Royal Enfield has recently taken the motorcycling segment in India by storm, by launching the new Himalayan. And it isn’t just the manufacturers of large motorcycles who are feeling threatened, but even the entry level motorcycles are feeling the heat.
Bajaj Auto for one, have decided to bounce back by preparing a slew of launches. Bajaj has not only decided to target the Himalayan, but they also want to bring the Royal Enfield Classic and Thunderbird down from its throne.
It sure looks like it is going to be a busy 2016 and 2017 for Bajaj Auto, as they are already in the process of making changes at their manufacturing plant at Chakan, to accommodate the local-assembly of Husqvarna motorcycles in India, which it plans to launch next-year, and amidst this, the company has come-up with strategies to compete in the market which involves the launch of quite a few number of new, more powerful and more premium motorcycles.
Bajaj along with its subsidiary, KTM is developing two new Adventure motorcycles, targeted directly at the Royal Enfield Himalayan. The motorcycles, powered by a 200cc and a 373cc engine respectively, are expected to be launched later this year, and knowing Bajaj and its excellent pricing strategies, these adventure siblings from the Bajaj – KTM duo are expected to sell very well indeed, especially given the fact that KTM has decades of experience in developing and manufacturing adventure motorcycles.
The next-segment that is being targeted by Bajaj, is again a Royal Enfield stronghold – The low-medium capacity premium cruiser segment. Bajaj has been selling its own cruiser, the Avenger for a decade now, and to be fair, it it is selling quite well, but Bajaj wants more. The boffins over at Bajaj Auto have felt the need to enter the premium-cruiser segment, which is currently dominated by Royal Enfield with the Classic 350 and 500 as well as the Thunderbird 350 and 500.
Bajaj has been busy, developing and testing a new Avenger series. While the current Avenger is powered by 150cc and 220cc air cooled engines, the new Avenger is expected to be more powerful, with the 373cc engine from the Bajaj-KTM family, nestled in the chassis. This will be liquid-cooled and though it would have lesser engine capacity than the Royal Enfield Thunderbird 500, it would be a lot more powerful, producing upwards of 42 PS from that single-cylinder unit.
Alongside the adventure twins and the new Avenger 400, Bajaj is well into the development of the new, more premium Pulsar motorcycle, the Pulsar 400. This motorcycle will be based on the design and will have features of the Pulsar CS 400 concept which was first displayed at the 2014 Auto Expo in New Delhi.
Of all the motorcycles which are expected to be launched, the new Pulsar 400 will be the first one to come out, followed by the Bajaj-KTM Adventure twins and then the new Avenger 400 and of course, Bajaj will also launch the Husqvarna brand in India.
Bajaj Auto definitely has a lot of work to do over this year and the next, while we have a lot to look forward to.
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