Bajaj Auto, the country’s third largest two-wheeler maker, has lined up a series of launches after the onset of Bharat Stage VI (BS-VI) next year, including introduction of an all-new brand.
KTM-owned Husqvarna models will debut only after April 1, 2020, strapped with BS-VI engines. It was originally planned for launch around Diwali. Similarly, high-end KTM models, a new Dominar and Pulsar models are on the anvil, a senior company executive confirmed.
With the exception of a couple of launches until FY20-end, there will be no other launches by Bajaj Auto.
“We have a robust pipeline of launches for the next 18 months. Our problem is sequencing. These are Husqvarna, high-end KTMs, Dominars, Pulsar and other variants. One might see a lull between now and April, though there are couple of introductions, and an accelerated product introduction after April, 2020,” Rakesh Sharma, Executive Director, Bajaj Auto, told analysts in a recent conference call.
Bajaj Auto will start switching to BS-VI emission norms from the current BS-IV from November, with the commencement of production of a BS-VI models. The management does not want to make BS-VI models compete with heavily discounted BS-IV models at present.
“The launches will accelerate post BS-VI because we don’t want to handicap an absolutely new product with BS-VI cost while competing with BS-IV players,” Sharma added.
Husqvarna is a Swedish dirt bike brand to be powered by a common engine and will be based on a common vehicle platform developed by Bajaj Auto and KTM engineers. The platform and engines are also used by bikes of Bajaj Auto and KTM. The first Husqvarnas to debut in India are expected to be the Vitpilen 401 and Svartpilen 401.
“We will start production of Husqvarnas by 2019-end, starting with exports. By first quarter of next year, we will be launching certain models in India,” Sharma stated.Market share
New launches are expected to boost Bajaj Auto’s market share next year in the domestic market. The company claimed to have a retail market share of 20 percent by September-end. This came on the back of 25 percent decline in motorcycles during the September quarter.“In recent times, our market share has stabilised. One of the reasons for that is when the industry is declining in high double-digits, there is hardly any room to manoeuvre. We will see a consistent improvement in market share month-on-month,” Sharma added.