Bajaj kills 'Bajaj' from its models

There is a quote that goes like “Trust is the easiest thing in the world to loose and the hardest thing in the world to get back”. Perhaps it’s time for people, or rather companies, to remember that quote. Bajaj, the iconic Indian brand, which enjoys blind trust, unmatched respect and unflattering loyalty of thousands of our countrymen is slowly fading into oblivion. When Mr. Rajiv Bajaj said that Bajaj brand will cease to exist in automobiles in a candid interview last year, most of us, myself included, would not have imagined that the end of Bajaj would start so soon.

I completely admire and adore Mr. Rajiv Bajaj for the way in which he turned around ‘Bajaj’, the erstwhile scooter manufacturer into a powerhouse of motorcycles. The Pulsars and Discovers that you see in millions on Indian roads is a testimony for that. While it’s true that our market is predominantly ruled by motorcycles, scooters are not a segment to be totally abandoned. Ask Honda, whose Activa is still its biggest seller by a huge margin.

So, when Bajaj decided to completely quit the scooter segment which it ruled undisputedly for decades, it not only signaled the end of a product, but also the end of a legacy – a legacy which tickled the heart strings of generations of Indian families who have dreamt of, grown up with, driven, owned and loved the ‘Chetak’, a true classic and an icon of our times. Heck, even its ad campaign - the sensational and touching ‘Hamara Bajaj’ would never get out of our memories.

It was this legacy of ‘Bajaj’, strengthened by the Chetak and immortalized by the Hamara Bajaj campaign, that made people queue up for the Pulsars and Discovers initially, when they were all-new. And it is exactly the same legacy which Mr. Rajiv Bajaj wants to chop off from the company’s future products, the prime reason cited being the ‘Bajaj’ name associated with diversified products ranging from electricals to insurance to automobiles.

It is hard to believe that this process has already started with the Pulsars and Discovers coming out without the Bajaj badge or stickers for quite some time now. KTM and Boxer, the company’s future models would also follow the same trend and all these will evolve into separate entities and sub-brands, as per the statement issued by the company. Even the dealerships would be remodeled without the name ‘Bajaj’ appearing anywhere, though I am quite unsure about how this is going to work out.

However it may be, critics have, as always, voiced their opinions both for and against this move by Bajaj. I, for one, hope and wish that this move doesn’t backfire but turns out to be yet another bold, strategic and successful decision in the growth-path of ‘Bajaj’. Oops, I forgot, growth-path of the (what should I call it) company.

No comments:

Post a Comment