For several years now, KTM has been building motorcycles with its partner Bajaj (which owns a large chunk of the company). Now, Husqvarna’s bikes are also going to be built in India under a similar arrangement.
In some ways, it’s surprising it has taken this long for this move to happen, but the reason is simple. For now, KTM’s higher-spec machines are built in Austria, where the factory can keep a close eye on quality control. Up until now, most of Husqvarna’s motorcycles have been similar models to KTM’s high-end dirt bikes, and they’ve been built in Austria as well.
Now, though, Husqvarna is bringing its Svartpilen and Vitpilen 401 models to market, which are built around the same basic engine that’s found in the KTM 390 series—which is already built in India, in the Bajaj factories, along with several other low-end KTM models. It makes good business sense to start building Huskies there as well, particularly if Husqvarna wants to take on the huge Indian market, which issues punishing import taxes on motorcycles from out-of-country.
The implications for KTM/Husky are huge. Bajaj wants to build 100,000 KTM and Husqvarna machines in 2017, and 200,000 KTM/Husky bikes in 2018. That sort of output, while not on the level of the Big Four Japanese OEMs, takes Team Orange from simply being a purveyor of niche performance machines to being a much more major player on the global market, with sales outstripping its European rivals.