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First KTM, Bajaj bike launch in India next year

July 13, 2011 14:11 IST
Austrian sports bike maker KTM on Wednesday said it will launch its first motorcycle, jointly developed with Bajaj Auto Ltd, in India at the Auto Expo to be held in the capital early next year.

The company, in which Bajaj Auto holds nearly a 40 per cent stake, had already launched its first co-developed bike in Europe in March this year.

"During the Delhi Auto Expo next year, we will be launching the first 200-cc Duke bike in India," Cross Industries AG CEO and also the CEO of KTM Sportmotorcycle AG, Stefan Pierer, said.

The bike will be produced at the Pune facility of Bajaj Auto, he added. When asked about the company's sales target in India, Pierer said: "We expect to sell 25,000 to 30,000 units in India in the first year of launch. After one year, we will launch the 350-cc Duke in India."

KTM had launched the 125-cc 'Duke', developed jointly with Bajaj Auto, in Europe in March this year.

"We have already sold nearly 7,000 units in Europe. We are targeting to sell about 10,000 units in Europe this year," he said. The two partners are looking to expand the markets for their bikes.

"All the bikes that we produce in India will be global models. Now we are looking to export KTM bikes from Bajaj facility to other emerging markets like Thailand, Malaysia, and Brazil," Pierer said.

Overall, KTM aims to sell 82,000 units this year, up from 62,000 units in 2010, he said, adding that by 2015, it was targeting the sale of 2 lakh units.

In 2007, Bajaj picked up a 14.9 per cent stake in KTM for around Rs 300 crore (Rs 3 billion). A year later, it increased its stake in the European bike-maker to 25 per cent and has been increasing it gradually.

Both companies also signed an agreement for jointly developing 125-cc bikes, which will be built at Bajaj's Chakan plant near Pune for exports to the European market under the KTM brand. They had earlier planned to launch their bikes in India in the latter half of this year.

Asked if Cross Industries, the holding company of KTM, would allow its partner, Bajaj, to hike its stake, Pierer said: "Bajaj currently holds about a 40 per cent stake and we have an arrangement with them under which they can go up to acquiring 49 per cent stake in KTM. They can acquire the stake only through open market and we are helping them to gain more stake in KTM."

He, however, said: "We will not dilute the promoters' holding of 51 per cent in KTM."

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