Bajaj Auto have been one of the mainstays of the Indian two-wheeler market, and have many fingers in many pies including a large swathe of the commuter segment and the entry-level performance space with KTM. They also recently launched a slightly more upscale (yet affordable) premium motorcycle in the Dominar 400. However, despite boasting of a diverse portfolio, intense competition and an ever-evolving market have resulted in Bajaj falling behind the pack a little in terms of sales volumes.
However, Bajaj have an ace up their sleeve to help arrest this trend, and climb back up to the top of the pile – Husqvarna. As we reported earlier the Swedish brand is coming to Indian shores and will be manufactured and exported globally from Bajaj’s facility in Chakan, much like KTM. Being a subsidiary of KTM, Husqvarna shares a lot of underpinnings with the Austrian brand’s products. The two bikes slated to enter the Indian market for example – the Svartpilen 401 and Vitpilen 401, utilize the same engine and frame as the 390 Duke. Both bikes have a more premium sheen than their Austrian cousin though, and steer away from the Duke’s supermoto design to a more café racer style approach for the Vitpilen and a more edgy, off-road ready style with the Svartpilen.
What does the arrival of Husqvarna to India, under the auspices of Bajaj Auto mean for the latter though? S Ravikumar, President of Business Development at Bajaj recently spoke to Business Standard to explain. In the interview, he said that the Husky bikes, which will be acquire a more premium positioning in the market, and will be less extreme to ride than the KTMs, should attract more customers than KTM. This is because, according to him, there is no other brand or product occupying a similar space to the incoming Husqvarna bikes in India as of now. He also feels that the addition of the Vitpilen and Svartpilen to Bajaj’s portfolio will only serve to augment their current offerings, rather than cause friction between them and the 390 Duke or Dominar.
Will Husqvarna emerge as the success story that Ravikumar expects it to be? Only time (and the all-important pricing strategy) will tell. However, one thing is for sure, we can’t wait to swing a leg over these futuristic-looking machines from what is the second oldest bike manufacturer in the world.
Source: Business Standard