Triump’s Thunderbird Commander
Bajaj Auto has partnered iconic British motorcycle brand Triumph to produce mid-capacity bikes for the Indian and overseas markets.
Engineers from Bajaj Auto and Triumph Motorcycles have been working on the new motorcycles at the former’s Chakan plant for some months. The no-equity partnership will develop a range of mid-capacity 250-750cc motorcycles.
Bajaj Auto, the country’s third largest motorcycle maker, is the largest exporter of two-wheelers from India.
“We hope to bring to bear upon global markets the strengths of the partners, including brand position and perception, design and development, quality and cost competitiveness, and worldwide distribution,” Rajiv Bajaj, managing director of Bajaj Auto, and Nick Bloor, chief executive officer of Triumph Motorcycles, said.
The partnership will enable Triumph, a 115-year-old brand, to expand its reach by entering the higher volume global segment. Bajaj Auto will gain access to the Triumph brand, enabling it to offer a wider range of motorcycles
Reacting to the announcement, the Bajaj Auto scrip rose more than 3 per cent during the day on Tuesday but closed at Rs 2,913.80, up 0.82 per cent.
Bajaj Auto last December launched the Dominar with a 373cc engine to take on mid-capacity market leader Royal Enfield. Bajaj Auto, along with Austrian company KTM, in which it holds a 48 per cent stake, also makes the Duke 390 and RC 390 motorcycles in the mid-capacity segment.
Triumph’s offering starts from Daytona, which is powered by a 675cc engine, while its models such as Street, Tiger, Thunderbird, Bonneville and Rocket are powered by engines of 800cc and above.
Bajaj Auto last month said it would bring Husqvarna, the world’s second oldest surviving motorcycle brand after Royal Enfield, to India. Now owned by KTM, Husqvarna’s first motorcycle rolled out in 1903 and gained popularity in post-war Europe of the 1950s.
Husqvarna will launch its new range of models in early 2018 from plants in Austria. Later in 2018, production of the 400cc Svartpilen 401 and Vitpilen 401 for global markets will be shifted to Bajaj Auto’s Chakan plant.
The Chakan unit will produce four motorcycle brands, Bajaj, KTM, Husqvarna and Triumph, in less than two years.
Bajaj Auto’s bet on the mid-capacity motorcycle segment is understandable when its mass offering is struggling. The 250-350cc segment has grown to 605,676 motorcycles in 2016-17 from 182,233 motorcycles in 2013-14. The 250-500cc segment has more than doubled to 62,955 motorcycles in 2016-17 from 24,909 motorcycles in 2013-14. Royal Enfield dominates both segments.