In a major strategic U-turn, country’s second largest two wheeler manufacturer Bajaj Auto Ltd has decided to re-enter the 100cc motorcycle segment — a category it had decided to exit only two years back.
The company has announced that it will launch a new offering in the 100cc segment later this year, in a tacit admission that its bid to help the market graduate to higher engine specification bikes has failed to pay dividends. This comes barely six months after it launched a 125 cc variant of Platina, which had raised hopes of a discontinuation of the 100cc variant in the near future.
“We are looking at numbers above 20,000 units per month for this motorcycle,” said Rajiv Bajaj, managing director, BAL.
Though the company did not specify any reasons for this volte face, numbers have their own story to tell. In the last two fiscal, Bajaj’s sales in the 100cc segment have witnessed a free fall which has been duly exploited by market leader Hero Honda.
In 2007-08, which was one of the worst years for the two wheeler industry in recent times, Bajaj’s overall sales declined 20 per cent to 16.79 lakh bikes. During the same period, Hero Honda witnessed a flat year with overall sales registering a 0.23 per cent growth.
“To expect the 100cc segment to dissolve overnight and for consumers to reject Hero Honda bikes altogether was a little over the top, no matter how aggressively you price your own products. This is a diversified market and to capture it, you have to be equally focused in all segments at all points of time,” said an industry analyst.