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Bajaj to launch new motorcycle in four months


Come November, Bajaj Auto will launch its second new motorcycle for the year. Rajiv Bajaj, MD, will not speak much about it, except to say it will create a new category or segment in the motorcycle market.

Most probably, feel analysts, it would be in the 100-125cc segment. The new Discover 100cc with a DTSi engine, launched last month, is billed by the company as the world’s most fuel-efficient motorcycle, with a certified 89 km to a litre of petrol. Most 100cc motorcycles will deliver a mileage of around 70 km/litre.

“This is Bajaj Auto’s fourth attempt to break into the 100cc segment, which is largely dominated by Hero Honda’s Splendor and Passion. Each attempt has helped the company improve its market share,” says Vaishali Jajoo, senior analyst, Angel Broking.

Currently, Bajaj Auto’s market share in the 100cc segment stands at 9 per cent, while that of Hero Honda’s is pegged at around 80 per cent. “How can Bajaj Auto pull away customers from Hero Honda’s 100cc motor cycles? The answer lies in clear differentiation,” says Bajaj, which currently commands a market share of 21 per cent in the total motorcycle segment. “We hope to hope to regain our former market share of 36 per cent by all that we are doing. The sooner we gain, the better.”

The 100cc segment roughly contributes about 33 per cent of all motorcycle sales in the country. The rest is brought up by the 125cc (about 54 per cent) and the premium 150cc and more (13 per cent). To understand how Bajaj Auto can increase its market share in the 100cc segment, consider the trends.

The 100cc motorcycle segment is dominated by companies like Hero Honda, TVS Motor, and Yamaha. The category is broadly divided into two segments, the entry-level motorcycle (prices around Rs 35,000) and the premium end (prices between Rs 40,000 – 45,000). The entry-level motorcycles brought up by models like Hero Honda’s Dawn and CD Deluxe, and the upper end constituting the Passion and Splendour.

Pradeep Saxena, senior vice president (automotive practice) of TNS Global says the ratio between entry and premium 100cc motorcycles is in the ratio of 30:70. Contrary to the popular perception that only urban consumers buy the premium 100cc motorcycle, even rural buyers opt for the premium 100cc models. “It’s difficult to pinpoint geographical discriminators for the 100cc segment. It has got to do with income levels. Prosperous rural buyers are buying premium 100cc motorcycles. Over the last two years, we’ve witnessed equal rate of growths in both categories of the 100cc motorcycle segment.”

Bajaj Auto’s second segmentation in the 100cc segment lies in disruptive marketing. Bajaj says by introducing the new Discover 100cc, which is derived from the Discover 125/135 cc lineage, consumers would perceive the 100cc as a 125 cc. “Those who till now could not afford the 125cc motorcycle can now buy the vehicle at the cost of a 100cc bike.”

The third differentiation lies in offering more features in a 100cc motorcycle. “The new Discover 100cc offers long-distance commuters enhanced comfort by offering features like gas filled Nitrox rear shock absorbers and anti-friction front forks.”

Hero Honda’s 100cc models are CD Dawn, CD Deluxe, Splendour, and Passion. Factoring the variants in each of these models, the total number for Hero Honda number seven. Bajaj Auto has the Platina and the Discover in the 100cc segment. There are no variants currently.

Honda is another motorcycle manufacturer which has plans to enter into the 100cc segment next year. “Our 100cc motorcycle will be positioned as a sporty performance motorcycle,” says Shinji Aoyoma, President & CEO of Honda Motorcycle and Scooters India Ltd.