A couple of weeks ago, the Indian motoring blogosphere was agog with the rumor that Bajaj Auto was all set to re-enter the automatic scooter category, a space that it has chosen to leave vacant for nearly half a decade now. A week alter though, Bajaj Auto MD, Mr Rajiv Bajaj, came along and pricked the bubble by stating that his company has no plans of entering the automatic scooter segment in the near future. Now, some more clarity has emerge, about Bajaj Auto’s plans when it comes to the automatic scooter segment.
Bajaj Auto wants to become stronger in the motorcycle segment and eventually get into a dominant position in this space. Once Bajaj Auto manages to do that, it might think of branching out to automatic scooters. This also means that Bajaj Auto will not enter the automatic scooter segment in the near term, which in other words, means the next year or two. So, all you folks waiting for an automatic scooter from Bajaj Auto can begin looking at other options as Bajaj has no plans of launching an automatic scooter in the next year or two. “Never say never”, is an oft repeated quote in the world of business. So, Bajaj Auto is playing it safe by not ruling out automatic scooter launches once it begins dominating the motorcycle market.
Bajaj Auto’s focus will continue to remain on motorcycles, where it is has been upping the ante, by launching new motorcycles packed with technology. Later this year, Bajaj Auto will launch the Pulsar 375, a motorcycle that will be its new flagship version. Like the Pulsar 200 NS, the Pulsar 375 is expected to be packed to the gills with high performance attractive features, high technology and a value-for-money price tag. A sub INR 2 lakh price tag is what the fully faired Pulsar 375 is expected to come with.
Meanwhile, the Indian automatic scooter market is thriving, with the segment being the highest growth sector in the Indian two wheeler market. This has meant that the automatic scooter market has seen a slew of new entrants like Yamaha, Mahindra TwoWheelers and Piaggio. This year will see a bunch of new launches from TVS Motors, Yamaha and Piaggio India while Honda could also pull off a surprise in the second half of this year with the PCX150 maxi-scooter. Yamaha will launch a new 125 scooter targeting men, Piaggio will launch a mass market 125cc scooter positioned under the Vespa LX125 while TVS Motors is expected to launch not one but two new scooters in the form of a 125cc model and the Qube Hybrid.