The country's second-largest two-wheeler maker Bajaj Auto had launched a sports bike, 'Duke 200', from Austrian partner KTM's portfolio and said it plans to roll out three more products in as many years.
The domestic auto major is looking to strengthen its position as a sports bike major in partnership with KTM and for this; it is converting its probiking showrooms selling premium products across the country into KTM outlets.
"The launch of 'Duke' is one of the many steps in our association with KTM over the last five years. Between Bajaj Pulsar and KTM Duke, we intend to further strengthen our position in the sports motorcycle segment in India," Bajaj Auto Ltd (BAL) managing director Rajiv Bajaj told reporters here.
The company will launch at least one new KTM bike every year in India, he added.
The Duke 200 developed jointly by the two firms has been launched at an introductory price of Rs 1.18 lakh (ex-showroom Delhi). This is the first bike from their collaboration to be launched in India. Last year, a jointly developed 125-cc version of the Duke was launched in Europe.
All the KTM products for India will be assembled locally at BAL's facility in Chakan.
Talking about its future products, KTM Sportsmotorcycle AG Chief Executive Officer Stefan Pierer said: "Next year, we will launch a 350-cc bike and it will be followed by two more bikes in the next three years. So, it will be three bikes in three years."
BAL is already exporting India-assembled KTM bikes. It supplied around 11,000 units of the Duke 125 in 2011.
"In a very short span of time, KTM will be the largest premium bike-maker in the world with entry into many mass markets like India and Malaysia. This year, we are expecting to double exports from India," Bajaj said.
KTM, which reported revenues of 526 million euros in 2011, sold over 81,000 units last year, compared to about 2,00,000 units by the world largest premium bike maker Harley Davidson, he added.
Elaborating on the domestic plans, Bajaj said: "Bajaj Auto has decided to sell the Duke through all 32 probiking showrooms, which have now been transformed into exclusive KTM outlets. Besides, there will be 40 service centres dedicated only for KTM bikes."
As a result, all Bajaj branded products like the Pulsar 220 will no longer be sold at the former probiking showrooms, but the Ninja models from Kawasaki will continue to be retailed from there, he added.
He said all the products from the foreign partner's stable will continue to be sold under the KTM marque as it is a specialist brand in the sports motorcycle segment.