Bajaj Auto and KTM have jointly announced that the two companies have agreed to launch the Husqvarna Motorcycles brand worldwide, focusing initially on the Vitpilen 401 and Svartpilen 401. The Husqvarna brand is currently owned by Pierer Industrie AG, which is headed by Stefan Pierer, current CEO of KTM. The Indian connection is that Bajaj Auto currently owns a significant 48 per cent stake in KTM, and also manufacturers KTM motorcycles in the 125 cc , 200 cc, 250 cc and 390 cc segments at Bajaj's factory near Pune.
Husqvarna is a Swedish-origin motorcycle brand, and is considered one of the world's oldest motorcycle manufacturers. The company has had a storied racing history and was a dominant force in the motocross and enduro world championships throughout the 1960s and 1970s. In the 1980s, Husqvarna was purchased by Italian motorcycle manufacture Cagiva, and became part of MV Agusta. Husqvarna's last owner was BMW Motorrad, from which Pierer Industrie purchased it in 2013. Husqvarna still makes enduro and motocross bikes with engines shared with the current KTM motocross bikes, but the India story, and the new global strategy will be a little different.
- Bajaj Auto and KTM have decided to take the Husqvarna brand global, and have announced that the first new models which will be part of the global launch will be the Svartpilen 401 (Black Arrow), the Vitpilen 401 (Silver Arrow) and the Vitpilen 701.
- All three Husqvarna models will be initially manufactured in Mattighofen, Austria, and launched in early 2018.
- Later in 2018, production of the Svartpilen 401 and Vitpilen 401 for global markets will be shifted to the Bajaj manufacturing plant on the outskirts of Pune, India.
- Both the Svartpilen 401 and Vitpilen 401 will share the same engine and chassis with the KTM 390 Duke, which is made exclusively at the same Bajaj plant for India and the rest of the world.
- The 401s will be powered by the single-cylinder 373 cc engine from the KTM 390 Duke which makes 43 bhp of power and 37 Nm of torque.
- The design and bodywork of the Husqvarna 401s are however, completely different and will serve as niche motorcycles in the global middleweight segment.
- The Vitpilen 401 adopts an avant garde cafe racer design, while the Svartpilen 401 will be more of a scrambler model.
- Both bikes will also be launched in India, sometime in 2018, and we guess, after production of these bikes is shifted to the Bajaj plant in Pune.
- Bajaj aims to sell as many Husqvarna bikes as the made in India KTM motorcycles the company currently sells in India and Indonesia.
- Production of the KTM and Husqvarna bikes at the Bajaj plant is expected to double in the next couple of years from an estimated 1,00,000 bikes in 2017.