Yes, that’s right. The Husqvarna Vitpilen and Svartpilen motorcycles will soon be made in India, at Bajaj Auto’s Chakan factory alongside the KTM Dukes and RCs. Both motorcycles sit on the Duke 390 platform, and will use the 373 cc single cylinder liquid cooled motor. However, they’re likely to be priced above the Duke 390 in all the markets they’ll be sold in. Husqvarna is a Swedish motorcycle brand known for its motocross bikes. The bike maker fell on hard times a few years ago, after which it was acquired by KTM.
The Husqvarna Vitpilen and Svartpilen are Swedish for White Arrow and Black Arrow respectively. Both bikes feature minimalist styling, staying true to Swedish ethos.The Vitpilen is a cafe racer with street tyres and racy ergonomics while the Svartpilen is a scrambler with on-off road tyres and more relaxed seating. Both bikes are built around the KTM Duke 390’s Trellis frame and suspension, with the major changes centered around the styling and features. ABS, slipper clutch and ride-by-wire are some of the features that are likely to be standard on both bikes.
There’s a bummer though.
Amit Nandi, the India-head of KTM has said that the Husqvarnas that will be built at Chakan are meant for the export markets, and that KTM has no plans of introducing them for the Indian market. The reasoning is that the KTM brand itself is relatively new in India, and introducing the Husqvarna range of motorcycles may further fragment the Austrian motorcycle brand here.
Why then are the Husqvarnas made here?
Bajaj Auto holds a near 50 % stake in KTM, and is driving growth for the Austrian sportsbike maker by giving it access to high quality-low cost manufacturing. Bajaj’s factory at Chakan allows KTM to manufacture bikes at a fraction of what it would cost in Europe. This gives the bike maker a big advantage over its rivals, adding to its profits, which also benefits Bajaj.