Companies

‘Bajaj Auto will be firing on all four cylinders this quarter’

Murali Gopalan Mumbai | Updated on January 16, 2018 Published on October 17, 2016

Rajiv Bajaj, Managing Director, Bajaj Auto (file pic)

Rajiv Bajaj, MD, throws light on key bike launches in Oct-Dec

Bajaj Auto plans a slew of launches during October-December as part of its goal to achieve 24 per cent market share in motorcycles by the end of this fiscal.

With new bikes planned across four product categories in less than 12 weeks, Rajiv Bajaj, Managing Director, told BusinessLine that the company would “be firing on all four cylinders” to grow its current 20 per cent market share.

As he put it, the “first cylinder” will be an entry segment bike that will be part of the product category represented by the Platina and CT 100. Since January 2015, when Bajaj Auto rebooted its bike strategy, its market share in the entry level has increased from 23 per cent to 35 per cent.

Its MD is now confident that this new offering will take the growth story to the next level and even catch up with market leader, Hero MotoCorp, whose HF Deluxe and Dawn series is ahead of the rest.

The second cylinder planned from the company this quarter is in the value segment where the recently launched ‘V’ platform has been a welcome growth lever. It is a space that has been elusive since the time the Discover was launched over a decade ago to fill up the void.

“We are absolutely ecstatic with the response to the V15 and I believe that it is truly the iconic commuter bike in India,” says Bajaj. According to him, its impact in the market is on the lines of the Pulsar in the sports category way back during the time of its launch in 2001.

The V15 uses metal from the historic INS Vikrant on its fuel tank and is doing over 20,000 units each month. Its numbers are expected to increase with the launch of its new sibling, which will take this association with the iconic aircraft carrier to the next level.

The new ‘V’ could be less expensive than the V15, which comes at an ex-showroom price tag of Rs 62,000. This way it can reach out to a new group of buyers who can now afford to own this brand. “The V is our flagship for the future,” says Bajaj.

The third cylinder is in the sports segment where the Pulsar and Avenger are leading the way. This quarter will see an all-new collection of Pulsars for 2017 in a product segment where the company dominates with a 46 per cent market share. Bajaj is confident that if everything goes according to plan, the company’s share in sports bikes can go up to 50 per cent eventually.

The fourth cylinder is the most interesting from the viewpoint of strategy as it will be for the first time that Bajaj Auto will enter a new category of super or premium sport bikes. The objective is to launch a worthy rival to Royal Enfield whose portfolio comfortably notches up 50,000 units each month. In contrast, KTM (the Austrian brand owned by Bajaj) does 3,000 units per month, which is hardly any competition to Enfield’s tally.

“It is my conviction that the new bike planned has the capability of posting five-digit volumes each month,” says Bajaj. It will be a 400CC offering and the timing is just right considering that a younger set of motorcycle enthusiasts in India are increasingly opting for higher-end options. Bajaj Auto plans to create an all-new segment in terms of branding, technology and quality, which will steer clear of the successful Pulsar association.

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Published on October 17, 2016
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