Here’s some hot bike gossip: the Indian moto-press is circulating rumours of a team-up between Ducati and Hero, resulting in a small-capacity made-in-India Ducati.
Is there any truth to it? It wouldn’t be the first time an over-eager Indian motojourno has misled the public. However, it would definitely make sense, as it would allow Ducati to access India’s motorcycle market, where even a small percentage of sales is a big deal (currently, Ducati’s bike sales there are hindered by India’s tariffs). Ducati already has factories in Asia (Thailand), but an Indian manufacturing hookup would give them more options to reduce costs, which is always a concern in the cutthroat global market.
What kind of bike could we expect? It would most likely be similar to the other bikes resulting from Euro-India partnerships—a basic naked bike with a mild-mannered adventure bike or scrambler spin-off. That’s what BMW has done with the G310 platform, and what KTM is working on with its 390 line (and the closely-related Husqvarna 401 platform as well). A single-cylinder in the 300-450 cc range, with Monster lines or maybe some Scrambler DNA? Even if it isn’t actually happening, you can bet someone inside Ducati is at least talking about it. And Hero would make a lot of sense for a team-up, as it’s had previous partnerships before (most famously with Honda), and is hungry for bigger, better things.
Given that Ducati has already establish Scrambler as its value-oriented sub-brand, we’d most likely see the bike bear this badge, but that’s no guarantee.