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‘This offering will be significantly more exciting’

Murali Gopalan | Updated on February 08, 2018

Sudarshan Venu, Joint Managing Director, TVS Motor   -  Joint Managing Director, TVS Motor

Sudarshan Venu believes NTORQ 125 could be a game changer for TVS Motor

 

It was earlier this week when TVS Motor Company launched its latest scooter, the NTORQ 125, now on display at the Delhi Auto Expo.

“This scooter is for those young customers who want to scooterise, need an option that is as fun to ride and as appealing as a motorcycle, but still has the benefits of a scooter,” Sudarshan Venu, Joint Managing Director, tells BusinessLine in a telephone interview. “It’s sporty, it’s going to be fun, its packed with technology and therefore I think it’s a very attractive product.”

From his point of view, with scooterisation happening in a big way across India, it is only natural that there will be scooters of different segments proliferating across the landscape. Additionally, with a lot of young customers “getting attracted” to the scooter space, there is good reason for the NTORQ 125 to be part of all the action.

First connected two-wheeler

“We want a product that is going to be very attractive, aspirational and exciting to ride so that is why we have packed in technology,” says Venu. To that extent, NTORQ 125 is truly the first connected two-wheeler in India. As for its potential buyer base, TVS is “really looking” at youth who want an exciting driving experience and cutting edge technology.

The 125cc scooter space is still a growing segment and not as humungous in overall numbers as the 110cc. “I think our product is for a segment that is really emerging and, which will continue to grow,” says Venu.

TVS found from its market research that there are a lot of aspirational young customers who want to have great lifestyle, mobility and an exciting ride. Yet, they also want the convenience of doing it in an urban environment on a scooter, which is how the seeds were sown for the creation of the NTORQ 125.

What is even more significant is that this is an all-new scooter brand that will steer clear of the successful Jupiter umbrella. “Jupiter has a very strong position for its segment but this is a very good product for its customer segment,” explains Venu. NTORQ 125 has the racing pedigree, is targeted for the youth and (targeted) to the certain specific customer segment, “which wants an exciting ride”.

Even while planning for this product, it was crystal clear to TVS that the market trends showed scooterisation happening in a big way. This was only inevitable due to rapidly growing levels of urbanisation in addition to more women entering the workforce and seeking a mobility option that was easy to handle. It puts in context the super success of the Honda Activa as well as the TVS Jupiter.

Game changer

Yet, there are different segments beginning to move within scooters too and this is where the youngsters of India are leading the way. “If you look at the Indian demographic, the youth play a very important role,” says Venu. “They are willing to spend and want something that is exciting.” By the end of the day, he reckons, racing is an attitude that could extend beyond bikes to scooters too, especially when it is about fun and excitement.

“I think this new offering is going to be significantly more exciting, packed with technology and has a sharp and aggressive style,” he says. “It will, therefore, definitely be in that sense a game changer,” he says.

Yet, he is quick to add that there is no taking away the fact that there is a group of customers who equally value what motorcycles have to offer be it their ruggedness, their ability to ride off road, provide very good mileage, comfort and so on.

The NTORQ 125 is one of the two scooters that TVS has earmarked for its launch schedule this year. “As scooters grow, I am sure we will launch more products,” adds Venu. Though the top priority right now is to take one thing at a time. Whether the next scooter will be part of the Jupiter brand portfolio also remains to be seen. “We will try to launch products, which are sharply positioned for different sets of consumers,” he reiterates.

This is something that TVS has done diligently with its scooters going back to the Scooty, which was intended for young women college goers.

It carved a niche for itself quickly while the Jupiter, which is on its way to reaching a million units annually, is targeted at a different user base.

Likewise, the NTORQ 125 will reach out to those category of riders who like the good things in life, are unconventional and open to change. After all, today’s young CEOs of start-ups are pretty comfortable with brightly colored sneakers and casual clothes. It is very likely that this growing breed of customers will gravitate towards the NTORQ 125.

The mobility landscape is also seeing huge changes with ownership under pressure, especially in cars, with youngsters preferring options such as Uber and Ola. Automakers across the world are also redrawing strategies while keeping pace with the new world order. Venus is confident that TVS will, likewise, stay ahead of the curve.

“If you look at our history in the last 30 years, we have always been a company that has been in the forefront of technology keeping in touch with attractive trends and launching attractive products and also investing in technology,” he says.

Going forward and keeping pace with the times, TVS will “definitely want to engage” with startups in this age of disruption. “We think that mobility is changing and we will want to be at the forefront of the change,” says Venu. “I think everyone in the company needs to align with the future.”

Published on February 08, 2018

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