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For Indonesia, Yamaha Motor goes slim and stylish

Our Bureau | Updated on January 08, 2018

The 125 cc Mio S is easy to handle and is targeted at young women buyers

Yamaha Motor will launch the new Mio S in Indonesia this month. Featuring a slim and stylish body, this 125 cc scooter is designed for easy handling by petite women.

According to the company, the Mio S is based on the platform of the current Mio scooter. Some of its features include a slim front panel and refined body design; ample foot space and textured surfaces with a quality fabric-like feel; and the first LED headlamp of the Mio series.

Focusing on female customers aged 18-25 who are looking for stylish but reasonably-priced scooters, the Mio S has been developed to meet the needs of those who ‘desire practicality but are also sensitive to trends’.

The Indonesian motorcycle market has a total scale of 5.6 million units (2016 Yamaha Motor survey), of which about 80 per cent are scooters. Approximately two million of these scooters are in the basic, low-price range, forming the largest market segment.

In 2003, Yamaha Motor launched the Mio series in this segment, winning broad popularity through its style and base functionality, and increasing the number of new Yamaha users. The launch of the Mio S aims to attract more female users and expand sales in the highest-demand category. Yamaha is looking at annual sales of three lakh units.

Indonesia is also the company’s largest two-wheeler market though growth has been lacklustre in recent years. In fact, the entire ASEAN region is facing headwinds in the two-wheeler space though there has been a gradual improvement lately in buying sentiment. Honda and Yamaha are the dominant Japanese brands while Suzuki’s presence is marginal in contrast.

From Yamaha’s point of view, India is likely to emerge its number one market by 2020 thanks to its sheer size and rapid pace of growth. The company has been in this part of the world for over three decades but has little to show in terms of market share. One reason could be attributed to the roller-coaster ride witnessed during the first phase where its joint venture with the Escorts group kicked off with a bang but lost momentum subsequently.

Yamaha then decided to go it alone but made the mistake of trying to compete in the commuter motorcycle space where the then Hero Honda was ruling the roost. It is only in recent years that the company has decided to reboot its India strategy and focus on scooters in the commuter space with premium motorcycles at the other end.

Thus far, there has been some success thanks largely to models like the Fascino scooter, which have worked thanks to a differentiator strategy. Likewise, the FZ range is making a strong connect with buyers keen on shopping for premium motorcycles.

In addition, India is an important backend sourcing point for Yamaha where components are shipped out to its other global operations. The country is also intended to manage Africa’s operations from the new Chennai facility, which has seen the launch of basic commuter motorcycles like the Saluto.

To that extent, India has a larger role to play in the overall Yamaha strategy even though it has to contend with tough rivals in the domestic market such as Hero, TVS, Honda and Bajaj. The Japanese automaker believes it is important to be patient and take one thing at a time while striving to build market share in this part of the world.

It will also be interesting to see if scooters like the Mio S will also find their way to India given that there are similarities with the targeted buyers being young women. With the female workforce in India on the rise, the scooter has emerged the most viable transport option and it was Honda that first set the ball rolling in this direction with its super successful Activa.

Published on October 19, 2017

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