Two wheeler rivals TVS Motors and Bajaj Auto face each other at the Madras High Court with TVS Motors blaming Bajaj Auto over disparaging advertisement campaign. The advertisements which were run in Tamil Nadu compared the TVS XL100 with the Bajaj CT100 in terms of fuel efficiency which TVS Motors claims is based on false figures.
In the 2-week interim injunction order, the court further restrains the respondents from continuing with the advertisement of comparing fuel efficiency figures of TVS XL100 with that of Bajaj CT100.
A total of 9 dealer advertisements were circulated in Tamil Nadu while the court order was filed by TVS Motors 9 days ago. The court order is based on the fact that not only has Bajaj Auto inflated the fuel efficiency of their own product but pointed out the comparison with the applicants product, claiming that the fuel efficiency of the applicants product is less than 50% of their own Bajaj CT100.
This TVS Motors claims is false and while a rival company is permitted to puff up their own products, denigrating a rival product is not within the purview of the law. While the court asserts that all advertisement campaigns should be within reasonable limits, the order adds that the issue will be dealt with in further detail following the counter claim filed by Bajaj Auto.
This is not the first time TVS and Bajaj are fighting in the court. Back in 2008 the two had met in the court over patent dispute. Bajaj had claimed that TVS had copied their DTSi technology. In 2009, Madras Court settled the case in favour of TVS.
Update – Bajaj’s press statement
CT100 has been a hit since its launch and Bajaj garnered a 35% national market share in the entry motorcycle segment. The success was even sharper in Tamil Nadu, where a 52% market share was achieved in April to December 2015. Fuel efficiency has been a very strong USP for CT100.
To penetrate further, CT100B was launched at an attractive price point in December 2015. Given that CT100B is an entry level motorcycle, its target customers naturally included the discerning moped customers as well.
In the testing done in IDC cycle, CT100B returns a high fuel efficiency of 99 kmpl as compared to TVS XL that has a fuel efficiency of 67 kmpl (as claimed in the Company website). The real life fuel efficiency substantially varies from the fuel efficiency under Indian Driving Cycle test conditions.
Moreover, customers at large would associate better with the fuel efficiency that they experience in real life, rather than results based on lab test conditions.
After taking relevant customer feedback, the Company deployed a Sales promotion comparing TVS XL moped and CT100B, in terms of the real life mileage numbers.
TVS has taken offence to our advertisements by stating that it allegedly disparages their mopeds and has filed a Civil Suit in the Chennai High Court. The Hon’ble Court has, whilst permitting us to file our detailed response in 2 weeks passed an interim order, temporarily restraining us from continuing with our aforesaid advertisement for a period of two weeks
When the matter comes up, we will make our detail pleadings before the court in support of our advertisements defending that the advertisement issued by us was neither disparaging or denigrating TVS’s product/s but were merely a reflection of the customers’ experience as disclosed to us.