Runner Motorcycles All Set to Rock the Market
The Bangladeshi motorcycle company, Runner Automobiles, made its way into the Nepali market with the launch of their seven models, ranging between unique 80 cc to 150 cc, and with stylish aggressive features, at the NADA Auto Show 2017.
Esparsh Sarawagi had a chat with CEO Raman Mahato of Raman Motors, a subsidiary company of Raman General, about their vision and strategies for the Nepali market.
Why did Raman Motorcycles enter the Nepali market?
If not Runner, than what else? In the two-wheeler segment, you don’t see brands too often, and it’s necessary for the industry to mature. If any two-wheeler brand sustains for at least 10 years, then it is proved that the brand is reliable, and Runner is that brand which has been well-established in the Bangladeshi market for 17 years, and is actually older than Bajaj. In the two-wheelers market, about 80% of the bikes sold are from the commuters’ segment, while only 10% to 15% market is occupied by the brands which only cover the niche market. Nepal, being a poor country, the cheapest form of mobility is through motorcycles, and the market is growing, providing room for more players. Runner motorcycles have six years warranty, which makes the bike more special. We are ready to serve the market, and I’m confident our market share will double-up in four to five years.
What is the approach of Runner Motorcycles to Nepal?
In the Nepali market, just like other businesses, bikes also work in distributor and dealer model. We’ve already made 15 dealers and have opened 12 showrooms, and the process is still on.
Which market are you targeting with this brand?
Our product caters from commuters’ segment to 150 cc bikes. With this, we are also bringing two models of higher segments bike with 180 cc. Down the line, we’ll also add up 200-250 cc bikes and provide the bikes as needed by the Nepali market. But, for that, it’s necessary that we establish the market and achieve the volume of sales. Doing this, we can customize the bikes as per the market demand, as Runner has that flexibility and technology which has made it a pioneer in motorcycles.
What is the market share you are looking at?
In 2018, we’ll be more than happy if we occupy at least 2% of the market. In the next five years, we have a target to occupy 15% of the Nepali market, and then we will think about going into manufacturing. Within a year, we might also start assembling, and then build an automated plant, which will help us reduce our manufacturing cost.
What was the strategy behind launching seven models of Runner motorcycles at once?
It was necessary to launch all the seven models at once, because we have never provided any of our models to the Nepali market and it was essential for us to expose them to the Nepali people, since they were new to them. After our brand gets established, we’ll think launch products individually, with new design and features.
What is the response you have received from the market?
We have a very good response. In NADA, as well, our products had the highest response among the others present there because Hero, Bajaj, Yamaha were brands which were already known to the customers. The question was, “What is this new character Runner?” There was a lot of curiosity among people, as they had never heard of bikes with six years warranty. You don’t see these everyday bikes coming to market so often, and Runner is something people can really afford.
In terms of dealership network, what is your strength at present?
We have a good networking skill. We have managed to make 15 dealers in the last three months, which is not an easy task. Our strength is our good management team, which includes all the aspects from sales to service. We have everything in-house, and we don’t try to outsource.
Will you focus on the commuters’ segment, or will you jump to another segment as well?
We will supply as per the need of the market. Being a company, it’s necessary that you adapt as per the demand. After sometime, if people start using bikes only above 200 cc, we’ll sell only those bikes. So, our action will be as per the market demand.
What are the future products you want to put on line?
We have two models of 180 cc in the pipeline. Then, we have plans to bring a dirt bike model, as well, and a cruiser type model. With the time, we’ll build up customer database and bring products accordingly.
What is your long strategy for Nepal?
We are 100% committed to this brand, and my ultimate long-term strategy is to be the first motorcycles manufacturer in Nepal. I am myself a design engineer, and I know these things are not complicated, as I’ve enough expertise in this field.