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Thursday, December 10, 2009

The Bajaj Scooter is dead !! Long Live the scooter

Yes.. You read it right. Pretty much on the lines of " The King is dead , Long live the King". My thought stems from my reading a business headline that Bajaj is finally closing the production line for scooters to concentrate upon motorcycles.

When I recollect my fond memories of the Bajaj scooter , the ad jingle of " Buland Bhaarat ki buland thasveer" still revebrates. Scooter meant Bajaj at a point in time. I learned my driving with a scooter. Ill balanced - with an engine loaded on one side, starting the contraption means tilting the scooter to one side. There was a good old poor joke about a desi bloke who went to NASA for a rocket launch. After several botched count downs and false starts, the american scientists were flummoxed. Then this desi went and suggested they tilt the rocket to about 45 degrees to the right. The scientists were perplexed but did the same, the rocket blazed off to a super start on the next attempt.

The scientists thanked the bloke profusely and enquired his academic credentials. They also asked how this theory worked to which our desi said - " Mujhe kyaa maalum - Scooter tho aise start kaartha hai public!!!" meaning what the heck do I know - back home people start the scooters this way.

So much for the scooter. There were a few big gaps which Bajaj as an organization had to learn , possibly it has learned the painful lessons over several decades. The key message from market being innovation which was totally missing from Bajaj.

Though the build was sturdy , they never incorporated indicators till that was mandated by law. Customer feedback was rarely sought. Scooter dealers ( big names like Khivraj , Hex) dictated terms to customer.

Over the years with the Japanese scooters flowing in - first Kinetic and then Activa , Bajaj scooters became a legacy of the past .LML Lohia died a silent death in the meanwhile.

Just to close this note , it brings to my mind a parable - everything has an expiry date - yes almost everything. To escape sure shot extinction - innovation and renewal is the magic potion.

Till we meet ....Cheers!! Srini

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