If you are like me then you must have googled “KTM Duke 125 launch date in India”, as soon as you heard about its existence in European markets. I got excited when I came to know about it for the first time. But as you can guess, that excitement was short lived since Duke 125 was made in India but not for India. I went through online forums & found out I was not alone in this.
Bajaj has been manufacturing Duke 125 in its Chakan plant, Pune (Maharastra) since 2011. Those 125s are straightaway going to European markets. When I dug deeper into finding out the WHY factor behind this decision of Bajaj, pieces of the puzzle came together
The official KTM site for Germany lists the Naked Duke 125 ABS at 4295 Euros, which translates to a whopping 3,21,600 INR at current exchange rates. It won’t sell in India even if the bajaj slashed its price to half of the European price tag. And that’s why Rajiv bajaj has said "Bring me one customer who'll buy the Duke 125 and I'll launch it in India right away!"
Compliance with strict EU standards:
The European standards on motor bikes are quite strict compared to the existing ones in India. Even for an engine as small 125cc, the ABS is mandatory. So along with this, the other gizmos add for the cost. But let’s be clear, quite irrespective of the manufacturing cost, the final pricing is always done keeping the market & competition in mind.
Conflict of Interest for Bajaj:
If Bajaj is ever going to sell Duke 125 in India then it would obviously be priced below the price tag of existing Naked Duke 200. Let’s crunch some numbers!
Duke 200 base model is INR 1,38,000/-*
Pulsar 200 RS (with ABS) is 1,34,000/-*
Pulsar 200 RS (without ABS) is 1,22,000/-*
(*Current Ex-showroom prices in Bengaluru, Karnataka.)
This explains the Bajaj has no gap to place the Duke 125 in India without hurting its own line of Pulsars. Perhaps, this could be the #1 reason in Bajaj’s own list.
Bajaj owns 48% of KTM AG
Along with this Bajaj manufactures Dukes of up to 800cc displacements in its own plant in India which accounts for a third of the KTMs produced globally. This explains why Bajaj do not bother about where the dukes are being sold, as long as they do not compete with its own line of products.
When you put these 4 pieces together, you’ll see why Bajaj decided Not-to sell Naked Duke 125 in India.
Nonetheless I sincerely hope that one day bajaj will release (at least an Indian version) of Duke 125 in India and prove me wrong!