Both parallel twin, liquid-cooled, four-stroke engines power about five of Kawasaki’s 15 models that constitute the company’s current motorcycle portfolio in India. The 300cc unit powers the Ninja 300, the Ninja 650, Versys 650, Z650 and the outgoing ER-6n run on the 650cc mill. All these bikes are locally assembled and imported as completely knocked down (CKD) kits.
Kawasaki currently assembles five to six models in India across its 250cc, 300cc and 650cc engine platforms. “Kawasaki is looking into ways of localising its 300cc and 650cc twin-cylinder engines in India. They might do so starting with the smaller components, which will eventually lead to more critical parts in the near future. The 300cc and the 650cc models together account for the bulk sales for the company in India currently,” disclosed a source aware of the plans.
India Kawasaki is a formidable player in the growing midsize motorcycle segment. The midsize motorcycle segment has been witnessing new entrants with more affordable models lately, thanks to the local manufacturing and CKD operations by various OEMs. The company, which had first introduced its Ninja 250 at the Auto Expo 2008, is now aggressively driving its operations in India.
Localisation plans for its 300cc and 650cc engines would directly impact demand for its rivals, which includes Yamaha’s R3, Honda’s CBR650F and Triumph’s Street Triple among others. The midsize class is expected to further see new players stepping into this booming territory later this year, including TVS and BMW Motorrad.