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Bajaj Auto Launches India-Made Triumph Bikes, Shares Jump to Record High

BENGALURU, July 5 (Reuters) - India's Bajaj Auto launched two locally-made Triumph motorcycles on Wednesday, two days after Hero MotoCorp unveiled a locally-made Harley model and adding to the competition in the premium space dominated by Eicher Motors' Royal Enfield.

The launch of the two models, made in partnership with UK's Triumph Motorcycles, sent Bajaj Auto shares to a record high of 4,900 rupees.

The Triumph Speed 400 will be priced at 233,000 rupees ($2,834), Bajaj Auto said, but did not disclose a price for the Scrambler 400X.

Late on Monday, Hero, India's top two-wheeler maker, launched a locally-made Harley-Davidson model, powered by a 440 CC engine, with prices starting at 229,000 rupees.

Eicher's closest competitors are the Classic 350 and Meteor 350, which are priced between 190,000-200,000 rupees.

Two-wheeler makers have shifted their focus to more premium offerings that cater to an aspiring urban population as demand in rural India, which accounts for a majority of two-wheeler sales, has been muted due to stubbornly high inflation.

Bajaj will oversee the production and distribution of these bikes as part of the partnership, the two companies had said in April. Triumph currently has 15 dealerships in the country.

With the entry of Bajaj and Hero in the premium bike space, analysts see stiff competition, loss of market share and growth concerns for Eicher.

Hero MotoCorp's shares closed up 4.2%, nearly matching their 4.5% jump on Tuesday, while Bajaj Auto's shares have gained roughly 6% in the past two days. Eicher Motors' shares, on the other hand, have sunk nearly 9%.

($1 = 82.2150 Indian rupees)

Reporting by Nandan Mandayam in Bengaluru; Editing by Savio D'Souza

Source: Reuters

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