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Honda mobike plan worries Bajaj

29-May-2004
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Honda mobike plan worries Bajaj

Bajaj Auto Ltd, the country’s second largest two-wheeler manufacturer, has said that it is concerned about Honda’s decision to launch a new motorcycle that would be manufactured and sold in India from September this year.

According to R L Ravichandran, vice president-business development and marketing, Bajaj Auto Ltd., “Since the brand is Honda, we can definitely expect a good product. We are concerned on how the bike will look and what it will do to the market. Also, Honda is known to be aggressive on the pricing. But, we are not worried about this decision by Honda. Pulsar commands a huge market share and we are confident of maintaining its position as a market leader.”

Ravichandran said that the entry of a brand like Honda into the Indian market will auger well for the Indian two-wheeler industry. Currently, Pulsar commands a 60 per cent market share in this performance segment.

The coming of a motorcycle from the Honda stable is indeed expected to stir-up the market. Stating that Pulsar has set high standards among motorcycle manufacturers, Ravichandran added that Honda’s motorcycle is something to watch out for.

“A motorcycle with a brand name called Honda cannot be ignored. However, it is important to note that a manufacturer can have an edge in this industry by constant innovation,” he said.

Interestingly, Bajaj seems to be opting for a wait and watch strategy. Instead of announcing a launch of a new variant to counter Honda, Bajaj will instead try and consolidate its position in the automatic scooter segment. This segment is already dominated by Honda with their flagship brand, Activa.

Bajaj is focused on launching Bajaj Wave, a 4-stroke full-fledged automatic scooter, in October this year. This will be based on CVT (Continuously Varying Transmission) technology.

Currently, this automatic scooter segment is worth about 55,000 units per month. This comprises nearly 28,000 units of Activa, 15,000 units of TVS Scooty, 8,000 units of Kinetic Nova and about 4,000 units of Bajaj Spirit, on a monthly basis. This segment has grown by about 25 per cent during the previous fiscal.

“Following the launch of Wave, even a 10 per cent market share would be a commendable effort,” Ravichandran added.

Meanwhile, Bajaj has announced the launch of CT 100, a 4-stroke, 100cc motorcycle to attract the entry-level segment. The motorcycle is priced at Rs 31,990 (ex-showroom) and offers a mileage of 101 km / litre. A unique ride control switch, which could be selected between the economy or power mode, will help the user to achieve mileage.

Currently, Bajaj has a 32 per cent market share in this segment, which it plans to take it to 45 per cent as a result of CT 100. The two other motorcycles of Bajaj in this segment are Boxer AT and Boxer AR. The company plans to sell nearly five lakh unit of CT 100 in the current fiscal.

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