Bajaj Kristal

“If I cannot get the Discover right after 10 years, how can I get something right when starting from scratch?” – Rajiv Bajaj, MD, Bajaj Auto.

Not the best choice of words to come from one of the biggest two-wheeler manufacturers in India. Bajaj Auto has been struggling with depreciating sales, market share and product volumes in recent months, even as the overall market witnessed growth in the same period. While other two-wheeler makers like Honda, Hero, TVS and Suzuki have managed to make an easy transition into the scooter market; Bajaj has struggled to sell its new age scooters in the country.

Despite being the maker of the legendary Chetak, Bajaj is lacking confidence in the scooter segment. The company’s last known scooter was the Kristal DTS-i targeted towards women, but failed miserably in the market. The company did get a head start at the scooter segment before the market exploded; but instead of addressing the issues and improving its vehicles, the two-wheeler manufacturer chose to silently discontinue the products, leaving even the handful of owners in misery.

When asked about Bajaj Auto’s foray into the scooter market, the automaker clarified that its immediate focus is on re-stabilising motorcycle sector volumes that largely come from the Discover and Pulsar series of bikes. While the Pulsar series manages consistent numbers in most of the segments, it is the Discover that has not been able to establish itself, in spite of being a decade old brand. As part of the company strategy, Bajaj is looking towards differentiating from the competition with ‘mindshare’ over market share policy.

Even as other automakers are concentrating on the 110-125cc scooters, Bajaj has gone back to the Discover brand in order to resurrect plummeting sales. Currently, the Discover 100 and 125 average 70,000 units per month, but to be profit sustainable in the segment, the company needs to better its sales with twice as strong mindshare amongst customers. In order to counter this issue, the automaker will soon launch the Discover 150 S (naked) and 150 F (semi-faired) models that will help the automaker build sales once again.

Targeted at customers looking for premium commuters, Bajaj is eyeing a nascent market that wants performance and efficiency coupled in a sporty package with the Discover 150. Coming back to the scooter segment though, the manufacturer is not looking to bring a new product in the segment and will be concentrating on its new set of launches scheduled in the coming months which include new Pulsar and Discover models as well as the RE60 quadricycle.

2012 Bajaj Discover 125ST Side

Source – Business Line