KTM has confirmed the 390 Duke will be brought to the American market for the 2014 model year, making it the first of the Austrian manufacturer’s small-displacement single-cylinder naked models to arrive in the U.S. This timeframe would put the 373cc  Duke a year behind the 2013 launch date from a leaked Powerpoint presentation slide that said it would be available in the U.S. for the 2013 model year as a 350 model.

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Stefan Pierer, chief executive officer of KTM, confirmed the news in an interview with Indian daily Business Standard. The 390 Duke will be produced at a plant in Chakan, India, owned by Bajaj Autos, a 47% stakeholder of KTM. Pierer predicts KTM will sell 10,000 units of the 390 Duke in Europe and the U.S.

“It is a strategic decision with Bajaj to go for sporty, stylish motorcycles, even for the saturated markets, because cars have become too expensive,” Pierer tells the Business Standard. “We are entering the US street-bike segment for the first time and, beginning next year, the Duke 390, built in India, would be sold in the US market.”

The KTM 390 Duke will first launch this year in Europe where its predecessors, the 125 Duke and 200 Duke, have done extremely well. KTM will then introduce the 390 Duke to India where the 200 Duke is also now available. KTM credits the smaller Duke models for helping set a sales record of 107,142 units in 2012 including 8,000 units of the 200 Duke in India alone. That pushed KTM past BMW to become Europe’s largest motorcycle maker last year.

“These small-displacement street bikes are ideal for urban commuting, especially in saturated markets like the US and Europe,” says Pierer. “What we are talking about are powerful (40-44 bhp) but affordable bikes; at 138 kg, these are powerful and agile. With a target price of €5,000, including VAT, we think it could be a big success.”

[Source: Business Standard; photo by Schedl R.]

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