Bajaj readies for comeback in scooter segment

Bajaj readies for comeback in scooter segment

Author | Source: Business Line | Monday, Nov 13,2006 8:49 AM

Bajaj readies for comeback in scooter segment

Kristal to be launched in January at an estimated price of Rs 35,000

Fresh plans

Co reworking distribution channels for scooters

New releases designed, developed by in-house R&D

Scooters account for 12 pc of two-wheeler industry

Bajaj Auto is all set to make a comeback in the scooter segment with a new portfolio of vehicles, the first of which, the Bajaj Kristal, will be launched in January 2007.

The company's comeback into the segment, which is currently showing signs of revival after a long gap, will be on a strong technology platform, Mr Rajiv Bajaj, Managing Director, told Business Line.

The company is simultaneously reworking the distribution channels for the scooter business with a view to keeping it the focus of attention in a market currently dominated by motorcycles.

"I believe that there is a promising future for scooters that are insightfully positioned, since such scooters will offer customers several meaningful benefits that motorcycles cannot."

The company's re-entry into the scooter market will be with a portfolio of products designed and developed by in-house R&D.

It will mark the comeback with a single model, priced at an estimated Rs 35,000, Mr Bajaj said, adding that initial targets are being set at 10,000 units a month from its Akurdi plant, which will be the hub for scooters.

The company will also present a new scooter with several features that will make it the "absolute technological benchmark in its class," according to Mr Bajaj, who added that these would include DTS-i engine with exhausTEC, SNS suspension, automatic lamps and front fuel filling.

The company, which reworked its entire distribution network a couple of years ago to differentiate between its products and the target audience, is doing the same for its scooters.

"The sharp focus with which this product has been conceived, designed, and manufactured will also be carried forward to the way it is distributed and sold," Mr Bajaj said.

For instance, it will be available at less than 100 Bajaj two-wheeler dealerships out of the total of 500 in order to represent an attractive business proposition for the dealers, thus negating the risk of being perceived, at least initially, as just a marginal product in a motorcycle dealership, he added.

Scooters currently account for 12 per cent of the two-wheeler industry; the segment grew four per cent between April and August while motorcycles grew 17 per cent.

Annual scooter sales currently are approximately nine lakh units now and some manufacturers see 50-60 per cent growth in 3-5 years.

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