Riding on new bikes, Hungarian brand Keeway eyes Indian market
Benelli-Keeway premium bikes and scooters are available now at 50 showrooms across the country; the number of dealerships likely to double by next year
How Keeway and Benelli have become a part of your journey? How is the response for these European brands in India?
As a subsidiary of Mahavir Group, AARI has been distributing Benelli premium bikes in India since 2019. Last month, we partnered with Keeway to launch two of its scooters – Sixties 300i and Vieste 300. Though Benelli is from Italy and Keeway is from Hungary, both the European brands have the same investors in common.
We handle completely knocked-down (CKD) operations of Benelli and Keeway at our local facility, where our technical team re-assembles the individual parts of these bikes and scooters that were stripped down at the origin country. There is an amazing response from the customers and bike enthusiasts.
How many variants are available at present? What is the price range? Are you going to launch more models in the near future?
We have recently unveiled a retro classic scooter Sixties 300i and a powerful maxi-scooter Vieste 300 – each priced at Rs 2,99,000 (Ex-showroom, India). We are also working towards introducing eight variants across four categories by the end of this year. We want to launch two models in categories – sports bikes, high-end scooters, muscular cruisers and retro-street bikes.
Under Benelli, we have retro-classic offering Imperiale 400, neo-retro scrambler Leoncino 500, adventure-touring bike TRK 502, off-road adventure-touring bike TRK 502X, urban cruiser 502c and entry-level adventure-touring bike TRK 251 – all under the Rs 2.5 lakh-Rs 6.5 lakh bracket. We are always exploring ways to bring new products for a wide range of customers in India.
Benelli is already known in the Indian market. Could you throw some light on the Keeway brand?
Founded in 1999 in Hungary, Keeway has built upon its guiding principles of fusing timeless style with cutting-edge technology and has a thriving presence in over 98 countries today. Keeway has a reputation for producing high-quality, sophisticated, and reliable mobility products at competitive prices.
How many showrooms and service centres do you have across India? What are the plans ahead to increase the dealership network?
So far, we have around 50 dealerships and service centres across India, including three brand-owned showrooms in Hyderabad, Kochi and Pune. We have recently inaugurated our 50th dealership with sales, services and spares facility in Thiruvananthapuram. To meet the business requirements, we also plan to expand our dealership network all over the country.
Are you looking to raise funds to meet the expansion plans?
The company is planning to raise Rs 100 crore in the next couple of years as we look at onboarding over 100 dealers across India by the end of 2023. Roughly, we will be investing more than Rs 60 crore to set up 50 more dealerships in the country. On an average, each outlet will require Rs 60 lakh for infrastructure and another Rs 60 lakh for the inventory.
Where do you have the assembling/ manufacturing plant? What is its current capacity? Are you looking to set up another unit?
At present, we have a CKD (completely knocked down) assembly unit at Gundla Pochampally in Hyderabad. This is well equipped to meet our ambitious growth plan. During the pre-Covid times, its capacity was 7,000 units per year. During the pandemic period, we have invested Rs 15 crore to enhance the capacity to 30,000 units per year.
We will soon be investing another Rs 10 crore to increase the capacity to 45,000 units annually. After two years, we will be setting up a new plant in Telangana. We are in talks with the State government to identify and procure suitable land. This is too early to speak about the investment details of the new plant.
How do you see the competition from electric vehicle (EV) manufacturers? Are you planning to foray into the EV market?
Both Benelli and Keeway have EV products in the categories of high-end scooters. We have always focussed to offering value for money products and we will continue to work by this principle for our upcoming products as well. Currently, we are researching and testing the EV products for the Indian market.
The EV is definitely the future of mobility in the country. People will gradually buy EV products. We are planning to foray into the EV segment by next year. We will come up with 3-5 models initially. We wish to bring only niche products to our customers. We are focusing on the models that are either not available or less available in the market.