Triumph and Bajaj Auto announced a new partnership to develop and produce mid-sized motorcycles, likely cruisers displacing less than 700cc.
The arrangement is described as a “non-equity partnership”, meaning the two companies will be working together but there’s no financial investment going either way, nor are they forming a joint venture. The relationship will be similar to the one between BMW and TVS which led to the new G310R and G310GS.
For Triumph, the arrangement will expand its reach into high-volume emerging markets. Triumph also currently lacks any products smaller than the 765cc Street Triple. The Daytona 675 is on its last legs as it is not Euro 4 compliant and will likely be replaced with a new model using the Street Triple engine (likely coming to EICMA this fall to precede Triumph’s engine supplying deal for the Moto2 World Championship in 2019).
Triumph had been working on small-displacement models several years ago. We even saw spy photos of a sportbike and naked model, expected to displace 250cc, but the project was eventually scrapped before we saw either a concept or production model. The Bajaj partnership is explicitly for mid-sized models however, so we expect the results to displace between 400cc and 700cc.
On Bajaj’s end, the partnership will complement the company’s existing 48% ownership stake in KTM. That arrangement has already born fruit with the small-displacement KTM Duke models and the Bajaj Dominar 400, the Indian company’s version of the KTM 390 Duke.
Speaking last month at Bajaj’s annual general meeting, Managing Director Rajiv Bajaj hinted at a possible new partnership, saying: “We are very close to finalizing a very promising alliance, it’s not certain, that it will happen, but if it happens, it will open up enormous possibilities for the company.”
At the time, some pundits assumed this meant Bajaj would be entering the Ducati sweepstakes, but further comments from the managing director hinted against that speculation. KTM already provided a sporty side to the company’s portfolio, Bajaj said, and the company wanted to explore other segments.
“There is also a world of easy riding or lazy riding, it is a world of Harley-Davidson, Indian motorcycle owned by Polaris, the world of Triumph, this segment so far has been missing from our puzzle,” said Bajaj. “The only missing puzzle is the premium brand in this space.”
Parsing these comments suggests the Triumph-Bajaj partnership will produce cruisers competing against the likes of the Harley-Davidson Street, Indian Scout Sixty, Kawasaki Vulcan S and the Honda Rebel 500.
Here’s the full joint statement issued by Bajaj and Triumph:
Triumph motorcycles and Bajaj are pleased to announce their global partnership.
The objective of this non-equity partnership is to deliver a range of outstanding
mid-capacity motorcycles benefiting from the collective strengths of both companies.
We hope to bring to bear upon global markets the individual strengths of the partners including brand position & perception, design & development technology, quality & cost competitiveness & worldwide distribution.
This new global partnership will enable Triumph to significantly expand its global reach by entering new higher volume market segments, especially within the emerging markets across the world.
Bajaj will gain access to the iconic Triumph brand, and its great motorcycles, enabling it to offer a wider range of motorcycles within its domestic market and other international markets.
Triumph and Bajaj are excited by the opportunities of this partnership and the prospect of entering new market segments, thereby reaching a whole new group of motorcyclists across the world.
We will provide further details in due course.