The global premium motorcycle brands clearly believe that the compact displacement segment is the future. They also can’t deny that India is the best place to manufacture them in order to achieve profitable cost benefits without compromising on quality.
KTM has been having a phenomenal run in the global market with its compact Dukes and RCs which are made by Bajaj in India. TVS and BMW have come up with three premium compact displacement offerings (TVS Apache RR 310, BMW G310R and G310GS) which are making waves in the segment. Triumph too has plans to develop a compact motorcycle in association with Bajaj. Even Harley Davidson has roped in a yet-to-be-revealed Asian two wheeler maker to help in its endeavor of developing a small global motorcycle.
So, it wouldn’t be a surprise if European stalwart Ducati too is mulling a plunge into the world of entry-level sportsbikes. A new report states that the Italian marque may tie up with Hero Motocorp to launch a series of low-displacement premium motorcycles. Given that other major Indian two wheeler makers are already taken, Hero Motocorp appears to be a natural first choice to whoever is looking to make affordable yet world class motorcycles.
If such a deal attains fruition, the arrangement would be more or less similar to the one that exists between BMW and TVS, except that Ducati may use Hero Motocorp’s distribution network to sell its compact offerings in India. The idea is, it would be easier to upgrade select Hero Dealerships in the country to retail Ducati products rather than setting up stand alone high-end showrooms in Tier 2 cities.
Ducati would take care of engineering and design of the powertrain, chassis, and other critical components while Hero Motorcorp will manufacture the bikes in India, taking full advantage of its well established vendor network. Hero Motocorp will use its Center for Innovation and Technology in Jaipur to develop it’s own version of premium products based on the platform in question.
The report further says that Ducati would be developing a 300 cc single-cylinder engine. The platform is likely to spawn two Ducati versions – a Scrambler and a mini Multistrada. Hero may adopt different body styles to suit its portfolio.