KTM-Bajaj Auto plan global rollout of Husqvarna bikes in 2018

by Amit Panday 03 Jul 2017

The Husqvarna Vitpilen 401.

In line with Autocar Professional’s news break in March 2016 where this publication had revealed that Bajaj Auto, under its partnership with KTM, plans to launch the Husqvarna brand of motorcyles in India, an official communication from the Rajiv Bajaj-led company has confirmed the same. The production and launch plans, however, appear to have been delayed by a year.

In an official note issued today, the company says: “Stefan Pierer, CEO of KTM AG and Rajiv Bajaj, managing director of Bajaj Auto, decided on the strategy to take Husqvarna Motorcycles brand global and scale up the business multiple times. The first models – Vitpilen 401, Svartpilen 401 and Vitpilen 701 – will be produced in Mattighofen, Austria, and launched in early 2018. Later in 2018, the Vitpilen 401 and Svartpilen 401 production for the global markets will be transferred to Bajaj’s Chakan factory. This enlargement of the cooperation to the Husqvarna Motorcycles brand will elevate the partnership between Bajaj and KTM to the next level.”

Husqvarna’s Vitpilen 401 and Svartpilen 401 concepts were globally showcased at EICMA Motorcycle Show in Milan last year. The two concepts are slated to use KTM’s single-cylinder, 375cc engine, albeit with varied settings, along with the split trellis frame on the new Duke 390, which is already under production at Bajaj Auto’s Chakan plant. This underlines many synergies between the sub-400cc KTM models under production in India currently with the incoming models under Husqvarna brand.

The company is understood to have been working on setting up the production line and make way for more capacity at Chakan. According to the company statement, Bajaj Auto is aiming to sell as many Husqvarna motorcycles as it currently sells under the KTM brand in India and Indonesia. “The Chakan produced joint products volume for the global market, which is planned to exceed 100,000 units in 2017, is expected to double to 200,000 units sold in the next years,” quotes the official press release.

The strategic partnership between KTM AG and its 48 percent stakeholder from India, Bajaj Auto, also marks its 10th anniversary this year.