Bajaj Auto will continue to push new products: Rakesh Sharma

Nandana James Mumbai | Updated on October 25, 2019

Rakesh Sharma, Executive Director, Bajaj Auto,

Bajaj Auto will continue with its new product introduction strategy, even as the automobile industry is grappling with one of the worst slowdowns in recent times.

“Since the last 12 months, we are pushing new products with very regular frequency. We are trying to innovate. So, that will continue,” Rakesh Sharma, Executive Director, Bajaj Auto, told BusinessLine.

On the strategy to counter slowdown, Sharma said: “The fundamental strategy is to understand every segment, understand if there are gaps in each segment and then fill those gaps through product introduction. Second is to run tight operations. Third is to continue to focus globally and be quick in response.

It will continue to launch products at regular intervals, across its ranges like the Husqvarna, KTM, Pulsar, and Dominar, he said. “We have a very robust (product) pipeline and these will start unfolding (from) November/ December onwards,” he added.

Export business

Bajaj Auto’s strong export business, which contributes to more than 40 per cent of its net sales, has been an important factor in helping the company during the current downturn, he said. “This diversification across the globe has helped us navigate through turbulent times”. It plans to increase its market share in every country that it is in internationally, as has been its strategy for the past ten years, he said.

“ The focus on (the) entry-level and innovating at the entry-level through our 110cc has benefited the company,” he said.

Currently, focus on inventory management and production cuts also form an important area, he said.

“This is an important aspect (of) this month. (This is) because this month, with the retails moving up, we will be bringing the inventories in line. So obviously, our sales to the dealers will be less than the sales to the customer and this is the usual pattern. You build the stock before the festival season and then ... you normalise the stock after the festival season, and we are on that path,” he explained.

BS-VI norms

Keeping in mind the transition to BS-VI emission norms, Bajaj Auto has also started reducing its BS-IV stocks, said Sharma.

On whether the impending launch of its electric scooter Chetak — which also marks its re-entry into the scooter segment that it had exited in 2009 — will propel sales, he said Chetak will be launched in a very limited way in Pune in January, followed by Benagaluru.

“At this stage, it will be a very small portion of our sales. Very, very small. At a corporate level, it will not impact the numbers,” he said.

From mid-September, Sharma said some kind of bottoming out is perceptible in the industry.

Published on October 25, 2019

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