Bajaj to deepen Kawasaki, KTM partnerships to lift exports

Motorcycle maker Bajaj Auto is building on its partnerships with Japan's Kawasaki Heavy Industries and Austria's KTM AG as it looks to increase exports of its bikes to fuel growth.

Bajaj is already India's top exporter of motorcycles and three-wheelers, being well established in some neighbouring and African markets, and has this year weathered weak domestic demand thanks to higher export revenue.

"What we had not addressed up until recently was broadly two markets - one the markets of ASEAN and Brazil, which are very large motorcycle markets, and of course the very developed and mature markets of U.S., Europe, Japan and Australia," its Managing Director Rajiv Bajaj told Reuters.

The company plans to sell its bikes in ASEAN, the regional grouping of Southeast Asian countries, and Brazil through Kawasaki, with which it has an existing marketing agreement and sells bikes in the Philippines and Indonesia - markets where it does not have its own network or where the Bajaj brand is less well known.

"In the next 12 months, we hope that we can address some more markets together, perhaps markets like Thailand or Malaysia in the ASEAN region and, hopefully Brazil as well, as far as Latam as concerned," Bajaj said.

The company will use its partnership with KTM, in which it has a 48 percent stake, to sell more in developed markets, such as the United States, Europe, Japan and Australia.

At its facility in Chakan in western Maharashtra state, Bajaj made one out of three KTM bikes sold worldwide last year, according to Bajaj, who expects that to rise to one out of two by 2017.

"It is in this manner that we try to build our export business model - some markets as Bajaj, by Bajaj. Some markets as Kawasaki Bajaj, through that partnership, and in some markets as KTM."

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