India, a powerhouse on two wheels
India, a powerhouse on two wheels

I remember like it was yesterday when the first Korean motorcycles made their appearance on the European market. They gave many headaches with more than dubious finish on their first models. Over time, South Korean brands have remained in the market thanks to a young design and a very, very tempting price. Whoever gets one knows that they are not buying the latest technology, but they can also forget about the technical problems they suffered during the beginning.

During the last weeks I have remembered a lot about these brands after looking for information about the KTM Duke 390 in every corner of the network. As you know, the little ones of the naked KTM family are built by Bajaj in India, one of the largest manufacturers in the country. But perhaps we are underestimating the potential of the strategy that KTM has initiated. Being the maximum exponent of the motor industry means being a true giant, remember that we are talking about a country with more than 1, 2 billion 1.2 billion people.

In India, motorcycles are produced, forgive me the expression, by and large. Its annual sales figures make a fool of any western market, 10 million motorcycles / scooters sold in 2010. And a 37 million two-wheelers fleet. That is passion and not Sundays on terraces.

Soaking in my last, shall we say, cantaloupe I have learned to assess the Indian potential –In addition to having made a couple of friends–. They work hard and bilingualism in English is the most natural "thanks" to the influence that the British crown still has in the area. Their alliance with KTM has allowed them produce a spectacular and reliable model and thanks to the strict control carried out by Mattighofen on each Duke 125, 200 or 390 they also avoid any prejudice that we can have, as happened with Korea a few years ago. And the price? Very tight, it is not the typical basic motorcycle that you can buy in India for a few hundred euros but it is not the classic KTM that goes out of price. Not exceeding 5,000 euros is, by itself, a great success.

Growing hand in hand with your industry we found the motor press. That they have gone from testing the most modest models and with almost no means to mounting reports that we would most like to see in Spain.

India is an emerging power that to overcome its great problems of poverty will start to scare off wealthy Japanese industry –For example Mahindra in Moto3–. In fact, companies like Tata appear from time to time interested in buying brands like MV Agusta. KTM, for its part, has been savvy enough to make a cut with a bike that looks to be a bestseller in India and Europe.

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