TVS BMW partnership gets going
BMW and TVS have inked a technology agreement whereby the two would partner to make a range of motorcycles in India designed and engineered by BMW. This brings to a head the intense discussions underway since the last year and a half with the German bike maker trying to find a foothold for lean low cost manufacturing in Asia just as Ducati and Triumph have embarked on the same in Thailand in recent years.
However, unlike the other two European bike marques from Italy and England respectively who have gone in without any local Asian partner, BMW’s move is in diametrically opposite as it has sought a partner to spearhead its intent for the low cost emerging markets. For quite a long while BMW Motorrad had been searching high and low for a partner capable of large volume production along with high consistent quality and after months of discussions and evaluations, the German car and bike maker was pretty impressed with the Hosur-based bike maker’s technical acumen, attitude and approach to two-wheeler manufacturing.
It is very early days yet but the deal envisages TVS to manufacture a range of motorcycles and scooters below 500cc for a completely new genre of motorcycles which would be sold not just in India and Asia but all over the world. This signifies the changing face of motorcycling as we have been advocating for a long time. It is not about hyper machines capable of splitting the atoms and zipping at the speed of light. Rather it is a back to basics creed where easy handling, pleasure delivering smooth torquing machines in decent displacement sizes help deliver an all new feel to riders across all ages.
That this sort of performance will yet be stylish and modern but without punching a big hole in the pocket is why the likes of Honda, Kawasaki, Bajaj and KTM have already shown their hand with just such an interpretation of this concept and with Triumph expected to come up with a 400-500cc twin made in Asia for the world, BMW’s move to rope in TVS as a low cost manufacturing outpost is just the right way forward for both partners. Quite natural this because not only product development but also product manufacturing costs have made manufacturing a very costly game in Europe and this more than anything else along with the new age “small on displacement, big on performance” mantra made it imperative for BMW to search and then zero in an Indian/Asian partner and TVS fits the bill very well.
Many did think that the way forward to a low cost BMW motorcycle would have been via the Husqvarna brand which BMW owned till about a couple of months ago but the new thinking within the corridors of power in Munich has dictated that there would be a whole new range of entry level bikes sporting the blue and white propeller logo and that while they would be competitively priced, they wouldn’t be low rent. To many it might seem as if this is an entirely new arena Munich is wading into but the fact remains that it has been present in this segment before as well. If one cares to look at its model portfolio through the ages, it had made single and twin-cylinder machines in capacities ranging from as low as 200cc and 250cc respectively!
BMW’s technical agreement with TVS will see the duo work together on the development and production of a range of two-wheelers with engine capacity under the half-litre mark. It has been quite clear that in recent times, the lack of a strong technology partner had been perceived rather painfully for TVS but the might of BMW could help revive its fortunes. Related: BMW to link up with TVS via its Husqvarna brand?