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Bajaj Auto to launch KTM sport bikes

January 15, 2008 12:43 IST

Bike enthusiasts, who had a tough time getting a glimpse of two-wheelers belonging to Austria's top sports bike maker KTM at the Auto Expo, will be delighted to know that its Indian partner Bajaj Auto is launching the bikes through a local assembly line.

The locally built vehicles would be available at cheaper and attractive price tags.

Bajaj's 690 Supermoto and 690 Duke would be assembled at the Chakan plant in Pune. The Pune-based auto company is also planning to build Ninja 250 bike, another high performance bike, with its long time collaborator Kawasaki.

Bajaj Auto managing director Rajiv Bajaj, said, "Our Chakan plant is the most technologically advanced plant in the country. We have the ability to assemble most products at the Chakan plant."

The alliance has also promised to work on joint platforms, which would be used for Indian and overseas market. Both companies are looking to develop high performance, water cooled engines for a 125cc to 180cc bike and a 250cc bike.

The bike, despite being locally assembled, would be quite expensive for the Indian markets. But It would still be cheaperĀ  compared with the imported variety. The 690 Supermoto, 690 Duke and Ninja 250 would be brought to India as completely knocked down or semi knocked down kits.

Bajaj's strategy of assembling its partners' high capacity bikes is aimed at keeping the costs down and making the vehicles more affordable for local consumption, according to experts. A quid-pro-quo would be that Bajaj's product for the international markets would be marketed and sold through the outlets of the same partners.

Bajaj's 690 Supermoto will be launched by the middle of this calender year, along with RC8 motorcycle, which would purely be an import.

Last year, the Pune-based company acquired 14.5 per cent direct stake in KTM through its 100 per cent Netherlands-based subsidiary Bajaj Auto International Holdings BV.

The company has now hiked its stake to 20.89 per cent and Rajiv Bajaj has been inducted on the KTM board. The cooperation agreement between Bajaj Auto and KTM covers product development, technology, vendor sourcing and distribution.

BS Reporter in New Delhi
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