Rajiv Bajaj, Managing Director, Bajaj Auto described the launch of 100cc Discover commuter motorcycle by Bajaj as one of the ”biggest blunders” of his career as it caused the company losing the second rank in the Indian two-wheeler industry. A report on PTI says that Mr Bajaj noted that in its 125cc avatar the Bajaj Discover was seen as fun bike that “offered mileage with a little fun” and this was very evident with the rising volumes of the motorcycles.
Rajiv Bajaj further emphasised that Bajaj is still the number 2 player ( considering only motorcycles and not scooters) in the company. Launching the lower variant of the Bajaj Discover cost the company and things would have had been different if it had not done the same. The report further quotes Rajiv saying, “Greed came in, Guys in Marketing 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. We lost our position and five years later we lost our performance too.”
Rajiv Bajaj further also added that Bajaj started off as a point of difference, the company had a USP in the Discover 100cc and a different perception but it ended up bad. “It further ended up as a ‘me too’ product, Me too is bad in life and marketing,” he said, speaking at an event.
However, he also sounded confident about the prospects of the brand KTM that it had invested 11 years back in 2007. Back then, the Austrian bike maker was making only 65,000 motorcycles and likes of Harley-Davidson was averaging 3.5 lakh units. KTM will now finish this year at 2.7 lakh units while Harley sales are declining to 2.4 lakh units.
Bajaj also plans to launch electric vehicles in 2019 and Rajiv Bajaj says that the auto industry has been given a step-motherly treatment to e-vehicles by launching cheap variants. Bajaj says that given the potential, “We could have made a Tesla on two-wheels or a Tesla on three-wheels and created different news. we will try and do that in 2019 now.”