Japanese motorcycle maker Kawasaki breaks ties with Bajaj Auto over the sales and service of its sub 650cc motorcycles in India. From April 1, Kawasaki motorcycles will be sold and after-sales service will be provided by India Kawasaki Motors Pvt. Ltd's (IKM) own network in India.
Kawasaki and Bajaj Auto were in an alliance for the sales and after-sales service of former's smaller capacity bikes through Bajaj's Probiking dealer network for 8 years since 2009. The Probiking dealerships are also in charge of sales of KTM bikes under Bajaj Auto's umbrella.
A press statement explains Kawasaki Heavy Industries, Ltd. and Bajaj will continue to maintain their cooperative relationship across the rest of the world for current and future businesses. This indicates Kawasaki will continue to use the Bajaj Auto's facility in Akurdi to assemble motorcycles till 650cc displacement.
The road ahead will be slightly difficult for Kawasaki as the outfit does not have a wide standalone network in India at present. It has only 12 dealerships across India.
On the other hand, Bajaj Auto reportedly wants to focus on KTM brand in order to bolster presence in the performance biking segment. Bajaj introduced KTM brand in the country in 2012 with the launch of 200 Duke and it has become one of the best sellers in the segment. With the KTM family of RC and Duke Series bikes, the automaker is expecting to clock 37,000 unit sales this year. Bajaj Probiking dealership network is expected to be converted into dedicated KTM outlets for better brand visibility soon.
In other case, Husqvarna Vitpilen based on the KTM 390 Duke is expected to enter Indian market via KTM dealership chain in 2017. In that case, transformation of Probiking dealership to KTM-Husqvarna can be expected soon.