Cranking afresh

Chennai: It's back to basics at the Rs 161-crore turnover Majestic Auto. And, as the company puts it, it is the beginning of a new saga.

With no great models to ride on comfortably (except perhaps the Hero Puch) and the brief affair selling imported BMW bikes (initially for Rs 4.5 lakh and later for Rs 2.25 lakh) not cranking as expected, Majestic Auto's (popularly known as Hero Motors) latest initiative involves a slew of new launches and a couple of relaunches.

And Majestic Auto managing director Pankaj K Munjal's diary is peppered with new launch and relaunch programmes until the second quarter of 2004. No, the focus is not entirely on motorcycles, a segment which is witnessing exciting action by all the two-wheeler manufacturers.

On the other hand Munjal is pressing on the step-through segment, cyclomoto (a motorised bicycle) and of course two motorbikes — sports and an urban transport model; the promotional plank being an economically priced vehicle offering excellent fuel economy.

With these Munjal nurtures an ambitious target of garnering 10 per cent of the country's two-wheeler market. Isn't he over-ambitious? Even if the company operates at its full capacity (around 2 lakh units) it can capture only 5-per cent market share. “Capacity is not a constraint as it can be increased any time,“ is his answer.

But take a closer look at the three markets — 140 lakh per annum bicycles, 45 lakh two-wheelers and 5 lakh cars. “Subtracting the above numbers from the country's population (100 crore) there is a huge untapped potential for an appropriately designed personal transport vehicle,“ he says.