“We will share more details on the nature of the talks in due course,” Venu Srinivasan, chairman of Chennai, south India-based TVS, said by phone on Monday.
A technological alliance is key for TVS to expand its product portfolio and arrest dwindling market share and a collaboration will help TVS develop bigger motorcycles and be better equipped for the fast-changing Indian motorcycle market. Even though two-thirds of motorcycle sales in India are in the entry-level segment, the market for bigger motorcycles is expanding rapidly.
According to Wall Street Journal report, local sales of motorcycles with engines above 125cc rose 17% in the past financial year to 2.99 million units. The growth outpaced a 12% rise in total local sales to 10.1 million motorcycles.
“A pact with BMW will change the fortunes of TVS,” said Deepak Jain, an auto analyst at Sharekhan Ltd. “TVS has been stuck with its products, and technology from BMW will help it become a major player in the bigger-motorcycle segment.”
If talks with BMW conclude favorably, TVS will join Hero MotoCorp and Bajaj Auto in tying up with global motorcycle manufacturers to source technology for making larger motorcycles.
Hero MotoCorp had recently signed an agreement with Erik Buell Racing for sourcing engines, while Bajaj Auto uses the technology and sells some products of Austrian bike maker KTM Power Sports AG, in which the Indian company has a 47% stake.
BMW’s motorcycle division, BMW Motorrad, sells models under its R and K series and the S 1000 RR superbike in India.
BMW Motorrad’s chief, Hendrik von Kuenheim, said in February the company was seeking partnerships with motorcycle manufacturers in emerging markets, including in India, to locally build its motorcycles or some parts.