Company Analysis: Bajaj Auto Ltd.
Double-digit growth in two-wheeler market.
Untapped market above 180 cc in motorcycles.
More maturity and movement towards higher-end motorcycles.
The growing gearless trendy scooters and scooterette market.
Growing world demand for entry-level motorcycles especially in emerging markets.
The Inevitable Change
Bajaj on internal analysis found that it lacked -
1. The technical expertise to deliver competitive goods.
2. The design know-how.
3. And the immediate inability to support the onslaught of competitors.
All these forced Bajaj to look for an international partner who could bring in technology and also offer some basic platforms to be manufactured and marketed in India. Kawasaki of Japan is a world-renowned manufacturer of high performance bikes. Bajaj entered into a strategic tie-up with Kawasaki in late 1990s to enhance its product line and knowledge up-gradation to support long-term strategies.
This served the purpose of sustaining the market competition for a while. From 1996 to 2000, Bajaj invested hugely in infrastructure while simultaneously developing product design and innovation capabilities, which is the prime reason behind the energetic Bajaj of 21st century. Bajaj introduced a slew of products right from entry-level motorcycle to the high premium segment right from 2001 onwards, and since then its raining success all the way for Bajaj.
Last quarter, Bajaj had impressive performance growing at a rate of 20%+ when the largest manufacturer grew at just 6%. This stands a testimony to the various important strategic decisions over the past decade.
Tows Matrix for BAL
The focus of BAL off late has been on providing the best of the class models at competitive prices. Most of the Bajaj models come loaded with the latest features within the price band acceptable by the market. BAL has been the pioneer in stretching competition into providing latest features in the price segment by updating the low price bikes with the latest features like disk-brakes, anti-skid technology and dual suspension, etc.
BAL adopted different marketing strategies for different models, few of them are discussed below: -
Kawasaki 4S - First attempt by bajaj to make a mark in the motorcycle segment. The target customer was the father in the family but the target audience of the commercial was the son in the family. The time at which Kawasaki 4S was launched Hero Honda was the market leader in fuel-efficient bikes and Yamaha in the performance bikes.
The commercial of Kawasaki 4S had the punch line "Kyun Hero" means "now what hero" which reflected the aggressiveness in the marketing front by the company.
Boxer - It took the reins from where the Kawasaki 4S left. Target was the rural population and the price sensitive customer. Boxer marketed as a value for money bike with great mileage. Larger wheelbase, high ground clearance and high mileage were the selling factors and it was in direct competition to Hero Honda Dawn and Suzuki MX100.
Caliber - The focus for the Caliber 115 was youth. And though Bajaj made the bike look bigger and feel more powerful than its predecessor (characteristics that will attract the average, 25-plus, executive segment bike buyer), its approach towards advertising is even more radically different this time around. Bajaj gave the mandate for the ad campaign to Lowe, picking them from the clique of three agencies that do promos for the company (the other two being Leo Burnett and O&M). Going by the initial market response, the campaign was clearly a hit in the 5-10 years age bracket. So, the teaser campaign and the emphasis on the Caliber 115 being a `Hoodibabaa' bike placed it as a trendy motorcycle for the college-goers and the 25 plus executives both at the same time.