Bajaj Auto Limited will focus on the 125 cc motorcycle segment with the smallest Pulsar, and it will be a Bajaj Pulsar 125 which will be the next motorcycle launch from India's largest exporter of motorcycles. While Bajaj does sell the NS125 in markets abroad, in India, the strategy will be a little different and instead of the sportier NS125, an entry-level Pulsar, possibly in the Pulsar Neon stream will be launched, maybe as soon as within the next two months, before the festive season kicks in.
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The thought within Bajaj Auto's product and marketing strategists is that new regulations have made 150 cc motorcycles distant to customers in terms of pricing, in comparison to the 125 cc segment. As of April 1, 2019, all motorcycles above 150 cc capacity need to have ABS, and two-wheelers of 125 cc and below need to have combined braking system (CBS), if not ABS. And those regulations have made the 125 cc segment dearer by around ₹ 2,000 while ABS means a good ₹ 7,000-8,000 increase in prices. Couple that with the Bharat Stage VI (BS-VI) emission regulations which will come into effect from April 1, 2020, and prices of all two-wheelers are likely to go up further. On an average, any two-wheeler is likely to be costlier by around ₹ 5,000-6,000 with fuel-injected engines and with CBS and ABS which have already come into effect.
Historically, Bajaj has been the ruler in the 150 cc segment with the Pulsar 150, with consistent monthly sales of around 70,000 units. Even today, the Pulsar 150 is the highest-selling motorcycle in the 150 cc segment. But with the auto industry going through a slowdown, and the upcoming price increase with the BS-VI regulations, Bajaj may be betting on a somewhat different tactic to face an expected slowdown in sales. And the answer to that apparently is to bank on the Pulsar brand, but introduce a smaller 125 cc Pulsar with CBS (not ABS) to keep costs competitive.
What is still not clear is what powerplant Bajaj will be using on the Pulsar 125, and if it will be BS-VI ready at launch. The Pulsar NS125 sold abroad is currently powered by a 124.45 cc, single-cylinder, air-cooled engine which puts out 11.8 bhp and 11 Nm and is mated to a five-speed transmission. It remains to be seen if the NS 125 engine will be used for the Pulsar 125, or the same engine from the Discover 125 will be used on the Pulsar 125. Either ways, the Pulsar 125 will be positioned as a slightly sportier 125 cc motorcycle than the Discover 125, but will be the most affordable model in the Pulsar family and will come with a single seat, and probably not split seats and aluminium footpegs to keep prices competitive.
The Bajaj Pulsar 150 is currently available in three different variants - the Pulsar 150 Neon, the standard Pulsar 150 and the Pulsar 150 Twin Disc with ABS. The Pulsar 150 Neon is the most affordable Pulsar 150 with prices starting at ₹ 68,250 (ex-showroom, Delhi), going up to ₹ 88,339 (ex-showroom, Delhi) for the twin-disc variant with ABS. The upcoming Bajaj Pulsar 125 will definitely be priced below the Pulsar 150 Neon to make it attractive and accessible to customers. So, we expect it to be priced at around ₹ 62,000-64,000 (ex-showroom, Delhi), probably at a slight premium over the Discover 125 CBS with disc brakes. Whether Bajaj will offer the Pulsar 125 in both CBS (drum) and CBS (disc brake) format is something which will be revealed at launch.