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Tuesday 24 March 2020


Triumph/Bajaj Plan Going Ahead

Indian conglomerate and KTM shareholder Bajaj Auto has confirmed that the non-equity global partnership agreed in 2017 with British manufacturer Triumph to manufacture a new range of mid-capacity motorcycles is still alive and well.
More than two years of radio silence since the initial announcement in 2017, after Bajaj had ended its long-term relationship with Kawasaki, had led some observers to assume that the plans had gone south - perhaps because of India's plans to go all electric by 2030. It would not have been the first time that a planned alliance between Triumph and one of the Indian 'majors' had failed to mature.

However, the company has stated that the first bike under the partnership will be rolled out in 2022 and will carry a starting price tag in India of around €2,550 (£2,150 / $2,800) according to Triumph Motorcycle Chief Commercial Officer Paul Stroud. The new bikes will be manufactured at Bajaj Auto's Chakan facility and be of various styles in the 200 to 500 cc range.
"The Triumph brand is iconic the world over," said Bajaj Auto Managing Director Rajiv Bajaj, "so we are confident that there will be a huge appetite in India and other emerging markets for these new products."
This is the second time that Triumph Motorcycles has tried to partner up with an Indian manufacturer - a prior agreement some years ago with TVR didn't result in any bikes being built.
New information since the original announcement is that Bajaj will take over distribution of Triumph's UK built large displacement models in India (where it currently sells around 1,000 bikes out of total annual production of around 62,000) and export and sell the new models worldwide wherever it has an existing sales structure.
Indeed, remarks by Triumph Managing Director Nick Bloor in a January 2020 press conference in India appear to suggest that Triumph's own dealer network in Europe, USA and elsewhere could also be 'in-play' when he stated that "the products that will come out of the partnership will also help attract a younger, but still discerning customer audience and is another step in our ambition to expand globally, particularly in the fast-growing markets of South East Asia, but also driving growth in more mature territories like Europe."
International Dealer News predicted that this would likely be the case once the plan matured when the partnership was first announced in 2017.
There has also been some speculation as to whether Bajaj and Triumph might strike a deal to make suitably tuned and compliant versions available through KTM dealers in Europe and North America, however, it is believed that KTM owner Stefan Pierer's brand lust may instead have seen his eye settle upon Norton, which went into administration in the UK in January 2020.
Founded in 1944, the Bajaj Group traces its origins back to 1926. In 2015, Bajaj had a market capitalization of around $10 billion. It employs around 8,000 people and is the world's sixth largest manufacturer of motorcycles, second largest in India (behind Eicher Motors' Royal Enfield brand) and the largest exporter of the Indian two-wheeler giants. Bajaj and Kawasaki ended a 33-year alliance in India in 2017, some months before the first iteration of the Triumph partnership became public. At the time, the split with Kawasaki was widely interpreted as signaling that Rajiv Bajaj’s international ambitions lay beyond his significant stake in, and manufacturing and distribution deals with, KTM.