When the invitation finally popped into my inbox, I sent up a prayer. Finally, I said, Finally! I had really good reasons for my fervent gratitude.
Everyone knows my soft spot for the racing green. And well, Kawasaki has been in India forever. First with Bajaj, bringing in the more street and city friendly bikes – low in power, but great in manoeuvring. Then, as themselves, or rather India Kawasaki Motors (or IKM) in 2010, bringing in the CKD and CBU units – starting with the 250 and 300, and then in September last year, with the big ‘uns. IKM is still with Bajaj, sharing space with the Indian company at their factory in Pune.
Then, in September last year, the Pune showroom went up. Now, that’s the western hemisphere taken care of, I thought. But what of Delhi? The northerners? We here, were busy getting eyefuls of Harleys, Yamahas, Hondas, Suzukis, BMWs and even the Ducati and Aprilia (for a while). Kawasaki, a company rooted in motorcycle history, as rich as MV Agusta and Aprilia was missing and rather conspicuously, I may add.
Well, no more, I say. And thank god for that.
Kawasaki today launched its second exclusive showroom in the country. Tucked away near a popular theatre in South Delhi, the almost-sprawling space gleams white, courtesy the backlit boards. Pictures of Tom Sykes and the Mahi Racing Team rub shoulders with those of the ZX10R, the Ninja 1000 and the ZX14R. Almost an entire side is dedicated to sketches of motorcycles – past and present – straight from Kawasaki’s industrial designers and their imagination. It’s easily changeable, explains Shigeto Nishikawa, deputy managing director at IKM.
The ZX10R, the absolutely stunning 14R and the Z1000 jostle for window space, preening before a crowd, already gathered, looking in and snapping pictures. But the latest entrant in the Indian market takes up the pride of place: the Z800.
Yuji Horiuchi, managing director, IKM launched the Z800, a gleaming, black naked sports bike. The bike is priced at Rs 7.9 lakh (ex-showroom in Pune) and Rs 8.05 lakh (ex-showroom in Delhi). The aggressive styling and almost macho-like presence makes this middleweight a dream. You can see the Z spirit everywhere, Horiuchi-san said, referring to the bike.
The model also comes with optional accessories including an engine guard, meter cover, front axle guard, and tank pad. Expect this accessories list to grow slowly and steadily.
The Kawasaki has had an interesting last year. Its CKD (Completely Knockdown units that are assembled in India and are cheaper) units include the 300 Ninja and the 650 Ninja, which sold 800 and 200 units respectively.
The CBU (Completely Built Up) units included the ZX 10R, ZX14R, the Ninja 1000, the Z1000 and now the Z800. The first 4 models were launched in September last year and have since then sold a total of 25 units. Nishikawa-san however explains that the sales were definitely below the potentiality. But, it is important to keep in the mind the fact that Kawasaki doesn’t have a bigger sales network.
All of this is of course expected to change with the opening of the Delhi showroom, and a dedicated service centre that will cater to customers across the northern part of country.
Where to go:
Kawasaki Pune: 12/B, Bajaj Brand View Building, Wakdewadi, Pune (Ph) 020-67276727
Kawasaki Delhi: 36 Community Centre, Vasant Lok Vasant Vihar, Delhi (Ph) 011- 64631115