It seems Suzuki is continuing to explore alternate manufacturing options, with news it’s exporting the made-in-India Gixxer to its home market of Japan.
Seeing Japanese OEMs set up shop in India is nothing new in itself. India is a huge market, and one way or another, all of the Big Four have a piece of that pie. India’s import taxes on motorcycles mean it makes more sense for a manufacturer to set up a plant in-country to capture sales, so they either do that, or establish some sort of relationship with an existing Indian brand (see the now-ended but long-running Hero Honda partnership).
But we haven’t really seen Big Four-badged motorcycles coming out of India to developed markets, at least not yet. Made-in-India bikes have been exported all over the world (Royal Enfield, most famously, and now some BMWs and KTMS), but not from Yamaha, Suzuki, Honda, or Kawasaki. The Japanese OEMs do have ties in other Asian countries, particularly Thailand, but we haven’t seen their India-built products being pushed hard, at least not yet.
It’s no surprise that Suzuki is trying this, though. The company has already developed a made-in-China platform, the GW250, and seems to be staking a lot of its future on that model. Last fall, it announced two important new bikes (V-Strom 250 and GSX-250R) based on that engine.
Now, the Gixxer is headed to Japan from India. It’s a pretty basic bike, powered by an air-cooled 155 cc thumper, and bearing little resemblance to its GSX-R soundalikes. But if the Japanese market will accept the machine, then get ready. There are no guarantees, and this may not even be the manufacturer’s strategy, but if it can sell a made-in-India in Japan, you’ve got to wonder, where else will Suzuki try this? Will your next Suzuki be made in India? If it works for the Euro brands, why not for the Japanese companies as well? Stay tuned …