Auto Expo 2018 will see Kawasaki debut in India's largest automotive show and as it happens, the brand is lining up several new exciting models to showcase or even for launch. The brand's collaboration with Bajaj Auto came to an end only in April 2017, and it seems the Japanese company is set to take on the Indian two-wheeler market on its own. Kawasaki is now wholly managed by India Kawasaki Motors Pvt Ltd, a 100% subsidiary of Kawasaki Heavy Industries Japan. The motorcycle manufacturer moved out its assembly operations from Bajaj Auto’s Akurdi plant some months ago to its brand-new plant in Chakan. The restructuring of the organisation and its own assembly plant should help Kawasaki charge towards better growth in the country. To kickstart a growth pattern, Kawasaki is participating India's largest automotive show Auto Expo 2018 and is expected to introduce these motorcycles:
Kawasaki Ninja 400
Kawasaki revealed the replacement for Ninja 300 with a significant boost in power and torque during Tokyo Motor Show in October 2017, and is expected to showcase it during the Auto Expo 2018. Kawasaki Ninja 400 has a design much sharper than its predecessor and is powered by a 399cc parallel-twin engine that makes 45 bhp and 37.9 Nm of torque, up from 39 bhp and 26.9 Nm from the Ninja 300.
The new Ninja will come with more of modern day tech than its predecessors. It benefits from a slipper clutch, which is said to make the lever 20% lighter to pull. The Ninja 400 looks more substantial than the Ninja 300 with a wide seat unit, and Kawasaki says the ‘large-volume bodywork’ offers good wind protection. The Ninja 400 would be a direct competition to KTM RC 390 if launched in India. However, while in terms of power and handling the two may compete neck and neck, the Japanese will lose in terms of pricing. The Ninja 300 is retailed at a price tag of Rs 3.6 lakh and the Ninja 400 will likely be more expensive, and the RC 390 is priced under Rs 3 lakh mark.
Kawasaki Z900 RS
Kawasaki Z900 RS is the modern classic version of the Z900. It is inspired by the 1970s Z1 and is based on the Z900. However, it is not just a cosmetic change from naked to a modern classic, a number of changes have been made under the skin, with a redesigned chassis and a retuned engine.
The Z900's 948cc in-line-four has been retuned for stronger low-to-mid-range torque. Peak power is down from 125hp to 111hp while peak torque drops from 97.8 Nm to 72.5 Nm but Kawasaki says the payoff is stronger torque below 7,000rpm. The Z900 is on sale in India at a price tag of Rs 9 lakh (ex-showroom), however, if without the accessories the price tag is lowered to Rs 7.68 lakh (ex-showroom). Kawasaki could bring this to India if the company has product diversity on its agenda. We hope it makes it to Auto Expo 2018, fingers crossed.
Kawasaki Ninja ZX-10R SE
The special edition variant of the Kawasaki ZX-10R will feature electronic semi-active suspension borrowed from Kawasaki's Superbike World Championship race bike. Along with this, the motorcycle will have additional equipment to improve its track abilities.
Kawasaki Ninja ZX-10R SE produces power figures identical to the 10R - 207 hp at 13,000 rpm (with ram air) and peak torque of 113.5 Nm at 11,500rpm. However, since it more track focussed, the ZX-10R SE has been given new lighter seven-spoke Marchesini forged wheels, an up-down quick-shifter and a new colour scheme. Kawasaki is likely to showcase the ZX-10R SE at the Auto Expo 2018.
Kawasaki H2 SX
Auto Expo 2018 will also likely see a more touring inclined version of the H2, Kawasaki H2 SX which offers more practicality, including improved fuel efficiency. It comes in two trims - the SX and SX SE with higher specs. The brand says that the engine has been tuned to deliver better mid-range power, in comparison to the top-end power on the H2 and H2R.
The SX weighs only 18kg more than the standard H2, even after its additional fairing and touring add-ons. The SX SE variant comes equipped with additional features, including Kawasaki’s first colour TFT LCD instrument cluster and LED cornering lights. It also comes with an up-down quick-shifter, Kawasaki Launch Control Mode (KLCM), a large windscreen and heated grips. This supercharged sports tourer is also expected to be on display at the manufacturer’s stand at the Auto Expo 2018.
Kawasaki added two new off-road motorcycles in its product portfolio- KX450F and KLX 450R in October 2017 at Rs 7.97 lakh and Rs 8.49 lakh, respectively (both prices are ex-showroom, Delhi). Before these two, the brand launched the 2018 KX250F in July 2017 at Rs 7.5 lakh (ex-showroom). However, while all three motorcycles are capable, they aren't road legal. The culture of owning a dedicated off-road motorcycle is very niche in India, in fact, quite negligibly small. Now though, Kawasaki may introduce an off-road or dirt bike in India during the Auto Expo 2018, one that can also be legally ridden on roads.