TVS Motor Company Limited has given its Commuter segment a whole new lease of life. The automobile major launched the TVS Radeon earlier today, and priced it at a competitive Rs 48,400 (ex-showroom, Delhi).
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The move has signalled clear intent from the automobile major to compete harder in a segment where it has registered a relatively measly market share of just 7 percent.
“The product is one of the finest and it focuses on progressive consumers in the commuter category,” said K N Radhakrishnan, president and CEO, TVS Motor Company.
“The Radeon gives the best value for customers in this category — it gives you strength, the best fuel efficiency and is very comfortable,” he added.
The strength and comfort that Radhakrishnan refers to finds pride of place on the bike’s key features. For a start, the Radeon comes with a long-lasting Dura Life 110 cc engine and a steel tubular chassis. To the company’s credit even the indicator lamps have been made flexible so as to prevent breakage at crowded parking lots — a common complaint by owners of commuter two-wheelers.
The bike’s comfort factor has been enhanced by the presence of something as simple as thigh pads on the petrol tank, and TVS’ claim to have the largest cushioned seat in the segment — in length and width. The seat also boasts of a small height, which has improved ground reach.
The Radeon, TVS says, does 0-60 kmph in 8.34 seconds and clocks a mileage of 69.3 kmpl.
Big Competition Ahead
Surely enough, TVS wants the Radeon to disrupt a segment where the company — by its own admission — is in need of an upgrade.
Sales data for July in the Commuter segment shows that Hero Motor Corp sold 5.6 lakh units of the 8.65 lakh two-wheelers that were sold in the segment, last month. At a relatively distant second-place was Bajaj Auto with 1.98 lakh two-wheelers sold. TVS and Honda brought up the rear with only about 52,000 commuter vehicles.
This would suggest that the South Indian auto major will have to punch above its weight to compete. The company also points out that its offerings in the segment, the TVS Star City and TVS Victor, are in need of upgrades.
Big Targets Set
So, it comes as no surprise that TVS has said it will target selling two lakh units of the Radeon in the first year itself. Radhakrishnan admits that the company will have to fall back on its existing customer portfolio to make that happen.
“We have a good portfolio in the commuter category. This is going to attract those customers,” he said, “We hope these customers will then see a combination of all the benefits the bike comes with. We are confident we will reach two lakh.”
Millennial Target Audience
What will encourage sales of the Radeon is TVS’ projection of enhanced demand among self-employed customers in rural markets. The company has projected that 56 percent of commuters belong to this category, 31 percent of whom need an upgrade.
“The product will cater to all progressive consumers, especially those in small towns,” said Radhakrishnan. Not surprisingly, the company has termed this customer base: ‘Millennials of Middle India’.