Bajaj Auto plans six lakh unit ramp-up by October

Murali Gopalan Mumbai | Updated on July 11, 2011

Mr Rajiv Bajaj, MD, Bajaj Auto.

Discover, Boxer play key role in company's growth

Bajaj Auto is targeting monthly numbers of 4.20 lakh bikes and three-wheelers by October, which translates into five million units annually.

At present, the company averages 3.7 lakh units a month, of which, the Discover accounts for 1.35 lakh bikes and the Pulsar around 85,000.

The Boxer, exported from the China facility to parts of Africa, contributes 40,000 units to the sales kitty, while the CT 100 and Platina average 65,000 units between them.

The three-wheeler business chips in with 45,000 units each month.

Company optimistic

Mr Rajiv Bajaj, Managing Director, told Business Line that a large chunk of the additional volumes would be generated from the 150cc Boxer which debuts next month.

The company is equally optimistic that Pulsar and Discover numbers will continue to grow.

Mr Bajaj said the goal of five million units annually marked a remarkable turnaround for a company which had done only 2.2 million units in 2008-09.

“We wrapped up FY ‘10 with 2.8 million units, going up strongly to 3.8 million units in 2010-11. All this while, we have ensured an EBITDA margin of over 20 per cent which is testimony to a successful brand strategy,” he added.

From Bajaj Auto's point of view, the Discover has played a big role in this growth story. The 100cc version was launched precisely two years ago in the commuter segment, where little headway had been made till then to challenge the Hero Honda mantle. The numbers soon started coming in and April 2010 saw the company launch the Discover 150.

“Our strategy was to create the best opposite to the 100 which was the 150. This huge contrast in the commuter segment worked wonders with a section of buyers moving beyond mileage to power in the Discover 150,” Mr Bajaj said.

Top seller

It was only a matter of time before the Discover 125 made its debut in April this year and it has since emerged the top seller in this product space.

Today, of total Discover sales, the 100cc accounts for 50 per cent with the 125 and 150 taking up the balance. As more commuters move away from the 100cc, it will help Bajaj Auto secure a strong position in the commuter category vis-à-vis Hero Honda.

Mr Bajaj said the Pulsar, likewise, was on a good wicket in the sports segment where its monthly numbers are over 80,000 units. An upgrade is due by September which is expected to keep the sales momentum going.

Boxer 150

The company is also betting big on the Boxer 150 which has already had a soft launch in Maharashtra and Uttar Pradesh.

Touted as the ‘Bharat' bike, Bajaj has focused on performance as the most critical lever. Hence, it is robust on all parameters right from the engine, suspension and tyres to the seat, chassis and headlamp.

“It is like a tank on two wheels which will create a new category in this product segment,” Mr Bajaj said.

The company believes that the Boxer's potential buyers prefer power to mere discounts by virtue of the difficult conditions they operate in.

To that extent, a 150cc bike at Rs 40,000 would be a ‘hugely attractive' option in this particular category.

Published on July 07, 2011

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