In what has to be one of the most protracted business arrangements in motorcycle industry history, Triumph and Bajaj have finally officially announced the signing of their non-equity partnership to make motorcycles together.
The plan is exactly that, a long-term plan to jointly create mid-sized (200cc to 750cc) motorcycles for the Triumph and Bajaj brands, using the strengths of both companies.
While both parties will be bringing resources and expertise to the table, Triumph and Bajaj will extract very different things from their new relationship.
For Triumph, the deal meals that the British brand can expand its global reach, and gain a strong foothold in the Asian continent, which is arguably where the next 10 years of motorcycle industry growth will come from.
For Bajaj, it gains Triumph as a vital import and distribution client in India. In other markets where Triumph isn’t already present, Bajaj will represent Triumph and offer their co-built mid-sized motorcycles under the Triumph name.
In the overseas markets where Triumph already has operations (e.g. the United States), the British marque will offer the same co-produced bikes at established Triumph dealerships.
As we have mentioned already, the plan sees Triumph and Bajaj making engines that range from 250cc to 750cc, with each engine being a platform to launch multiple vehicles that can span several product segments.
These bikes will fill roles as both aspirational and affordable models, meaning they should come with a wide range of price points for various riders and markets, and thus won’t be purely budget-focused offerings.
“This is an important partnership for Triumph and I am delighted that it has now formally commenced,” said Triumph Motorcycles CEO, Nick Bloor.
“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.”
For those keeping score, this deal with Triumph marks the second arrangement that Bajaj has sourced from a European motorcycle manufacturer, with Bajaj already holding a near-50% stake in the KTM motorcycle brand.
While KTM and Bajaj have teamed up to co-develop motorcycles as well, this deal with Triumph is different in that it is closer to a joint-venture, and doesn’t involve equity investment of one brand into another.
Rumors from our Bothan spies suggest that KTM was less-than-interested in having Triumph join its ranks in a sort of motorcycle manufacturer ménage à trois, which may have been the reason that it took Triumph and Bajaj so long to find terms that would be palatable to the Austrian company, and why we see Bajaj dealing with Triumph and KTM on different terms.
“The Triumph brand is an iconic one the world over,” said Rajiv Bajaj, Managing Director of Bajaj Auto. “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.”
It is not clear at this time when we will see the first fruits of this new business arrangement, and in all likelihood, it will take probably several years for the first birthing of this venture’s creations. It should be interesting to see what gets produced.