Interview Benelli – DIP: the 302R is coming, the Leoncino too !
Benelli announced in a video the arrival on the motorcycle market of his sporty 302R. Site therefore contacted its importer in France: the DIP. Alain Kanbelle, its press manager, enlightens us on the little sportswoman and on the future of the brand in France.
Site:. Has it evolved since its presentation at EICMA 2015 under the name ?
Alain Kambelle, press manager of the DIP : Of course. Mainly because of the new Euro4 standard and all the related constraints. Benelli notably reworked the engine mapping and perfected the braking system (mandatory ABS, Editor’s note). The suspension settings have been revised, as on the which served as the basis for this bike.
MNC: Is it produced in Italy or in China ?
A. K .: We will be completely transparent. Like the 302, the 302R is primarily made in China and assembly is completed in Italy. A quality control is then carried out on each copy.
MNC: Do you know the availability date and the price for France? ?
A. K .: The 302R should be available just after the next EICMA show (in Milan from November 9 to 12, 2017, Editor’s note). It will be slightly higher than that of the roadster offered at 4,790 euros, but has not yet been defined because the motorcycles have not yet been delivered. It will also depend a little on the transport.
MNC: Since January 1, Benelli has mainly registered in France 89, 65 BN302 and 56. But how many end customers have actually been delivered ?
A. K .: All these motorcycles have been sold, there are no demo models. In fact, the problem with Benelli is the lack of trust in the brand. It is a brand which, in the past, marketed large engines which suffered from quite a few small problems. As a result, our customers – who are the stores – were reluctant and we had to re-establish the link with them. They too had to regain the trust of end customers. A few years ago, Benelli had brought out a 4-cylinder which absolutely did not correspond to the European market. Please note, it sold very well in China and Asian countries, but not with us. The specifications have been revised and we are working today mainly with three models: the 125 TNT which gives full satisfaction to its owners, the BN302 which arrived a little ahead of the new European license A2 but which now meets a real demand, and the TRK502 whose engine derived from the 302 and the versatile cycle part surprises more than one.
MNC: Certainly, but to be surprised, you have to try … Why not make some models available to potential buyers? ?
A. K .: The problem is, we have to rebuild a network, and it’s far from easy. The store that buys a motorcycle from us prefers to sell it brand new at a high price, rather than keep it for a while for testing. A few stores did, but not all could. Suddenly, Benelli is relaunched, timidly you could say, but surely.
MNC: How the Benelli / DIP network is made up in France ?
A. K .: There are currently around 20 points of sale. But the successive arrivals of the BN302, of the TRK which is also interesting for the new A2 licenses, of the more urban and trendy small 125, arouse curiosity. But keep in mind that the market is not easy.
MNC: Benelli is slow to take off again. How launching a mid-size sports car could help it get started again ?
A. K .: She’s more than a sportswoman … Okay, Benelli presents her as a tracker in his video. But it is a machine that is intended for other uses. It’s like the TNT 125: the promotional clip was shot in a skatepark, but the owners aren’t going to venture there !
MNC: In France, your spearheads are rather the BN302 and TRK502 ?
A. K .: Absolutely.
MNC: Another brand that you also import is extremely dynamic: Royal Enfield! With her long and glorious past, shouldn’t Benelli ride the current neo-retro wave? ?
A. K .: Exactly, the arrival…
MNC: Ah! News from this cute Scrambler ?
A. K .: Yes, it will arrive at the end of the year. With a little delay, but the first containers will arrive in November or December.
MNC: Motorcycles over 600 cc form the bulk of sales in Europe. Large-displacement projects are in the pipeline ?
A. K .: Yes, projects exist. Are they viable in France, we do not yet know. Our current priorities are elsewhere: rebuilding a network, having good stores and restoring people’s confidence. You have to lay a good foundation before embarking on other challenges.
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