To hit the roads in April at sub-Rs 1 lakh price tag

Bajaj Auto unveiled its all-new 200cc Pulsar with a four-valve, triple spark engine on Monday. The bike comes with liquid cooling and a six-speed gear box.

The Pulsar 200NS will hit the roads in April and be priced under Rs 1-lakh in a segment where its nearest rivals are Yamaha's R15 and Honda's CBR bikes with price tags of Rs 1-1.5 lakh.

Top brand

First launched in 2001, the Pulsar heralded the arrival of Bajaj Auto as a serious motorcycle manufacturer.

“It is the most profitable bike in the world and is proof of what a brand is in terms of pricing power,” Mr Rajiv Bajaj, Managing Director, said at a press conference here.

More importantly, the Pulsar is the centre of gravity of the company's strategy. This was a position earlier held by the Chetak for decades till the geared scooter market fell apart with the arrival of motorcycles. “If Pulsar gets it right, all of Bajaj Auto gets it right,” he added.

Lessons from Pulsar

The Discover, for instance, is the commuter form of the Pulsar and has done the trick in the numbers game. Likewise, the Pulsar lessons have come in handy for the recently unveiled RE60 four-wheeler and KTM bikes.

“Within the company, the accent is on making better Pulsars. I also expect this to be a big year for motorcycles at Bajaj Auto and you can expect more triple spark offerings,” Mr Bajaj said.

An all-new commuter bike (which will, in all probability, be part of the Discover family) is due to be launched by June and will also be fitted with this technology. There will also be a 350cc KTM motorcycle which means a bigger Pulsar will also follow suit.

Production

The Pulsar 200NS will be produced at the Chakan plant near Pune, which already rolls out the 135, 150 and 180cc options. The KTM bikes are also part of this ‘flexible line' which accounts for over 100,000 bikes each month.

Last week saw Bajaj Auto launch the KTM Duke 200, which will now pave the way for a new brand positioning strategy. The 30 plus Probiking showrooms, which used to house the Pulsar and Avenger bikes, will now give way to KTM Stores in mid-February.

The company's existing 600-and-odd dealerships are already being upgraded to retail the Pulsar, Discover and Boxer range. The idea is to keep KTM at the premium end while the Pulsar will be the value-for-money bike.

gmurali@thehindu.co.in

(This article was published on January 30, 2012)
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