UM Motorcycles, a brand registered in the US, and with a subsidiary in India under the UM International LLC name, will end its alliance with Lohia Auto. According to reports, the five-year-old partnership didn’t go as well as expected, and now UM has decided to go alone under a new brand name called UM+. Neither UM, nor Lohia has made any official announcement about the split, and when contacted by carandbike, UM officials did not respond. However, some reports indicate that the decision is almost final, and UM will set up a new manufacturing facility in Hyderabad.
UM will now look at a second shot at the world’s largest two-wheeler market, with a range of new launches as well as strategic partnerships. While the entire motorcycle portfolio will need to be ready to meet the Bharat Stage VI (BS-VI) emission regulations, UM will also need to look at introducing dual-channel ABS, as well as strengthen its dealership footprint across India. According to latest regulations, all motorcycles above 125 cc need to have ABS from April 1, 2019, and UM apparently didn’t have any models with ABS, and dealers were unhappy that the customer demand could not be met with these models. Now, from April 1, 2020, all engines will also need to be BS-VI ready.
Reports state that once the new company is formed, the management will ask existing dealers to resign from the UM-Lohia partnership and enter into fresh agreements with the new entity. While there have been indications of new UM models coming into the market, the split in the partnership and troubles with its dealers will be a setback to UM’s fortunes in India. What happens over the next few months will be interesting to see what the future holds for UM in India.
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