Team-BHP > BHP India > Motorbikes


Reply
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread
Old 23rd June 2019, 12:37   #1
Team-BHP Support
 
CrAzY dRiVeR's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2006
Location: India
Posts: 12,647
Thanked: 34,668 Times
Default UM Motorcycles - The way forward?

Past six months have been tough for the two-wheeler industry, but one particular manufacturer seems to have hit a rock bottom during this period.

Dispatches have gradually come to a stop over the last couple of months, I've seen dealers shutting shop as well (Nagawara ORR, Bangalore - for example!) and even the website is only half operational now - with most links including the dealer finder throwing HTTP 500 errors!. The company in question is UM Lohia Two Wheelers Pvt Ltd, which entered the Indian market with a splash at the 2014 Auto Expo with an aim to position themselves as a premium commuter manufacturer offering US pedigree and experiences in the typical Harley Davidson format.

UM Motorcycles - The way forward?-uml.png

UM India is a joint venture between UM International, headquartered in Miami, Florida and Lohia Auto. The JV was signed on September 2014. These bikes are manufactured at the Lohia Auto's Kashipur facility in Uttarakhand. The plant's production capacity is at 1,00,000 motorcycles per year. The company had launched motorcycles like the UM Renegade Commando Mojave (Rs. 1.80 lakh), Renegade Commando Classic (Rs. 1.89 lakh), Renegade Sport S (1.49 lakh), Renegade Duty (1.1 lakh), etc along with an electric cruiser christened as Thor with a price tag of 4.9 lakhs!

UM Motorcycles - The way forward?-dsc00982.jpg

IMHO -

The motorcycles seem to have catered to a small niche of buyers who preferred classic motorcycles - but wanted more exclusivity than the common Royal Enfields. Two major moves by other players in the industry seem to have taken away this niche segment of buyers -

1. Introduction of Jawa
2. Royal Enfield going premium with the 650 twins.

Should the brand diversify? They do have a range of commuters (125cc etc), scooters, dual-purpose motorcycles, etc - in their international portfolio.

Is there a way forward for UML?

Last edited by CrAzY dRiVeR : 23rd June 2019 at 12:39.
CrAzY dRiVeR is offline   (16) Thanks Reply With Quote
Old 23rd June 2019, 12:50   #2
BHPian
 
deep_bang's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2007
Location: Bangalore / Boise
Posts: 675
Thanked: 409 Times
Default re: UM Motorcycles - The way forward?

A few years ago when I bought my Tbird I also looked at UM. The problem I saw was that it's a new company, hardly any service centers and more importantly there is no USP. Why would I buy this bike? If I need the old classic feel, I will buy the royal Enfield classic. In this segment - If I need a cruiser, I will buy the Thunderbird. If I need good speed, I will buy any of the Ktms or Dominars.
I don't see a USP of this bike. Also, they say it's a US based company, but I have never heard it even in the US - so seems fishy to me.

They need to ask themselves what's the USP. Why would anyone buy this? There lies the answer to the future of UM in India.
deep_bang is offline   (10) Thanks Reply With Quote
Old 23rd June 2019, 13:06   #3
Team-BHP Support
 
SmartCat's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2007
Location: Bangalore
Posts: 4,434
Thanked: 21,993 Times
Default re: UM Motorcycles - The way forward?

Quote:
Originally Posted by CrAzY dRiVeR View Post
an aim to position themselves as a premium commuter manufacturer offering US pedigree
Quote:
Originally Posted by deep_bang View Post
I don't see a USP of this bike. Also, they say it's a US based company, but I have never heard it even in the US - so seems fishy to me.
There is nothing American about UM bikes. They get these bikes designed and developed by Chinese manufacturers and they just slap UM label on it. UM's offerings in India were critically panned by Autocar India reviewers for poor quality and ergonomics. I think they gave a 5 or 6 star rating (out of 10) for these bikes in the print edition.

SmartCat is online now   (11) Thanks Reply With Quote
Old 23rd June 2019, 13:58   #4
Team-BHP Support
 
CrAzY dRiVeR's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2006
Location: India
Posts: 12,647
Thanked: 34,668 Times
Default re: UM Motorcycles - The way forward?

Quote:
Originally Posted by SmartCat View Post
There is nothing American about UM bikes.
Yes. True.

UM Motorcycles has its origins in Columbia, with a very unsuccessful North American stint trying to import Hyosung and Chinese bikes into America. They seem to have forgotten the Columbian origins and are obviously highlighting their (failed) American roots.

The bikes yes, seem to be rebranded Chinese products - especially Chongqing and Jincheng.

Last edited by CrAzY dRiVeR : 23rd June 2019 at 14:05.
CrAzY dRiVeR is offline   (6) Thanks Reply With Quote
Old 23rd June 2019, 14:04   #5
Senior - BHPian
 
IshaanIan's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2012
Location: Hyd/B'lore
Posts: 2,745
Thanked: 3,915 Times
Default re: UM Motorcycles - The way forward?

I feel they ought to restrategize their entire approach in India. Perhaps focus on servicing an entirely new market in our country. Adventure motorcycles are on the up and up now. An alternative to the Himalayan and Impulse would be great. This could also be flanked by a couple of offerings in the dirt bike and super moto segments. This way they can maintain high brand recall but theyd just have to watch out for manufacturers like KTM who might just bring their more accomplished products to the market if they feel like the sales in the dirtbike and super moto segments are lucrative enough.

Last edited by IshaanIan : 23rd June 2019 at 14:06.
IshaanIan is online now   (6) Thanks Reply With Quote
Old 23rd June 2019, 16:45   #6
Senior - BHPian
 
Latheesh's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2007
Location: Kannur
Posts: 3,434
Thanked: 4,668 Times
Default re: UM Motorcycles - The way forward?

Quote:
Originally Posted by CrAzY dRiVeR View Post
Yes. True.

UM Motorcycles has its origins in Columbia, with a very unsuccessful North American stint trying to import Hyosung and Chinese bikes into America. They seem to have forgotten the Columbian origins and are obviously highlighting their (failed) American roots.
Small correction. It is Colombia (country) and not Columbia (USA city).
Latheesh is offline   (9) Thanks Reply With Quote
Old 23rd June 2019, 21:56   #7
Distinguished - BHPian
 
Samba's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2013
Location: Kolkata
Posts: 1,366
Thanked: 10,763 Times
Default re: UM Motorcycles - The way forward?

Few things went wrong.

Indian buyers first look for a known brand name. Very few people know of UML. To establish themselve they should have spent a lot on advertisement, which they didn't.

They directly entered the market with bikes costing more than 1L + on road price. That's quite high for the common people. People spending 1L + on bike will look for a company who have good service backup and resale value. UML can't qualify any of the above needs.

It will be hard for them to sustain.

Few things they can try are like -

Introduce Electric scooters/ gear-less scooters in the 60k range
Heavy advertisement on tv, hoardings, shopping mall, etc etc.
Open 2-3 authorized service outlets in every big cities.

Last year they had a nice display stall in Auto Expo but that's not enough to appeal the mass.

UM Motorcycles - The way forward?-img_5537.jpg

Last edited by Samba : 23rd June 2019 at 22:02.
Samba is online now   (7) Thanks Reply With Quote
Old 23rd June 2019, 22:39   #8
Team-BHP Support
 
CrAzY dRiVeR's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2006
Location: India
Posts: 12,647
Thanked: 34,668 Times
Default re: UM Motorcycles - The way forward?

Quote:
Originally Posted by CrAzY dRiVeR View Post
I've seen dealers shutting shop as well (Nagawara ORR, Bangalore - for example!)
Checked the other major dealer (Bellandur ORR, Bangalore) and they seem to have shut shop as well. One of the shutters had a 'Commercial space for rent' board too.

Are there any dealers operational for the brand now?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Samba View Post
Last year they had a nice display stall in Auto Expo but that's not enough to appeal the mass.
In fact, they had attended all three since 2014.

https://www.team-bhp.com/forum/motor...-2018-a-2.html (UM India @ Auto Expo 2018)

https://www.team-bhp.com/forum/motor...po-2016-a.html (UM Motorcycles @ Auto Expo 2016)

https://www.team-bhp.com/forum/motor...po-2014-a.html (UM Motorcycles @ Auto Expo 2014)

Last edited by CrAzY dRiVeR : 23rd June 2019 at 22:42.
CrAzY dRiVeR is offline   (3) Thanks Reply With Quote
Old 24th June 2019, 11:30   #9
BHPian
 
Join Date: Nov 2015
Location: Pune
Posts: 89
Thanked: 129 Times
Default Re: UM Motorcycles - The way forward?

When I began shopping for a tourer / cruiser a year ago, UM was among the companies and bikes that I checked particularly as one of their showrooms in Pune was on my doorstep.

What I liked about the bikes particularly the Renegade commando:

a) Very low seat height suitable for people under 5' 6"
b) Gorgeous looks - looked muscular and cool, also not RE, attention-getter
c) Power in the mid 20s in terms of both BHP and Torque - more than the Avengers
d) Class leading ground clearance for such a low slung bike
e) Nice throaty engine sound
f) Nice to ride too - I rode a Commando for around 5-6 kms in both stop go traffic and open road. Very controllable and could thread through traffic without a problem.
g) Soft clutch
h) Company seemed eager (desperate ?) to hear from customers and make changes

What I didn't like:

a) No ABS and at the time I tried it, no mention of when it would get it
b) Unknown company and seemed a little shady, Chinese company masquerading as American, picture was not clear. Lohia were a well known name in India at one time though.
c) Bike quality was a mix of the good (premium metallic parts) and cheap plastic. Fit and finishing were poor.
d) Hardly any service outlets so unclear what would happen if you went on a tour and it broke down. Lots of servicing horror stories on the web.
e) Future of the company uncertain
f) Gear ratios were a little weird if I remember right

Basically the cons overwhelmed the pros.

It may be educative to UML to see how the Jawa from Classic Legends which was also an unknown (though the brand was known as of course is the backing of M&M) has succeeded wildly while they (UML) have ground to a halt.
bevivek is offline   (7) Thanks Reply With Quote
Old 24th June 2019, 11:56   #10
Distinguished - BHPian
 
neil.jericho's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2009
Location: Cochin
Posts: 1,517
Thanked: 3,880 Times
Default Re: UM Motorcycles - The way forward?

The Cochin dealership doesnt have any test ride bikes for customers and they are trying to sell off the old test rides bikes. It looks as though there is no available stock. Social media updates show the last deliveries happened in February. The next batch of deliveries for UM motorcycles is expected to be in August or September. Signs point to an eventual end of the UM brand.

Interestingly, the same dealership also sells FB Mondial and they have sold one 300 so far. That is one more than I would have predicted.

Last edited by khan_sultan : 24th June 2019 at 17:24. Reason: typo
neil.jericho is offline   (3) Thanks Reply With Quote
Old 24th June 2019, 14:27   #11
Team-BHP Support
 
CrAzY dRiVeR's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2006
Location: India
Posts: 12,647
Thanked: 34,668 Times
Default Re: UM Motorcycles - The way forward?

Quote:
Originally Posted by neil.jericho View Post
Interestingly, the same dealership also sells FB Mondial and they have sold one 300 so far. That is one more than I would have predicted.
Shouldn't it be Kinetic MotoRoyale dealerships selling FB Mondial?

Last edited by GTO : 25th June 2019 at 11:03. Reason: quoted post edited
CrAzY dRiVeR is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 24th June 2019, 14:42   #12
Senior - BHPian
 
abhishek46's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2010
Location: Bangalore
Posts: 1,203
Thanked: 2,461 Times
Default Re: UM Motorcycles - The way forward?

Quote:
Originally Posted by bevivek View Post

It may be educative to UML to see how the Jawa from Classic Legends which was also an unknown (though the brand was known as of course is the backing of M&M) has succeeded wildly while they (UML) have ground to a halt.
That's because of the following reasons:
1. Jawa is a famous and known brand in India.
2. They have backing from Mahindra.
3. Quality, Fit and Finish are light years ahead.

Last edited by abhishek46 : 24th June 2019 at 14:44.
abhishek46 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 24th June 2019, 14:45   #13
BHPian
 
noo.b's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2015
Location: Gurgaon
Posts: 73
Thanked: 64 Times
Default Re: UM Motorcycles - The way forward?

Good Riddance!

All the bikes in their lineup were absolutely horrible and had major Quality issues, the engines weren't great either and they had always intended on misleading people about their "American" heritage while essentially being Chinese bikes with Hysoung derived engines.

I hope they shut shop and go for good, there should be no place for such manufacturers in our markets
noo.b is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 24th June 2019, 15:02   #14
Distinguished - BHPian
 
neil.jericho's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2009
Location: Cochin
Posts: 1,517
Thanked: 3,880 Times
Default Re: UM Motorcycles - The way forward?

Quote:
Originally Posted by CrAzY dRiVeR View Post
Shouldn't it be Kinetic MotoRoyale dealerships selling FB Mondial?
Yes, looks like they have both Kinetic MotoRoyale and UM for now. They must be winding down the UM side of things if they are selling off the test ride bikes.
neil.jericho is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 24th June 2019, 15:55   #15
Senior - BHPian
 
Join Date: Aug 2008
Location: Bombay
Posts: 1,121
Thanked: 1,265 Times
Default Re: UM Motorcycles - The way forward?

Another brand that comes to mind is Cleveland CycleWerks. They also make models similar to retro classic motorcycle design based on yesteryears UJM(Universal Japanese Motorcycle) and some other godawful looking bobbers and cruisers. They too boast of being from USA while using Chinese made (Nothing against Chinese manufacturing and engineering prowess as you get what you pay for.) engines derived from Honda. It is like hoodwinking gullible customers by showing the brand originates from USA so as to attract them to the brand. I am not against these startups but leaving gullible customers in a lurch after business winds down adds to these companies' already bad reputation.

I saw a couple of UM Renegade Commando models here in Bombay sometime back. Wonder what their owners will do in terms of after sales support if UM winds up its business in India. Also at price close to 2 lacs they weren't cheap either for what they offered.

Last edited by navin_v8 : 24th June 2019 at 16:00.
navin_v8 is offline   (2) Thanks Reply With Quote
Reply


Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search


Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
Honda India : The Way Forward GTO The Indian Car Scene 662 5th December 2019 13:52
Tata Fiat passenger car JV-the way forward sidindica The Indian Car Scene 54 2nd May 2012 21:00
With rising fuel prices, are small capacity blown petrol engines the way forward? MaserQ Technical Stuff 17 10th August 2011 11:13
Honda JAZZ, FEB-2010 Sales 233. What's the way Forward for HONDA ? sanagg1 The Indian Car Scene 378 10th October 2010 16:03


All times are GMT +5.5. The time now is 20:19.

Copyright 2000 - 2019, Team-BHP.com
Proudly powered by E2E Networks