Bajaj Pulsar motorcycle completes 10 years, still going strong as India’s highest selling performance motorcycle brand
It was on 24th November 2001, that largest scooter manufacturer in India, Bajaj Auto launched their first Pulsar motorcycle. At that time, it was difficult to convince people to buy Bajaj motorcycles as they were majorly a scooter manufacturer. If you were to buy a Bajaj motorcycle, a decade ago, people would wonder and ask you bewildered, why are you buying a Bajaj motorcycle when there is Hero Honda (now Hero MotoCorp).
Bajaj Auto knew about this, but they were driven by strong belief and motivation to excel as a motorcycle manufacturer. It was important for Bajaj Auto to make this shift from scooter manufacturer to motorcycle manufacturer as scooters were losing their classic charm to new age powerful motorcycles with disc brakes and alloy wheels.
Back in 1990 – 2000 motorcycle market in India consisted of 100 cc motorcycles. As Indian motorcycle buyers were not at all interested in performance, sales of motorcycles in India were driven due to their higher fuel efficiency and low cost of maintenance. When Hero Honda launched 150 cc motorcycle, CBZ in 1999 with disc brakes, India noticed and suddenly there was a rise in demand for performance motorcycles in the country.
By the time Hero Honda launched CBZ, Bajaj had already started working on their version of 150 cc motorcycle, Pulsar. Bajaj Pulsar was designed with help from German motorcycle artist and designer, Glynn Kerr. Bajaj took 36 months and Rs 1 billion to develop Pulsar.
It will not be right to say that Bajaj Pulsar was a hit right away. The design was a winner. Motorcycle enthusiasts in India loved the raw design of Pulsar, but there were customers who were still apprehensive about buying a Bajaj motorcycle. Slowly and steadily, Bajaj Pulsar got the best advertisement possible, word of mouth.
Sales started picking up exponentially. Bajaj was now the leader in 150 cc segment of motorcycles. Mr V G Ramakrishnan, Director at market analysis and consulting firm, Frost & Sullivan, said, “Pulsar was a killer product for Bajaj Auto. There was a huge gap between the 100cc and the higher-end bikes. Pulsar filled the gap and killed all the products around it over the years.”
Bajaj have managed to keep the spark in Pulsar series alive by launching different variants over the years. As of today, Bajaj Pulsar is available in 4 engine variants, 135 cc, 150 cc, 180 cc and top of the line 220 cc. Bajaj had earlier stated that they will be launching yet another variant of Pulsar very soon in India. Bajaj Pulsar is even exported and has a decent market share in countries abroad.