Seems India Kawasaki Motors (IKM) has finally tightened up its belt and is ready to take on the Indian motorcycle market all on its own. The Japanese brand recently moved out its assembly operations from Bajaj Auto’s Akurdi plant to its brand-new plant in Chakan. The company's partnership with Bajaj officially came to an end several months ago, however, Kawasaki had been struggling to find its ground in terms of after-sales. The restructuring in the organisation and its own assembly plant should help Kawasaki charge towards better growth in the country. Kawasaki happens to have one of the largest product lineups among the premium motorcycle brands in the country - 18 plus variants. The problem has been that the company currently has lesser number of dealerships in the country than it has models on offer. Just 14 touch points, which also include after-sales service, had restricted its customer base by a large extent. Previously, the sales and after-sales of Kawasaki motorcycles were carried out by Bajaj's Probiking centres. But after the eight-year-old alliance came to an end on 1st April 2017, Kawasaki lost 300 dealerships from its network.
Kawasaki's retail network may have been shrunk by the breakup, but now the Japanese brand has full independence to incorporate its global standards into its operations in India. From parts procurement to assembly, quality checks to after-sales service will all be controlled and supervised by Kawasaki alone.
Now that the matter of the assembly line has been attended to, the brand eventually plans to boost its retail network in India. So far, IKM is present in Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata, Chennai, Bangalore, Chandigarh, Kochi, Coimbatore and others. Kawasaki plans to expand to cities like Mangalore, Ahmedabad, Rajkot, Lucknow, Hyderabad, Jaipur, Jammu, Bhuvaneshwar, Guwahati, Nagpur and Indore among others.
The brand also recently updated its product lineup with the latest launch being the third generation 2017 Ninja 1000 at a price-tag of Rs 9,98,000 (ex-showroom, pan India). It also revised the price list of the Z900. One without the accessories is now retailed at a much more competitive price of Rs 7,68,000 (ex-showroom, pan India).
There was a dip in interest in Kawasaki motorcycles owing to issues relating to after-sales service – the parts took too long to arrive and there was also a brief period of time when service was not possible. However, now with organisational restructuring and fine tuning of operations, Kawasaki is perhaps now on the road to gain a stronger standing in India. So far, the brand sells 1000-1400 units every year. With the latest changes in place, it hopes to bring that number up to 2000 units per year by 2020.