The Indian motorcycle market is massive, and is clearly more important than the U.S. market at this point. This trend will only continue into the foreseeable future, as the Indian consumer moves to larger displacement, higher performance models. Pictured above is a Hyosung ST7 cruiser concept, which the South Korean firm designed and developed in India. The video below gives some insight into that design process. The new ST7 will likely displace close to 700cc, and the Indian market is certainly ready to embrace larger displacement bikes.
We have already talked extensively about the tie-up between America’s Erik Buell Racing and India’s giant Hero MotoCorp.
Perhaps the biggest indicator of India’s increasing influence on motorcycle development and design is the establishment by Honda of an R&D center in India focused entirely on motorcycle development. Encompassing over 10,000 square meters in Manesar, India, the new Honda facility is quite impressive, and includes, for instance, a state-of-the-art wind tunnel for anylyzing aerodynamics of new two-wheeler designs (both motorcycles and scooters). Honda considers this new Indian facility unique in its global operations, despite the fact it has several R&D facilities worldwide.
India has many talented designers, engineers and computer scientists. It is already a popular location for outsourcing of high level engineering and design by multi-national corporations. While European manufacturers may continue to design the vast majority of their products in Europe, we may be witnessing a major shift by Japanese and Korean manufacturers to design centers in India.