Husqvarna Vitpilen 401 and Svartpilen 401 are expected to enter India in early 2019 as more premium alternative to Duke 390
The Managing Director of Bajaj Auto since 2005, Rajiv Bajaj, confirmed at the Annual General Meeting (AGM) in Pune in July 2018 that the Husqvarna brand would be brought into the country in the next financial year. Along with the announcement, he heralded his intentions to launch electric two-wheelers before the implementation of BSVI emission standards from April 1, 2020 onwards.
Husqvarna Motorcycles is more than a century old company that was brought back to life by KTM AG after buying stakes from BMW Motorrad in 2013. The Austrian manufacturer specialises in Enduro, Motocross, Supermoto and Street motorcycles, and India will get its low displacement street nakeds in the form of Vitpilen 401 and Svartpilen 401 initially.
Both the motorcycles are expected to be launched via CBU route after being imported from Austria in the early or middle part of next year, as the premium space is certainly booming with new offerings and Bajaj wanting to explore more niche segments. Bajaj will commence the local production of the pair within six months of their market entry and they share several underpinnings with the KTM Duke 390.
Due to KTM’s influence and investment, Husqvarna revitalised its product range with the debut of new concepts at the 2015 EICMA Show and the production models stayed true to their concept siblings. The Vitpilen 401 and Svartpilen 401 had already been spied testing several times in India, as Bajaj has plans in place to expand its Chakan plant to accommodate Husqvarna duo.
The Vitpilen 401 and Svartpilen 401 are the obvious premium choices for domestic entry. The former is the smaller derivative of the Vitpilen 701 with the stripped cafe racer exterior boasting clip-on handlebars and a striking stance. Meanwhile, the Svartpilen 401 has a different character with minimalistic sub frame and a rather slimmer bodywork enabling a scrambler appeal.
The Svartpilen 401 will go up against the Royal Enfield Interceptor 650 in close quarters and pricing will be a key factor in the success. Although they appeal for different set of audiences, they do clash for mechanical prowess. Both the models will sit above Duke 390 and could undercut the RE 650 Twins. Other main features are ride-by-wire throttle system, slipper clutch, fully digital instrumentation with Bluetooth, etc.