Italian firm Ducati forays into India, unveils Rs 48 lakh bike

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New Delhi, May 7 (UNI) Italy-based Ducati Motors today forayed into the Indian market with a launch of five bikes featuring engines of more than 800cc at a price range of Rs 21-48 lakhs.

''We strongly believe the fast growing Indian market is of a strategic importance to Ducati and we will do our best to consolidate our presence and capitalise on the huge opportunity this country has to offer,'' company CEO Gabriele Del Torchio told reporters here.

The motorbike giant has signed a long-term partnership agreement with Precision Motors India Pvt Ltd for supplying the bikes in the world's second-largest two-wheeler market, Mr Torchio said.

''In the first year, we target to sell 50 bikes and will go further as per the demands,'' Precision Motors India Pvt Ltd Chief Executive Officer Ashish Chordia said.

The bikes will be imported as completely built units on which there is a 114 per cent import duty, he said and added that the company will make available in the domestic market the Ducati's entire range.

The company, which has a market share of five per cent in the niche segment globally, will initially open two showrooms in Mumbai and Delhi, followed by Hyderabad, Bangalore and Chennai by early next year, he added.

The Italian superbike giant will invest 3-4 million dollars into expanding its dealers network and others over a period of three years, company Vice President (Sales and Marketing) Cristiano Silei said.

The newly launched superbikes -- 848cc Ducati Superbike for Rs 21.77 lakh, 998cc Ducati Monster S4RS Testastretta for Rs 22.63 lakh, 1098cc Ducati Superbike for Rs 25.61 lakh, 1078cc Ducati Hypermotard 1100S for Rs 20.72 lakh and 1198cc Ducati Superbike 1098R for Rs 48.03 lakh -- are having engines of 90 horsepower (HP) to 180 HP.

The country's 7.2-million-strong bike market has prompted leading bike-makers around the world to renew their focus on the Indian market.

These include the legendary Harley Davidson of the US, Triumph of the UK and Japanese majors like Honda and Kawasaki.

Kawasaki sells its superbikes through Bajaj Auto, its motorcycle partner in the coutry.

Last year, media reports suggested that current leader in the performance bike segment, Bajaj Auto, was looking to buy out Ducati Motor Holding in an effort to build its own brand in the lucrative European market.

The Pune-based company, however, later bought a near-controlling stake in Austrian bike company KTM.

UNI SBA MP AS1422

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