Triumph are rumoured to be developing a 500cc single cylinder machine, mainly for the Indian market but also available worldwide. In fact it is suggested that there is already a prototype under testing. Development and design is being handled exclusively by Triumph and it is expected to be a retro 'Modern Classic' design.
India currently only accounts for 2% of Triumph sales, and Triumph are very keen to take a larger slice of the Indian market which is dominated by Royal Enfield. The new machine is expected to hit the market in 2020 and should be priced a lot more competitively than their current entry-level machine, the Street Twin. It is estimated it will be 30% cheaper, which will still be above the Royal Enfield Classic 500, but Triumph are hoping that the premium product will be more desirable.
Triumph are banking on the Indian market becoming their largest in the next 5 years, and with the growth in the mid-size engine sales there they could well be right. Triumph will be sourcing many of the parts from Indian suppliers and will build the machine at their Indian factory. It is expected that Bajaj will handle distribution in India while Triumph will handle distribution to the rest of the world.
Paul Stroud of Triumph stated "It [the Triumph-Bajaj partnership] allows you to hit the market quicker. You are sharing investment, you are sharing knowledge, you are both bringing major strengths to the partnership. It is by leveraging strength of both the partners that you become a powerful force. If you come out with those things together, it is a very compelling proposition. We are certainly very excited about it and so is Bajaj. The partnership with Bajaj will enable us to become a bigger brand within the country more quickly. You could be talking about a scenario where Triumph goes from selling 1,200 motorcycles today to volumes that are north of 1,00,000 units, which is a significant scale. That is the power of the opportunity."
The Bajaj-Triumph partnership is a non-equity partnership meaning that Bajaj will not own any part of Triumph. The aim is to use the strengths of both companies to grow their respective shares of the market.
A 500cc retro machine would make an excellent entry-level machine for new riders in the UK, not just on price.