Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Bajaj to drop its name on its products from April

The two-wheeler industry though is going strong on numbers count is undergoing some radical changes. While the recent big news making split of Hero and Honda would result in Hero going solo, its major competitor in the home market Bajaj is now reportedly decided to drop its name from its products.

According to a report in the business daily Business Standard, the move is initiated by the Managing director Rajiv Bajaj himself will see the family name from the group flagship company’s products, showrooms and service centers. It was mentioned that company would bank only on its two strong brands Pulsars and Discovers and the rebranding exercise will see the removal of the Bajaj name which has so far had a pride of place in all its products, showrooms and service centers for over five decades. The report stated that the company has decided to overhaul its distribution set-up and rename all its consumer touch points to just Pulsar or Discover, its two most successful bikes. Dealers are already on board on the idea. It was also reported that Fitch, an international retail design agency, will be in charge of the project. It was mentioned that in India, Fitch has worked with entities such as the Aditya Birla Group, Boeing, Reliance ADAG, Tata Group, Microsoft and Vodafone, to name a few.

It was mentioned in the report that the move would certainly be a first by an Indian automotive company, which otherwise relies heavily on family names to promote its vehicles like Tata, Mahindra and TVS. The report quoted Bajaj as saying ``actually I don’t want that name. We have already started the process so today on a Pulsar, the Bajaj name is seen only on the engine. The same is the case with Discover. Our three-wheeler has Bajaj in small font while the initial ‘RE’ is in much bigger font. One day, we will drop the Bajaj name from there also completely.”

The report mentioned that it was not the first time such strategy has been used in international markets. It was mentioned that Germany’s Volkswagen or Japan’s Toyota Motor Corporation which has multiple brands that are promoted heavily without the company’s name. In the same way, Bajaj’s premier motorcycle brand Pulsar (launched in 2001) will continue to strengthen its image as a sporty and performance-oriented affordable motorcycle without banking on the Bajaj name. The Pulsar's younger sibling Discover (launched in 2004) has been promoted as a high mileage, family bike. The report stated that according to the company both these brands are well established in the domestic market with loyal customers and no longer need the support of an umbrella brand like Bajaj Auto.

“Consumers know that the product is coming from Bajaj, just like I know my Audi is coming from Volkswagen. But there is no Volkswagen on the Audi product. This creates a perception that there is something more in the product” Bajaj said according to the report. It was mentioned that although the communication exercise through sales outlets to its prospective buyers will begin in three months, the company has already phased out the Bajaj branding from most of its products.

“I will make all efforts to make the bike a Pulsar and not a Bajaj. I will have Boxer, Discover and Pulsar and tomorrow KTM. There is no Bajaj name on any of them. People will still remember this comes from Bajaj, but this too will go away with time. After five to 10 years, customers will remember Pulsar and Discover and not Bajaj”, he was quoted as saying. The report mentioned that a model dealership-based new plan will be launched in some regions where existing dealers can experience the changes before they invest to employ a similar transformation. According to the report, the entire exercise will cost the 600-odd dealers and 1,100 service centres around Rs 21 crore collectively. The upgradation programme will also be extended to the next generation of motorcycles comprising KTM, Kawasaki and Bajaj models that would be launched this year.

No comments:

Post a Comment