Yamaha has been rumored to be working on a 250cc sportbike for quite some time now. In fact, the other three members of the Japanese Big Four have launched new models in the small-displacement segment in recent years, but none of these new generation small-displacement bikes bear Yamaha‘s crossed tuning fork logo.

That may change by 2014 however. After previously stating the company plans to focus on producing scooters for India, Hiroyuki Suzuki, managing director and chief executive officer of India Yamaha tells the Financial Chronicle a sporty 250cc model is on the way.

“We will focus on the scooters category for next two years, but in 2014 we will launch powerful sporty 250cc bike in the Indian market,” Suzuki tells the Financial Chronicle. “There is a good market for this premium segment which we would like to tap.”

Yamaha actually started India’s premium sportbike segment in 2008 with the 150cc YZF-R15 (pictured above). Yamaha updated the India-manufactured R15 for 2012 and expanded sales to Australia and New Zealand and, more recently, to Japan.

Since 2008 however, Kawasaki gave its updated Ninja 250 an update and recent unveiled its replacement in the new Ninja 300, Honda introduced its CBR250R and Suzuki produced the GW250. All of those models are offered in several markets around the world, but as yet, the upcoming Yamaha 250 is only being planned for India.

But is Yamaha too late? A new 250 might do well in India where Yamaha can build off of the success of its R15. But its competition has begun to shift its focus to higher displacement levels. While many markets such as India are still offered the Ninja 250, it’s being replaced in more developed markets North America and Europe. Honda recently unveiled a new family of 500cc models. Beyond the Japanese Big Four, KTM too is moving up the displacement ladder with its new 390 Duke joining its 125 and 200 iterations.

Yamaha also faces competition from Indian manufacturers. Hero Motocorp is expected to leverage its partnership agreement with Erik Buell to produce a premium sportbike model while Bajaj, which has  a 47% stake in KTM, is using the Austrian brand’s technology in its Pulsar models. Yamaha’s already lagging behind in this segment, and the gap may be even wider in a year’s time when the 250 model is expected to break cover.

[Source: Financial Chronicle]

  • Zack

    Why even bother with India? They don’t deserve an Yamaha, nor even much simpler things… Yamaha take your factories back to Japan before we stop caring buying Indian-made shit.

  • Rich

    India? At the risk of sounding like an ass, does the market in India reflect trends in the US? Or do they simply buy so many more quarter-liter bikes, that they make the US market look incredibly small….insignificant? With Kawi “upgrading” to a larger (and taller) “intro” bike, the US market is ready for a new entry level king. Can Yamaha not see that there are many riders who have less than 30″ inseams, who Kawi has already abandoned? One the one hand, I like that it means our used 250r will appreciate in value, but I’d also like to know my altitudinaly challenged adult-child will be able to “upgrade” as well….

  • According to the Wall Street Journal, the Indian market has accounted for 10.1 million sales this fiscal year, and counting. Only 2.99 million of those are larger than 125cc, so we’re looking at a market dominated by small-displacement models. A 250cc model would present a displacement jump for a large percentage of its buyers in India, whereas in the U.S., it’d be an entry level model or a second bike for someone who already owns a larger one.

    The size of the Indian market is also another big factor. The U.S. market is tiny in comparison, with the MIC reporting sales of about 375,000 in the first half. Even if the U.S. market maintains that pace, that’s still just 750,000 units this year, or about 7.4% the size of the Indian market.

  • Charly

    We have to realize that there is another world outside our US borders and any motorcycle company that is serious about volume, must address the needs of other countries. Smaller bikes are used in congested areas because they fill then need for basic to and fro transportation. I find no problem with that as it does not affect our US market. Here, 250cc are great to start with and to stay with as long distance cruisers, if one doesn’t plan on rocketing down the Xways. Not everybody wants or needs or is comfortable with 1000cc cruisers or big touring bikes like the GoldWing. Some folks just want to get from here to there cheaply and smoothly. I applaud the metrics for looking at this market seriously. We have two big cruiser mfg here who choose to ignore most of the market, but that does not mean other have to follow suit. One day maybe we here will recongnize the need for basic transportation bikes along with our leisure time riding. Competition breeds excellence.

  • Ganny

    It is sad to see narrow and primitive minded comments from people like Zack…God bless them.

  • Yu

    well, had to admit, not all country has paved road as wide or as good as those in US, UK, and many more.
    So why do they need any bigger than 250cc, when there are rarely times (and also streets) when the owner could stretch, say, a BMW S1000RR, to its top speed?

    in regards of displacements and models, motorcycles are motorcycles
    250cc, 450cc, or even 1400cc doesn’t even matter, they’re still motorcycles anyway (unless you’re the power-type guy, that is)

    India is a growing market, mind you
    also all other countries which ‘only’ had 250cc bikes on sales, mostly have few citizens who owns literbikes
    and in my country they admitted that actually there’s not much need to have bigger bike than 250cc, as a 250cc here with some tuning could outrun most cars on street-ride. They bought those bigger-displacement bikes to satisfy their love for big bikes, or being brand loyalists, or even have too much money (than most ordinary people could afford) that they have scheduled trackdays every weekend.
    but most riders would tackle their needs with a help of a motorcycle (common choices in some countries, well, go as far as to say it’s the most rational choice? I did) for daily chores.

  • SS

    @Zack: Wow man, you really are frustrated. But that doesn’t change the fact of you being a nobody.
    @Rich: Don’t worry mate, you do sound like an ass.

    Point is, Indian superbike market is growing by the day and we don’t give a damn about what US & Japan has to say about it. All of you are in India to make or save money. And those who think that Superbikes are all about redlining have clearly missed the essence of ownig one. Maybe you should contact the manufacturers and tell them about your anti-India ideas. Do remember to collect the CCTV footage of you being slapped out of the premises and share on YouTube.

  • afzy

    hahahahahaha i like that mr SS

  • Donald

    You need to grow up Zac,
    You’re a disgrace to not just Americans, all of who thankfully don’t think as you, but humanity in general for your narrow minded, racist attitude.
    Its partly thanks to the Indian market, tolerant Indian nature and their massive appetite for motorcycles that the largest bike maker in the US is still in business, Harley Davidson, who incidentally happen to be the largest seller of big bikes in India since opening shop there.
    Its also largely due to them another US bike maker has gained solid financing, EBR.
    Why would you care though? You’ve got so much filth clogging your cranium its hard to look beyond the mirror.