Swaraj Baggonkar Moneycontrol News
Five years after being bought by Bajaj Auto’s European partner KTM, Swedish dirt bike specialist Husqvarna is ready to start production from the Indian firm’s Chakan plant near Pune in a few months.
Bajaj Auto will roll out Husqvarna bikes from designated showrooms in the first half of the next fiscal. It will be around the same time that the the country’s third largest two-wheeler maker will foray into electric two-wheelers under the Urbanite brand, a top Bajaj Auto official has confirmed.
The Husqvarna (Husky) bikes will be powered by a common engine and will be based on a common vehicle platform developed by Bajaj Auto and KTM engineers.
“Urbanite will start to make an appearance in six to nine months. That's also around that time that we will see the Husky models coming in,” said Rakesh Sharma, Director, Bajaj Auto.
While the Urbanite brand will retail from new dedicated standalone stores, Husqvarna will use the over 230 operational dealerships of the Austrian bike brand KTM.
This will not be the first time that two different two-wheeler brands are sold through the same showroom. Earlier KTM and performance bike giant Kawasaki were sold through the same retail channel before the Japanese company parted ways with the Indian company to kick-start its own dealerships.
“Husky models will be presented from the same channel. We already have a very strong network for KTM, so the KTM-Husky combined will be presented to the channel,” Sharma added.
Triumph takes a backseat Beside electric vehicles and Husqvarna, Bajaj Auto is keenly working on another project related to premium British bike brand Triumph. As per details shared by the Pune-based maker of Pulsar and Avenger bikes, both companies are close to signing a formal agreement towards their partnership.
“The Triumph agreement is in its final stages of closure. The R&D teams of both companies are working together and there is a lot of exchange of data taking place,” Sharma stated.
In August 2017, Bajaj Auto and Triumph jointly announced their intention to build mid-capacity motorcycles for India and the global market. This non-equity partnership will look to address growing demand for leisure riding, something on the lines of products from Harley Davidson.
With Bajaj Auto’s low-cost expertise, the partnership will address budget segment buyers looking for bikes with engine capacity between 400cc and 800cc. With development work on the bikes expected to begin this year, it will take at least two years before the two firms are ready to roll out the new range.
“We will close the agreement in perhaps another month or so, which is when we will have a clearer view about when the new Triumphs -- the ones which will be co-designed and co-developed by Bajaj Auto. I definitely expect it to take over two years for that to happen,” Sharma said.