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IN CONVERSATION WITH Sugam Ghimire Director at SLR Techno and Trade

sugam ghimire

Notorious for conquering the tough terrain, dirt bikes have been a topic of fascination for most boys and men. Our country is no short of off-roads, harsh terrains, broken trails and the potholes in the city, which does not make it easy to commute from one place to other. However, spending a lot of money just to get by your daily commute doesn’t seem very viable. What we need is bikes that perform really well on our roads at the same time aren’t that costly. The Chinese Automotive company, Motorhead, is providing just that; bikes capable to tackle those road conditions, which are being introduced by their official distributors, SLR Techno and Trade Pvt. Ltd. Here we have a conversation with Mr. Sugam Ghimire, director at the SLR Techno and Trade Pvt. Ltd, on the brand and its future.

COULD YOU GIVE US A BRIEF INSIGHT ABOUT THE MOTORHEAD BRAND AND THE PRODUCT RANGE THAT YOU CURRENTLY HAVE?

We, as SLR Techno and Trade, are currently looking after two brands; Motrac and Motorhead. Talking about Motorhead specifically, we have 5 different models at our disposal at the moment. Each of the Motorhead models are dirt bikes or a mixture of dirt and cross; sort of like a cross over. Our products range from 150cc to 250cc bikes. We are also planning to introduce more in the times to come.

IN YOUR OPINION, HOW HAS THE CURRENT MARKET SCENARIO BEEN FOR TWO WHEELER VEHICLES?

When talking about the 2 wheelers market, after the tax increment, we have seen some slight decline in sales. It’s not that it has stopped growing but the growth ratio has drastically decreased. If the growth ratio was 10% before, it has now declined to 8%. There is also a lot of competition in the market in current scenario. A lot of brands are coming in; there are a lot of options for people to choose, from electric to dirt bikes. There are many dirt bike makers as well. And you can see people (competitors) have put in a lot of effort in their brand, like bringing in their own sets of modifications to their motorcycles. There is a sizeable competition in the market in the two wheeler industry and I must it’s been a really competitive industry to be in.

TALKING ABOUT EXTRA MODIFICATIONS, DOES YOUR BRAND PROVIDE SOME SORT OF MODIFICATION OPTION TO YOUR CUSTOMERS?

The bikes we have mostly come in stock, we do not have any extra modifications. The engine comes in stock, in set, so we do not do any modifications to them. Apart from that, the other accessories we provide like the led head lights, we do some level of modification. When it comes to performance we do import carburetors. This is a separate option for our customers which will result in slight changes in horsepower, but not more than 1 – 2 horsepower. If the customer seeks such performance we do give these options.

WITH THE GROWING COMPETITIVENESS IN THE TWO-WHEELER INDUSTRY, WHAT IS THE USP OF YOUR BRAND AND MAKES IT STAND OUT FROM YOUR COMPETITORS?

Firstly, the way we market our brand and what we strive to provide the customers with is cost efficiency. Not everyone has that capability or the purchasing power to own a high capacity or even a low cc motorcycle in high price. But many people desire it, especially the young ones who are fresh out of high school. Our main target audience is the youths who are looking for bikes with good looks and performance at a lower cost. This is our unique selling point, maintaining cost efficiency along with providing good looking bikes to attract the mass.

IN YOUR OPINION, HOW HAS MOTORHEAD BEEN DOING IN THE NEPALESE MARKET AND HOW HAS THE BRAND BEEN GROWING?

It has been one year since we introduced Motorhead in the Nepalese market. So far, we have sold more than 500 units and also have provided tenders to remote areas such as Lumjung and Solukhumbu. We currently have 7 dealers across Nepal which are spread across the country from east to west. So far, we are satisfied with how Motorhead is performing in the Nepalese market till now.

CONCERNING BRAND EXPANSION, HOW HAVE YOU PLANNED TO GO ON ABOUT IT?

For me, the future is dealer expansion. My vision is to market the brand from urban cities to rural areas of the country. I could be only focusing on the bigger cities but I want our brand to reach all the places. This is my strategy to expand the brand in the future by focusing on all parts of the country rather than just the cities.

WHAT MORE CAN WE EXPECT FROM THE BRAND IN THE FUTURE IN TERMS OF NEW PRODUCT LAUNCHES?

What I believe is, when there are a lot of options in the market, people might get confused by it. I want to focus on the 5 models we have right now rather than introducing newer models for a while. After that I plan to introduce modifications to make the current models we have even better that they are right now. Sort of like a signature product. I have plans to improve on the models we have beside that; there won’t be any new models in the immediate future.

WHAT ARE YOUR AFTER SALES PHILOSOPHIES? HOW DO YOU GO ABOUT THE AFTER SALES SERVICE OF YOUR PRODUCTS?

I believe that it is after sales service that establishes a company as a brand in the Nepalese market. 80% of the branding is only obtained through after sales services and the remaining 20 percent lies in the pre-sales marketing. After sales service plays a vital part in establishing a company. For this very reason, service center establishments, and accessibility of those establishment is crucial. Now-a-days everyone can reach anywhere. Plus, dirt model bikes are famous for off road travels to those faraway places. Maintenance of the bikes’ engines is also highly important. The engines are from Loncin which matches the engine of other off road bike brands. It creates a sense of uniformity, which means more people will commonly know about it and even the local bike mechanics will know how to fix any problems in the engine. Accessibility to the after sales services is very important, thus we focus on providing that easy access to our customers and we make it known to the dealers as well.

COULD YOU TELL US ABOUT THE PROCESS OF ASSEMBLY OF MOTORHEAD BIKES?

For the assembly of the bikes, we bring in the box set, which are the engines, the chassis, and the rims. We have a team available here who assemble the body cover and other accessories of the bike; assembling 10-15 bikes in a day. Motrac on the other hand comes fully assembled.

HOW IS THE MARKET FOR THE MOTRAC AND ELECTRIC TWO WHEELERS OF YOUR BRAND?

The market for Motrac at present is very niche and it is a very small segment. We hope this segment to grow in the future but for now we are focusing more on Motorhead. The electric bikes in general were on rise at the time of border strike, but now it is not as much as it was. It is very limited and possibly won’t be expanded further. However, we will still be providing customer service to our electric bike customers.

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