OPINION: Why Does the Kawasaki W175 Exist in India?

Does the Kawasaki W175 fit the brand image that the Jap has built over the last decades? Does it look like a Kawasaki at the first place..?

In some sense the arrival of the Ninja 250 in India was a turning point for motorcycling enthusiasts. Not only was it instrumental in giving India one of the most popular Youtube portal (now known as PowerDrift), it was a breakthrough product and quickly became an inspiration for a lot of us. How is it instrumental in giving us Power to the Rider/Power drift is a story for some other day 🙂

Frankly, the Ninja 250 was a beautiful motorcycle and what followed it – the bigger Ninjas and many other products were even better. Amidst all this Kawasaki split with Bajaj and set up its own small unit here in India. All of this is fine as it gave Kawasaki the liberty that it wasn’t finding with Bajaj.

The Jap introduced many swashbuckling motorcycles but its bread and butter model remained the Ninja 300 – the successor of the Ninja 250! In fact, Kawasaki took all the pains to update and keep the older Ninja 300 running in India – when it was discontinued from all other markets.

Kawasaki clearly wasn’t content with the numbers and the efforts it was putting in. Someone in the company then thought of going mass market and the end result was the W175 – which is a high seller in Indonesia.

Kawasaki w175
Doesn’t the W175 remind us of the Bajaj Boxer…?

W175 is an extremely utilitarian product – and frankly, it just does not gel with the image that Kawasaki has/had in India. Obviously, at that price it is doing some numbers here. According to the official SIAM sales data, the smallest Kwacker has sold a total of 738 units in this fiscal so far. Impressive numbers for a maker that generally relies on 2-digit sales of most of its motorcycles?

No, Ninja 300 – which is more than 2 times the price of the W175 is still the largest seller with total sales of 1214 units this fiscal.

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The price of the W175 was further lowered recently in an attempt to push sales. Being the entry into the revered Kawasaki brand there is a big possibility that it may find some takers – and it may even overtake Ninja 300 at some point (as the fully faired model is clearly growing old), however, it simply appears to be a misfit in the Indian scenario.

The W175 is a terribly under-powered motorcycles and is devoid of features. It is also not one of the best in the segment when we talk competition and price – in terms of anything. There are better retro motorcycles (if we can call W175 one) around its price tag. It simply does not exude the aura and the brand image Kawasaki has, in the minds of buyers in India.

Yes, Kawasaki is trying to go mass market and increase its presence here, but there are better ways to this in my opinion. Being a massive market with truckloads of opportunities, it can, in fact, create a model specifically for India – which can also be sold in some similar kind of markets.