In an interview with PTI, Rajiv Bajaj, Managing Director of Bajaj Auto described the introduction of the 100 cc Discover as the biggest blunder in his career. He believes that the move is the reason why Bajaj Auto is still lingering at the No.2 spot in the motorcycle sales volumes in the country.
Mr. Bajaj said that things would have been different had the company not launched the entry level variant of the popular Discover which started its life as a 125 cc motorcycle. The original variant offered fun along with a decent mileage, something the consumers liked as evident from its rising sales.
The head honcho explains the reasoning behind the launch of Discover 100 as candid as ever. “Greed came in. Marketing people said if the 125-cc Discover sells so much then how many would a 100-cc Discover sell? We went ahead and made the 100-cc Discover.”
He further explains that the Discover brand in its 125 cc format started off with different perception and USP but the 100 cc variant ended up being a ‘me too’ product. The extremely price sensitive Indian commuter motorcycle market is populated by numerous 100 cc commuters, making it a very competitive space. Hero Motocorp clearly has a strong hold in this sub-segment and the Discover 100 could not sustain the pressure.
However, Rajiv Bajaj is very much content with the company’s decision to invest in KTM brand which has grown leaps and bounds. In 2007, when Bajaj purchased stake in KTM, Austrian firm was the second largest European motorcycle brand with production of just 65,000 units but it is estimated to end 2018 with a market-leading figure of 2.7 lakh units.
Mr. Bajaj is also enthusiastic about the electric vehicle space. He thinks that the Indian auto industry has been so for giving a step-motherly treatment to this segment by only launching cheap products. He hinted that Bajaj would come up with something that could be described as the Tesla on two wheels, or three wheels next year.