HMSI aims at No. 1 position by 2020

Honda Motorcycle & Scooter India (HMSI) has big plans to beat Hero Honda Motors in ten years’ time to become the No. 1 player in India, the second largest two-wheeler market globally, its outgoing chief executive Shinji Aoyama said.

HMSI, currently the fourth largest player by volume, aims to topple No. 3 player TVS Motor in two years, Aoyama told Financial Chronicle.

Aoyama will take over as GM for motorcycle business planning at Honda in Japan from April 1. Keita Muramatsu, GM of motorsport division at Honda Motor, will replace him.

Asked to react on HMSI’s claim, Venu Srinivasan, chairman of TVS Motor, said, “Any company is free to have a dream. We know what to do with our product strategy.”

The firm is sounding aggressive after its parent company began to exit the 27-year-old joint venture with Munjals-owned Hero Group by selling back its 26 per cent stake for Rs 3,841 crore.

HMSI plans to boost production to 2.1 million units per annum beginning July 2011 by adding a new factory with a capacity to make six lakh units in the first phase. “This capacity expansion is the beginning of our effort to minimise the gap with Hero Honda, Bajaj and TVS. It won’t be in a few years; it will take ten years. We will introduce the best products, including ones meant for the mass market, in a step-wise manner,” Aoyama said.

HMSI aims to sell 1.65 million two-wheelers in the financial year ending March 2011 compared with TVS’s two million units, Bajaj’s 2.5 million and Hero Honda’s target of more than five million units.

HMSI’s new facility in Tapukara, Rajasthan, will be able to produce an additional six lakh units a year in the second phase and will require an investment of Rs 1,000 crore. “Not only the second plant, a third, fourth and fifth plant must be there. Each will require an investment of about Rs 1,000 crore,” Aoyama said, adding, “A deep (feasibility) study is on for a third plant.”

Aoyama also said that if it hadn’t been for production constraints, HMSI could have sold 2.2 million units this fiscal. This means that the firm’s products are already generating more demand than its nearest rival TVS Motor, and is generating more than 40 per cent demand compared with top player Hero Honda, despite its capacity standing at a third of Hero Honda’s 5.4 million units.

HMSI plans to launch a 100 cc motorcycle priced below the Rs 42,000 for its 110 cc CB Twister to challenge Hero Honda’s Splendor and Passion and Bajaj’s 100 cc Discover. It will also launch a new scooter model that will further strengthen its dominance in the scooter market in which it has more than 50 per cent share. “We may enter other mass segments soon,” Aoyama said.

Rajiv Bajaj, MD of Bajaj Auto, was unavailable for comment. Pawan Munjal, MD & CEO of Hero Honda Motors, did not return calls for a reaction on HMSI’s claim.

“After the launch of a 100 cc motorcycle planned in 2011-12, the scope could be for a much bigger displacement mass model like Bajaj’s (Pulsar 150 cc),” Aoyama said.

HMSI plans to go on a massive network expansion drive to increase the number of sales and service outlets to 1,500 in 2011-12 compared with Hero Honda’s 4,000 and Bajaj Auto’s 3,000. Though more than two-thirds of its sales come from urban markets, it is pinning its hopes on semi-urban and rural areas to garner more numbers by 2020.

Aoyama said that motorcycles would account for more than 50 per cent of total two-wheeler sales in two years. At present, scooters constitute over 55 per cent of HMSI sales.

HMSI on Monday showcased its ‘fun’ motorcycle, the CBR250R, priced at Rs 143,000 (ex-showroom, New Delhi) that will be sold beginning next month. “We plan to sell 30,000 units in the first year,” said NK Rattan, operating head (sales & marketing), HMSI.

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Crime is to be checked by new wheels

The city cops will be seen cruising in brand-new SUVs two months from now. Gone are the days of sturdy jeeps and age-old vehicles on the streets. The proposal, almost two years old, has finally materialized for the city police officials.

The city cops will get a total 75 four-wheelers and 46 two-wheelers. Officials believe that this will help upgrade the patrolling schedules and crime prevention in the city.

Meera Ramniwas, additional commissioner of police (administration), told TOI that the purchase has been made and is being made for the vehicles. “Around 150 vehicles are being procured by the city police as per the metro city policing scheme where the existing vehicles that are more than 15 years old are being replaced by new vehicles. The vehicles will be dispatched to the police stations after formalities of RTO and insurance is done,” she said.

The vehicles include 49 SUVs, which will be the main vehicle for police stations. These vehicles were chosen for their speed and sturdy nature against the open jeeps where the officials always complained about difficulty in inclement weather. Many of the city police stations, mainly in eastern city parts, have jeeps as the vehicle for police inspectors. Another brand of SUVs for use by IPS officers and special branches are also being made. A total of 11 of these have been purchased for the city, said officials.

To equip the police force with speedy bikes to control crimes such as chain-snatching and loot, 46 high-powered Bajaj Pulsar bikes have also been purchased that will mainly be given to the surveillance squad of the respective police stations.

As an addition to the existing vehicles, two state-of-the-art ambulances have been purchased that will accompany the police personnel at major events and venues such as carnivals, cricket matches or high-profile seminars.

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New Bajaj Pulsar 150cc 2010 Motorcycle was introduced before 15th February

Bajaj Auto is one brand that constantly keeps tweaking it’s motorcycles for more performance and style. In less than a year since the Pulsar 150 was upgraded to get decals and tank inserts from the erstwhile Pulsar 200, Bajaj Auto is all set to launch a refreshed version of the Pulsar 150 shortly.

Dubbed the 2010 Bajaj Pulsar 150, the 150cc motorcycle is set to feature a minor power bump with the new power rating of 15.06 PS as opposed to 14.09 PS that the 2009 model put out.

The top speed also could increase as the new Pulsar 150 is set to come with a larger UCD29 Carburetor. The increase in 3 mm of the venturi should in theory give the Pulsar 150 a marginally higher top speed by about 5 Kmph. This power rating will make the Pulsar 150 the most powerful 150cc motorcycle around apart from the Yamaha R15 of course. The 2010 Pulsar 150 will also get clip on handlebars. This makes the Bajaj P150 bog similar to the recently launched Bajaj P220S.

This results in almost no product differentiation in terms of looks and the buyers of the top end P220S might not appreciate this. That said, Bajaj hasn’t really bothered too much about differentiation based on the looks in the past, why would they now? Meanwhile, the 2010 Bajaj Pulsar 150 is estimated to sell for a price of about INR 60,000, ex-showroom Delhi.

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New Bajaj Pulsar 150cc 2010 Motorcycle was launched before 15th February

Bajaj Auto is one brand that constantly keeps tweaking it’s motorcycles for more performance and style. In less than a year since the Pulsar 150 was upgraded to get decals and tank inserts from the erstwhile Pulsar 200, Bajaj Auto is all set to launch a refreshed version of the Pulsar 150 shortly.

Dubbed the 2010 Bajaj Pulsar 150, the 150cc motorcycle is set to feature a minor power bump with the new power rating of 15.06 PS as opposed to 14.09 PS that the 2009 model put out.

The top speed also could increase as the new Pulsar 150 is set to come with a larger UCD29 Carburetor. The increase in 3 mm of the venturi should in theory give the Pulsar 150 a marginally higher top speed by about 5 Kmph. This power rating will make the Pulsar 150 the most powerful 150cc motorcycle around apart from the Yamaha R15 of course. The 2010 Pulsar 150 will also get clip on handlebars. This makes the Bajaj P150 bog similar to the recently launched Bajaj P220S.

This results in almost no product differentiation in terms of looks and the buyers of the top end P220S might not appreciate this. That said, Bajaj hasn’t really bothered too much about differentiation based on the looks in the past, why would they now? Meanwhile, the 2010 Bajaj Pulsar 150 is estimated to sell for a price of about INR 60,000, ex-showroom Delhi.

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Bajaj Auto to introduce Discover 125 cc and looking at touch1.65 millions units by year end

The Indian two-wheeler market has come a long way from being a scooters market to four stroke commuter segment 100 cc vehicles ruling the roost to the latest trend of performance motorcycles entering the arena. But still the commuter segment holds sway over the numbers and this is the segment which has made Hero Honda, world’s largest selling motorcycle company. But its rival and another home grown major Bajaj Auto is also not behind in terms of market and is now planning to gain further market share with its Discover brand.

According to a report in the business daily The Business Line, it has been reported that Bajaj Auto will launch the new Discover 125 next month as part of a brand strategy to grow sales from the present 1.25 lakh motorcycles each month. It was reported that of these, the Discover 100 accounts for 85,000 units with its 150 sibling taking up the balance 40,000 units. With the 125, Bajaj Auto is hopeful that monthly numbers could touch 1.65 lakh units halfway through 2011-12. This will translate into two million units annually, implying that Brand Discover’s value in just two years, since the journey began with the 100cc bike, would be at least $1.5 billion (around Rs 7,000 crore). According to the report, the new bike is part of a carefully drawn-out strategy conceived by Bajaj Auto nearly three years ago.

The report quoted a source as saying “The idea was to first cover both extremes of the commuter market. The Discover 100 fulfilled the aspiration of owning the brand and getting the mileage. The 150 had the power and awe-inspiring features at a killer price.’’ It was mentioned that the Discover 125 is meant to meet the needs of buyers who would not opt for a Bajaj in the 100cc space and would much rather settle for a Hero Honda bike. “And as incredulous as it may sound, a significant section of customers are actually intimidated by the more powerful Discover 150. To them, powerful bikes mean low mileage and high maintenance costs,” the source said, according to the report.

The report stated that the 125cc option is, therefore, intended to give these buyers the best of both worlds. It will have two versions priced at around Rs 44,000 (drum brakes) and Rs 47,000 (with disc brakes) each. Interestingly, the Discover 150 with disc brakes is marginally dearer at Rs 48,000 but Bajaj Auto’s market feedback shows that even this would not tempt the 125cc customer. It was reported that according to the experts, the Discover brand strategy could catapult Bajaj to a similar position in the 125cc space where there is no big brand right now.

According to the report, from Bajaj Auto’s point of view, the success of the Discover vindicates it brand strategy where the Pulsar is the other important player. Since the time the Discover 100 was launched in July 2009, followed by the 150 in April the following year, numbers have been growing by the month. And also an official explained “More importantly, this has been a profitable strategy which explains why Bajaj has constantly posted EBITDA of over 20 per cent every quarter.”

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2011 Bajaj Discover 100 introduced

Bajaj Auto Limited (BAL) launched its 2011 edition of Discover 100, marking yet another occassion – the 40 lakh sales milestone for the brand that was introduced back in 2004.

There is no technical upgrade on the immesely popular 100cc Disoover except for multi-colour decals in two options of gold green and red magenta.

Bajaj describes the decal as ‘Auto Colour change’. According to the company this sort of a sticker is the first in a motorcycle in India. The 100cc Discover scores well in fuel economy and pickup and is inching closer to the segment leader Splendor with each passing month. The Discover brand has done wonders to the company despite seeing the demise of many variants through its entire life

The 150cc version was launched last year and met with good response. Bajaj aims to put another Discover in the market this year which is touted to carry either a 125cc or a watered-down 135cc unit from the Pulsar franchise.

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Pulsars Re Engineered By This Year End: Rajiv Bajaj

According to Rajiv Bajaj, as reported by our friends at BSMotoring, a brand new line of Pulsars will arrive by the time 2011 rolls over to 2012. The Pulsars, which will be totally re-engineered will be available in both liquid cooled and air cooled versions.

The engines will now be four valvers, a-la-Pulsar 135, and will be sourced from KTM or be heavily based on KTM motors. So, expect class leading power and torque figures as well as some cutting edge engine technology in the new range of Pulsars. Also, the new Pulsars will be a brand unto themselves and the Bajaj moniker will not be a part of the Pulsars come April 2011, when Bajaj starts an all new branding or should I call it a rebranding campaign for the Pulsar.The Pulsars will arrive just in time to celebrate the resounding success the Pulsar has been, over one full decade.

Yes, right from the time when the Pulsar 150 was a single spark, 143 cc four stroke mill churning out 11.82 horses and the Pulsar 180 being another single spark, four stroker displacing 178.2cc and producing 14.72 Horses, at that time the highest for any Indian four stroke this side of the Bullets. So, the Pulsar having come a long, long way, it is only fitting that Bajaj give the Pulsar a total re-engineering so that it can take on newer competition like the honda CBR250R and the Mahindra Mojo 300. Knowing Bajaj, we expect the next generation of Pulsars to still be terrific value-for-money motorcycles as that has been one enduring factor among all Bajaj products.

So, if you’re in the market for a Bajaj Pulsar 220, I say, go ahead and buy it, for, you can always upgrade to the newer crop of Pulsars in a year or two.

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