‘Each model has its own customer and we can find them all in India’
We called on Sergi Canovas, Managing Director of Ducati India to discuss the state of the Indian premium motorcycle segment and all things Ducati. Here's what he had to say
Let’s start with Ducati’s India future. Four bikes this year, so what’s next in the pipeline?
We are still digesting these four models. First of all, we launched the V4, we launched the Multistrada 1260 and the Monster 821, and now we have launched the Scrambler 1100. two of these models allow us to enter into new segments. the V4 allows us to enter into the four-cylinder segment that we were not present in and it’s always important. the reaction and the acceptance have been very positive from all sides. We opened the bookings in January and we got much more than we had expected. But it’s a new segment for us, so we are completing segments in India and the same for the Scrambler 1100. It’s a new segment for us in which we are going to compete with classic bikes that you have here and for all those who are wanting to have a bike that comes back from the past... but with a modern touch, this is the important thing. then for the rest we are going to see at eICMA what is coming up and whatever is launched in eICMA, as we are doing every year, we are going to launch it here.
Speaking of EICMA, there are a few bikes expected to be unveiled by Ducati at the show. So, how soon after EICMA, which is in November, do you expect these bikes to arrive here in India?
We normally have a lead time of six months after these launches in europe. that’s why, if you look at the launch of our bikes, they are normally in June, July, and August. these are the moments that we have bikes available from thailand. But it depends on when it’s launched in europe. It’s not very much related to eICMA but when it is launched in europe.
In terms of the Indian premium motorcycle segment, you have rivals such as Triumph and Harley-Davidson introducing new products regularly as well and you have Royal Enfield entering that space with the imminent arrival of their new 650 twins. So, do you think there’s more scope for the growth of the Indian market?
I think that the presence of brands is growing, the options that the customers have are growing a lot and all the ingredients to make this market very big are there. You mention, for example, Royal enfield; but if you look for example in all the new segments they are creating or they are evolving like the 250-300 and most probably soon 650-700, these are things that for us are very good, because one thing that we notice is that if you enter into the motorcycling world, it’s very difficult to have a progressive evolution, there are big gaps between segments which makes it difficult for people to jump. So, whatever makes it easy, this gradual growth inside the motorcycling world is good for us.
So, you’re looking forward to the 650s coming here then? I’m looking forward to any solution for the bikers that creates community and opportunity to grow. Because, at the end, we are there for those who want to have something really special.
Speaking of community, are Ducati bringing more community-focused activities along the lines of festivals such as the World Ducati Week or other communityled events to India?
I think that you need to reach a bigger community, most probably. that’s why we are working very hard towards providing new activities to our customers, you know, to create this community, to create this kind of sense of belonging. And, of course, after that on the motorcycling, you start by doing Dream tours and then, most probably, you are going to do different things as long as your community grows and we are open to any kind of these events. the key thing is that we are very much into experiential things, so we are not limited to certain things you know. So, like now, for example, this year has been our first year launching this kind of experiential things — Dream tours, DRe off-road days — and now in October we are going to launch the DRe track days with Alessandro Valia coming here, so we are incorporating things from the Ducati world at the speed that the community is growing.
What part of Ducati’s very wide ambit of products in these various motorcycle genres has been the most popular in the Indian market so far?
Well, when we started, we wanted to offer all of our range because we are into several segments, we want to make sure that whoever comes to our showroom finds the perfect bike for them. It is also true that the motorcycling industry follows a lot of trends, right, so sometimes you have the classic bikes, sometimes people like sport bikes, sometimes people like customized bikes, so you need to be there. You need to be there and you need to make sure that you have the right offerings for the customers. So, we have seen changes since we started; for example, in the beginning the Diavel was a very successful product, 821 has always been there, but the Scrambler, as a family, is one of the most important in our portfolio. Multistradas, you have also customers who want to ride and go to the mountains. So, having India — a 1.3 billion population — and with so diverse a nature and environment, everything is working for us. Panigales… each model has its own customer and we can find them all in India.
A lot of your rivals in the premium segment have been looking to try and diversify their range further by looking towards lower displacement bikes; whether it’s the recently announced Bajaj-Triumph partnership or the TVS collaboration with BMW Motorrad. Since you have smaller Scramblers that you sell abroad and, as you mentioned earlier, there is gap between smaller displacement bikes and more performance-oriented, bigger ones in the Indian market, will you look into filling that gap yourself? the company is obviously always looking for opportunities and from what we see right now and what the other brands are doing, one of the opportunities is in this segment. But it needs to be analyzed in a very cautious way because you are entering a segment that you are not used to, which most probably will have other customers and in which you need to make sure that the brand values are delivered also in what is a completely different segment. So, it’s interesting to see what’s going to happen with the brands, but so far we don’t have anything on the table.