The opportunity to scale up business with British partner Triumph can be much bigger than the 15-year-old partnership with KTM, said Bajaj Auto, as preparations go on in full swing to roll out the first motorcycle under the joint venture this year.
Announced five years ago, the Bajaj-Triumph non-equity partnership was forged to address the segment of mid-capacity (350-750cc) motorcycles that would be developed by both the companies, but be sold only under the Triumph brand.
The partnership with Austrian bike brand KTM saw the development and rollout of multiple products, development of new technologies, expansion of volumes and expansion of the KTM brand to new geographies.
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But the addressable market remains limited for Bajaj-KTM because of the nature of the brands. Both KTM and Bajaj have established themselves in the street bike, performance and sports categories. The motorcycle market, however, has other segments such as leisure, cruiser and café racer to name a few, which the Bajaj-Triumph partnership could target.
Rakesh Sharma, executive director, Bajaj Auto, said, “We are hoping to replicate the Bajaj-KTM partnership. At a global level, from the inputs we have received from Triumph and the potential we have seen in in India, we believe that the scale of the opportunity is bigger than the scale of opportunity we witnessed in the Bajaj KTM partnership.”
Market experts see the Triumph partnership as a challenge to the dominance of Royal Enfield, which has more than 85% share of the middle-capacity motorcycle range in India. Eicher Motors-controlled Royal Enfield is looking for worldwide dominance in the same segment.
Some of Triumph’s products such as the Bonneville have the same lineage as Royal Enfield’s Classic range. Although price details will be shared at the time of launch, sources say that the target is to have a motorcycle below `3 lakh, where most of Royal Enfield’s products are placed.
“The products are now developed and are under field testing in Europe and other countries. We will be announcing launch plans shortly. We are working on the front-end operations,” Sharma added.
Post the launch of the first Triumph motorcycle, the Indian market will witness four different sales showrooms from Bajaj Auto in the two-wheeler space. In addition to the Probiking outlets, which sell KTM and Husqvarna bikes and the conventional Bajaj Auto showrooms, there will soon be an addition of standalone stores for Chetak and independent showrooms for Triumph.
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Chetak is the fully-electric umbrella brand of Bajaj Auto, which presently has one scooter model under the same brand. Since there would be multiple new products in the near future, Bajaj Auto believes that creating a separate sales experience for the buyer would be suitable.
“Having an EV in one corner of a showroom dominated by petrol-powered options does not suit the customer experience. While Chetak was sold through the outlets along with KTM and Husqvarna, we have decided that Chetak should now deliver an exclusive retail experience to customers through standalone stores,” Sharma added.