Bikes ride brand loyalty in race for upgrades

Bikes ride brand loyalty in race for upgrades

Author | Source: The Economic Times | Tuesday, Dec 26,2006 9:10 AM

Bikes ride brand loyalty in race for upgrades

It is going to be a bumpy ride for two-wheeler bike makers. Competition is heating up, bottomlines are under pressure and wafer-thin margins are resulting in players vying with each other to retain market share. While launching new models and variants has been their mantra, retaining customers and increasing brand loyalty seems to be emerging as an important area of focus.

As more upgraded variants and new bikes get launched, bike owners are now replacing their old models at a faster rate. According to market experts, nearly 30-40% of the bikes are bought by bike-owners who are upgrading their current bikes.

“On an average, the consumer replaces his bike within 4 to 5 years. This replacement period is reducing over the years propelled by newer, more technologically advanced products offering better performance, fuel efficiency, features and styling. Generally, one will see a faster replacement cycle as one goes up the cc ladder, “ said S Sridhar, VP-marketing, two-wheelers, Bajaj Auto.

With the second-hand bike market also seeing large volumes, bike companies are looking at ensuring brand loyalty in this segment. “We recently opened outlets called 'SURE' exclusively for pre-owned Hero Honda motorcycles. The concept of “SURE” is aimed at providing hassle-free transactions to our customers while exchanging, buying or selling a pre-owned two-wheeler.

The new business channel would cater to the needs of our aspiring customers by providing refurbished two-wheelers with quality assurance and value-added services at an affordable price,” said an official spokesperson, Hero Honda.

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