Bajaj Auto has been losing ground to its rivals in the Indian market sharply in last couple of years. The situation become a bit alarming when their presence in the domestic market reduced enough to let TVS overtake them for the third spot. Only a few years ago there was a time when Bajaj Auto was on its way to beat Hero MotoCorp for the supreme spot in terms of volume sales, such has been the turn of events that they are now struggling at number four. Though there are a various reasons for the decline in sales, including lack of new products, confused strategy and intense competition from its Japanese rivals, along with no presence in the rapidly rising scooter segment. Also, We need to remember that Bajaj has plans to have a Global Dominance in coming years in motorcycle segment.
To make a comeback in the motorcycle space, the segment Bajaj wants to play in, Bajaj will launch two new motorcycle brands this year. It is interesting to note that, Bajaj Auto will launch two new motorcycle brands which is contrary to their earlier plan. The company had decided a couple of years ago that all products would be under the Discover and Pulsar brand name, with umbrella branding strategy being adopted. That hasn’t worked and the automaker is now going to introduce a slew of bikes later this year, three under the Pulsar brand name (160 NS, 200 SS, 400 SS), one new Platina (100cc) and one new Discover (125cc) which could be under a new brand name as two new bike brands will be launched, one in the 100cc segment and the other in the 125cc segment.
Today Bajaj Auto has just five motorcycle brands – Boxer (not sold in India), Platina, Discover, Avenger and Pulsar. There was a time it had multiple brands in both scooters and motorcycles and people in the know of the industry functions have constantly cited confused positioning for poor sales of the Discover rand since it is offered in 100cc, 125cc and 150cc versions with new variants coming and going every year.
The market strategy of Bajaj since 2006 has gone a bit off track since it stopped selling 100cc bikes for lack of good profits, and started marketing their 125cc bikes as more powerful yet as efficient as a 100cc, unfortunately Indian consumers failed to understand the logic behind going for a 125cc instead of a 100cc making the intelligent yet sadly a failed move for Bajaj that did not work as 60% of the market buys 100cc bikes.
This failure in understanding the love for the 100cc in Indian buyer prompted the company's re-entry in the 100cc segment in 2009, with the launch of the Discover 100 which offered a claimed mileage of 80 km/l. Now Bajaj is trying to make amends and is going on a product offensive. Bajaj Auto’s market share has dropped to 18% and it plans to increase it to 24% this year. The company’s MD, Rajiv Bajaj has admitted to having a bit of a problem with the Discover. The Pulsar 200 SS will be launched by March and the next launch is the new Platina, set for later this month.