The Triumph-Bajaj alliance is almost upon us. The team-up that Hinkley’s counting on to stay alive is expected to be finalized by the end of the year, according to gossip from India.
With a billion people in the country watching its every move, the Indian motorcycle industry doesn’t really keep many secrets, and that’s the case here. We’ve already known about the Bajaj-Triumph deal for a while, and known the rough timeline, but things had been quiet for a while.
Supposedly, Bajaj (which already owns almost half of KTM) won’t be getting a chunk of Triumph in the deal. What it will be getting is technical information, which it can use to develop its own machines. Reportedly, even though the deal hasn’t actually been inked yet (the bigwigs are hammering out the terms), the on-the-floor guys who actually get stuff done are already talking and exchanging ideas. This is probably necessary if the manufacturers are to hit their goal of producing jointly-developed motorcycles by 2021.
Making motorcycles in Asia is already old news for Triumph, which has been building motorcycles in Thailand for years. However, this deal with Bajaj would allow Triumph easier access to the Indian market, which issues punishing tariffs on motorcycle imports. The Bajaj deal would open up a billion new customers to Triumph. Chances are, it would also allow for some savings in production, although that also could have been arranged in Thailand.
Triumph’s new made-in-India bikes are expected to be multi-cylinder machine or machines in the 350-600 cc range. Bajaj plans to develop its first multi-cylinder machines as a result of the partnership.
Triumph has gone down this budget bike road before, planning to make a 250. That project was shelved when the rest of the moto-world moved to the 300-400 cc class, and Triumph realized its machine would non-competitive before it even hit the market.