Strike while the iron is hot, as the saying goes. Well, around two years since the start of its manufacturing operations, the Ayala-owned KTM assembly plant in Laguna Technopark has produced almost 10,000 units of the 200 and 390 Duke and the RC 200 and 390. KTM PH is proud to say that all these units bear the tag ‘Made in the Philippines.’
In partnership with the Ayala Group’s Integrated Micro-Electronics, Inc. (IMI), KTM rolled out its first Philippine-made 200 Duke from the Laguna plant in March 2017. We also recall that in our interview with him during KTM PH’s first anniversary in September 2017, company president Dino Santos said they had set an annual production target of 4,000 units of the aforementioned four lightweight models.
Which means the company has actually exceeded its production target in the past two years. Half of the units produced in the Philippines are exported to China and other Asian countries, while the rest are sold in the local market. And it turns out KTM PH is just warming up.
“By the end of this year, we will start producing the 790 Duke in our Laguna plant,” Santos told Moto Sapiens when we chanced upon him at the South Luzon Expressway (SLEX) during a breakfast ride on February 25, 2019. “It’s definite. It’s official.”
The local production of the 790 Duke, aka the ‘Scalpel,’ can be considered a historic feat, because this marks the first time a motorcycle with a large-displacement engine will be manufactured in the Philippines. It will be the first big bike to be built here, in other words; in the past, such models were imported as completely built-up (CBU) units.
Santos also pointed out that there’s no existing plan to expand the plant facilities, stressing that “we have enough equipment and manpower [to build] this particular model. He also denied speculations that the Laguna plant will stop manufacturing one of the lightweight bikes to make way for the production of the 790 Duke, saying that the four models currently being built locally are exhibiting strong sales performance.
The first unit of the Austria-made 790 Duke, which is powered by a 799cc LC8c parallel-twin engine, arrived in the Philippines in January 2018. As of this writing, the model is priced at P820,000. It boasts advanced electronic rider aids such as cornering ABS, lean-angle-sensitive traction control, and a two-way quickshifter.
You’re probably wondering now if the 790 Duke will have a lower price tag once KTM PH starts rolling out units. Sorry, but Dino Santos had left the area before we could unleash that follow-up question. Oh, well! Let’s just keep our fingers crossed for now.