Bajaj Auto Limited, once the undisputed leader of the two wheeler scooter segment in India, sustained the storm of motorcycle mania against global technology giants like Honda (Hero Honda) and has grown to strength reinventing to meet Indian consumer preferences with innovative models like Pulsar and Discover. During the last 5 years, the automatic scooter segment has gained traction from different market segments be it urban (tier 1, tier 2 cities), rural, middle class, owing to the convenience they offered in highly congested cities and towns.
A Ride Back to History
Why is the scooter segment growing like never before?
“Vehicle for All” image of scooter is driving the demand among Indian families.
Ease of learning, lighter weight, higher underseat carrying capacity, ease of drive, better mileage, low maintenance have added to this image making the segment a clear ray of hope in saturated two wheeler market.
Indian scooter market is dominated by Honda with a market share of 56.1%, followed by Hero with market share of 16.9%. Honda with its models of Activa, Aviator & Dio has dominated the market for last 5 years and has emerged the second largest 2 wheeler player in the country. Hero plans to launch two models (Hero Dash and Hero Zir) in 2015-16. Success of the Jupiter model is expected to help TVS fare well in 2015-16 as it is priced lower than models of Honda and Hero.
How can the new Chetak be positioned?
Bajaj Chetak can launch non-geared scooter in 2 segments: 110 CC and 125 CC to cater to maximum sectors of the market.
Bajaj has its owns strengths of established distribution network of more than 675 dealership points, R&D capabilities, highest market cap in industry, strong financials should capture the promising opportunity this segment has shown in recent past to fight the slew of competitors entering this segment and thus sustain growth.
Iconic brand presence of Bajaj Chetak and the relatively high success rates of new generation models like Royal Enfield, Vespa would complement the idea.
With no product in scooter segment which has an estimated share of 25 % in 2014-15 and estimated growth rate of 12-13% and a conducive macro environment make it an obvious choice for Bajaj to take a plunge in it and nothing other than Chetak could be a better brand to be relaunched with the kind of emotional connect it has with this generation of buyers.
Petrol Vs Diesel Cars in India 2016 – Which is better?
Cars have become a common itinerary in the wish-list of the middle class population of today’s cities. But it is a common problem with the general mass on choosing between the petrol and diesel variants of a car. Getting opinions of the near and dear ones might seem confusing rather than enlightening, and so here is a guide to choosing your dream vehicle.
Before giving the titbits, there are certain considerations that have been taken into account.
The inferences have been arrived at by considering the pocket of a normal middle class person in India, who plans to buy a car.
The car models have been decided by the prevalence in Chennai city and its suburbs.
The numeric values are based on the current trends in the Indian market (that is, considering May 2016)
Price of the car:
This would vary depending upon the buying capacity of the consumer. But for Chennai, or in general, India’s traffic, a 4-seater hatchback in the bracket of 5 to 7.5 lakhs would be the affordable choice for everyone. Moreover, the cost difference between the petrol and diesel variants which is about 60,000 to 1 lakh INR for the cars below 8 lakh levels tend to increase as we increase it beyond 10 lakhs. For ultra-modern, savvy cars that cost around 25 lakhs, the price difference is generally around 1.7 lakhs to 2.5 lakhs.
Diesel variants usually cost more than the petrol ones because of the former’s enhanced efficiency aspects.
Distance traveled per day:
The daily sojourn comes into consideration here along with a few other extra trips that one would make periodically in his/her car. The routine travails imply the distance covered by an office-goer from home, from the taxi depot to the designated stand in case of a taxi, etc. The other trips include weekend visits to picnic spots and unexpected emergency situations.
Cost of petrol vs diesel per litre :
Before the government deregularization came into existence, the price of diesel used to be as much as 16 to 20 rupees lesser than that of petrol in the subcontinent. But now, the margin has come down to a maximum of 13 to 15 bucks. This is one important aspect that needs to be considered along with the general price bracket of the car.
Mileage of the car:
The ideal mileage specified would have certain condition attached to them.The mileage specified cannot be achieved at any point during city drives, where intense traffic is the common scenario throughout the day. Mileage would also depend on the quantity of load that the car needs to carry other than the kerb weight (the weight of the car with no load) and the other external factors like optimum usage, smooth driving and efficient, serviced components. Increase your car mileage by following these 8 simple tips.
Petrol vs Diesel Cars In India Case study:
Since an aam aadmi would opt for the price range between 5 lakh and 7.5 lakh INR, let us assume 6 lakhs to be the cost of a car X. Considering Chennai city, a person would normally travel around 40 kilometres on an average (the to and from distance between Adyar and Tambaram, approximately) to his workplace and back.
(All the quantities detailed below are arrived after considering most of the cars in the price range, and they may not be exactly specific or accurate, as they do not point out to any particular brand or model)
Cost of petrol = INR 62 per litre
Cost of diesel = INR 53 per litre
Mileage of the petrol variant = 20 kmpl
Mileage of the diesel variant = 24 kmpl
This would mean that for a person travelling 40 kilometers daily, 2 liters of petrol or 1.7 liters of diesel are required.
Cost for petrol per day = 62 * 2 = INR 124
Cost of diesel per day = 53 * 1.7 = INR 90
This would mean that the daily savings by driving a diesel vehicle is around 35 bucks for the above mentioned case.
Now let us take into account that this person has to travel to his workplace for 25 days in a month, 35 * 25 = 875 bucks a month.
(Note that no extra travel is taken into account in this case)
If there are going to be some other travels as discussed at the beginning, let us take this as around 200 kilometers for a month. So if 35 bucks is the savings for 40 kilometers, it is 175 rupees for 200 kms.
So overall price saving due to diesel vehicle = 875 + 175 = INR 1,050 per month
For a year, this is 1,050 *12 = INR 12,600
Now consider the extra buck you have to pay when you are buying the diesel variant, say INR 80,000.
Payback period = 80000/12600 = 6.35 years
This would approximately mean 6 years and 4 months. If the car is purchased in loans or EMIs, the interest amounts need to be added up which would add a year more. So for a common man (who would buy the car only through installments or loans), it would around 7 ½ years to repay the initial costs, provided the above mentioned conditions are satisfied.
This would get reduced if the person travels around 60 to 70 kilometers per day in the diesel variant (the payback period would come down by almost two years). But there are other factors that are needed to be addressed in petrol and diesel cars .
The NVH (noise, vibration and harshness) is more in diesel vehicles than that of petrol generally. And hence the maintenance cost is high for the diesel car owners. So for long-term benefits (say 7 to 10 years), diesel vehicles can be deemed fit. But if you are looking at it in the point of view of around 3 to 5 years, petrol variant would sound a good choice.
Automobiles – both bikes and cars – can no longer be categorized exclusively into the sphere of mechanical engineering, with the increasing emphasis on electronic components. From the spark plug to sensors, and gear shift to cruise control, contemporary vehicles have become an ensemble of various other fields that come to the limelight based on their functionality, other than the traditional ones – the most important of them being the electronic ones.
Batteries are one of the most, or rather the most important components that form the nucleus of the electrical and electrical side of the vehicle. Be it horns or wipers or air conditioners, the conglomerate of cathode, anode and electrolyte are the saviours coming to the rescue.
The prescribed battery life for any automobile ranges from 4 to 5 years, but not every battery lasts till the “calendar life”. Before we delve deep into the battery life extension, let us give a glimpse into the basic aspects of a battery.
Image courtesy: pixabay.com
Sneak peek into battery ratings:
Batteries used in on-road automobiles are usually of 12 V capacity, but the current rating or amperage can vary depending upon the size and capacity of the vehicle. The overall charge and discharge rates of the battery are described by the term ampere-hour (A.h). Some of the ratings are 26 A.h, 40 A.h, 90 A.h, etc.
For example, the indicator lights of a Tata Indica takes up to 2 A of current. Considering 40 A.h battery for this scenario, this means that 40/2 = 20 hours. Hence, the battery would last for 20 hours from the full charge condition before draining, provided indicator is the only electronic component being operated. This is arrived at by taking into account another bullet point that it is not being continuously charged by a medium.
How do the car batteries charge themselves during the operation of a vehicle?
A: What if the battery drains while the vehicle is being driven?
B: It wouldn’t.
A: You kidding? How come?
Here comes the alternator. Alternator is a device which runs throughout the operation of a vehicle, charging the batteries and enabling them to act as the source for fulfilling the functions of the accessories. Alternator is coupled with the battery in series to provide a constant current charging to it.
Some more information about batteries:
Batteries are of different types like lithium ion batteries, nickel cadmium batteries, etc. but the lead acid accumulators are the most commonly used type in automobiles, because they are cheap and provide long life. With the advent of electric vehicles (EVs) and hybrid electric vehicles (HEVs), the lithium polymer batteries are coming to the fore now, but still the dominance of lead acid accumulators cannot be shaken.
Tips and tricks:
The various issues with batteries that can be solved with proper maintenance are as follows:
Corrosion in the terminals is one of the simplest yet fatal problems that tend to bog the battery’s performance down. Corrosion happens due to the continuous usage of battery for long time, and the corroded particles may be found forming patches near the terminals.
This problem can be overcome by cleaning the terminals with a mixture of three spoons of baking soda and one spoon of warm water, and then wiping away the residues with a piece of clean cloth free of any dust particles.
If the issue is not properly addressed, the corrosion may form a separate layer and would prevent the conduction of current from and to the battery thereby disabling the function of the automobile.
Mounting the battery with appropriate supports is always essential. Mounting will mostly be in the form of clamps that hold the battery in place. This would prevent the dynamic vibration of battery; vibration would cause electrical disasters like short circuits, fluctuations, sparks and would damage the components under the hood (bonnet).
Maintaining the water level of the battery could be commonly seen in the households with UPS installed. There are several knobs that usually show the increase or decrease of water levels in the battery. For example, if there are four such knobs and at least two of them do not contain water in the lids, it is time to quench the thirst of the battery, only with DISTILLED water. This is available in all petrol pumps nowadays.
Insulating the battery with a proper covering layer would increase its longevity significantly; insulators are surfaces with no or negligible electrical conductivity. Facilitation of these surfaces would mean that even if there are some wires dangling out, making contact with the battery, there are absolutely no or very less chances of short circuiting. Dielectric grease is popularly used for insulation purposes.
Isolate the battery and disconnecting the battery terminals from the contact positions, during a certainty that you would not drive the vehicle for a long time, say a week. The batteries would be draining minimal quantities of the stored energy even when the vehicle is switched off because there are components like the clock, which keep running. So it is always advisable to keep the batteries disconnected during long absence of driving.
Make sure all the electronic accessories like the air conditioner, wiper, head lights, indicators, etc. are switched off before you start the vehicle from halt. This would prevent the battery from getting drained immediately and is also a significant indicator of its longevity.
Image courtesy: pixabay.com
Make long trips as much as possible, because batteries require some time to get charged. Short trips would mean that the batteries are charged for only limited time, which implies that they are not fully charged. The problem is that charging and discharging, is alternated at a rapid rate, would repeatedly modify the temperatures of the chemicals in the battery, thereby making them susceptible to failure.
Batteries are the arteries of automobiles. Charge them and treat them well, so that they don’t demand much charge from your pocket every now and then. Safe journey!
It’s easier to wipe away those oil stains on your bike’s engine and forget all about it. You may not even have given much thought about that ugly bike engine oil stain on your parking spot. Vehicles do leak a bit of oil. Is it that big a deal to worry about?
Well, here’s putting it in perspective for you. Oil leakage is equivalent to your engine bleeding its life out and hence should be a priority.
Lifeblood of the engine
The engine oil acts as the lubricant between the moving parts of the engine, so as to keep the components moving, without friction. The components inside the engine are subject to a lot of heat due to steady combustion and continuous movement. Hence, there is a need for an external agent to cool the engine down and lubricate it, reducing the wear and tear of the components, thereby enabling it to perform at its best. And that external agent here is the engine oil.
Oil leak means one thing- oil inside the engine is falling below safe levels. The parts are being subject to excess stress and consequent wear and tear. This not only impacts their efficient performance but reduces their life too. And always check and change bike engine oil before going on a long drive .
Causes for bike engine oil leak?
Oil leaks could be due to a variety of reasons. Most common reasons are improper installation of the engine components and/or design failure of the engine itself. Failure of minor rubber components like seals, gaskets, o-rings or connection tubes can also cause engine oil leakage in your beloved motorbike.
What should I do?
Act fast and you could get the job done in less than a hundred rupees. Neglect it and it affects the engine and the vehicle as a whole. It might even result in engine seizure and burn a hole worth Rs.10,000 in your pocket.
So keep an eye out for those dreadful oil stains or traces of oil on the engine surface and arrest it before it costs you a sad lot of money.
“With each replacement of parts, a vehicle slowly becomes Chinese.”