Bajaj Auto has phased out the Pulsar 200 model to make way for the new Pulsar 220, as both were priced on a par, despite the latter being more powerful.
The new Pulsar 220, launched three weeks earlier, is a refurbished version of the earlier model launched in December 2006. The Pulsar 200 was launched in January 2007 and carried an ex-showroom price of about Rs 70,000.
However, to take on competing products in the premium category (priced upwards of Rs 65,000) with the likes of Yamaha FZ16, Fazer and R15, Hero Honda's Karizma, TVS Apache 180 and the Honda CBF Stunner PGM-FI, Bajaj has slashed the price of Pulsar 220 by more than Rs 15,000. It will now be sold at Rs 70,000, ex-showroom.
S Sridhar, chief executive (two-wheelers), Bajaj Auto, said, "The carburettored version of the new Pulsar 220, which has been launched, offers higher power and better performance at a much lesser price. So, continuing with the Pulsar 200 was not possible, as it was priced in the similar range. We wanted to offer the buyers a better bike at an affordable rate."
The bike, however, is still available in select showrooms at the earlier price without any discounts. "Some units of the Pulsar 200 are available with us and there will be no more supply of it from the company," said a Mumbai-based dealer of the Probiking showroom, Bajaj's speciality outlet that sells only premium bikes.
The Pulsar 200 has a 198.8cc engine, which delivers 18 bhp power, while the Pulsar 220 has a 220cc engine, which generates 21.04 bhp of peak power. Although the new Pulsar 220 is heavier than the Pulsar 200 by five kg, at 150 kg, it is faster than the smaller sibling at 144 km/hour, as compared to 130 km/hour.
The company is bullish on the new Pulsar to spruce sales beyond the 48,062 units of the whole Pulsar range sold by it in June. Te Pulsar range contributes to about half the company's monthly sales, but a bulk of the profitability.
Currently, the company produces three models under the Pulsar brand - Pulsar 150, Pulsar 180 and Pulsar 220. All the three models have only recently gone through a face-lift labelled as the '2009 edition'.
Industry analysts say the segment has seen high growth post the slowdown, as a result of pent-up demand of earlier months.
According to the Society of Indian Automobile Manufacturers, the growth in the segment of motorcycles with engines more than 125cc in size witnessed a growth of more than 16 per cent, at 472,599 units, in the first quarter, as compared to about 12 per cent growth, at 1,205,172, seen in the less than 125cc segment.
Meanwhile, in a bid to increase its market share in the 100 cc category, Bajaj Auto today launched its popular selling model "Discover" in the entry level segment. Bajaj held a marketshare of 43 per cent in the premium 150 cc segment contributed by sales of its premium bike 'Pulsar' and a 9 per cent market share in the entry level segment through "Platina" as of April-June 2009. With the latest launch, the company hoped to garner a significant market share in the segment this fiscal, Bajaj Auto Ltd deputy general manager Chandrasekar R told reporters in Chennai at the unveiling of the bike at a media conference.