Bajaj Pulsar future – In this quick opinionated story, let me quickly talk about the Pulsar brand – what has happened & what could be coming…
There is a lot of talk on the ailing Pulsar brand within Bajaj, for sure. The moniker that shook the market in 2001 – and has so far continued its supremacy – in all these years – has definitely become redundant and repetitive. What is worrying for Bajaj is the fact that it has simply failed in transitioning the oldest-generation Pulsar buyers to the newer generation models. And this has happened TWICE!
Yes, with an obvious expectation of discontinuing the oldest-generation of Pulsars Bajaj introduced the new-gen platform around 2012 with the Pulsar NS200 and multiple models that followed thereafter. However, despite multiple efforts, neither the NS160 nor the 200s went onto replace the older-gen Pulsar 150 or the Pulsar 220 – in terms of sales – despite being better in almost all parameters.
Amidst all of this, the Dominar 400 (that was unveiled as Pulsar CS400 in one of the Auto Expos) debuted around 2016-17 timeframe. It went onto become a new brand (and not Pulsar as originally planned) because the company thought that the Pulsar brand had become commuterish and a big 400 needs to get separate branding. How this has transpired is a story for some other day, though!
Bajaj thought of both – expanding and limiting the Pulsar range. It went one segment lower and the Pulsar 125 was introduced (again based on the oldest-gen platform) – which is the largest selling Pulsar in the market today. For its latest-generation platform – it was decided to expand the line-up to 250cc and the Pulsar 250s were born. The idea was to market them as the ‘biggest-ever’ Pulsars since they were technically not as hot as the NS and the RS.
What I believe is – Bajaj thought of limiting the Pulsar range to 250cc max and the obvious plan was to introduce multiple Pulsars on the new-gen platform that will gradually replace the oldest-generation models. And that again seems to be failing!
After this fall-out, the management appears to have thought of re-igniting the sportier Pulsar range (the NS and the RS) and the 2023 versions were thoroughly updated out of nowhere! Now again, Rajiv Bajaj says that a new ‘biggest-ever’ Pulsar is on the cards and it will be introduced within this financial year.
It is quite natural to expect the Pulsar NS400 based on the Dominar platform, however, Bajaj may have some surprise in store for everyone. It could get in a new 300cc engine either out of the 250cc motor or even the 373cc engine that it has at its disposal for a motorcycle that could eventually be called as Pulsar NS300. However, all of this is purely my opinion and there is no basis of it at this point of time.
The idea – with the Pulsar going forward appears to be – let people buy the oldest-generation Pulsars for as long as they want – place the newest-generation Pulsars somewhere in the middle – models slightly sportier but still utilitarian. And at the top have the technically loaded NS/RS range – majorly with 200-400cc capacities. And that also puts the future of the Dominar at stake!
No wonder an ex-Yamaha official (who also worked with Bajaj) once said – decisions at Japs are taken for the coming many years whereas decisions at Bajaj change every other day/week!