Bajaj Auto Says Two-Wheeler Demand Remains Stressed
At a time domestic demand revived for cars, it doesn’t seem to be improving for the two-wheeler segment.
“Unfortunately, I would say the demand is stressed,” Rakesh Sharma, executive director at Bajaj Auto Ltd., told BloombergQuint on the sidelines of the launch of the Pulsar 250. “We are in the middle of the festive season, but it’s a lukewarm festival, compared to the same days last year.”
Citing data from the states that have completed their festive sales, Sharma said cash sales were slow, retail finance sales were faster, and the rural and metro areas were down. Bajaj Auto’s inventory levels are at seven-eight weeks.
Demand for two-wheelers, especially entry-levels, have been under pressure over the last two years. That’s because of the introduction of anti-lock braking systems and transition to BS-VI emission standards, causing the prices to spike. Rising fuel and raw material costs worsened the pain.
But Bajaj Auto, which launched a new version of its most famous motorcycle Pulsar as a 250 variant, or Pulsar 250cc, is now looking to widen its customer base with this. “The first outreach is to the existing franchise, and the second is to bring 250cc into mainstream motorcycling,” he said. The company aims to widen the 250cc segment overall.
The company saw sales increase 11% sequentially to 11.44 lakh units in the July-September period. That helped its profit and revenue to rise over the preceding three months, as well as beat estimates.
Supply Shortage Dents EV Push
Bajaj Auto, which forayed into the electric scooter segment with its classic scooter brand Chetak in 2019, continues to grapple with supply-side constraints.
While the firm has three-four months of orders for e-Chetak, output remains restricted on account of lower component supply, Sharma said. “We have been trying to strike a balance between the temptations of going all-India and have a huge order book or saturating one city with all the supplies we can get a hold on.”
The company is looking at the next avatar of Chetak, working on e-micro-mobility with Yulu, and on high-end electric motorbikes with KTM.
Watch the full interaction here: