- Formal agreement is likely to be signed in December.
- Triumph will be designing the product while Bajaj will take care of manufacturing and sales of the new bike(s).
- These bikes aim to take on the likes of the Royal Enfield Interceptor 650 and the upcoming small-capacity Harley-Davidson.
The deed is almost ready to be signed as Triumph’s Chief Product Officer — Steve Sargent has confirmed that the Brits are expecting the Bajaj Auto–Triumph non-equity partnership to be wrapped up by December. A prototype motorcycle has already been made at Hinckley, which seems to have had a nod of approval from Rajiv Bajaj. The bikes will be first launched in India in 2022, suggesting an EICMA unveil in 2021.
In 2017, Bajaj and Triumph had announced that the two would be entering into a formal alliance to make mid-displacement motorcycles. It has taken the companies over two years to come to terms with the agreement for the jointly-developed bikes.
In a recent interview, Sargent said, “This is a product in the 250cc to 750cc segment. It will be a one engine platform, but there will be different engine capacities catering to different bike styles. We have been discussing with Bajaj about what is the desirable specification. We agreed on what that would be in terms of performance, power and capacity. We know fuel economy is very important in India. Bajaj has a lot of knowledge about the Indian consumer, which they have brought to the project.”
The above statement points towards Triumph building a single engine platform that can spawn multiple displacements, like it has done with the Bonneville 900cc and 1200cc engines. While we are sure that it will be a parallel-twin heart, the expected engine displacements are most likely going to be 400cc and 700cc. Triumph’s expertise in developing a parallel-twin engine will be key for this partnership as will Bajaj’s strength in cost effective manufacturing and exports.
These new motorcycles will be made at Bajaj Auto’s Chakan plant. The jointly-built motorcycles will be exported from India as it opens up avenues for Triumph in regions like Africa and Latin America where Bajaj is amongst the top two motorcycle brands. However, these bikes will be sold via the Triumph dealerships in India. Even though Bajaj is aiding in the manufacturing process, it is not allowed to develop any of its own products with the same platform. As part of the deal, Triumph will retain the rights to the motorcycles as well as their designs.
In case Bajaj does adopt the engine for its own product portfolio, then it would have to negotiate royalties with Triumph. As Steve says: “There is a royalty element to the relationship. If they develop any products using their IP, they are completely free to do that, but if they were to use Triumph IP, then we would have to have a conversation.”
With these two new engines and different ‘bike styles,’ Triumph will seek to lock horns with Harley-Davidson as well as Royal Enfield. The lower-displacement product will take on the upcoming 338cc Harley that is under development in China. And Triumph will want to have a certain upper hand when it comes to offering an Interceptor 650 rival. Hence, a 700cc engine will give Triumph some bragging rights in terms of cubes displaced.
We have done a few pieces on what the outcome of the Bajaj-Triumph deal would be and you can read them all below: