Well, it did took quite some time! When we finally received the news that Kawasaki will eventually launch its single cylinder quarter liter naked, the Z250SL by the end of 2015 in India, we were both happy and wondering that why it took this long for Kawasaki to bring the bike to India?
You see, the fastest growing motorcycle segment in India in terms of pricing is the segment that consists of motorcycles that range from 1 lakh INR Ex-showroom to 3 Lakh INR Ex-Showroom, with the highest growth seen in the segment from 1lakh to 2 lakh INR priced motorcycles.
Kawasaki has been on the forefront of premium motorcycling in India, with its incredible portfolio that the Team Green continues to grow further. However, with almost all there models existing in the premium price bracket, including the hugely famous and capable but overpriced than the competition models in the quarter liter segment, the Ninja 300 and the Z250, which both come into India through the CKD route.
Now Kawasaki should be well aware of how its partner in India, Bajaj Auto has done an incredible job through its partnership with KTM in India and has changed the quarter liter - sub 600cc segment in the country. It is to be noted that Kawasaki designed and brought the Z250SL and its faired sibling, the Ninja 250SL to most of the South Asian markets for just this kind of fight with the single cylinder quarter liter machines from its other Japanese rivals and as well as from the European competitors like KTM.
However, we have always fallen short of understanding what is Kawasaki's marketing strategy in India? No doubt, Kawasaki is by far the most sought after and respect premium motorcycle manufacturer in the country, with the Ninja 650r being the most suited motorcycle for India, whichever way you see it. Also, the brand image, build quality and Baja's exceptionally vast Service network that can come handy in case anything goes wrong, Kawasaki sits at an incredibly envious position for its competition; but Kawasaki always seem to be happy with small numbers that it is constantly doing in India, with no actual mass volume product in its portfolio in India.
However, India still awaits a comparatively more mass volume, Kawasaki motorcycle that has all the ingredients of the true green (blue is so overrated for Kawasaki fans ;) ) Kawasaki product, fast, nimble and very very sexy! And the Kawasaki Z250SL is just a bike, it looks stunning, mean and raw, has a liquid cooled 249cc single cylinder that produces 28PS of power and 22.6Nm of torque, combine that with a kerb weight of 148kg, the smallest Kawasaki, when it arrives in India, promises to be a brilliant performer, much like its bigger siblings.
As per reports, Kawasaki is serious to price the Z250SL aggressively against its main rivals and for the same it is being said that Kawasaki will be sourcing a number of components locally such as, handlebars, clutch plates, front and rear suspensions, wheels, tyres, head- and tail-lamps, electrical switches, switch housings, radiator fans and other similar parts, which should make it possible for Kawasaki to price the bike closer to its competition.
In a market dominated by KTM, Kawasaki might seem to be a late entrant, however, look closely, and you will see that the time Kawasaki has spent in creating the image it enjoys in India will make this beauty of a single cylinder Kawasaki a great catch when it arrives.
If Kawasaki manages to price the Z250SL around the 1.50-1.65 lakh Ex-showroom, it will make the Z250SL to fall exactly into the middle of the sweet spot between the KTM Duke 200 and the Duke 390, and also would undercut the KTM RC200 by about 5000-10000 INR. We reckon, if that happens, Oh Boy! it will be some serious fireworks in the segment. Beauty of it all will be the fact that Bajaj Auto will benefit the most from all this. We hope the Team Green is also considering the Ninja 250SL for India!
Kawasaki are you listening? It's time you draw the sword out and challenge the king of the segment.....We are waiting!!!