Bajaj Auto, India’s fourth largest two-wheeler maker, has discontinued at least five bikes, including four models from the Pulsar brand, as rivals mount pressure on the Pune-based company.
The company's market share has also seen a sharp decline in recent times.
The Pulsar 135LS became the latest to be pulled out of Bajaj showrooms, following months of dwindling demand for the mini Pulsar. The Pulsar AS150, AS200 and NS150 were pulled out a few months ago.
“We stopped selling the Adventure Sport (AS) model of the Pulsar some months ago. We are now selling the Naked Sport (NS) models,” said a Mumbai-based Bajaj Auto dealer. The NS150 was replaced by a slightly bigger NS160 less than a year ago.
With the recent phasing out of the Avenger 150, the company has now discontinued at least five models from its line-up in the past one year.
This restructuring of Bajaj Auto’s product portfolio follows a similar attempt by the company for the Discover brand, when it discontinued and then relaunched several models under the troubled brand.
Under the Discover series, Bajaj launched 100M, 100T, 110, 125 DTSi, 125T, 125ST, 125M, 135 DTSi, 150, 150 DTSi, 150F and 150S. It phased out each of these models, before bringing back the 125 and 110 models that are currently on sale.
The Discover was positioned as a better alternative to Hero Motocorp’s twin mileage masters Splendor and Passion. However, the Splendor remains the country’s second largest two-wheeler brand after Honda’s Activa.
Several new models have made their way to the 150cc and above segment where Bajaj Auto has been the market leader with the Pulsar brand. Models from Honda, Yamaha, Hero Motocorp, Suzuki and TVS Motor Company have been launched in this segment, putting pressure on Bajaj’s market share.
Thus from a targeted 24 percent share in the motorcycle segment by end of the last financial year, Bajaj’s share in the bike segment stood at just under 16 percent in FY18, as at the end of February.
The 400cc Dominar launched by Bajaj, though not an underperformer according to the company's executives, has not seen a scale up in volumes as was expected. The Dominar was launched to take on the Royal Enfield 350cc range.
Bajaj only has a presence in the motorcycle segment, as it exited the scooters market more than a decade ago. All other bike manufacturers also have scooters in their line-up. The Society of Indian Automobile Manufacturers (SIAM) is yet to announce sales figures for March, 2018.
Japanese heavyweight Honda, which posted a growth of 24 percent in volumes till February, trailed Bajaj by only 14,000 units in motorcycles and closed the month at third spot. Bajaj’s volumes showed a fall of 2 percent during the same period, as per SIAM data.