The relationship between Triumph and Bajaj dates back to June, 2019. With Hinckley’s premium fit and finish and Bajaj’s affordable manufacturing processes, the collaborations seemed like Triumph’s fast track into the Indian market. In the past two years, however, the two brands aimed to launch the project in 2022 and floated an Avenger 400-based model as the partnership’s first release. Neither came to fruition due to the ongoing pandemic.
Now, COVID-19 is wreaking more havoc on the partnership’s timelines. With the emerging Delta variant suspending travel between the U.K. and India, development of the first Triumph-Bajaj model hit a standstill. However, the project is currently in the pre-production prototype phase. Despite many industries embracing remote workflows during these times, Triumph engineers need to be onsite to develop the prototype alongside Bajaj, resulting in delays.
“We are in the (product development) stage, where we have made prototypes, and these require physical presence to make corrections, if needed,” Bajaj Auto executive director Rakesh Sharma told analysts. “This whole process takes time. The partnership got hit because of COVID.”
Many anticipate Bajaj producing the Triumph-badged motorcycles at its new Chakan factory. Set to open in 2023, the plant will also manufacture Bajaj’s KTM and Husqvarna-branded models. With the Triumph-Bajaj bike now slated for a March, 2023, release date, the project also relies on the construction and operation of the new facility.
“We expect towards the end of FY23 to probably present the products in the market,” Sharma added. “There will be a delay of 6-9 months from what we had indicated earlier.”
In the meantime, Bajaj is still working on its flagship Pulsar model. Many suspect that the Indian brand will leverage the upcoming Pulsar 250’s engine for the Triumph’s future range. Of course, the coronavirus will need to cooperate if the new plan is to succeed.