With the Multix now a closed chapter, Polaris wants to focus on its Indian Motorcycle and ATV (all-terrain vehicle) businesses, which have greater potential.

According to Pankaj Dubey, MD and Country Head, Polaris India, there is no plan now to look at local assembly of Indian Motorcycle, though this was contemplated earlier. “Volumes are still not large enough to justify investing in a factory, which will have its share of overheads,” he says.

As a result, the direct import route for fully-built motorcycles will continue for now. This segment is still a small layer on the top of the two-wheeler pyramid in India, where the lion’s share is taken up by commuter bikes.

“By the end of this year, we will be present in 11 cities for Indian Motorcycle, up from seven now. People have the money and love the brand. We have targeted 60-70 per cent growth this year and the expansion into small towns will fuel this growth story,” says Dubey.

All-terrain success

Likewise, the ATVs are doing pretty well, especially on the institutional side. The Polaris Experience Zone, where entrepreneurs invest in the concept and buy out/rent vehicles to customers, has been encouraging. This off-road track concept has now been taken to other Polaris markets as well. While this is a common sight in places like Dubai, recreating it for India was a challenge from the space viewpoint. Artificial undulations were developed for users to enjoy the vehicle and this became popular since the time it kicked off in 2013. Today, there are 81 such zones across the country, which has also helped increase the ATV business.

The Indian army is one of the important users of these vehicles along with the border police/security force. They find them handy in some of the toughest terrains, ranging from deserts to deep snow. Apart from the army, the forest and tourism departments also use them.

Dubey recalls being over the moon when a general told him that these vehicles were the lifeline of the army. “He told me that they could not manage without Polaris and I felt great listening to this. This meant that my product was doing something good for the country,” he says.

Dubey also knows that each business, be it Indian Motorcycle or the ATV, has its own challenges and specific end-users. On the one side are the Government, military and police forces, while the Indian Motorcycle user base comprises premium customers with high expectations.

“Multix was taking a lot of my time since the time I took additional charge of Eicher Polaris in November 2016. Now with its closure, I will have more time for these two brands and, hopefully, you will see a lot of growth happening with them,” says Dubey.