Two-wheeler major Bajaj Auto feels that a rural slowdown is behind the poor offtake of motorcycles in recent months, but hopes that the upcoming wedding season will see a change of fortunes.
“It has been a challenging year in the second half… Data very clearly shows that 100cc bikes in general have slowed down very dramatically. Typically the 100cc bikes used to sell a lot in rural markets. I think it is largely indicative (of a rural slowdown),” said Eric Vas, president – motorcycle business at Bajaj Auto.
Motorcycle sales have been in the slow lane over the last few months, which Vas attributed to sluggish demand for entry-level commuter bikes.
Over the April-February period, motorcycle sales grew just 3.2%, according to the Society of Indian Automobile Manufacturers, with a sharper slowdown in the 100-125 cc segment.
Vas said he hoped that the overall market would start picking up, riding on the upcoming wedding season in north India in April and May.
Bajaj Auto on Thursday launched two variants of the Pulsar RS200 motorcycle on Thursday, priced at Rs. 1.18 lakh and Rs. 1.30 lakh (ex-showroom Delhi), making these the most expensive Pulsars from the Pune-based company. The costlier variant comes with an ABS (anti-lock braking system).
The 200cc four-valve triple spark liquid cooled engine on the RS200 makes 24.5PS of power and has a top speed 141 kilometers per litre.
Bajaj Auto has a 43% market in the sports bike segment, which accounts for less than 1% of the total motorcycle market in India. The Pulsar range accounts for around 40% of Bajaj Auto’s total two-wheeler sales.
Bajaj has been banking on its tie-up with Austrian bike-maker KTM to polish the Pulsar range.