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Bajaj-Kawasaki world bike launch next week

Partha Ghosh & Bhupesh Bhandari in New Delhi | July 18, 2003 09:55 IST

Bajaj Auto will launch the 125 cc world bike developed in collaboration with its technical partner Kawasaki Heavy Industries Japan, early next week. The bike has been christened 'Wind125'.

The launch of 'Wind125' is part of a strategy to make Bajaj Auto's Waluj plant a global sourcing hub for sub-250cc motorcycles. Kawasaki traditionally produces only over 250cc bikes.

It now wants to use its collaboration with Bajaj to outsource sub-250cc bikes for its global market.

Bajaj Auto is currently the largest exporter of two wheelers in India with exports sales of 94,133 units in 2002-03.

Following the launch of Wind125, Bajaj Auto's export is expected to cross 1.5 lakh units during the current financial year, the sources said.

Dealer sources told Business Standard that a top team of Kawasaki, Japan, headed by Shinichi Morita, managing director, Kawasaki Heavy Industries Ltd and company president of Consumer Products & Machinery Company will be in the country during the launch expected on Monday.

"The presence of Morita, the senior most executive in Kawasaki, at the launch signifies the importance the Japanese major attaches to the development of the new bike, which will be jointly marketed in the global markets, and its tie-up with Bajaj Auto," the sources said.

Industry sources added that they expected Bajaj to make an announcement on the proposed joint venture marketing company with Kawasaki.

The investments will not be high, but Bajaj may get a stake in overseas markets as a result of the tie-up.

Kawasaki has been Bajaj's partner for over a decade. But it has not made an equity investment in the two-wheeler maker, solely because the Indian entity apart from motorcycles also makes scooters and three-wheelers, in which Kawasaki has no interest.

Bajaj Auto has consolidated its presence in the entry-level segment with the Boxer series. It also has a significant presence in the premium bike segment with Pulsar 150 and Pulsar 180 models.

In the premium segment, Bajaj Auto enjoys over 60 per cent market share. With the launch of Wind125, Bajaj Auto will increase its presence in the country's largest executive bike segment along with Caliber115. Wind125 is expected to fit into the gap between the existing Caliber 115 and 150cc Pulsar, said dealers.

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