Developing new platform for motorcycles, says Bajaj
Further endorsing our report about the new Pulsar range, Bajaj Auto MD Rajiv Bajaj confirmed to the media that it is developing an all-new platform that will churn out the next generation Pulsars and Discovers. The new bikes will hit the market by the second half of this fiscal. A couple of months ago we had reported that Bajaj is looking at launching a new Pulsar 200 based on the KTM Duke platform and Pulsar 250 on an all-new platform.
“After the launch of the new Pulsars and Discovers, some of the existing models will be replaced and some models will be discontinued,” Bajaj said. Bajaj Auto has a market share of 27 per cent at present, which could go up to 40–50 per cent post-launch of the new bikes, he added. Bajaj is also working on re-launching the Boxer, targeted at the rural markets, where Hero Honda Splendor is the market leader. The bike will be launched in the second quarter of this fiscal, said S Sridhar, President, Motorcycle Business at Bajaj Auto.
“Boxer will become a subset of the commuter bike Discover, a sort of an entry level bike to the commuter segment. However, Boxer will not be a 100cc bike and its price will be around that of Hero Honda Splendor,” he said. Bajaj also shared his company’s plan to bring in bikes from the KTM stable. Bajaj Auto International Holdings BV Netherlands, a 100 per cent subsidiary of Bajaj Auto, currently holds a 38.09 per cent stake in the Austria-based company. According to Bajaj, KTM has sold 65,000 bikes in 2010. Bajaj Auto has already started manufacturing the bikes in India and has shipped around 1,000 to 2,000 bikes to the European market, where it has launched Duke 125.
“The company will launch its first bike towards the end of the year. However, whether it will be Duke 200 or Duke 125 is yet to be decided,” said Bajaj. “KTM is more important to us in order to enter markets like Brazil, Malaysia and Thailand where brands like Honda and Yamaha are already dominating and these markets are mature. KTM will be our entry ticket to these mature markets,” he said. The company also clarified that it is not looking at the scooter segment right now.
Words: Saeed Akhtar