Two Wheeler Industry Overview India is the second largest producer and manufacturer of two-wheelers in the world. Indian two-wheeler industry has got spectacular growth in the last few years. Indian two-wheeler industry had a small beginning in the early 50’s. The Automobile Products of India (API) started manufacturing scooters in the country. Bikes are a major segment of Indian two wheeler industry, the other two being scooters and mopeds. Indian companies are among the largest two-wheeler manufacturers in the world. Hero Honda and Bajaj Auto are two of the Indian companies that top the list of world companies manufacturing two-wheelers.
The two-wheeler market was opened to foreign companies in the mid 1980s. The openness of Indian market to foreign companies lead to the arrival of new models of two-wheelers into India. Easy availability of loans from the banks, relatively low rate of interest and the discount of prices offered by the dealers and manufacturers lead to the increasing demand for two-wheeler vehicles in India. This lead to the strong growth of Indian automobile industry. Kinetic Honda was introduced in the Indian market during the mid 80s. The main feature of Kinetic Honda is its ease of use.
This helped the youngsters and the women to buy scooters. Key players in the Two-wheeler Industry : After facing its worst recession during the early 1990s, the two-wheeler industry bounced back with a 25% increase in volume sales in February 1995. The scooters are considered as family vehicles. There are many two-wheeler manufacturers in India. Major players in the 2-wheeler industry are Hero Honda Motors Ltd (HHML), Bajaj Auto Ltd (Bajaj Auto) and TVS Motor Company Ltd (TVS). The other key players in the two-wheeler industry are Kinetic Motor Company Ltd (KMCL), Kinetic Engineering Ltd (KEL), LML Ltd (LML), Yamaha Motors
India Ltd (Yamaha), Majestic Auto Ltd (Majestic Auto), Royal Enfield Ltd (REL) and Honda Motorcycle & Scooter India (P) Ltd (HMSI). Types of Two-wheelers in India : There are mainly three types of two-wheelers available in India. They are Motorcycles, Scooters and Scooterettes/Mopeds. Motorcycles in India : Bikes comprise a major segment of Indian two wheeler industry. Company : Bajaj Auto LtdCompany : HERO HONDA * Bajaj Avenger * Bajaj CT 100 * Bajaj Platina * Bajaj Discover DTSi * Bajaj Pulsar DTSi * Bajaj Wave * Bajaj Wind 125 * Sonic DTSi* Hero Honda Achiever * Hero Honda CD Dawn * Hero Honda CD Deluxe Hero Honda Glamour * Hero Honda Glamour-Fi * Hero Honda Karizma * Hero Honda Passion Plus * Hero Honda Pleasure * Hero Honda Super Splendor * Hero Honda Splendor NXG * Hero Honda CBZ X-Treme Company : Kinetic Motor CompanyCompany : TVS MOTORCompany : Yamaha Motor India * Kinetic Aquila * Kinetic Boss * Kinetic Challenger * Kinetic Comet * Kinetic GF * Kinetic Stryker * Kinetic Velocity* TVS Apache * TVS Centra * TVS Fiero * TVS Star * TVS Victor* Yamaha CruxS * Yamaha G5 * Yamaha Gladiator Scooters in India : The scooter and the scooterette share in the Indian two wheeler market is 13. 4%.
The main models available in India are Bajaj Chetak, Honda Eterno, Kinetic Blaze, LML NV SPL and LML Select II. Scooterettes/Mopeds : TVS Motors launched India’s first 50cc, 2 seater moped: TVS Moped 50. TVS also launched India’s first indigenous scooterette: Scooty in 1994. This segment has about one-fourth share in the Indian two wheeler industry. The major models available in India are Bajaj Wave, Bajaj Kristal DTSi, Bajaj Blade DTSi, Hero Honda Pleasure, Kinetic Kine, Kinetic 4S, Kinetic Nova, Kinetic Zoom, Kinetic V2 Range, Kinetic King 100, Kinetic Luna Super, Kinetic Luna TFR, Yo Smart, Honda Dio, Honda Activa, TVS Scooty and TVS XL.
Bajaj Automobile Ltd. Bajaj Auto Ltd. (BAL) is one of the oldest and the largest manufacturer of automobiles in India and has been the market leader in scooters. In 1990s, the near monopolistic market structure, perhaps, lulled the company into being complacent and they gave way to the competitors like Hero Honda and TVS. Hero Honda and TVS Suzuki tied up with foreign majors to bring in the latest in terms of aesthetics and technology, and Bajaj failed to gauge the changing tastes of consumers. In 1990s, there was a marked shift in customer preference from scooters to motorcycles.
Bajaj found itself at a loss here, as this was largely an unchartered territory. Here in this work, I started with the industry analysis, company analysis, portfolio analysis, and then moved on to exploring the strategies adopted by BAL to reinvent itself and once again become a market force to reckon with in the Indian two-wheeler industry. The Company Bajaj Auto is the flagship of the Bajaj Group of Companies. Bajaj is currently India’s largest two- and three-wheeler manufacturer and one of the biggest in the world. Bajaj has long left behind its annual turnover of Rs. 2 million (1968), to currently register an impressive figure of Rs. 81. 06 billion. Current Situation & Current Performance BAL is currently outperforming the industry growth rate in two-wheeler segment with 32% growth in year 2004-05 v/s industry growth of 19%. Market share in Motorcycles is improving with every passing year. It has also increased from 28% in 2004-05 to 31% in 2005-06. Annual turnover for the year 2005-06 is Rs. 81. 06 billion v/s Rs. 63. 23 billion a year before – an increase of 28% which is very healthy.
BAL has significant presence in all the three basic segments – Price Segment, Value Segment and Performance Segment – and has been showing increased sales in all the segments over years. Besides this, BAL is a market leader in two-wheeler exports and it consists a great chunk of there overall revenues. Currently, BAL is selling over 1 lac motorcycles annually in Sri Lanka, further, they are commanding 50% market share in Central America. Profile Change in Indian Two-Wheeler Industry The demand shift from scooters to motorcycles in the 1990s was without parallel in any comparable product category in India.
This was mainly attributed to the change in customers’ preference towards fuel-efficient and aesthetically appealing models, which scooter manufacturers failed to provide. The delayed launch of new, advanced scooter models, fear of four-stroke scooters being prone to increased skidding risks and vibrations, and the difficulty of maintenance also contributed to this shift. Interestingly, the growth in the motorcycle segment was mainly driven by the demand from rural and semi-urban consumers. An estimated 60% of the demand for motorcycles came from rural and semi-urban customers.
The rise in their disposable incomes on account of good monsoons in the 1990s provided the normally conservative rural and semi-urban customers with extra money that induced them to experiment with new, innovative products. Shift from Scooter to Motorcycle Advanced technology, larger wheelbase, higher ground clearance and the ability to ride on bad roads with less effort and less danger of skidding and decreased maintenance cost were the other factors that encouraged customers to choose motorbikes over other two-wheelers. The Industry Analysis – Five Forces Analysis External Environment
Industry: Automobiles: Two Wheelers Segments: Presence in all segments Entry Barriers: Entry barriers are high. The market runs on high economies of scale and on high economies of scope. The need for technical expertise is high. Owning a strong distribution network is important and is very costly. All these make the barrier high enough to be a deterrent for new entrants. Supplier Bargaining Power: Suppliers of auto components are fragmented and are extremely critical for this industry since most of the component work is outsourced. Proper supply chain management is a costly yet critical need.
Buyer’s Bargaining Power: Buyers in automobile market have more choice to choose from and the increasing competition is driving the bargaining power of customers uphill. With more models to choose from in almost all categories, the market forces have empowered the buyers to a large extent. Industry Rivalry: The industry rivalry is extremely high with any product being matched in a few months by competitor. This instinct of the industry is primarily driven by the technical capabilities acquired over years of gestation under the technical collaboration with international players.
Substitutes: There is no perfect substitute to this industry. Also, if there is any substitute to a two-wheeler, Bajaj has presence in it. Cars, which again are a mode of transport, do never directly compete or come in consideration while selecting a two-wheeler, cycles do never even compete with the low entry level moped for even this choice comes at a comparatively higher economic potential. Summarizing the industry analysis, it can be said that the two-wheeler market is attractive as it scores well on three out of five categories.
Key Earnings Drivers Below are the key factors, which strongly affect the auto industry: – Government policy impact on petrol prices: Petrol prices determine the running cost of two/three wheelers expressed in Rupees per kilometer. Petrol prices are the highest in India as GOI subsidizes kerosene and diesel. But with the recent change in GOI policy to reduce the subsidy, the prices of petrol will remain constant at the current prices. This will have a positive effect on purchases of two/three wheelers.
Improvement in disposable income: With the increase in salary levels, due to entry of multinationals following liberalization process and fifth pay commission, the disposable income has improved exponentially over the years. This will have multiplier effect on demand for consumer durables including two-wheelers. Changes in prices of second-hand cars: The second hand car prices of small cars have come down sharply in the recent past. This will shift the demand from higher-end two-wheelers to cars and affect the demand for two-wheelers negatively.
A further drop in second-hand car prices will lead to pressure on the two-wheeler majors who plan to release higher-end scooters and motorcycles. Implementation of mass transport system: Many states have planned to implement mass transport systems in state capitals in the future. This will have negative impact on demand for two-wheelers in the long run. But taking into account the delays involved in implementation of such large infrastructure projects the demand to be affected only five to seven years down the line.
Availability of credit for vehicle purchase: The availability and cost of finance affects the demand for two- and three-wheelers as the trend for increased credit purchases for consumer durables have increased over the years. Therefore, any change with respect to any of these two parameters as a result of change in RBI policy has to be closely watched to assess the demand for two- and three-wheelers. Internal Factors – Strengths & Weaknesses SWOT Analysis Let’s analyze the position of Bajaj in the current market set-up, evaluating its strengths, weaknesses, threats and opportunities available.
Strengths: Highly experienced management. Product design and development capabilities. Extensive R & D focus. Widespread distribution network. High performance products across all categories. High export to domestic sales ratio. Great financial support network (For financing the automobile) High economies of scale. High economies of scope. Weaknesses: Hasn’t employed the excess cash for long. Still has no established brand to match Hero Honda’s Splendor in commuter segment. Not a global player in spite of huge volumes. Not a globally recognizable brand (unlike the JV partner Kawasaki) Threats:
The competition catches-up any new innovation in no time. Threat of cheap imported motorcycles from China. Margins getting squeezed from both the directions (Price as well as Cost) TATA Ace is a serious competition for the three-wheeler cargo segment. Opportunities: Double-digit growth in two-wheeler market. Untapped market above 180 cc in motorcycles. More maturity and movement towards higher-end motorcycles. The growing gearless trendy scooters and scooterette market. Growing world demand for entry-level motorcycles especially in emerging markets. The Inevitable Change Bajaj on internal analysis found that it lacked – . The technical expertise to deliver competitive goods. 2. The design know-how. 3. And the immediate inability to support the onslaught of competitors. All these forced Bajaj to look for an international partner who could bring in technology and also offer some basic platforms to be manufactured and marketed in India. Kawasaki of Japan is a world-renowned manufacturer of high performance bikes. Bajaj entered into a strategic tie-up with Kawasaki in late 1990s to enhance its product line and knowledge up-gradation to support long-term strategies. This served the purpose of sustaining the market competition for a while.
From 1996 to 2000, Bajaj invested hugely in infrastructure while simultaneously developing product design and innovation capabilities, which is the prime reason behind the energetic Bajaj of 21st century. Bajaj introduced a slew of products right from entry-level motorcycle to the high premium segment right from 2001 onwards, and since then its raining success all the way for Bajaj. Last quarter, Bajaj had impressive performance growing at a rate of 20%+ when the largest manufacturer grew at just 6%. This stands a testimony to the various important strategic decisions over the past decade. Marketing Strategies
Tows Matrix for BAL The focus of BAL off late has been on providing the best of the class models at competitive prices. Most of the Bajaj models come loaded with the latest features within the price band acceptable by the market. BAL has been the pioneer in stretching competition into providing latest features in the price segment by updating the low price bikes with the latest features like disk-brakes, anti-skid technology and dual suspension, etc. BAL adopted different marketing strategies for different models, few of them are discussed below: – Kawasaki 4S – First attempt by bajaj to make a mark in the motorcycle segment.
The target customer was the father in the family but the target audience of the commercial was the son in the family. The time at which Kawasaki 4S was launched Hero Honda was the market leader in fuel-efficient bikes and Yamaha in the performance bikes. The commercial of Kawasaki 4S had the punch line “Kyun Hero” means “now what hero” which reflected the aggressiveness in the marketing front by the company. Boxer – It took the reins from where the Kawasaki 4S left. Target was the rural population and the price sensitive customer. Boxer marketed as a value for money bike with great mileage.
Larger wheelbase, high ground clearance and high mileage were the selling factors and it was in direct competition to Hero Honda Dawn and Suzuki MX100. Caliber – The focus for the Caliber 115 was youth. And though Bajaj made the bike look bigger and feel more powerful than its predecessor (characteristics that will attract the average, 25-plus, executive segment bike buyer), its approach towards advertising is even more radically different this time around. Bajaj gave the mandate for the ad campaign to Lowe, picking them from the clique of three agencies that do promos for the company (the other two being Leo Burnett and O&M).
Going by the initial market response, the campaign was clearly a hit in the 5-10 years age bracket. So, the teaser campaign and the emphasis on the Caliber 115 being a `Hoodibabaa’ bike placed it as a trendy motorcycle for the college-goers and the 25 plus executives both at the same time. Pulsar – Pulsar was launched in direct competition to the Hero Honda’s ‘CBZ’ model in 150 cc plus segment. The campaign beared innovative punch line of “Definitely Male” positioning Pulsar to be a masculine-looking model with an appeal to the performance sensitive customers.
The Pulsar went one step ahead of Hero Honda’s ‘CBZ’ and launched a twin variant of Pulsar with the 180 cc model. The model was a great success and has already crossed 1 million mark in sales. Discover – The same DTSI technology of Pulsar extended to 125 cc Discover was a great success. With this, Bajaj could realize its success riding on the back of technological innovation rather than the joint venture way followed by competitors to gain market share. Strategies & Implementation FMCG Business Model BAL now is taking a leaf out of the FMCG business model to take the company to greater heights.
Bajaj has kicked off a project to completely restructure the company’s retail network and create multiple sales channels. Over the next few months, the company will set-up separate sales channels for every segment of its business and consumers. Bajaj Auto’s entire product portfolio, from the entry-level to the premium, is being sold by the same dealers. The restructuring will involve separate dealer networks catering to the urban and rural markets as well as its three-wheeler and premium bikes segments. Bajaj Auto also plans to set-up an independent network of dealers for the rural areas.
The needs of financing, selling, distribution and even after-sales service are completely different in the rural areas and do not makes sense for city dealers to control this. The company also plans to set-up exclusive dealerships for its three-wheeler products instead of having them sold through an estimated 300 of its existing dealers. Other Strategic Issues Cash is strength: Bajaj Auto has been sitting on a cash pile for over five years now. Over the next couple of years, competition in the two-wheeler market is set to intensify. TVS Motors and Hero Honda are on a product expansion binge.
To fight this battle and retain its hard-earned market share in the motorcycle segment, Bajaj Auto will need its cash muscle. A look at its own story over the past five years provides valuable insight. Delisting worry: What is worrying is that there is an idea to delist the investment company (also an indirect indication that it would be listed initially). This would be closing the valve of equitable ownership distribution. There is a hint of a buyback of shares of the investment company as this is the only way it can be delisted. The company would not be short of cash to put through such a buyback.
Factors such as low valuation, low trading interest and the need to provide shareholders may be cited as plausible reasons for the buyback. Stake for Kawasaki: Bajaj Auto’s attempt to vest the surplus cash in a separate company may be a prelude to offering a stake to Kawasaki of Japan in the equity of the automobile company. The latter has been playing an increasingly active role in Bajaj’s recent models, and its brand name is also more visible in Bajaj bikes than in the past. Better value proposition: Shareholder interests may be better served if the cash is retained to pursue growth in a tough market.
This would also obviate the need to fork-out fancy sums as stamp duty to the government for the de-merger. A combination of a large one-time dividend and a regular buyback program through the tender route may offer better value. A strategic stake for Kawasaki would only positively influence the stock’s valuation. Strategies for the Overseas Markets Bajaj Auto looks at external markets primarily with three strategies: – 1) A market where all BAL need to do is distribute through CKD or CBU routes. 2) Markets where BAL need to create new products. ) Markets where BAL need to enter with existing products and probably with a good distributor or a production facility or a joint venture. Earlier, most of the products that Bajaj exported were scooters and some motorcycles. However, in its target markets, like in India, the shift was towards motorcycles. With the expansion in Bajaj’s own range to almost five-six platforms of motorcycles, it had a better offering to export, also the reason for its stronger showing. For the last fiscal, 60 per cent of its exports were two-wheelers and the rest three-wheelers.
Of the two-wheeler exports, close to 90 per cent were motorcycles. Bajaj has identified certain key markets, which hold potential. Its first overseas office established at the Jebel Ali free trade zone has been the focal point for exports to middle Africa and the Saharan nations. Egypt and Iran also continue to be strong markets for Bajaj. The other market, which would be a focus area, is South America, where the company feels it is fairly well represented in most countries, except in Brazil, the largest market.
The company recently participated in a large auto exhibition in Brazil and found good consumer acceptance to products like Pulsar and Wind 125. The other focus area is the ASEAN nations, which constitute the third biggest consumer of two-wheelers. The biggest among them is Indonesia, where Bajaj distributors are looking to introduce eco-friendly four-stroke auto rickshaws. But two-wheeler market requires great deal of effort from BAL. Everybody is there with Honda leading the show. There’s Suzuki, Kawasaki and some Korean and Chinese models. BAL should look at the right product mix for two-wheelers.
Bajaj’s Pulsar model has taken off well there. It also wants to develop a new step-through model for the Indonesian market, but for now it will create a base there with its motorcycle models. Bajaj has also made a beginning by selling bikes in the Philippines branded in the name of its technical partner, Kawasaki. The two signed an MoU in February. Kawasaki, a large multi-product conglomerate, only makes high-end bikes and does not have sub-200cc models. Kawasaki is marketing the new model, Wind 125, developed by both companies, in the Philippines.
The Bajaj-developed models, Caliber and Byk, which is a fuel-efficient bike, are also being distributed by Kawasaki. This is a good beginning strategically for Kawasaki to evince interest in Bajaj products for markets which can still buy less than 150 cc. R&D Bajaj Auto has a huge, extensive and very well-equipped Research and Development wing geared to meet two critical organizational goals: development of exciting new products that anticipate and meet emerging customer needs in India and abroad, and development of eco-friendly automobile technologies.
While the manpower strength of the R&D represents a cross-section of in-depth design and engineering expertise, the company has also been investing heavily in the latest, sophisticated technologies to scale down product development lifecycles and enhance testing capabilities. Bajaj Auto R&D also enjoys access to the specialized expertise of leading international design and automobile engineering companies working in specific areas. Based on their own brand of globalization, they have built their distribution network over 60 countries worldwide and multiplied the exports from 1% of total turnover in Fiscal 1989-90 to over 5% in Fiscal 1996-97.
The countries where their products have a large market are USA, Argentina, Colombia, Peru, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Italy, Sweden, Germany, Iran and Egypt. Bajaj leads Colombia with 65% of the scooter market, in Uruguay with 30% of the motorcycle market and in Bangladesh with 95% of the three-wheeler market. Several new models are being developed specifically for global markets and with these the company will progressively endeavor to establish its presence in Europe too. The Future
Although the avalanche of motorcycles offered Indian consumers a wide variety of models to choose from, it also resulted in increased pressure on the companies to concentrate on cost-cuts, technology enhancements and up-gradations and styling. Their margins came under pressure as marketing costs escalated. The companies were forced to reduce prices and offer discounts to survive the competition. Moreover, analysts were skeptical about the segment’s ability to maintain the growth rate in the years to come.
One of the major assumptions underlying the motorcycles rush was that if the market was considerably large and was growing at a constant pace, there was room for a profitable existence for all brands. In 2001, there were over 30 motorcycle brands in the market. However, with the top five brands accounting for more than 60% of the market, only 40% of the market was available for all other new brands put together. Despite the launch of more vehicles, the survival prospects of many of the individual brands were deemed to be rather bleak.
Further, the growth in the motorcycle segment was dependant on continuing favorable market conditions. Analysts claimed that to sustain this growth rate, the segment would have to completely cannibalize the market for scooters and a considerable part of the market for scooterettes and mopeds. Considering the fast growing scooterettes segment, with high demand from female customers, followed by the moderately growing moped segment and the restructuring in the scooter segment with major national and foreign players reinforcing their presence, it was unlikely that the entire growth in the wo-wheeler sector would be due to motorcycles. Analysts also commented that as the two-wheeler industry had grown steadily for eight years, stages in the product life cycle would apply to the field sooner, rather than later and the decline stage would invariably come some day. There was little differentiation between the brands being launched apart from styling as most companies had introduced their four-stroke vehicles.
With the failure of the joint ventures, the expected introduction of cheaper Chinese brands, stringent emission norms and threat from major international players, the survival of indigenous brands looked uncertain. Constrained with the ruling price levels in the market place, limited infrastructure and lack of technological innovations when compared to their foreign counterparts, whether the Indian companies would succeed in generating the kind of volumes needed to sustain in the competitive motorcycle market, remains to be seen.
Recommendations Focus on High Margin Products: Around 50% of the two-wheeler consumers buy high quality products (products of executive and premium segment motorcycles). Margins on these products are higher. BAL should adopt a deliberate strategy of focusing on executive and premium segment motorcycles and three-wheelers, and is reducing its dependence on lower-end of motorcycles and scooters segment. High margin products – Pulsar, Discover, Three-wheelers, Avenger. Low margin products – Platina, Scooters, Mopeds.
Now with increasing competition in the economy segment and limited scope from cost saving measures, it is believed this strategy of focusing on higher margin products would enable the company in retaining its operating margins. Below are other useful recommendations: – Company should keep focusing on the fast growing motorcycle segment. In view of the new threat posed by Honda Motors in the scooter segment, the company needs to review its products line-up and launch new products to cater the changed demand.
The company needs to take a look at its ungeared scooters offerings and need to adapt to the latest trends. The company needs to tap the export market more efficiently as there is a huge potential to make India as the world’s two-wheelers production base. For this, it needs to look for joint ventures abroad. It needs to target the young age group more effectively as this group is extremely trend savvy. The advertising should have a fresh look and the product should live up to the Gen-X’s expectations.