Bajaj Auto is aiming to launch models in the 125cc commuter segment as well in the 150cc-and-above segment
Bajaj Auto, India's fourth largest two-wheeler maker, is readying a series of launches over the next one year as a part of an ongoing effort to increase its motorcycle market share, which hit a four-year high in September.
After witnessing a sustained surge in demand for its bread-and-butter CT 100 and Platina models, Bajaj Auto is now looking to launch models in the 125cc commuter segment, and as well as in the 150cc-and-above segment.
"Within the M1 (100cc) segment we see Platina becoming a bigger pie. As we go forward you will also see us focusing a lot on the sports segment. As a family we should be doing around 90,000 from 75,000-80,000 a month in the sports segment," said Kevin D’sa, President (Finance), Bajaj Auto.
The company is represented in the sports segment by its Avenger and Pulsar models. "As we talk about one or one and half years there will be more products coming in primarily in the M3 segment," D’sa said.
The M3 segment, comprising 125cc models, is dominated by the Honda Shine followed by the Hero Super Splendor. Bajaj had tried to push volumes in this segment with the Discover 125 and V12 but could not sustain the initial momentum.
From a record low of 11.2 percent in June last year, the Pune-based company increased its share in the domestic motorcycle market to slightly over 20 percent as at the end of September.
This was partly because the company cut prices on the CT 100, making it the cheapest geared motorcycle in the country. Bajaj Auto saw its volumes jump 27 percent on year during the first half of FY19 to 1.28 million units.
This growth was double the industry's growth rate of 13.17 percent during the same six months, according to data supplied by the Society of Indian Automobile Manufacturers (SIAM).
While the CT 100 is loss-making, even after the company increased its price by Rs 1,800 in the last quarter, the Platina is a profit-making model for the company. The model will get an upgrade to help it push for better volumes.
"What we have found is that the growth is Platina volumes are now overtaking growth in volumes of CT 100 and both are making decisive inroads into TVS (Motor Company) and Hero (Motocorp). We will now be intervening at the top of the sub segment," said Rakesh Sharma, Chief Commercial Officer, Bajaj Auto.
Besides the Platina, the other profitable and high volume product for Bajaj Auto is the Pulsar, which will also get an upgrade in the coming weeks.
"We plan to come up with more changes in the Platina. Besides, overall volumes in the Pulsar segment is coming from highly profitable twin disc model and the Classic model has added 6000 more numbers every month. We will come up with new design and features on the Pulsar Classic which should push total Pulsar volumes to 90,000 in Q4 from around 80,000 now," D’sa said.
The company is also trying to fix its Avenger portfolio, under which it sells three variants -- Cruise 220, Street 220 and Street 180. This range has seen a weakening of volumes over the past few months."Avenger sales have slowed down. Some bit of product intervention is needed. When we replaced the 150cc with a 180cc people felt a little intimidated to cross the fault line. And going forward we would address that and would be working on that from a product intervention pint of view," Sharma said.