Auto focus

Two-wheeler makers are scouring for partners too

| Updated on April 25, 2019 Published on April 25, 2019

A file photo of Bajaj’s plant at Chakan, near Pune

Pooling in skills for electric and joint development of mid-capacity bikes will be priorities

It was barely some days ago when the Japanese media reported that Honda, Yamaha, Suzuki and Kawasaki are planning to come together and work on a new standard for electric motorcycles.

Clearly, this is intended to create a greater sense of cohesion so that the move to e-mobility is smooth and devoid of any confusion in terms of too many standards for batteries, charging stations, etc. None of the four manufacturers has made any official statement on this development but there is no reason to believe that it is untrue.

After all, the unexpected happened three years ago when former foes, Honda and Yamaha, joined hands to jointly manufacture sub-50cc scooters in Japan. Granted this is a niche segment which is hardly going to cause any tremors but the bottomline is that nobody in their wildest dreams would have thought that Honda and Yamaha would actually collaborate.

They have had their share of slugfests in the past but the new reality of the mobility market has obviously caused them to set aside past differences and work amicably towards the future. Both the companies have not gone beyond the scooter segment yet but there is no telling what will happen tomorrow. Perhaps, there could be pooling of skills in the electric space, which will be the way forward in the coming years.

Many years ago, Suzuki and Kawasaki had also come together to work on common sourcing of components with an idea to keep costs in check. They did not go too much beyond this and little is known of what was achieved through this teaming up. Now, the news of the Japanese quartet looking at a new standard for e-mobility is intriguing and could just pave the way for some interesting developments in the future.

In the Indian context, two-wheeler manufacturers are also entering into new tie-ups with international counterparts. Bajaj and KTM have had a successful relationship of 12 years and the Indian company has now joined hands with Triumph of the UK to make mid-capacity motorcycles for a host of markets. The manufacturing base will be the Chakan plant near Pune, which is already the growth engine for KTM and will soon be home to Swedish brand, Husqvarna.

Iconic American bike-maker, Harley-Davidson, is also on the lookout for a strategic ally in Asia to grow its presence in this part of the world. There has been no update on this news development though speculation is rife that Hero MotoCorp could be the most likely candidate. When things eventually fall in place, Harley will also make mid-capacity bikes for emerging markets and grow its presence in this part of the world.

TVS Motor and BMW Motorrad already have a strong partnership in place and it will be interesting to see how the duo plans to take the story forward. There is also no telling if VW will decide to sell Ducati in the near future. Should this happen, there will at least be a couple of Indian companies keen on snapping it up.

Published on April 25, 2019

A letter from the Editor


Dear Readers,

The coronavirus crisis has changed the world completely in the last few months. All of us have been locked into our homes, economic activity has come to a near standstill.

In these difficult times, we, at BusinessLine, are trying our best to ensure the newspaper reaches your hands every day. You can also access BusinessLine in the e-paper format – just as it appears in print. Our website and apps too, are updated every minute.

But all this comes at a heavy cost. As you are aware, the lockdowns have wiped out almost all our entire revenue stream. That we have managed so far is thanks to your support. I thank all our subscribers – print and digital – for your support.

I appeal to all our readers to help us navigate these challenging times and help sustain one of the truly independent and credible voices in the world of Indian journalism. You can help us by subscribing to our digital or e-paper editions. We offer several affordable subscription plans for our website, which includes Portfolio, our investment advisory section.

Our subscriptions start as low as Rs 199/- per month. A yearly package costs just Rs. 999 – a mere Rs 2.75 per day, less than a third the price of a cup of roadside chai..

A little help from you can make a huge difference to the cause of quality journalism!

Support Quality Journalism
This article is closed for comments.
Please Email the Editor