The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Bajaj shifts gear to niche models

Mumbai, May 14: Bajaj Auto will focus on the executive and premium segments of motorcycles to drive growth instead of relying on entry-level bikes like Boxers.

“We are moving away from price to brand and product,” said Rajiv Bajaj, joint managing director of Bajaj Auto. “We expect the markets to shift towards 125-cc bikes which will grow faster than the 100-cc segment this year.”

Bajaj Auto already has the Pulsar in the 150-cc and 180-cc premium segments and the Caliber 110-cc in the executive segment. The Kawasaki 125-cc global bike will be an addition to the premium segment.

“We will enter the two segments where growth will be double than the popular segment,” he said. Analysts expect the motorcycle market to grow 16 per cent this year, while Bajaj hopes that growth in the premium categories will be at least 30 per cent.

However, Bajaj does not want to lose out on the volume and market share that the popular segment brings. “We want the numbers too,” he says.

Bajaj Auto sold five lakh Boxers during the year making it the second-largest two-wheeler brand in the country. BYK, launched in December 2002, has sold over 32,000 in the first four months of launch. Both the brands have established Bajaj as a market leader in the entry level motorcycle market.

But focus will clearly shift to the premium segment. This confidence stems from the fact that Bajaj has met with reasonable success with its new launches like Pulsar and Caliber 115 cc.

Meanwhile, Bajaj Auto has announced a dividend of Rs 14 per share (140 per cent) for fiscal 2003. Total dividend and tax amounts to Rs 159.8 crore. Total turnover for the year rose 15 per cent to Rs 5,070 crore as against Rs 4,403 crore in 2001-02. Profit after tax at Rs 538.4 crore was marginally higher than the previous year’s Rs 521.10 crore.

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