Bajaj Auto, India’s third largest two-wheeler maker, has revised the launch plan of its iconic Husqvarna bike in India. The Pune-based maker of Pulsar and Avenger range of motorcycles will now introduce fully imported models of Husqvarna in India as part of its intensive brand building measure even as smaller, locally-developed products get readied to hit the market over the next six months.
KTM and Bajaj had earlier planned to launch Husqvarna bikes in the Indian market with two locally produced models. Both the Husqvarna models are designed on the design language of ‘modern retro’.
The maker of street bikes and dirt bikes, Husqvarna is more than 100-year old Swedish brand and enjoys an iconic status in Europe. The company is owned by Pierer Industrie AG and led by Stefan Pierer, the Chief Promoter of Austria-headquartered KTM. Bajaj Auto owns 48 percent equity stake in KTM.
Husqvarna will be an important addition to Bajaj's KTM portfolio. Last year, there was a 21 percent jump in sales - to 197,612 units - of KTM models made by Bajaj.
KTM bikes are also manufactured in Austria.
Speaking to analysts, Rakesh Sharma, Chief Commercial Officer, Bajaj Auto said, “We will begin with models sourced out of Austria but the teams are working in extending the partnership for design and development in India for the Husqvarna brand. I cannot talk about the timeline for launching the new line of products from Husqvarna.”
Chakan, the Bajaj factory based near Pune that produces Pulsars, will accommodate Husqvarna models also. The plant also exclusively makes KTM range of bikes for India and overseas markets.
Likewise, for Husqvarna, its parent company has decided to shift production of two models Vitpilen 401 and Svartpilen 401 to Chakan with production slated to begin in late 2018 or early 2019.
Both the Husqvarna bikes due to start production in Pune are powered by the same 373cc, 44bhp, single cylinder engine that powers the KTM Duke 390 and the KTM RC 390. Both these KTM bikes are among the six produced by Bajaj Auto from India.
Further, Bajaj’s non-equity partnership with UK’s Triumph Motorcycles is yet to be finalised despite the two companies holding talks over products and manufacturing plans for the past 15 months.
“Our talks with Triumph has moved ahead extremely well. Manufacturing teams are already talking in detail. As soon as we lay down the protocols of the exact nature of work we should be able to announce the whole thing formally in few a months time,” added Sharma.
Triumph is banking on Bajaj Auto for development of small displacement bikes which are very popular in emerging markets such as India. Triumph’s smallest bike has 800cc engine while the biggest engine from Bajaj has a capacity of 400cc only.
Riding on Bajaj Auto the British brand is hoping to take on Royal Enfield, which has remained unchallenged for several years. Eicher Motors
-owned Royal Enfield has voiced its plans of becoming the global leader in the mid-capacity engine segment of 500-800cc.