India Kawasaki Motors (IKM) is learnt to be evaluating the case of locally assembling the Z800, which is powered by an advanced liquid-cooled, four-stroke, in-line four-cylinder, 806cc engine that delivers class leading stats.
According to sources associated with the company, the team headed by Japanese officials is mulling over starting local assembly of the popular Z800 model some time later this year. The Z800 is currently imported from Thailand as a completely built unit (CBU) and bears an on-road (Delhi) price-tag of close to Rs 8.30 lakh.
The 113bhp Kawasaki Z800 sits at the top of the upper midsized bike segment and has a close rival in Honda’s four-cylinder, 85bhp, 649cc CBR650F, which is now locally assembled at Honda’s Manesar plant. According to Honda Motorcycle & Scooter India’s (HMSI) website, the CBR650F has an on-road Delhi price tag of close to Rs 7.99 lakh.
Sources say that if Kawasaki starts local assembly operations of the Z800 at Bajaj Auto’s Akurdi plant (near Pune), the model will see a price cut in the region of at least Rs 100,000. This could position the Z800 in the price range of close to Rs 700,000. Industry experts say this reduced pricing could draw substantial bookings for the Z800, which also has the potential to dominate its rivals in the market in terms of its packaging.
It can be recalled that India Kawasaki had slashed Rs 50,000 from the ex-showroom price of the Z800 in January 2015 due to the cost efficiencies achieved at its Thailand plant. This had resulted in an immediate spurt in its demand. The company had recorded single-day sales of 20 units of the Z800 on February 18, 2015 at its Pune-based showroom. All 20 units were delivered to Kawasaki customers from Pune and Mumbai. Later, on account of good demand for its bikes from Mumbai, the company opened a standalone showroom in the country’s commercial capital on June 21, 2015.
IKM had launched the Z800 in India in January 2014 with an introductory price of Rs 7,90,000 (ex-showroom, Pune) and Rs 8,05,000 (ex-showroom, Delhi).
If the company materialises its plan to locally assemble the Z800, the said model will join IKM’s existing CKD portfolio that includes Z250, Ninja 300, Ninja 650, ER-6n, Versys 650. The company is also working on rolling out its first single-cylinder offering – Z250SL – in the India market soon. Autocar Professional broke the news on August 21, 2015.
India Kawasaki Motors, which is understood to have been receiving consumer queries on the local assembly of the Z800 and further price cut possibilities, did not respond to Autocar Professional’s email confirming the development.
Kawasaki, which has been aggressively rolling out its big bikes regularly, currently sells 12 models in India.
India network expands to 12 showrooms
Meanwhile, IKM inaugurated its 12th standalone showroom in India in Coimbatore. According to an official press release, the showroom is spread across 2,300 square feet, of which 650 square feet is allotted to a service centre facility.
The company had opened its first standalone showroom in Pune around two-and-a-half years ago.
Commenting on the Coimbatore showroom, Yutaka Yamashita, managing director of India Kawasaki Motors, said, “We have established a new dealership in Coimbatore where our customers can easily view our product and where we can communicate with our customer. We will strive to increase our sales and service network continuously.”