For the non-car buffs, the Phaeton was Volkswagen’s competitor to the likes of the Mercedes S-Class. So, the Phaeton was packed with tech, it was spacious and luxurious, and it drove pretty well too. But it failed massively at the retail end. And for one reason above all else - it had a VW badge on its nose, a more mainstream brand if you will, instead of a luxury one.
Rajiv says Bajaj will not make that mistake. And he will experience high-end motorcycling - retail, story telling, et al - by piggybacking on Triumph. And therefore he doesn’t believe in rolling out a Bajaj-badged product from this deal.
But there is another reason - Bajaj already has motorcycles that will be rolling out of this deal
The KTM Connection
We have already mentioned this in a previous article on BikeWale that the new Bajaj-made Triumph bikes will be based on the India-made KTM platforms. A fact Bajaj officials didn’t exactly deny or confirm, but was weighed on heavily by the presence of Stefan Pierer, CEO of KTM AG, at the announcement.
What’s more, choosing the existing KTM platforms for the Bajaj-made Triumph bikes has many upsides. For one, there will be savings in development costs because the Triumph engine and chassis will be versions of the KTM units.
There will also be savings that will come from economies of scale because there will be a number of common parts, which is something Bajaj has gone on the record to say. And, it is this approach which will help the Triumph bikes sport a tempting price tag.
The Bajaj Bikes
Like we mentioned earlier, Bajaj already has versions of the bikes that Triumph will launch. And therefore, there’s no need to rebadge the latter’s offerings. Triumph will begin with a sub Rs 2 lakh, 200cc single-cylinder motorcycle.
And we believe it will be based on the KTM Duke 200 which retails for around Rs 1.6 lakhs, ex-showroom. As you can tell, it does fit the Triumph bill well with a bit of headroom to increase the price. And based on the same platform, but with more economised parts, is the Bajaj Pulsar 200NS. The NS is priced at a little over Rs 1.1 lakhs.
Similarly, there’s the 250 Duke and the 390 Duke. The latter has already spawned the Dominar 400. And there’s news tricking in about an imminent launch of a 250cc Dominar. Which, of course, will be based on the 250 Duke. The India-made Triumph bikes will, naturally, use both these KTM bikes as bases as well.
The Bajaj Twins
Now the Bajaj-Triumph deal is for motorcycles with engine capacities ranging from 200cc to 750cc. And so far, the India-made KTM platforms top-out with the 390. But, that’s about to change. We have confirmation that KTM will produce its 490, parallel-twin, platform in India. And as we have seen with KTM bikes, the same platform will be used for a 590, a 690, and possibly a new 790 as well.
These new multi-cylinder platforms will also make it to the Triumph banner. But that’s not all. A senior Bajaj official told us that even though Rajiv’s Phaeton reference holds true, it doesn’t mean Bajaj will NOT produce a motorcycle with a larger engine-capacity than the current Dominar. And so, let’s not be surprised to see a Bajaj twin-cylinder motorcycle make its way in a couple of years from now.
Just don’t ask me how many spark plugs it will use...