Italian sportsbike brand Benelli (currently owned by Qianjiang Group of China) entered India less than 3 years ago by tying up with Pune-based DSK group. Under the tie-up, the DSK group imported, assembled and distributed the Benelli range of motorcycles in India, and was the de-facto Indian representative of the group. The partnership has run into rough weather over the last few months thanks to the financial trouble that the promoters of the DSK group are currently facing. Benelli has now split with DSK MotoWheels, and has instead tied up with Mahavir Group, known for their car dealerships in Hyderabad. Going forward, the Mahavir group will import and distribute the Benelli range of sportsbikes in India.
The group is also likely to set up an assembly unit to build completely knocked down (CKD) kits into complete motorcycles somewhere near Hyderabad. Currently, Benelli sells five motorcycles in India: the TNT 25, TNT 300, 302R, TNT 600 GT, and the TNT 600i. All five motorcycles are more affordable than most competitors from Japanese and European brands, and DSK Benelli in fact has more dealerships and service centers for its high-end motorcycles than most Japanese and European brands, save for KTM. The existing crop of dealerships and service centers are expected to seamlessly transition to the new Indian owner – the Mahavir group.
Considering the fact that dealers have spent significant amounts of money to set up Benelli dealerships and after sales centers in India, such a transition is highly likely as it is in the interest of all four stakeholders – the Benelli brand, existing customers, existing dealers and the new distributor for Benelli in India – the Mahavir group. The group has been involved in the automotive business for 20 years. It started out as a Mercedes Benz dealer in Hyderabad during 1998, and has since expanded into dealerships and service centers for brands such as Isuzu, Skoda and Indian Motorcycles. We hope that Benelli moves quickly and gets the set-up with the Mahavir group running smoothly as that would allay a lot of fear among existing and prospective Benelli motorcycle owners.