Bajaj Auto’s international focus will be further bolstered with the opening of two vehicle design centers in Europe and Thailand followed by an assembly plant in Brazil.
The Pune-based, India’s third largest two-wheeler maker, will set up its first design centre outside of India in Bangkok followed by one in Europe, a top company official said on July 22.
Addressing shareholders at the 13th annual general meeting (AGM) Rajiv Bajaj, managing director, Bajaj Auto said, “There is no two-wheeler technology that is not in our possession. Our own R&D (research and development) team is 1,200 strong and is leading the way. We are about to open our first design center in Bangkok and very soon we will follow up with one in Europe”.
India has been the breeding ground for most of Bajaj’s R&D work since its inception. This is with the exception of some of the work happening in Austria, which is home to Bajaj Auto’s partners KTM and Triumph Motorcycles based in the United Kingdom in collaborative projects.
Other Indian companies that have set up or acquired design and technical centers outside of the country are Hero MotoCorp, Royal Enfield, Tata Motors and Mahindra & Mahindra.
Though Bajaj Auto is already the largest exporter of two-wheelers from India the company is now strengthening its footprint in the Latin American market. The maker of Pulsar and Avenger bikes will set an assembly plant in Brazil alongside supporting infrastructure such as distribution, sales and marketing teams.
“We are present in over 70 countries in a meaningful manner. We have made important inroads in the ASEAN markets over the last 12 months including Malaysia, Thailand, Cambodia and Indonesia. We are also close to starting operations in Brazil. Perhaps over the next 12 months we will be able to do that”, added Bajaj.
Brazil’s two-wheeler market is the largest in Latin America and the eight largest in the world. While Brazil’s two-wheeler market is nearly 1 million, it remains dominated by Japanese heavyweight Honda commanding a market share of 80 percent. In Brazil Bajaj would be keen to replicate its success in the African market where it is either number one or number two in more than a dozen countries.
Despite the Covid-19 led disruption Bajaj Auto’s exports outstripped domestic sales during the June quarter. The company exported nearly 214,000 two-wheelers compared to nearly 186,000 units sold in the domestic market during Q1. In every month since November last year Bajaj’s exports has been higher than its domestic sales.