Kawasaki 125-cc Bike To Hit Global Mkts

New Delhi, December 23: | Updated: Dec 24 2002, 05:30am hrs
Kawasaki Motors will roll out a 125-cc motorcycle manufactured by Bajaj Auto in developing markets worldwide in the first quarter of 2003. This would be Bajaj Autos maiden entry into global markets on the Kawasaki platform.

Sources said the details of the launch were finalised during a Kawasaki teams visit to India earlier this month.

The rollout of the 125-cc motorcycle will be a global launch, and is the first such product that Kawasaki will be sourcing for developing countries under a fundamental production strategy. The Japanese major only manufactures high-powered ones, Bajaj Auto vice-president (marketing) RL Ravichandran told FE.

Bajaj Autos plant at Aurangabad will become a global sourcing hub for the 125 cc motorcycles.

The 125 cc motorcycle will also be sold domestically and is completely indigenous, excluding the technology from Kawasaki, he added.

At present, Bajaj Auto does not have a 125 cc motorcycle in its portfolio. The motorcycles include the 100cc Boxer, 110 cc Caliber, the 150 cc Pulsar and 175 cc Eliminator. Amongst all Bajaj motorcycles, Boxer and Pulsar have the maximum demand in the domestic market.

We have to take a decision on the badging as well as the units to be produced and specific markets in which it will be sold, Mr Ravichandran said.

The market for high-powered bikes is the US and the UK, while in developing countries low-end ones are suitable.

Bajaj Auto chairman and managing director Rahul Bajaj had said earlier that the company has entered into an alliance with Kawasaki for manufacturing motorcycles. On the issue of branding the motorcycles for the export markets, Mr Bajaj had said: We do not have a problem if the motorcycles are sold in export markets as Kawasaki, Mr Bajaj added.

The Japanese major is also sourcing components from Bajaj Auto.

It is also learnt that the team from Japan held talks with company executives on acquiring an equity stake in Bajaj Auto. Kawasakis existing alliance with Bajaj Auto is confined to a technology tie-up.

Kawasakis specialisation in high-end bikes prompted them to initiate negotiations with us to make the Aurangabad plant a global hub for their sub-150cc models, he said.

Bajaj Auto is hiking production capacity from 65,000 motorcycles to 900,000 units this year.

The company sold 1.25 million two and three-wheelers in the domestic market during 2001-02, a 15.2 per cent rise over the previous fiscal.