DISCLAIMER : THIS IS ORIGINAL TEAM BIKEADVICE INTELLECT. VIEWS EXPRESSED HERE ARE PERSONAL, AND CERTAINLY NOT FINAL AND BINDING.
There’s an intense buzz building up in the blogosphere; Bajaj seems to be flexing its marketing muscle like it did a decade ago with its “Definitely Male” and “Fear The Black” taglines. It’s a busy year ahead for Mr. Rajiv Bajaj with a slew of planned launches. In the lower reaches of the market, 6 Discovers seem all set to demolish anything that comes in their path, like a giant army of locusts!
However, the True-Goliath-in-the-making is the bike which promises to take the decade-old M-A-N-I-A to newer heights! Speculations are rife that it will attempt to wipe out all the blemishes that marred its earlier and smaller siblings. Still scratching your chin, eh?? It is the much-hyped and much-awaited Pulsar 375 that we are jabbering about.
Eyebrows were raised many weeks back when Mr. Rajiv Bajaj formally spilled the beans on two new, upcoming Pulsars for the fiscal 2013-14. One of them would be a bike smaller than the 200 NS, whereas the other would be nearly double the 200 NS in terms of engine displacement. Here’s what we had posted about this official announcement.
Exactly similar to the lull before a storm, there was a period of remarkable inactivity before a leading media house, AutoCar, came up with a few renderings and actual prototype shots. Internet traffic probably hit a new high that day, and we had to scurry in order to put up the urgent information on our site. Another set of more detailed renderings followed a couple of days later, and needless to say, we jabbed away at our keyboards at a frenetic pace.
We have absolutely no contempt over the fact that Bajaj Auto broke shackles with its naked offering P200 NS. It catapulted Bajaj Auto into the hallowed portals of zesty sport-bike manufacturers. The power-commuter tag was shrugged off, and competitors probably stirred at the sight of a new, revamped Bajaj Auto. Along with its cheeky partner from Austria, Bajaj’s 200 NS completed the initiation process; it was as if Bajaj transited to “Mature Manhood” from “Reckless Adolescence”!
PULSAR 375 : THROUGH THE LOOKING GLASS
True to its “Always Hungry for More” ethos, Bajaj is not cranking down its aggressive steps in the 2-Wheeler Industry. After the P200 NS, the biggest, baddest and meanest Pulsar is about to break cover. Anxious biking aficionados are waiting with bated breaths for updates on this bike, which many would believe is on the cusp of ushering a revolution and changing the landscape, as its smaller brethren did a decade ago.
Do we echo the same view??
We have jotted down our thoughts in the form of a
S-W-O-T analysis. Here you go :-
1.WHAT’S IN A NAME ?
The Crown of the “Most Popular Sport Bike” sits firmly atop Pulsar’s head, adorned with many gems like 47% market share, 1 million Facebook page likes, a decade of utter domination, a killer price tag, and the list could go on.
Pulsar is credited with having changed the preference of us Indians from 100 cc bikes to more larger ones. It could also be labelled as the brand that has single-handedly managed to keep the Japs on their toes, forcing them to provide us with a platter of better choice.
When the brand Pulsar decides to shed its skin to acquire a bulge, we bet it will be watched and followed by a whole nation, no matter how many blemishes the older siblings carried. And this translates into a battle half-won, even before the launch has taken place.
2.PUSH ME FASTER :-
We will make no bones about it, we have got used to our 150 cc and 180 cc offerings. And we want to scale up. That too big-time.
However, in a country hit hard by ballooning inflation and spiraling prices of not-just-fuel-but-all-essential-commodities because of a rowdy clutch of khadi-clad netas who prefer to rest in their Lutyens’ Bungalows rather than attend their call of duty, the KITNA-DETI-HAI factor as well as the sticker price assumes paramount importance for most of us Indians.
We have a problem here. You can’t have your cake and eat it too. Power and fuel-efficiency as well as price tag don’t go hand-in-hand. But India’s youth are not to be bogged down because of the laziness (as well sleaziness) of their leaders. They have to enjoy. ADRENALINE SURGE has to be experienced.
So what’s the way out? Hamara Bajaj, of course! The aggressive pricing strategy of Bajaj will definitely lend more muscle to the P375, and will spawn a whole new generation of venerable “Street Rossis”!!
3.THE F-WORD :-
Be assured, it is not what you are thinking and grinning about!! We are dignified souls at BikeAdvice.
Let’s not beat around the bush, and come to the point straightaway. We Indians are suckers for faired bikes. We love to see them clothed all over the place, and sport bike for many of us means a faired bike. No wonder that the Duke 200 often earns sniggers.
Not just the Duke 200…okay, we will drop a bombshell over here. Hold your breath…unconfirmed reports suggest that the Pulsar 220 still racks up higher sales figures than the Pulsar 200 NS. Mmmm…looks like the Big, Bad Wolf still has a lot of fight left in it.
Reports also suggest that the P200NS isn’t doing as well as it was expected to. And by now, you could have got a hang of where we are leading you to. Yep, the sporty full cowling combined with a name “Pulsar”, they almost seem to be made for each other!!
1.REFINEMENT:- Naysayers still look down on Bajaj’s technology, even after the advent of P200 NS. Add to that user reports of carburetor problems and vibes from the first lot of P200 NS, it seems Bajaj still has to scale the peak, even though it has climbed a long way up.
2.BUILD QUALITY:- Bajaj does fall a notch below when it comes to build quality among all the manufacturers. This gets further compounded by the fact that the P375 will be Bajaj’s baby-steps in the full-faired territory.
This is an area where Bajaj needs to pay extra attention to.
3.SHARED GENE POOL:- Never have the owners of P180 and P220 been a completely pampered lot! Bajaj does splatter all its models with shared parts, and in the process takes away the premium value attached to the bigger siblings.
It remains to be seen if the P375 can shake off this problem or not.
1.THE FASTEST INDIAN, AGAIN :- For a considerable period of time, the P220 was the panacea for avid, hardcore bikers with deep pockets. The oil-cooled mill produced humongous power, and the Projector-Headlamp setup was as good as it could get. Needless to mention, it was the Fastest Indian!
But the relentless onslaught of foreign automakers did thaw quite-a-bit of its territories, and it was forced to be content in a multi-polar landscape.
With this P375, Bajaj could be looking at an encore. Like the restricted Duke 200 being pipped by P200NS in terms of top whack, a Dejá Vu with the Duke 390 might be very much on the cards.
2.THE CHANGE THAT WE WANTED TO SEE:– As stated earlier, 150-180 cc is passé. We need more kick-in-the-seat-of-the-pants. But most of us are pretty much constrained.
That doesn’t mean we, the smartphone-toting and English-speaking youth of India, have to compromise. Bajaj with it’s aggressive pricing strategy, could have the perfect foil for us in the form P375.
3.BAJAJ AS A TRUE MNC:- Time for some corporate jargon, now.
Bajaj Auto might be a strong player in terms of volumes, but it needs a push to go the next level. It needs a kickass product to gain access to the hallowed portals occupied currently by Kawasaki, Honda, Triumph and BMW. To build its reputation around the world, Hamara Bajaj needs to put its best foot forward.
The P375 embodies all that Bajaj needs to gain access to the next level. It may not be the overnight-success that will propel Bajaj up against the biggies, but it may just turn out to be the key that will clear a path for Bajaj’s long and torturous ascent to the zenith.
1.CUT-THROAT COMPETITION:- It’s a rat race!
Not only just Bajaj Pulsar 375, a bevy of launches are scheduled to take place in the coming months. You can have a look at our detailed analysis on the upcoming 250-500 cc bikes here.
The major threat for the P375 will be the challenge thrown at it by the other big bikes in its league. Time alone can tell if the P375 can fend off this threat, or it will succumb to it.
2.BANE OF AN IDENTITY:- Stefan Pierer has himself expressed it, and Rajiv Bajaj also echoed the same view. Long back in 2010-11, we had reported about a possible tri-alliance between the “Awesome Threesome” of Chakan-based Bajaj, Minato-headquartered Kawasaki and Matighöfen Boffins “KTM”.
Seems like those were prophetic words, as these three brands are definitely hell bent on forming a “triangle”, with Bajaj at the base (High volumes, Lower Prices), KTM above it and Kawasaki yet higher (Least volumes, Highest prices). Not only these three, add Husqvarna and Husaberg at the tip of the triangle to form the most premium brand, and we do feel there’s enough reason for you to bookmark our website and keep coming back to us. You can also subscribe to our newsletter!!
Time to get back on track, now!! We are worried about Bajaj losing its identity in the quest of a lower pricing-point. It’s almost like hacking oneself in one’s own feet!! True, pricing is critical but Bajaj should not cling on to the “INEXPENSIVE” tag, and more importantly it should not sacrifice quality on the altar of pricing.
3.A KILLER…or KILLING MACHINE? :- This is not a threat to be faced by the P375 only. This is applicable to all the machines that promise of transferring generous amounts of torque at the rear wheel.
We adore you. You companies, like Kawasaki, Honda, Yamaha….Bajaj too! You give us enough fun in the daily drudgery of our urban lives.
But have you ever given a thought at our creaky infrastructure systems? Our transportation systems and roadways, which are archaic in the true sense. Are they equipped to deal with the speed that your machines are capable of?
Add to that a major chunk of the population which is neither aware of nor intent on learning basic safety procedures like use of helmets and riding gear. Are we all heading towards a steep spurt in accident figures?
Will this nip the plans of P375 in the bud itself? Think. The next level of Street-Danger is gonna be really, really dangerous as you will have a lot lesser time for your reflex actions than you are accustomed to.
Phew!! It was a long piece. Thanks for your patience in going through.
Now, slump back on your chair and roll your eyes as they might have been fatigued by constantly glaring at the screen. When you are done, punch the keyboard and let us know about your opinions in the box below.