How Bajaj Pulsar sold 1.2 Cr bikes?
Lessons for EV companies.
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Bajaj Pular was an experiment. Till date 1.2 Crore Baja Pulsars have been sold & is a 42% market share model in affordable sports bike segment. What's behind the massive success & what can EV companies learn 👇🏻
Quick context 📆
Bajaj Pulsar's age was different. When it launched most Indians were not looking at YouTube/ Bike review websites before buying a two-wheeler
Facebook didn’t exist — no paid ads in 2001.
Internet/ smartphones didn't exist for most Indians.
Marketing channels = Newspapers / TV / Billboards.
How did Bajaj sell 1.2Cr+ units of Pulsar in the last 20 years? It’s a masterclass for creating and owning your category with price & positioning!
1/ The irresistible young men pitch 🧍🏻♂️
Royal Enfiled targeted the "macho" men category. This meant Pulsar had to pick a whitespace of young college-going boys/ young adults.
Core insight - make young men the symbol of being irresistible to young women. Bajaj Pulsar's association became "Definitely Male".
2/ Product feature for "riding thrill" & the Dhoom effect 🏍
When Pulsar entered, the Hero CBZ was still around & had a solid grip on the market. Pulsar's five-speed gearbox on the 150 had an all-up shift pattern. With the sorted chassis, it became a thrill to ride a pulsar.
Interesting tailwind - In 2004, the first Dhoom movie became a blockbuster. It made riding sports bikes cooler and made them aspirational. Bajaj used this whole "all up shift" pattern of gearbox that made the rider feel like they were the hero of their story. This tailwind was critical for Pulsar success.
3/ Create category → Launch variants → Own it 💪🏻
Back in the early 2000s, cars were a luxury. Your social status had a lot to do with the 2 wheelers you owned. The problem with the 180 Pulsar was the mileage with such high engine power - the Pulsar 150 became popular with commuter Indian men.
Today the Bajaj Pulsar has close to 10+ variants starting from 125cc right upto 250cc. However all the variants have the same value prop - great mileage, stylish looks and incredible performance.
4/ Opening the floodgates of access to EMI 💰
Sometimes it's about the product and sometimes it's about the price. For Pulsar it was both coming together. Bajaj Finance (NBFC owned by Bajaj Group) became the primary lender to provide bike loans and the EMI. Adoption skyrocketed.
5/ Facelifting the bike over 20 years 📈
Launching a motorcycle in a not-so-competitive market back in 2001 was easier than maintaining the Pulsar brand and selling through even today.
→ Marketing channels have evolved
→ Consumer buying habits have changed and access to capital is easier
→ There are new competeitors like Yamaha, Suzuki & Honda
~ 50,000 pulsars are sold every single month even in 2024 and pulsar owns 42% of the market share. That's crazy. Oh and over the last 20 years, Bajaj's shareholders have made 60X returns - Pulsar isn’t the only reason, but it played a major part.
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