Kawasaki may look to set up own India plant, post Bajaj split

Kolkata: Post its split with Bajaj Auto Ltd on 31 March 2017, India Kawasaki Motors Pvt. Ltd may look at establishing its own manufacturing plant in the years to come, said the company’s managing director Yutaka Yamashita.

When asked if Kawasaki would have its own production facility in India, Yamashita said this had not yet been finalized. “May be,” he added.

The company is establishing a new development centre in Pune, where it already has its assembling line. Kawasaki will increase its local procurement, Yamashita said. Currently, the company imports bikes as completely knocked down (CKD) and semi-knocked down units.

At present, components are imported from Japan, Thailand, Indonesia and the assembling is done in India, according to Yamashita. But there is a high import duty and increase in local procurement would help to reduce costs. “We can then supply at lower price in the Indian market,” he said.

Yamashita said since its split with Bajaj Auto on 31 March 2017, the company has sold around 1,500 bikes till date and expects to close the year with sales of around 1,800. For the next fiscal, it targets to double its sales.

However, Kawasaki sold only 1,300 bikes the year before, when it still had a sales and service tie-up with Bajaj, said the managing director.

The installed capacity at the Pune plant is around 10,000 units but the overall capacity may be increased to 60,000 units, if all machinery is in place.

Yamashita, who was Kolkata to launch its first exclusive brand outlet in Kolkata, said it currently has already established 22 dealerships in the country and plans to add 10 more by March.

The company will only focus on selling premium or high-end bikes or superbikes with engine capacity from 250CC to 1400CC. The prices would start from Rs3 lakh and can go up to Rs44 lakh, according to a spokesperson of the company. In this category, the brand would compete largely with other international players such as Ducati and BMW Motorrad.

According to Yamashita, the superbike segment in India is seeing a year-on-year growth of 30%. But he said there is a lot of “misconception” among people who think Kawasaki and Bajaj are still together. He said the “brand Kawasaki” needs to be build and investments would be made on developing the brand. Yamashita, however, refused to divulge any financial details.

In April last year, Kawasaki ended its eight year alliance with Bajaj Auto for sales and services in India. India Kawasaki Motors is a wholly owned subsidiary of Japan’s Kawasaki Heavy Industries Ltd. The unit was established in India in 2010.

According to Yamashita, the Bajaj-Kawasaki split happened because of difference in marketing and branding strategies of the companies.livemint


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