prevents me from buying a GT250R for my self is the lack of fit and finish that is expected from a premium product. Can we expect things to improve?

SR: Yes, we are very much aware that the fit and finish on our products have to improve. S&T have already started to work on this seriously.


SP: Hyosung is a relatively unknown brand in India. Are there any plans to generate awareness about the brand in India and also how to position it?

SR: Brand awareness is created by 3 things. [1] The marketing/advertising spends [2] How long the brand has existed [3] and the product itself. For the awareness to improve about Hyosung in India, first there have to be enough vehicles on the road. For that we are in the process of increasing the number of dealerships in Tier-I and Tier-II cities.

We want to tap into the "Neo Rich" customers..

About how to position the brand in India, In India the two wheeler makers are busy fighting their own battle in the 100-250 cc space. A few big names do bring in their international models but mostly in the 800 cc and above range. We want to fill the gap between the 250-700 cc space. We want to be the first name that should come to a customer’s mind when he/she is looks for a bike between 250-700 cc. We intend to have the largest variety of motorcycles in the 250 cc-700 cc range. We already have models ranging from SuperSports, Cruisers and Nakeds. In the future you can also expect other kinds of bikes like on-off road bikes, Supermoto bikes and even ATV’s. We plan to provide the most variety to the Indian customer in the 250-700 cc space.


SP: Considering your products are priced at a premium compared to normal motorcycles in the market, can you explain why this strategy to focus more on Tier-I and Tier-II cities?

SR: Investing Rs. 3-7 lakh in a motorcycle is still a big deal in India. Even for most enthusiasts. But there are many potential customers in Tier-I & Tier-II cities, especially the neo rich guys, like the ones who have become rich overnight thanks to the booming real estate prices. Now typically these are the guys who will buy a SUV like Fortuner or XUV 500. We want to tap into these customers with our products. I am sure that would be ready to happily pay Rs. 3-7 lakhs for a bike which in no way looks less than a Rs. 13-14 lakh bike and performs decently for its engine capacity.


SP: What about the enthusiast then? What can they expect from DSK Hyosung?

SR: As I have earlier said, we are very serious about India. Very soon expect some India specific products from DSK Hyosung. For starters, we have 3 such India specific products planned to be launched in the next one year. This is just the starting, “Picture abhi baaki hai”.


SP: As the GM-Sales and Marketing at DSK Hyosung, what will be your top 3 priorities?

SR: [1] Increase the localization content [2] Increase the number of dealerships and [3] Increase the number and well as variety of models in our product lineup.



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Disclaimer:

This is to remind that the Views or Opinions in the blog are entirely mine unless explicitly stated. The Views and Opinions published in this blog should in no way be related to any other person or organization associated -- directly or indirectly -- with me.





8 Comments:

Sajal said...

small correction for the partners - it's Kinetic, "Garware" and now DSK. Kinetic and "Garware" were short lived!!

:)

sunil said...

online bikers - the ones who ride only on the net simply type anything. the GT250R is a good bike. if the price if further reduced DSK Hyosung has a good future in India

S.P - Biker Next Door said...

@Sajal,

Oppss.. thanks for the correction

Ashoka said...

Thanks for the "Exclusive Interview" SP :-)

Now it seems they both (DSK and Hyosung) are quite serious/focused about their position in India.

Ps: You might want to correct the word to "DSK Hyosung" just below Shivapada's snap :-)

Anonymous said...

Good interview .The guy seems to know what he is speaking .

Anonymous said...

Answer of Question no. 3- Last Line- "But like I have mentioned earlier, once we start to manufacture out of India, the prices would come down to a very reasonable level.
"

I guess it should be "Manufacture WITHIN India."
Or am I missing something here?

Anonymous said...

As a Hyosung owner, needless to say that I'm nervous with this change of guard for the brand in India.
Instead of brand building

Sauurabh said...

Admitting on a public forum that their bike (that is relatively less credible than competition) lacks a plush feel and that it needs improvement on fit and finish front.
Further, disclosing company plans of localizing maximum bits of the bike such that it would reduce its price drastically in 18 months?

The two facts stated above may logically lead to - "My son, if you wait for another 18 months, not only will you save your 1.5 lakh bucks, also you would get a much better quality bike".

How smart is that Mr. GM?

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