Interview: Motoroyale's Ajinkya Firodia on his multi-brand initiative
We recently had a chat with Ajinkya Firodia, MD, Motoroyale. Here's what he has to say about the future plans for his multi-brand initiative.
What's the plan for MV Agusta going ahead?
It's been really exciting. You know, it's MV Agusta so I will admit I was worried because it comes with a premium tag. But when we got MV Agusta into India, we realised that it has huge brand equity. There's definitely awareness, at least among the hard-core bikers, and I think with our little initiatives and our marketing, the awareness has spread. Since the bikers are a small and growing group, there's more and more desire for MVs which also put us on the map. So I'm really enjoying it. What we need to do next is to expand our product portfolio. This is the reason why you'll see two to three launches coming up this year.
Will these launches be from MV Agusta or will they be from other brands too?
As I've always said, Motoroyale is a multi-brand initiative. So the idea is that under the Motoroyale showrooms and umbrellas, we'll have four to five brands. What we're clear on is to focus on European and American brands. We're looking at and talking to such people right now. So from the MV Agusta stable, we are launching the Brutale, the RR, maybe the Dragster we're not sure. We have also recently tied up with SWM which is another heritage Italian brand. They have a very interesting adventure tourer product which we hope to launch by the end of this year. So that will be the second one.
Do you feel the need to expand your distribution right now beyond your five dealerships?
I think what we've already realised in the first five dealerships that we have is that they play an extremely important role in local sales promotion and marketing. It's not easy to find the correct person because they have to have the passion. They also have to have economic sense and stuff like that. So eventually, we'll be working with 12 or 15 dealers that's the vision for Motoroyale. We need to get the right person on board. That's more important to me than expanding quickly.
How do you think the dynamic in the showroom is going to play with a very premium brand like MV Agusta and a relatively unknown brand, as far as India is concerned, like SWM? What do you have to do to make them sit together?
I think we'll have to create separate 'shops'. The customer is obviously different because MVs will start at Rs 15 lakh and these [the SWMs] will start at a third of their price. I think there's a type of customer for every type of bike and that's how we'll have to play it. With MV Agusta it's relatively different because people who are buying it are buying it for the legacy and heritage. I'm hoping that for SWM, since the product value proposition and the uniqueness is strong, customers will come for the product.
How did you zero in on the adventure tourer as the thing in the SWM line that you wanted to start with?
It's unique, because it's 600cc and it's on-road and off-road capable. From what we understand, the adventure tourer market is growing rapidly. I've heard that as much as 40 per cent of the big manufacturers' sales come from this. And you have the bikes starting at Rs 7-12 lakh. So to get a bike under that range is a unique product for India.
I think to have a good-looking, Italian-built motorcycle you know, it comes from the Husqvarna legacy at an affordable price tag between Rs 5-6 lakh, just has a great sales potential because a lot more people can have access to a really good adventure tourer.
What do we see coming from Motoroyale next year?
Like I said, we're still finding brands. Our vision is to have at least three or four brands. But I want Motoroyale to have the most exciting and exotic of products. So we're talking to few other companies, and I'm sure you'll hear about more action soon.