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Kawasaki eyes India as an export hub

2nd Aug 2018 4:26 pm

The Japanese two-wheeler giant might also develop an affordable India-specific motorcycle in the future.

The recent launches of the localised Ninja 300 and the locally assembled Ninja ZX-10R have accelerated Kawasaki India's sales at an impressive pace. The Japanese two-wheeler giant wants to keep this positive momentum going and has some interesting plans in store for its India operations. According to Japanese media house Nikkei Asian Review, Kawasaki is planning to ramp-up its production in India and has set a target of building 10,000 motorcycles per annum in our country – although the timeline for this hasn’t been specified. However, it plans to increase annual sales in India to 5,000 units by 2020 (Kawasaki currently sells 5,000 units in China, as well). The report also adds that Kawasaki wants to make India the hub for its export operations to Africa and Latin America.

Nikkei Asian Review also mentioned that Kawasaki engineers from Japan have been moved to India to fast track localisation. Kazuo Ota, head of Kawasaki's motorcycles and engines division in Japan, said that the company isn’t just focusing on high­-displacement motorcycles in India. According to Ota, Kawasaki is studying the feasibility and demand for motorcycles with engine displacement as low as 200cc. He even hinted at the possibility of developing new motorcycles in India.

Affordable, region-specific motorcycles are the flavour of this era of two-wheeler business. A few days ago, Harley-Davidson dropped a bomb, announcing the launch of a sub-500cc motorcycle specifically developed for India. Last year, Triumph also revealed its collaboration with Bajaj Auto to build an affordable Triumph motorcycle for India, which is likely to be a sub-500cc offering. Last month, Kawasaki’s own localised Ninja 300 has seen a price reduction of Rs 62,000, making it the most affordable twin-cylinder motorcycle on sale in India. The Japanese two-wheeler manufacturer also started locally assembling the Ninja ZX-10R, which made it the most affordable litre-class superbike on sale in India currently. Kawasaki has carried out all of this from its plant in Chakan, which it moved into in 2017 after completely parting ways with Bajaj in our market.

India is the largest two-wheeler market in the world with respect to sales. Currently, it’s the low displacement and under Rs 1 lakh two-wheelers that are driving sales in our country. However, with rising income and aspiration among Indian bikers, the demand for performance motorcycles has seen a steady rise. Given the rate of growth expected, India could very well become the largest market for sub-500cc motorcycles, globally. Two-wheeler manufacturers that want to tap into this lucrative segment know for a fact that India is also a price-conscious market – and for their products to click, local manufacturing is vital.



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