The TVS Motor Company on Monday announced the launch of its 150cc offering in the premium segment, Apache. Targeted at the youth, the bike will be rolled out nationally by January-end or February, 2006. Meanwhile, a spokesperson confirmed that very much in the news cricketer, Mahendra Singh Dhoni, had been roped in as brand ambassador by TVS, but added that it was ‘not necessarily for Apache’.
Speaking to reporters at the launch of Apache in Chennai, Venu Srinivasan, CMD, TVS Motor Company, said, “TVS Apache is the spirit of youth, and the new spirit of TVS – young, vibrant and aggressive.” The bike will be available in Chennai in a month’s time, and a national rollout is expected to be complete by the end of January or by February 2006, according to Srinivasan.
The company’s only other brand in the premium segment, Fiero, is currently selling around 2,000 units per month. The total number of bikes in this segment is estimated at around 50,000 units per month. The segment was growing at 25 per cent, up from the 40,000 units that sold a year back, according to Prasad Narasimhan, VP-Marketing, TVS Motor Company.
The target for Apache is 20,000 to 25,000 units within three to four months of its launch. Bajaj’s Pulsar and Honda’s Unicorn are currently the prominent brands in the segment.
Said Narasimhan, “There is a very large opening at the top of the market. Apart from Fiero, we don’t have a great presence in this segment. The customer for this segment is very different from the set of people we address through Victor or Star. The core audience for Apache is male, 18 to 25 years old. Style, power and performance are the key drivers of their purchase decision.”
The company has spent Rs 15 crore in developing the new product. Apache is priced at Rs 52,490 (ex-showroom, Chennai).
On reports of Indian wicketkeeper-batsman Dhoni being roped in as brand ambassador for Apache, Narasimhan said, “The reports are true, but it is not necessarily for this brand. There are no plans at the moment for a brand ambassador for Apache.” The spokesperson also denied that Dhoni would replace Sachin, who continues as brand ambassador for Victor.
Without divulging the proposed marketing spends, the marketing head of TVS said that it would be a ‘substantial launch’. McCann is the agency handling the creative for Apache.
TVS Motor Company is hoping that the 5-speed Apache, which promises to zoom from 0 to 60 kmph in a mere 5.3 seconds, will deliver the extra surge it needs to race to the top of the premium segment.