Bajaj to introduce KTM 'ready to race' bikes in India

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New Delhi, Jan 10 (UNI) Country's second largest two-wheeler manufacturer Bajaj Auto Ltd today said it has entered into a joint venture with Austria-based KTM Power Sports AG to jointly develop motorbikes for both Indian and the overseas market by 2010.

The bikes will be on the 125-180 cc platforms and 250-400 cc platforms and it intends to sell 2,00,000 units a year in the country. Incidentally, KTM currently sells around 1,00,000 units worldwide.

On the export potential, Bajaj Managing Director Rajiv Bajaj said a call can be taken later on the numbers the JV would like to achieve.

He, however, did mention that exports will be under the KTM badging as it has a better brand image coupled with its DNA of 'ready to race'. The JV also envisages developing a light bike.

''This partnership is another step in our globalisation strategy.

KTM's sharp brand positioning, differentiated designs, and hyper performance have inspired us to increase our stake in this participation,'' said Mr Bajaj.

Bajaj has raised its stake in the Austrian firm from 14.5 per cent to about 21 per cent, and will raise it further to 25 in the next few months.

Under the JV, Bajaj is expected to roll out the some of KTM products like the 690 Duke from its pro-biking outlets.

''The products for India will be soon produced in the country and this will help us to be competitive in terms of price and at the same time reach out to markets like Sri Lanka, Pakistan and few other East Asian countries,'' said KTM Chief Executive and Chairman Stefan Pierer.

For Bajaj, the JV will also mean a positive spillover in terms of components and maybe markets as well.

''The JV will help us leverage their high quality of products like their WP suspension, which we intend to put on our new Pulsar,'' said Mr Bajaj.

WP Suspension is an advanced suspension product used by the likes of motorcycle manufacturers, such as Husaberg, BMW, MZ, Gas Gas and CCM.

Bajaj and KTM now plan to launch several products half way through the year, which will include the flagship KTM 950 Supermoto.

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