Monday, August 30, 2010

Yamaha India discontinues 3 models

Yes, the Alba, G5 and the Gladiator has been officially discontinued. According to the news published on Hindu Businessline, the production of these 3 models has been discontinued since April 2010..!!
Low demand for these models seem to be the reason for the discontinuation for these models. But according to me it is just a rejig and repositioning of the product portfolio of Yamaha India (as the Alba and Gladiator is still present in the form of the YBR 110 and the SS125 and YBR 125).

The discontinuation of these 3 models is probably a good thing for Yamaha India. The Yamaha product lineup for India was really getting cluttered and confusing.

For example, the Alba, G5 and YBR 110 had the same 106 cc, 4 stroke engines. The G5 at least had different body panels but the Alba and the YBR 110 were essentially the same bikes. Similarly the Gladiator, the SS125 and the YBR 125 also have the same engine (the SS 125 is virtually the Gladiator with a different name; therefore one won’t miss the Gladiator 125 too much).

So basically the discontinued models were the same type of wine in bottles with different labels.

I therefore see the discontinuation of a couple of those models as rationalization of the current line up and also making the positioning of the current models clearer. With the discontinuation of the Gladiator, G5 and the Alba; the current model positioning (domestic) of Yamaha models in India, according to me stands as follows
  • Crux [Entry Level Budget 100 cc model]
  • YBR 110 [One level above the Crux, but an affordable 100 cc model nevertheless]
  • YBR 125 [Affordable 125 cc model]
  • SS 125 [One level above the YBR 125]
  • SZ & SZ-X [Affordable 150 cc commuter models]
  • FZ-16/S/Fazer [Sporty 150 cc models]
  • R15 [Super Sports inspired 150 cc model]
The above lineup now doesn’t appear that cluttered. Without the Gladiator 125, Alba and G5 it’s less of confusion as well. According to me Yamaha India is trying to position the YBR (110 & 125) as a simple commuter friendly brand and the SS 125 and SZ, SZ-X as stylish cum commuter friendly brands.

But I just have one apprehension- the Yamaha brand to me has always stood for performance/racing. I am sure that to most Indians, if it’s not a performance motorcycle; it’s not a Yamaha..!!

Even though I have ridden models like the Crux and found it as good as any other commuter motorcycle in the market, somehow it’s still difficult for me to associate words like commuter and efficient with the Yamaha brand. I know that it’s just a mental block but that’s the way it is.

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