I am a proud owner of my RX100 - a true model and a dream of every biker of MY generation in India - and I feel part of the Yamaha brand family. It is such an intense relationship that I didn't think twice to bash up one toddler of a bike rider, who had painted "Honda" in the fuel tank of his badly maintained YAMAHA RX100, that too removing the YAMAHA metal plate completely.
It is with such passion that I am writing this piece to forward my views about how YAMAHA should attempt to tackle the Indian consumers and re-emerge as the most coveted bike brand in India.
It is very clear and apparent to me that Yamaha the brand and RX100 the bike are synonyms. For a more evolved biker, it may be the RD 350. Remember that mean machine! On the whole it is the RX100. This is not a mere truth. RX100 is no longer manufactured in India. It was in 1998 that the last RX100 was made. And RD 350 a little before that. Even now the legacy goes on.
Yamaha has tried to encash the brand through quite a few follow-up launches. It launched the RXG series which had a 135cc version by the name RXG135. A little later the company came out with a 5 gear variant of the same. But none of these models became hit with the consumers and could not meet the expectations of the consumers. Then of course all 2 stroke engines went out of production.
That was an end of an era. Escorts Yamaha became Yamaha. 4 stroke engines became the rage. Yamaha launched a slew of 4 stroke models. But that era was never to come back. Yamaha has become just one of the struggling bike brands in India. There were many reasons. One of the primary reason is the management take-over by Yamaha from Escorts, which took away quite a few years from the brand. Then a series of bad branding made the scenario even worse. I could believe my eyes when Yamaha launched something called "Crux" and "Crux R". Why and how on earth, somebody can call a Yamaha by those names. Thank God, Suzuki has done even worse by launching "Zeus". "Jesus" could have been a better name. By then, most of the Yamaha dealers starting switching loyalties and started selling Bajaj and the TVSs of the world. Why wont they... Loyalty wont have given their two meals of the day!
Then came Yamaha Enticer, which stirred the market a bit. It was a first time for India to taste a cruiser comfort and the kick was that it was launched by Yamaha. Many thought Yamaha is back with a bang... at least I thought. Alas, Yamaha is back. But again the whole fever fizzled. The next few launches were dampeners. Enticer alone could not bear the pressure of getting the brand back to the RX100 days.
Durlovspeakth - Yamaha should give them (consumers) back the glory of RX100. RX100 was a hope and a aspiration. And it will take generations to wipe off the "RX100 emotion". My generation and perhaps 2-3 generations younger to me have to die for the "RX100 emotion" to die. Why wait till then...
Durlovspeakth - Know the "RX100 emotion". And the consumer need therefore. Fulfill it.
Even today, if you ask a bike enthusiast to name a Yamaha bike, he would most likely name RX100 and then he would say R1 or R6. So the message is clear. The consumers are comparing RX100 to an R1. What is the common thread. Both the bikes have the common perception of being powerful and fast. Perhaps pick up is the other word.
Perhaps it is very easy to derive why Pulsar became such a huge icon. The consumer found a comparison. Pulsar could get close to the "RX100 emotion". It looked powerful and was powerful. Pulsar 150 was the volume grosser but I firmly believe that the Pulsar 180cc made the brand and fulfilled the "RX100 emotion". And that helped sell the lower models even to the 125cc Discover.
Durlovspeakth - Jackie Chan was not the brand ambassador but the Pulsar 180 was. And the real brand ambassador is the "RX100 emotion".
Yamaha needs to take a learning. Now the consumer wait is for a 250cc upwards bike. Rather I would say a RD350 in 4 stroke avatar is what Yamaha needs to capture the "RX100 emotion".
Yamaha should launch a power bike with great pick up with 350 CC equivalent engine capacity and see that it gives more than 40 kms a litre. Marketing and advertising should push it as flagship product and John Abraham is the apt ambassador to promote a speed bike. This bike might not give the volumes but the lower versions of the same would. No harm in copying Bajaj.
I wait with great earnest that Yamaha understands the "RX100 emotion".