The Swedish off-road motorcycle manufacturer, Husqvarna, which is now owned by KTM has plans to manufacture motorcycles in India. The plans are to produce engines and other components for Husqvarna motorcycles. Initially these components would be shipped and assembled at its Austrian facility. The bikes produced will be sold in the European and US markets starting from 2017. In time, Husqvarna is expected to launch their products to other emerging markets, including India.
We all know that Bajaj Auto owns 48% of KTM’s shares. And, we have already seen the success story of the KTM-Bajaj joint venture. This move not only brought KTM to India but also setup manufacturing of the lower capacity Dukes and RC motorcycle series which are sold all over the globe. Now, Husqvarna is in talks with Bajaj Auto to manufacture their bikes at the Indian manufactures plant in Chakan near Pune. KTM’s partnership with Bajaj Auto has worked as a catalyst for Husqvarna’s entry into India.
With Husqvarna shifting their focus from off-road bikes to on-road models, we can expect to see some interesting new models in its line-up coming towards India. From the reports, the new Husqvarna on-road models might be based on the KTM engine platforms which are already manufactured in conjunction with Bajaj Auto. This means that we might see new Husqvarna models with the KTM Duke/RC, 125cc, 200cc and 390cc engine platforms. The Duke/RC 200 and 390 are already being sold in the Indian market, whereas, the Duke/RC 125 is made only for the international markets.
Speaking about plans of this new venture, Stefan Pierer, KTM head, said, “The focus was previously on off-roaders. Now we are developing on-road models which are partly based on the engine platforms we are doing together with Bajaj. In 2017, we will launch the first models in Europe and then in the US. We are looking at how it works and then rolling out globally, basically coming back to India. We are getting engines and components for the models from Chakan for assembly in Austria initially. Later on, India could be part of the production plan.”
India is turning out to be an important hub for the production, manufacturing and export of motorcycles for international motorcycle manufacturers. This comes as a result of the low production costs in India. Bajaj Auto and KTM were the first pair to tap into the potential of India as the manufacturing hub. TVS and BMW followed suit and we have already seen the fruits of this joint venture in the BMW G310R. We might see many more manufacturers following suit for the production of sub-500cc segment motorcycles in India which sees most of the sales volume.