A few days after the confirmation of the 100% acquisition of Husqvarna by KTM CEO Stefan Pierer’s Pierer Industrie AG, from BMW-Motorrad, more clarity has emerged regarding KTM’s plans for the Husqvarna brand and what it could mean for the KTM-Bajaj alliance in India. The acquisition, which will make KTM and Husqvarna combined, the undisputed leader in the Off-Road Motorcycle segment could result in the KTM-Bajaj alliance extending their current agreement, to include the manufacture of Husky’s at Bajaj’s Chakan plant.
In an interview with CNBC-TV18, KTM’s CEO has said that the he expects the first Made-In-India Husky to roll out from the production line at Chakan in 2 years time. He also said that the acquisition of Husqvarna by KTM is a win-win for both KTM and Bajaj Auto and that the Husqvarna brand is a good add-on to the KTM-Bajaj alliance.
Stefan Pierer also confirmed that the trio of KTM, Husqvarna and Bajaj would look at joint future engine development and production. Also, the engines and platform currently being used for the KTM Duke 125, Duke 200 and the Bajaj Pulsar 200 NS could be used by Husqvarna to produce and roll out smaller displacement, affordable Huskys for sale in emerging markets.
The KTM-Bajaj alliance, which sold around 8,500 bikes in India in 2012 is looking to up that figure up to 10,000 units for the year 2013. In order to meet its sales target for the year, KTM will be launching the naked Duke 390 in the month of June. The Duke 390 will be powered by a bored and stroked out version of the Duke 200’s engine displacing 373.2 cc and will produce a Peak Power of 44 PS. The engine will be mated to a 6-Speed, Toe-Only Shifter Transmission, shifting in a 1-Down and 5-Up pattern. KTM could offer the Duke 390 in two variants namely with ABS and without ABS.
The strong KTM-Bajaj alliance in India could lead to the duo deciding to position Husqvarna in between Bajaj and KTM in India, which would mean KTM will be positioned as a premium brand with bikes that offer that latest technology and features but at a slight premium compared to the competition. Bajaj will be positioned as a brand for the masses offering technologically advanced products at a price that’s not too heavy on the wallet. This will lead to KTM-Bajaj positioning Husqvarna in between themselves, which could result in feature and technology laden Huskys and not too premium a price.
This leads us to believe that KTM might brand and sell the upcoming KTM 180 as a Husky all over the world in order to grow and boost sales of the Husqvarna brand. If KTM and Bajaj do decide to position Husqvarna in between themselves, it could give each brand its own space and position in the Indian market and alongwith it, the trio could have a very strong footing in the 125 cc and above space, in which Bajaj is already the market leader. The trio of Bajaj, Husqvarna and KTM could dominate the premium bike segment in India in the years to come and will be a worrying force for the likes of Hero MotoCorp, TVS and Honda given the rapid pace at which the KTM-Bajaj-Husqvarna tripartite alliance is moving.