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Kinetic hopes to charm the Indian male with new Nova

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Ms Sulajja Firodia Motwani, Joint Managing Director, Kinetic Engineering Ltd, at the launch of the new Kinetic Nova in Mumbai on Thursday.

MUMBAI, May 30

KINETIC Motor Company Ltd hopes to sell 60,000 units of its recently introduced `Nova' 115 cc, 4-stroke scooter, in 2002-2003.

At a press conference in connection with the Nova's launch here today, Mr Arun Firodia, Chairman, Kinetic group, said, that despite sales being typically urban-based, he felt optimistic about the scooter market growing. "Our strategy for scooters is to expand the segment itself,'' he said.

According to Ms Sulajja Firodia Motwani, Joint Managing Director, Kinetic Engineering Ltd, the Nova was designed with the Indian male - especially the North Indian male - in mind.

Kinetic's earlier scooter models were a hit with women, sales even following literacy trends. But the market's association of its products with female clientele had distanced potential male customers, more so in North India.

Breaking into that customer category would have been difficult with products from the previous model line-up. Hence the Nova, she said, explaining the scooter's sales pitch coined with the Indian male in mind.

The scooter has been designed by U/E/N, an internationally reputed design house and costs Rs 34,777 ex-showroom, Mumbai.

The bike's claimed fuel-efficiency of 60 km/litre is also seen a definite plus.

Kinetic Motor plans to produce 8,000 units of the Nova per month by September/October. The Nova is backed by a Rs 10- crore media campaign.

The Nova's export target is fixed at 8,000-10,000 units in the first year. Overall, Kinetic has exported 1,50,000 units so far, roughly 20,000 of that being to the US market. It is said to be the only Indian two-wheeler group with exports to the US.

Ms Motwani said that the `Kinetic Style' is being upgraded as a 100cc product and its relaunch is due shortly as an entry level small scooter. This will also help free market space for the `Zing', a new scooterette which Kinetic intends to launch next month.

While motorcycle sales touched 50,000 units last fiscal, the target for current fiscal has been set at 125,000 units. Of that, an estimated 50,000 units are projected to come from the yet to be launched motorcycle model `Boss.' The GF 150, currently under development, will be officially launched around July.

"We are looking at motorcycles as a major growth area,'' Ms Motwani said.

The company's board recently approved the setting up of a separate company to oversee Kinetic's forays abroad. Its mandate would include operations such as exports, supply of parts to Hyosung (Kinetic's collaborator in the GF series of motorcycles), export of motorcycles to Hyosung's markets abroad and readying plans for the Chinese market.

The new outfit will most likely be a subsidiary of Kinetic Engineering, which is the group's main holding company. The Firodias and their friends hold 50 per cent equity in Kinetic Engineering which in turn holds a 70 per cent stake in Kinetic Motor.

Asked why the two companies have not merged yet, Ms Motwani said full operational synergies were already in place.

Though issues such as the holding company's equity base being smaller than that of Kinetic Motor's remained, residual benefits from a merger would be largely accounting related in nature, she said.

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