Why Rajiv Bajaj believes ‘less is actually more'

Murali Gopalan | Updated on January 31, 2011

Rajiv Bajaj, Managing Director, Bajaj Auto Ltd. - Photo: S Subramanium   -  BusinessLine

“Less is actually more,” says Mr Rajiv Bajaj, on his company's successful twin-brand strategy, which is expected to see it wrap up this fiscal with its highest ever profits, revenue and volume sales.

Bajaj Auto's vehicle numbers (including the ‘RE' branded three-wheelers) in the first three quarters are tipped to exceed the entire output of around 2.85 million units in 2009-10. The first quarter of this fiscal reported 9.2 lakh motorcycles and three-wheelers, going up to over a million units in Q2 and tipped to settle at around 9.5 lakh vehicles in Q3.

The company has targeted four million units for this fiscal, and its Managing Director is confident that the momentum is in place to achieve this objective.

Quite unlike earlier years when it had a slew of motorcycles in its kitty, Bajaj Auto has now settled for just two brands to act as the growth drivers.

Mr Bajaj makes a pointed reference to niche bike maker, Harley Davidson, whose market capitalisation is still higher than a Ford or General Motors which churn out a lot more vehicles. Harley, incidentally, continued to do well even as the US was falling apart, post-Lehman, in 2008.

‘No inflated figures'

Likewise, Bajaj Auto has made it clear that profitability is its most important objective where the brand focus has played a key role in generating revenue, planning a better product mix and assuring more pricing power. “When we fixed the target of four million vehicles for this fiscal, this number was conveyed to everyone concerned right from the management to suppliers and dealers. There were no inflated figures given to one lot and, by the end of the day, everyone was speaking the same voice,” Mr Bajaj said.

As in the case of homeopathy where “at one time, there is only a single remedy,” the company, likewise, focused on a single number. “We may end up exceeding or falling marginally short but the underlying message is that all of us jointly are giving our best shot to make this four million mark a reality,” he added.

Going forward, the company plans to hone this brand strategy even further at its dealerships, where the Pulsar and Discover will be the centre of gravity quite unlike the corporate brand. “Customers know what these bikes represent and we want to ensure that the brand message gets through strongly,” Mr Bajaj said.


The fact that exports account for over 25 per cent of its numbers only implies that Bajaj Auto's brand strategy is paying off in other geographies too.

While the sporty Pulsar holds pride of place in its product portfolio as the premium brand, the Discover has quickly emerged as a strong option in the commuter segment. Its positioning is critical because it is perceived as the ‘affordable' or ‘aspirational' Pulsar and this has helped spawn a new sporty-commuter product category.

Published on January 23, 2011

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