Rajiv Bajaj, the Managing Director of Bajaj Auto Ltd, has hinted at the possibility of introducing an entry-level CNG (Compressed Natural Gas) motorcycle as a cost-effective alternative to counter the soaring petrol prices. In an interview with CNBC-TV18, Bajaj shared his insights on this innovative approach to address the financial burden faced by individuals due to escalating fuel costs.
He expressed the notion that a CNG-powered Bajaj motorcycle, capable of significantly reducing the running expenses for riders, could be a viable solution, especially with support from the government. Bajaj’s vision appears to align with the need for more fuel-efficient transportation options, given the ongoing surge in petrol prices.
The economic challenges brought about by the pandemic, coupled with job losses and the relentless rise in petrol prices, have impacted entry-level buyers. Bajaj emphasized that these buyers are currently reluctant to make a return to the market. The 100cc motorcycle segment, which caters to entry-level buyers, continues to face considerable pressure across the industry.
Bajaj Auto’s product lineup predominantly consists of bikes with engine capacities exceeding 125cc, comprising over 70% of its sales volumes. However, recognizing the importance of addressing the needs of entry-level buyers, Bajaj Auto offers seven bike models within the 100 to 125cc range. These motorcycles are priced between ₹67,000 and ₹107,000, making them accessible to a wide range of consumers.
In addition to contemplating the CNG motorcycle concept, Bajaj Auto has already announced plans for the launch of six upgraded models and a new Pulsar model in the current year. These initiatives aim to refresh the product portfolio and cater to evolving customer preferences. Rajiv Bajaj also pointed out the diminishing interest in conventional fuel-based bikes, attributing this trend to the growing popularity of electric vehicles (EVs). As EVs gain momentum in the market, traditional fuel-powered motorcycles face increased competition and shifting consumer preferences.
Bajaj Auto’s sales performance in August reflected these challenges, with a 20% decline in total two-wheeler sales compared to the same period the previous year. However, the company did witness a 2% increase in two-wheeler exports during the same month, highlighting the global demand for their products. Bajaj Auto’s potential introduction of a CNG-powered entry-level motorcycle demonstrates their commitment to offering innovative solutions in response to evolving market dynamics and consumer needs. As the automotive industry navigates the transition towards cleaner and more sustainable mobility options, Bajaj Auto remains poised to adapt and continue delivering value to its customers. Please note that while the concept has been discussed, the actual launch of such a bike is still under consideration.