When the Kawasaki Ninja 300 first went on sale in India in 2013, it was a big leap forward from the ageing Ninja 250 that it replaced. Five years later, the recently launched Ninja 400 presents a similar step forward over the Ninja 300. In fact, the Ninja 400 has replaced the Ninja 300 in most markets, but curiously, both bikes continue to be sold in India.
We now have exclusive information that sheds light on why Kawasaki India has chosen to do this. While the Ninja 400 will continue to be imported as a CKD unit from Thailand, Kawasaki has turned towards local vendors to increase the localised content on the Ninja 300. This will help bring down the cost of the motorcycle significantly, allowing Kawasaki to price it quite close to the KTM RC 390, and even the TVS Apache RR 310 which retails at Rs 2.23 lakh (ex-showroom) in some states. The localised Kawasaki will also create some discomfort for the incoming BMW G 310 R.
So just how low is this price going to be? We believe it could be around the Rs 2.5-2.7 lakh mark, with an on-road price target of under Rs 3.2 lakh. Considering that the Ninja 300 was originally priced at Rs 3.6 lakh (ex-showroom), this is a huge price reduction and it will completely change the positioning of the bike in our market.
We don’t have all the details at the moment, but we are given to understand that a number of components will be locally manufactured. These should include the bodywork, lights, wiring, battery and some internal components. It's also likely that components like the wheels and tyres will be locally sourced as well, but this is still to be confirmed. While this localisation will help reduce the purchase cost, it should also result in a lowering of spare parts prices, something which is currently very high across the Kawasaki range.
Another point worth considering is the ABS aspect. The bike maker is clearly investing quite heavily in this project, so the Ninja 300 is certainly here to stay well beyond the April 2019 deadline for ABS to be installed in all existing two-wheelers above 125cc. Technically, Kawasaki could bring in a non-ABS version now and then update it again closer to the deadline, but it will probably make better sense to launch the ABS-equipped version straight away.
As a quick recap, the Ninja 300 runs a 296cc parallel-twin engine that produces 39hp and 27Nm of torque. This motor is paired to a six-speed transmission and it gets a slipper clutch as standard. The bike uses a tubular steel frame and weighs 172kg. Fuel tank capacity is a generous 17 litres and the tyres are chunky enough with a 110/70 R17 unit at the front and a wider 150 section tyre at the rear. Performance is brisk but the bike has a relatively calm and friendly temperament that will be easy to live with.
We believe the localised Ninja 300 will launch before the start of the festive season. And if Kawasaki does manage to price the motorcycle this aggressively, it will cost nearly half of the Ninja 400’s shocking Rs 5.7 lakh price tag (on-road, Mumbai). At this price, the Ninja 300 will turn out to be a very tempting offering in the 300cc space, which is ironic given that it is also the oldest player in the segment.