Bajaj Auto, India’s second largest two-wheeler manufacturer, has moved three models from its Discover brand to passive production as the company tries to reposition the troubled brand yet again.
The Pune-based company has pulled out Discover 100, Discover 100M and Discover 125M from production lines and will make them only upon receipt of confirmed orders. Dealers have been told to exhaust remaining stocks and not encourage sales of these models.
Eric Vas, president of the motorcycle business at Bajaj Auto, said, "We are producing very small quantities of the three bikes. We are producing only if a dealer asks for them. We are not encouraging dealers to keep them.”
A Mumbai-based dealer confirmed that no new orders for the three models were to be placed. "We will exhaust whatever stock we have and will not place any new orders," he added.
The Discover brand, which marked Bajaj's re-entry in the 100cc segment six years ago, will now be rejigged to its original position of a commuter (125cc-150cc) motorcycle. Introduced in 2004, Discover launched with a 125cc engine, complementing the powerful Pulsar 150 and Pulsar 180. "We have made it clear that we need to focus the Discover brand on the 125cc segment. We have been able to move 80 per cent of our dealer network towards this change in Discover positioning, the rest will follow," added Vas.
He, however, clarified that the three models would continue to cater to the export market. Bajaj is the largest exporter of motorcycles from the country.
Relaunching the Discover with a 100cc engine at Rs 40,000 Bajaj targeted budget motorcycle market leader Hero Motocorp, which sells the Splendor. Discover, which promised fuel consumption of 80 kmpl, briefly replaced Splendor as the leader of the budget motorcycle segment.
However, with the company constantly shuffling Discover across the 100cc-150cc category, launching three variants of Discover 100, four variants of Discover 125, a Discover 135 and two variants of a Discover 150, the brand lost its market positioning.
In a conference call with analysts last year Kevin D'sa, CFO and president for business development at Bajaj Auto, has said, "To some extent we compounded the problem by launching several products. Discover lost its position or what it stands for. If you ask the customer what Discover means, he does not know."
To reposition the brand Bajaj launched Discover 125 in July priced at Rs 52,002 (ex-showroom, Delhi). In September Bajaj clocked sales of 20,000 Discover 125. At present only three models of the brand are available, Discover 125, Discover 150S and Discover 150F.
To cater to the 100cc economy segment Bajaj relaunched its old warhorse CT100 and added an electric start to the Platina. Both models combined sell 60,000-80,000 per month.