MUMBAI: Bajaj Auto Ltd plans to offer entry-level and mid-segment motorcycles in the next three to four months to intensify its rivalry with Hero MotoCorp Ltd and Honda Motorcycle & Scooter India Pvt. Ltd (HMSI).

India’s second-largest motorcycle maker by sales volume hopes that the new products would help to augment its portfolio and also boost marketshare, said Rakesh Sharma, executive director, Bajaj Auto.

“We plan to launch new products based on innovative features. We will target the entry and the middle-level segments with the new launches," Sharma said. He, however, declined to elaborate on the products the company plans to launch this fiscal year.

Motorcycles with 100cc-110cc engines comprise the entry-level category, while 125cc models are termed as executive. Hero and Honda commanded market shares of 72% and 51% each in the 75-110cc and 111cc-125cc motorcycle categories, respectively, in FY19, according to Society of Indian Automobile Manufacturers data.

Bajaj Auto, which took aggressive pricing and product positioning strategies in the 100cc category with its CT and Platina brands, grew its market share from 12.77% in FY18 to 17.13% in FY19.

“The segment that is driving the growth for us is the entry level. We are represented in this category with brands like CT and Platina. Here, we have increased our market share by about six percentage points," said Sharma.

The company says that it sold more than 742,000 units of its 100cc CT model in FY19, posting a 59% rise. Sales of the Platina rose 44% last fiscal to 626,000 units, the company said in it’s official statement.

The entry-level motorcycle category is the most competitive. Smaller players such as Yamaha, Suzuki and Mahindra & Mahindra have exited the category in the recent past, and it currently has only the four top companies: Hero, Honda, TVS Motor and Bajaj Auto.

Bajaj Auto’s market share more than halved in the 125cc category to 2.71% in FY19 from 5.31% in FY18, which the company aims to address with the new products.

“Due to sensitivity of the matter, I won’t be able to divulge specific details. But I can say that we plan to launch meaningful products with value-for-money features to complete our portfolio," Sharma said.

Bajaj Auto recorded a jump of 25% in its total FY19 volumes to about 5.01 million units, its best-ever. It comprised sales of about 4.24 million motorcycles (up 26% YoY) and 782,630 commercial vehicles (up 23% YoY).

“Bajaj Auto is looking to complete its portfolio by filling in the current gaps, which primarily exist in the 100cc-125cc sub-segment. It will do so by launching new bikes this year. The competition in the entry-level bikes will remain heightened between Bajaj Auto and other players. The company is relatively better placed in the two-wheeler market, which is expected to remain subdued this year," said Jinesh Gandhi, auto analyst at Motilal Oswal Securities.

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