While it was indicated earlier that the Husqvarna brand would enter India next year in February 2017, the news emerging from EICMA 2017 suggests that KTM and Bajaj Auto have agreed to add Husqvarna to the Indian market with production at Bajaj's Chakan plant starting in late 2019 and market roll out likely early 2020. KTM CEO Stefan Pierer also indicated that while current KTM production from Bajaj Auto was already at 1 lakh units annually, the addition of Husqvarna, along with the growth of KTM numbers - domestic and exports - should double the annual production volume. KTM's current biggest market is the US but with India at 40,000 units globally, it is expected that KTM India will become KTM's single largest market next year.
The Husqvarna 401 Svartpilen or Black Arrow is based on the same platform as the KTM
It isn't clear if this means bigger Husqvarnas or the famously blue-fluoro yellow dirtbikes are going to come to India or not. If the KTM 790 Duke enters local or CKD assembly, bigger Husqvarnas should not be too much of a stretch. But the initial production will almost certainly be the smaller machines. Husqvarna showed the production ready Svartpilen 401 at the 2017 EICMA Motorcycle Show, the Black Arrow, a street scrambler style motorcycle based on the current KTM 390 Duke platform. The other 401 is the Vitpilen or White Arrow which has a more classic cafe-racer theme and is also based on the same underpinnings. The cool thing is that Husqvarna have hit a sweet new design language that is a marvellous blend of the proportions and volumes that hint at the traditional categories like the Street Scrambler or Cafe Racer. But they are executed with a smooth style that is very modern and extremely distinctive. We expect that the Husqvarna brand will be positioned at a premium to the Indian KTMs but will be sold through the same KTM dealership network.
The Husqvarna 401 Svartpilen is more of a slick cafe racer in proportion and styling based on the same KTM 390 Duke platform
The big question by 2020 will be about the 701s. You see the 701 uses the 70-something PS single-cylinder from the KTM 690 Duke which was ruled as too expensive to bring to India. And the 790 Duke is widely expected to replace the sales volume of the 690 and was designed for production and sale in emerging markets. Given how closely KTM and Husqvarna are working, it is likely that by 2020, the updated 701 might have moved on the new KTM 799cc twin-cylinder engine and frame. If that works out then the CKD production is easy. If KTM India and Bajaj work out the details for making the KTM 790 Duke, then adding the 701 to the assembly process will be a simple extension. If it remains the same single-cylinder engine as it is currently, however, the assembly challenge and more importantly, the sales in India challenge will be much larger.
The Husqvarna 701 uses the same platform as the KTM 690 Duke and is a powerful single-cylinder in the same spartan design mode as the 401 Vitpilen