Friday, March 26, 2010

Posted on 10 August 2009. Tags: Bangladesh, Nepal, Raja Bhadra, Sri Lanka, Vibgyor Vehicles bike00231 A 29-year-old former banker has a dream: tak


A 29-year-old former banker has a dream: taking on the big guns of India’s two-wheeler segment through his range of mobikes, not only on home turf but also in Bangladesh, Nepal and Sri Lanka.

“We have just started and we will slowly pick up speed,” says Raja Bhadra, founder Chairman and Managing Director of Vibgyor Vehicles, a motorcycle manufacturing company set up on an outlay of Rs250-300m.

Bhadra’s fledgling venture will pitchfork him against two-wheeler majors Hero Honda and Bajaj Auto, promoted by two of India’s leading industry houses, apart from other established players.

Hero Honda, the market leader, posted a turnover of over Rs125,000m last fiscal, while Bajaj earned around Rs88,000m. Vibgyor’s “initial investment” of Rs250m-300m, including “a small amount” as loan from Syndicate Bank, pales in comparison.

But Bhadra is unfazed. “After two-three years, we will be competing with those brands in terms of sales and turnover,” he said.

Vibgyor, which has its plant at Dhulagarh in Howrah near Bhadra’s home base Kolkata, unveiled its first model, the

100cc Gallop, in March — targetting cities like Lucknow and Ahmedabad.

The bike will be launched in unspecified locations in Madhya Pradesh and Jharkhand in August, with Guwahati next in line.

Bhadra has also entered the Bangladesh market and is set to ride into Nepal, apart from planning exports to Sri Lanka and East Africa.

“We have already sent our first consignment to Bangladesh. We want to expand there,” Bhadra said.

“We also have plans to export to East Africa via Dubai and talks are on with companies in

Sri Lanka.”

The company, part of Vibgyor Allied Industries that has diversified business interests, is also eyeing markets in Argentina

and Peru.

Bhadra indeed has big plans. The 100cc bike will be followed by a 150cc (Shark) and 125cc (Hunter) models later this year.

“The 150cc variety is a premium category bike with which we plan to enter the tier I cities by November,” he said. The Hunter will immediately follow the Shark.

Vibgyor is banking on lower prices and free accessories to penetrate the smaller cities. Bhadra said the bikes would be at least Rs.6,000-7,000 cheaper than their equivalents from the Bajaj Auto and Hero Honda stables.

Explained company Vice-President Mrigen Banerjee: “100cc customers aspire for certain features but cannot always afford these. We will give free of cost additional features like gear and mobile indicators, which other manufacturers charge for.”

Another route to carving out a market is whittling down logistics costs: Vibgyor has started scouting for land in Gujarat to set up a Rs500m-600m crore assembly line unit to cater to the state and to markets in Punjab, Maharashtra and Uttar Pradesh.

“These are prime two-wheeler markets. It is cheaper to transport motorcycles from Gujarat than hauling them from Bengal,” Bhadra rationalised.

Vibgyor has roped in former Indian cricket skipper Sourav Ganguly as brand ambassador. Ganguly, along with actor Hrithik Roshan, had once endorsed Hero Honda motorcycles.

So where does he see his company going? Bhadra says Vibgyor is looking at a turnover of Rs2500m in this fiscal, and Rs3500m in the next.

“We have set a sales target of 100,000 bikes (mix of all variants) this year, 140,000 for next year and 200,000 a year from then onward.”

Born in West Bengal, Bhadra stayed away from his family business and worked in a bank for two years before riding off on his own.

-Source: The Peninsula-

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