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Fate of Bajaj Auto’s INS Vikrant-inspired bike hangs in balance

The poor performance by both models has given rise to speculations that the V brand will go the Discover way

September 11, 2019 / 01:11 PM IST
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Just three years after its launch, the fate of Bajaj Auto's V series of motorcycles, which was built using metal from the famed India naval aircraft carrier Vikrant, hangs in balance.

While sales of V12 (a 125cc version) stopped in May last year, the original model -- V15 (150cc engine) -- has seen no sales from April till July.

From clocking average monthly sales of 16,500 units in the first year of launch (2016), the V15 saw a gradual decline to 7,300 units per month in 2017. It further slumped to 2,400 units in 2018.

The V12, meanwhile, clocked average monthly sales of 4,600 units in 2017 before slumping to just 270 units in 2018.

The poor performance by both models has given rise to speculations that the V brand will go the Discover way.


The Pune-based manufacturer of motorcycles and three-wheelers had at one time more than 12 models under the Discover brand itself before the company was forced to phase out all but two models following poor retail offtake.

Bajaj, however, has decided against phasing out V15 for the time being though no production of the bike has happened this year.

Speaking to Moneycontrol, Rakesh Sharma, Executive Director Bajaj Auto, said, “The V’s performance is disappointing. It caught the fancy (of the buyers). It is appealing to a very small segment of buyers. We did have the option of expanding the V range, but later we decided against that option. But we are not withdrawing it from the market, we are leaving it out there.”

Bajaj Auto is pushing for volumes at the budget end of the market where it has models like the Platina, CT100 and the Pulsar 125. The Pulsar underwent its biggest shift in product strategy after a 125cc variant was launched recently. This is the first time that such a small engine has been strapped on the Pulsar, which has always been known for bigger engines such as 200c and 220cc.

“Because there are bigger fish to fry we are not backing it (V) up with a large marketing expenditure that new brands need. One would be very unkind to say that V is not doing well at all. It is disappointing and it is doing very small volumes. At this point in time, we would like to leave it there and those people who like that format and style will continue to service them," Sharma added.

Launched in early 2016 the V was heavily promoted because of the metal Bajaj Auto was using to build the bike. India’s first aircraft carrier and the most celebrated warship Vikrant, which played a pivotal role in the 1971 Indo-Pakistan war, made its way to the Bajaj V15.

The retro-looking stylish V15 even sported a special logo to commemorate the aircraft carrier that was formerly HMS Hercules before being inducted into the Indian Navy in 1961. Bajaj Auto had purchased the Vikrant metal and processed it to produce the fuel tank of the V model.
Swaraj Baggonkar
first published: Sep 11, 2019 01:11 pm

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