Hero & Honda Persist, Bajaj Discontinues: Two Contrast Strategies

Bajaj discontinues products like a pack of cards whereas Hero & Honda persist; which strategy is better…?

It is abundantly clear that the top honchos at Bajaj want and expect results too fast. So, if a motorcycle doesn’t do well, they just scrap it and discontinue it from the market.

There have been clear cases of products which, for many years after launch, continued with decent sales but gradually went onto become best sellers in respective segments. You have examples like Hero Glamour, Honda Unicorn, Honda Shine, etc which were average sellers initially, but look at them now – they are among the best selling motorcycles in 125cc and 150cc segments. Hero, Honda and others persist with their products even if they do average business – they just do not discontinue them abruptly, like Bajaj.

Bajaj Discontinues

Bajaj introduced the Discover brand to be a midway between Pulsars and its entry level motorcycles in the 100-150cc segment. It did phenomenally well initially but as the hype started to fizzle out, Bajaj tried out umpteen number of variants, by changing bits and pieces – discontinuing them like a pack of cards! Nobody would remember how many variants did Discover see in its complete lifespan but we can casually count at least 10+! As it stands today, the brand Discover remains but it is not a priority for Bajaj.

A similar scenario appears to be replicating for the new ‘V’ brand. Like everyone else, Bajaj created a massive hype while debuting the new brand. It got initial traction and the V15 did pretty good average numbers of 16000-17000 units on an average in the first year of launch. However, in the following months, it started to fall.

Discover also saw a semi-faired 150cc version…

V15 was joined by a smaller displacement sibling V12 but it could not arrest the falling numbers. And few months later – there is NO ‘V’ in the market! According to the official SIAM sales data, Bajaj has not dispatched a single unit of V15 or V12 since April this year in the domestic market, ever since the ABS/CBS ruling kicked in.

Bajaj discontinues
After doing average business initially, Unicorn is among the largest selling 150cc motorcycle now..

In a word to Money Control, Rakesh Sharma, Executive Director at Bajaj Auto reveals that they have ‘bigger fish to fry’ and hence, they are not giving importance to the V brand. He adds,

One would be very unkind to say that V is not doing well at all. It is disappointing and it is doing very small volumes. At this point in time, we would like to leave it there and those people who like that format and style will continue to service them.

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So, this is almost a confirmation that V has been put in the backburner and Bajaj may or may not introduce it back in the domestic market. Even if it does, it will play second fiddle to others, like the current case of Discover.

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Now, I would like you to answer the following two questions..

  • Is Bajaj too restless..?
  • Because of its quirky, different design, does ‘V’ deserve another chance?