Chakan-based two-wheeler manufacturer Bajaj Auto has announced a price hike of roughly Rs 1,000 for two of its popular sports commuters, Pulsar 220F and NS200. Ex-showroom prices for either model currently start at Rs 1.21 lakh and 1.30 lakh, respectively. Interestingly, this is the second price hike after the company updated the products to BS6 emission norms. The first increment of about Rs 3,000-3,500 came into effect amid the nationwide COVID-19 lockdown protocols.
Bajaj Auto has not shared any particular reason for the second price hike. It would most like be the effect of higher input costs necessitated by the ill effects of the pandemic. However, as India entered its fourth stage of COVID-19 lockdown initiatives in early May, automotive facilities in ‘green’ and ‘orange’ zones were allowed to operate albeit in strict and safe working conditions. Bajaj Auto had reported positive COVID-19 cases among its employees.
Sales remain much lower than pre-COVID market trends but one can observe the curve rising gradually. It is worth recalling that the month of April 2020 saw the lowest sales performance in recent Indian automotive history, at virtually zero domestic units. Meanwhile, major automakers have set up ‘online showrooms’ to provide a safer and easier platform to purchase a new vehicle.
Online bookings for the all-electric Bajaj Chetak scooter have opened too. The company had to slow its production due to the backlogs created by disrupted logistics and weak supply chains from China, the source of COVID-19.
Coming to the Bajaj Pulsar 220F, the semi-faired motorcycle remains mostly identical to its original format that debuted way back in 2007. The Bajaj NS200 and RS200, which share their platforms with KTM’s 200 Duke, were supposed to be its replacement but high market demands forced the company to sell the Pulsar 220 alongside, with minor cosmetic enhancements and reworked engine components.
The latest Bajaj Pulsar 220F version is powered by a BS6-compliant 220cc air/oil-cooled Twin Spark DTS-i FI single-cylinder engine making 20.12bhp @ 8,500rpm and 18.55Nm @ 7,000rpm. This is mated to a 5-speed transmission. It has several modern and upmarket alternatives in the 200-250cc sports commuter category.
On the other hand, the higher Bajaj Pulsar NS200 BS6 employs a 199.5cc liquid-cooled SOHC Triple Spark DTS-i FI single-cylinder motor good for 24.16bhp @ 9,750rpm and 18.5Nm @ 8,000rpm. The power plant is coupled to a 6-speed gearbox. It primarily rivals the TVS Apache RTR 160 4V while the KTM 200 Duke and Yamaha MT-15 are compelling alternatives.