Triumph Motorcycles and Bajaj Auto have formally announced a long-term non-equity partnership to produce a range of high-quality motorcycles with midrange engines. The motorcycles will be manufactured at Bajaj's plant in Pune for the Asian market with the entry-level model costing around £2,200.
Bajaj is the world's third largest motorcycle manufacturer and the second largest in India. With an impressive 2,000,000 units having been exported in 2018/2019 they are in a good position to take Triumph into the same markets. They already have an arrangement with KTM to produce sub-400cc machines (which they do at their plant at Chakan).
As part of the deal, Bajaj will get the rights to distribute Triumph models in India and access to markets outside of Asia through Triumph dealerships whereas Triumph will get a share of the largest motorcycle market in the world. Bajaj will also get an entry into the lifestyle and luxury segments of the motorcycle market that Triumph are so good at whereas Triumph will get an entry into the budget market that Bajaj are supreme at.
Nick Bloor (Triumph Motorcycles CEO) stated "This is an important partnership for Triumph and I am delighted that it has now formally commenced. As well as taking our brand into crucial new territories, the products that will come out of the partnership will also help attract a younger, but still discerning, customer audience and is another step in our ambitions to expand globally, particularly in the fast-growing markets of South East Asia, but also driving growth in more mature territories like Europe."
Rajiv Bajaj (Managing Director of Bajaj Auto India) states "The Triumph brand is an iconic one the world over. So, we are confident that there will be a huge appetite in India and other emerging markets for these new products. We look forward to working alongside such a famous motorcycle company and to leveraging each other’s strengths and expertise to make the relationship a success for everyone."
Rajiv has also said that he isn't worried about the new arrangement having an impact on Bajaj's deal with KTM and its sales in India and that there is a place for everyone. We can take it that the new Triumphs will not be of a similar design. Rakesh Sharma (Bajaj Auto ED) has said that the Triumph machines will target a big segment of the market and not just a niche and a separate business unit will be created to run the partnership.
Triumph themselves tried to produce a 250cc machine but found it exceptionally difficult to produce it to a competitive cost given the expertese and lead other manufacturers had. Since that attempt, Nick Bloor's respect for Indian manufacturers to deliver quality has grown. Triumph entered the Indian market in 2013 but only sell around 1,000 machines per year there.
With Bajaj doing the overall design and Triumph producing the engines this could be an excellent way for Triumph to expand into the Indian and Asian markets. They will also be able to grow in the emerging African and South American markets where Bajaj has a presence already. New models are to be expected in 2022 - it's unlikely they will look like the picture as they haven't developed anything other than confidence in each other yet.