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Bajaj Auto unveils new bike made from warship metal

Two-wheeler maker will position the V15 as a commuter motorcycle rather than a sport-oriented bike targeted at the youth

Swaraj Baggonkar  |  New Delhi 

Bajaj Auto managing director Rajiv Bajaj at unveiling of V15 motorcycle
Bajaj Auto managing director Rajiv Bajaj at unveiling of V15 motorcycle

Bajaj Auto, India’s second biggest motorcycle manufacturer, on Monday unveiled V15, a new motorcycle partially built using metal from INS Vikrant, India's first aircraft carrier. Besides being a new product, this is a completely new brand by the Pune-based company, which has signalled a departure from its earlier ‘two brand only strategy’ that was made up of Pulsar and Discover.

Despite having a new 150cc engine, Bajaj will position the V15 as a commuter motorcycle rather than a sport-oriented bike targeted at the youth.

The company has hinted that the V15 will be priced between Rs 60,000-70,000. “Closer to Rs 60,000 than Rs 70,000,” said Rajiv Bajaj, managing director, Bajaj Auto, while stating that exact pricing would be revealed at the time of deliveries, which are expected to begin next month.

The company has built a capacity of 20,000 units a month for the new model, which can be scaled up further depending on demand.

This will be the eight product by Bajaj Auto this financial year and the first in 2016 having launched three Avengers, two Pulsars and the CT100. The ‘V’ brand will complement five of its predecessors which are in production. The new bike will be priced to compete against 125cc commuter bikes that are priced around Rs 58,000 (ex-showroom, Delhi).

“There are 500,000 people who buy a motorcycle in that space which is called as executive segment where you have models like Hero Splendor, Glamour, Honda Shine and other 125cc bikes. We think that is a big bank that we have to break into, we think we have a great key to get us into that door”, Bajaj added.

Like the Pulsar and Discover the V is also expected to start a series (The 15 in V15 stands for its 150cc engine) with more derivatives from the same platform expected at later stages. Senior company executives stated that the V will start a new category in the commuter bike segment.

The slightly retro styling gives the V15 a very different look compared to other Bajaj bikes or even other 150cc/160cc bikes from the competition, which includes Hero Xtreme, Yamaha Fazer, Honda Unicorn, TVS Apache and Suzuki Gixxer. While Pulsar is sportier looking the Discover carries a stylish image with commuter bike attributes. The V15 looks a cross between styling of a typical café racer and touring bikes.

The company declined to disclose the extent of such metal used for manufacturing the V15 as well as the holding stock of metal it has of the warship. However the company said that it could produce some ‘lakh’ units of the bike. The V15 comes with a removable rear seat cowl, which can be detached to seat a pillion.

Available in two colours the V15 will carry an insignia of INS Vikrant on its fuel tank, which is built using the warship’s metal. Bajaj bought Vikrant’s metal as scrap from an undisclosed seller before recycling it to get rid of any impurities for further processing and moulding.

INS Vikrant was commissioned as the first aircraft carrier of Indian Navy in 1961. After years of distinguished service, she was decommissioned in January 1997 and served as a museum till 2012. In late 2014, Vikrant was dismantled and sold as scrap metal.

The carrier saw two wars with Pakistan, 1965 and 1971 where it played a crucial role in isolating Pakistan Naval Ships during the war of independence of Bangladesh.

Vikrant is also the name of India’s first indigenous aircraft carrier being built at the Cochin Shipyard for the Indian Navy at the cost of nearly Rs 20,000 crore.

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First Published: Tue, February 02 2016. 00:44 IST