Companies

Bajaj revs up retail strategy for two new commuter bikes

Murali Gopalan Mumbai | Updated on January 31, 2011

BL29_SRIDHAR_BAJAJ

Opens 130 dealerships in small towns, taps popularity of Discover



Bajaj Auto is preparing the retail base for the two new commuter motorcycles it will launch in the next six months. One of these will be a variant of Discover, whose 100cc and 150cc siblings are already clocking monthly sales of around 1.5 lakh units.

“The Discover has brought us back strongly in the commuter segment and we are keen that the next round of bike launches takes the story forward. The retail strategy is, therefore, very important to make this a reality,” Mr S. Sridhar, President, Motorcycle Business, told Business Line.

Preference for owner dealers

The company recently selected 130 new dealers from among 2,500 applications small towns, the real growth drivers of commuter bikes. More than 95 per cent of these dealerships will be owner-driven.

“This was deliberately done because we wanted to ensure maximum customer care and satisfaction in the selling process. An owner, quite unlike a top-level employee manager, can comfortably pull out all stops for the potential buyer,” Mr Sridhar said.

Bajaj's shift towards owner dealers, who are usually fewer in metros and mini-metros, is meant to ensure its growth in the commuter segment, where Hero Honda reigns supreme.

This also explains why it is keen on positioning its two successful brands — the Pulsar and Discover — across its 600 dealerships by the end of next fiscal. The ‘Bajaj' identity will take the backseat in this branding strategy.

Brand projection

The Pulsar will continue to be projected as the premium sporty bike that is predominantly city-centric. The Discover, in contrast, is the mass product positioned to take on Hero Honda's Splendor and Passion, which jointly dominate the market with monthly sales of over 2.8 lakh bikes. The Discover duo is halfway there and it will be interesting to see the evolving market dynamics in the coming months.

Bajaj hopes to end this fiscal at four million bikes and three-wheelers, and has upped the target to five million during 2011-12. Bikes could account for over 4.2 million units annually, with the commuter models catalysing the growth.

Published on January 29, 2011

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