Kawasaki mulls local assembly

Bajaj Auto’s long-time partner Kawasaki Motors is exploring the introduction of new brands in India to complement its popular Ninja brand and strengthen its position in the country. The Japanese brand, known for its super bikes, street and off-road bikes, on Wednesday launched two models under the supersport category — ZX-10R and ZX-14R priced at Rs 15.7 lakh and Rs 16.9 lakh, ex-showroom, Pune, respectively. Shigeto Nishikawa, deputy managing director, India Kawasaki Motors, said, “We are presently studying what more brands we could launch in India. We have many brands in our portfolio and we need to see which category we could enter.”

The brands which Kawasaki sells internationally are Vulcan (cruiser bike brand), Concours (touring bike brand), KLX (off-road bike brand) and KX (motocross bike brand). The company introduced the Ninja brand in India a few years ago. The company is also exploring the addition of new bikes that could be locally assembled in India. The Ninja 250 could make a comeback in the country at a more affordable price than its earlier price tag of Rs 2.70 lakh. The Ninja 250 was replaced by the Ninja 300 recently and the Ninja 650R was also added later. “We have a capacity to make 5,000 units a year in India but we are operating at 1,500 units at present. We have to make further use of this facility to improve its utilisation. That is why we are exploring the plan of launching more locally made products including the Ninja 250,” added Nishikawa.

Kawasaki on Wednesday announced plans of setting up a separate line of dealerships, independent of those managed by Bajaj Auto, to sell its super bike range. The first of such dealership would come up in Pune this week, while more such outlets would come up in the rest of the country in a phase-wise manner. The Ninja 300 and Ninja 650 would, however, continue to be sold by Bajaj Auto’s dealership under the KTM brand.