Sunday, July 08, 2007

Bajaj Auto plans biking merchandise

Bajaj might soon be doing a Harley-Davidson. Don’t be surprised if you see biker gangs in Bajaj leathers and helmets zipping past you. Biking brotherhood is all set to get a brand new makeover with Bajaj Auto planning to foray into biking merchandise.

The day is not far when Indian highways would witness bikers downing beer at a local dhaba, proudly putting on branded bandanas and riding away into the setting sun, eager to munch lonely miles.

To hammer home the advantage they gleaned from the launch of the class leading Pulsar 220 Bajaj Auto might soon be introducing their new range of riding gear into the market.

With talks of big bikes zooming into the country, this might be the right time for India’s second largest bike maker to stake their claim as a pro-biking (excuse the pun) company.

Industry sources claim that it’s just a matter of time before the company’s premier Probiking showrooms start stocking hi-quality branded accessories such as, riding jackets, gloves and helmets.

Industry watchers believe that this move will be a major branding exercise that will establish the Bajaj brand as a modern and serious motorcycle manufacturer. Establishing its Probiking showrooms was the company’s first move in this direction.

Abroad, the merchandising concept by bike manufacturers already exists with major motorcycle manufacturers such as, Harley-Davidson, Kawasaki, Yamaha, Ducati and Suzuki among others, having their own range of biking accessories.

Motorcycle merchandising is serious business for bike manufacturers because it not only ensures brand loyalty and but it also cultivates a devoted fan following for the manufacturer. Cult brands like Harley-Davidson even have phone covers, dartboards and jewellery sold under their banner.

In India this would be the first move by any bike manufacturer. When contacted, this is all a Bajaj spokesperson would say, “This is speculative.” But like everything, the concept of biking is changing in the country. Bike enthusiasts are slowly but surely waking up to the concept of leisure riding. The demand for bigger bikes is on the rise.

And moreover, India is currently the world’s second largest two wheeler manufacturer, churning out 84,44,168 units (source: SIAM) in 2006-07. India also boasts the youngest population in the world. Hence, there is no question about potential for manufacturers.

And Bajaj has always shaken and stirred the market with noticeable shifts towards clutter breaking strategies and performance oriented products. With most major manufacturers planning follow suit by roping in their higher capacity motorcycles as flagship models, Bajaj just might have found a way to be a mile ahead in the race.

Source:- Economictimes.indiatimes