Wednesday, November 30, 2011

My Quick Tryst with Rajiv Bajaj

My Quick Tryst with Rajiv Bajaj

In my efforts to raise funds for my company, I did the unthinkable - I participated in a reality show that funds the winner startup. The journey has been good so far. Each week, of the 10 contestants,one is eliminated. I am still standing after 4 weeks, and hope to go as far as possible :D

The 4th episode was judged by Rajiv Bajaj - It was an awesome experience interacting with him, and EVERYONE of the contestent were blown away by whole experience. We were amazed by the focus, clarity of thought and expression and a genuinely good personality. There was no air of superiority or swagger that even a moderately successful personality sports nowadays. He was leading a company close to 16,000 Cr topline, and it was an absolutely humbling experience to find out how he went about his work with absolute sense of purpose. I was genuinely surprised to know about his management style that derives from Yoga and Homeopathy! (a different post on that, later!)

As the show was getting setup, I had good 10 mins to interact with Rajiv, and I used the opportunity to the max to get some 'insider' information on Bajaj

[SVI] DTSi is your flagship product. Do you think DTSi can scale multi-cylinder scenarios?

[RB]DTSi can definitely work in multi-cylinder scenarios. Our R&D is already working on such scenarios. It may not be an inline twin. But you can see some updates from us going forward

[SVI] Do you have the ability to scale beyond your current 220 cc offerings? Or, do you leave the market over 250 cc to Kawasaki and KTM?

[RB] We have schemes to create Pulsars with displacements from 150 cc all the way up to 750 cc! We don't have any technological challenges / hurdles in scaling up to 750cc. Our R&D already has some work done in this area

[SVI] When can we expect the next launch of Pulsars?

[RB] You should expect them very soon, even before March timeframe. You'll be very happy with the new list of features and a vastly improved platform.

[SVI] Should I start saving money? :)

[RB] The price points are in such a way that you don't need to save that much money!

[SVI] You launched FI with P220, and then you went back to Carb. Don't you think it is a step backward for Bajaj?

[RB] In smaller displacement bikes, the role of the FI is limited. It might help you while starting the bike on a cold day. Otherwise, a carb and FI do the samething - Help mix air and fuel mix. However, if I am able to save 10K - 15K INR by going back to carb and pass on the benefits back to the end-customer, that would place the product very attractively. P220-DTS FI was selling like 500-600 bikes a month. After we released the DTSi version (fastest Indian), we sell like 5000 bikes a month. This makes sense for the company.

[SVI] What about higher displacement bikes from the Pulsar range?

[RB] For 250cc and higher offerings, they'll have FI be default. We can't and will not use carbs there.

[SVI] What is the arrangement with KTM?

[RB] The Duke 125 is completely done in our plant here and is exported to European market. We'll be launching them here too

[SVI] What model of Duke are you planning to launch? Is it the 200?

[RB] Yes. We'll first launch the Duke 200 here. It is an awesome bike and it will shake up the market

[SVI] What is its power output? Should I sell my Honda CBR? :)

[RB] The bike produces close to 25 BHP. It is an awesome bike and it will beat CBR in all aspects. CBR is a pretty heavy bike close to 163 kgs. Duke 200 is close to 139 kgs. So, you can expect much higher power-to-weight ratio. You should probably shift :)


I told Rajiv that I was member of Team-BHP and he also passed on his email ID (in confidence :) ) to ask further questions and he'd be glad to answer. One of the girls in the competition was TOTALLY floored by him - Little does she know that I was, as well!

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