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Benelli Takes Aim at Royal Enfield With Low-Cost Retro Cruiser

2020 Benelli Imperiale 400

All photos courtesy of Benelli

Italian-brand Benelli on Tuesday introduced its long-awaited Imperiale 400 retro-styled cruiser with an impossibly low price – Rs 1.69 Lakh, or about $2400 USD – designed to cut into Royal Enfield’s sales in its home market of India.

The new motorcycle is powered by an all-new, 374 cc, fuel-injected, single-cylinder, four-stroke, air-cooled SOHC engine delivering 21PS at 5,500 RPM. A conventional double-cradle tube frame supports 41mm telescopic forks and a preload-adjustable twin-shock suspension, with 300 mm front and 240mm rear ABS disc brakes.

The Imperiale comes with a three-year unlimited mileage warranty as standard with complimentary service for the first two years, and is available in black, red or silver.

A reinterpretation of its Benelli-MotoBi range of bikes from the 1950’s, the Imperiale looks to compete in the classic motorcycle segment largely populated by Indian-owned Royal Enfield’s Bullet and Classic models.

“We are betting big on the segment, with the launch of the Imperiale 400 and are confident of capturing a significant market share with a number of dealership launches set to take place, to ensure that our services and the Imperiale 400 is within reach for every rider out there,” Benelli India Managing Director Vikas Jhabakh said.

Initially scheduled for European release earlier this year, Tuesday’s reveal marks an ambitious expansion and focus of Benelli’s presence in the Indian motorcycle market.

The company has sold around 1000 motorcycles in India since resuming sales in January this year, Jhabakh said, and by the end of 2019, the company plans to sell twice that number.

Benelli is a fully-owned subsidiary of China’s Qjian Jiang Group and in India it has a marketing connection with The Mahavir Group. It currently sells six models in India from 300cc to 600cc, which are imported as knocked-down kits and assembled at a facility near Hyderabad, India.

The company has a standing assembly capacity up to 20,000 units annually and it can be expanded up to 40,000 units once demand increases, Jhabakh said.

Orders for the Benelli Imperiale 400 are currently being taken through the company’s website or by visiting the nearest Benelli India dealership, the company said.