Dec 28, 1999|
Bajaj to kickstart Auto Expo with 13 launches
Two-wheeler major, Bajaj Auto, will unveil 13 new launches in the Auto Expo next month. All the launches will have four-stroke engines.
Bajaj Auto is India's largest manufacturer of two/three-wheelers with a presence in all three segments of the two-wheeler market - scooters (64% market share in August 1999), motorcycles (26% market share) and mopeds (6% market share).
According to a news report, all the 13 vehicles on display in the Auto Expo will be launched within the next 12-18 months. The fresh launches will be in the scooters, motorcycles and three wheeler segments. Approximately 30% of these launches will be upgrades, while the balance will be new launches.
According to Bajaj Auto president, Madhur Bajaj, these launches will stem the shift from scooters to motorcycles, while strengthening its presence in motorcycles and three-wheelers. The company has also chalked out ambitious plans to infuse Rs 10 bn in launches over the next 4-5 years. The much-hyped 175 cc 'Eliminator' will also be launched by the third quarter of 2000.
13 new launches in the space of 12-18 months is commendable by any set of standards. The company is doing the right thing by increasing exposure to motorcycles. However, it continues to be obsessed with scooters. Earlier the company had acknowledged the shift from scooters to motorcycles and had decided to cut down focus on scooters and beef up its motorcycle operations. Bajaj Auto is already a force to reckon with in scooters, it is motorcycles where the company is trailing Hero Honda. Therefore, it is surprising why the company is still hung up with strengthening its scooter base, where it stands to lose nothing.
The company has not outlined any launches in the scooterette/step-through segment. Given the competition in the two-wheelers, it cannot afford to ignore this segment.
By launching so many vehicles in a matter of just 12-18 months, there is a danger of a new vehicle in a particular segment being overlooked with the hype being generated by another vehicle in the same segment. This could confuse buyers, who may end up buying neither.
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