India Kawasaki Motorcycles is scaling up its local operations in India with the setting up of a new assembly plant in Chakan, Pune, while it restructures its retail network in the country, according to a report on Autocar India. Kawasaki officially announced the end of its eight-year-old alliance with Bajaj Auto in April.
The Japanese motorcycle manufacturer's sales and after sales were all dealt with at Bajaj Probiking centres across the country. However, the brand's local reach was considerably brought down post separation from Bajaj, when more than 300 Probiking showrooms were steadily all converted to KTM dealerships.
“Kawasaki is very serious about its game plan in India. All was not well between Kawasaki and Bajaj Auto for some time now. The company was apparently upset with the product cannibalisation between Kawasaki and KTM brands and customer overlap at the Bajaj Probiking showrooms. While the Kawasaki bike sales did not grow as per the expectations, sales of KTM motorcycles took off well,” a source told Autocar Professional.
“Going forward, Kawasaki will have full control over their operations ranging from parts procurement and warehousing, quality checks to aftersales services to its customers. The Japanese management at IKM are diligently working to set up teams for all core responsibilities as they continue to expand their operations. They plan to move to their own plant very soon,” the source added.
Premium motorcycle market is rapidly growing in India, and while Kawasaki may have lost some traction in the market with a flat line growth rate compared to last year, the Pune assembly plant may provide a much needed boost to the company. Kawasaki recently rolled out new models in India this year, including the Z900, Z1000R and updated Ninja 300, Ninja 650, Z250 and Z1000.