Success of the newly launched 150-cubic centimetre (cc) V15 motorcycle by Bajaj Auto will decide if new products under the umbrella brand ‘V’ will make their way to Bajaj showrooms or not.
The company, which launched the V15 commercially earlier this month, said the platform used by ‘V’ could be used for churning out more models in the near future.
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Speaking to Business Standard, Bajaj Auto Managing Director Rajiv Bajaj said, “We always say we design platform. So, every platform is capable of more than one product but for now, there is only one product.”
Bajaj Auto, which faced a challenging time with the Discover brand despite conducting several experiments with it, is now ready to promote the ‘V’ brand initially as a ‘high power commuter bike’ with unorthodox styling.
The new motorcycle, being promoted for its metal sourced from India’s first aircraft carrier INS Vikrant, is vital for meeting volume and market share targets of Bajaj Auto. The firm is offering the 150 cc engine-powered V15 at a price close to a typical 125 cc. At nearly Rs 61,000, it is one of the most affordable 150 cc motorcycles. While the successful Pulsar will continue in the sport/performance segment, the V series will be positioned in a segment a notch below the Pulsar. The CT and Platina will play in the economy segment whereas the Avenger will remain a stylish cruiser motorcycle.
While Bajaj declined to disclose if more products can be expected from the ‘V’ platform, he however, said if future products are planned using the ‘V’ they will carry the styling and design DNA of the V15. For instance, the present generation Pulsar has the same design theme that was seen in the first generation.
“If and when we have the third or fourth generation ‘V’, it has to be like that. The real talent of the designer is to remain the same and yet be different at the same time. There is no point stepping out of this”, added Bajaj.
Experiments with a new platform or brand is not new to the auto industry. The Pulsar which started more than a decade ago with just two models presently has a bouquet of eight models. The Discover, too, started with only one model but later added four more models before it was restricted to just two presently.
While Bajaj Auto is using INS Vikrant’s popularity for promoting the V15, it’s metal has a limited availability. The management, however, is not too worried about it.
“I firmly believe people are buying the product and they are buying it for the design, performance and price. Pankaj Kapoor (actor) said that even a blind man can buy the Hero Splendor in a very successful campaign. Now just because Pankaj Kapoor has left, it did not mean people stopped buying the Splendor. So tomorrow, when there is no more metal (of Vikrant) all that changes is the insignia on the fuel tank, the rest of the remains the same”, added Bajaj.
With the V15, Bajaj is targeting a segment that generates 6 million units sales every year. It expects to clock monthly sales of 20,000 units.