Jun 16, 2011

10 Bike History/Timeline: TVS Victor [2001-2007 (?)]. Why did the TVS Victor fail?

A study in retrospect to understand why the "Victor" brand from TVS had failed..

According to an article published in Business Today:

"Victor, its (TVS) first indigenously developed product launched in 2001, did brisk business initially (selling as many as 40,000 units per month) before a multitude of problems such as rusting of the exhaust pipe, seepage of water into the petrol tank, malfunctioning of the lock, etc., surfaced and sank the product"

In that article senior R&D guys from TVS Motors have admitted that it was quality/durability issues which led to the TVS Victor’s demise. But is it really so?

Even the Bajaj Pulsar which was launched just a couple of months after the TVS Victor has had its fair share of quality issues in the past. Despite that, the Pulsar has now become a legendary brand among Indian Motorcycles.

Could there be some other factors which might have led to its demise?

Although the exact reason for the failure of the TVS Victor brand will remain unclear, posted below are a few of my hypothesis on what could have led to the demise of a once promising brand.

Let's look at the chart below which shows the Timeline/History of the various TVS Victor models and upgrades.

TVS Victor Timeline/History

1. TVS was confused on how to position the Victor

Apart from the usual comsmetic upgrades to the original 110 cc Victor, by 2004 TVS had launched another variant called the Victor GLX 125. Apart from a bigger 125 cc engine, the styling of the bike was different with totally new bodywork. TVS tried to promote the Victor GLX 125 as a “Big” bike. Watch the TV Commercial posted below.

But in a very surprising move almost a year later a new model called the Victor Edge was launched with a 125 cc engine. Now the Victor Edge had the “smaller” body of the original Victor but with a 125 cc engine, alloy wheels and a front disc brake..!!

TVS probably was not sure on how to position the Victor. Needless to say, the consumer was even more confused (so was I back in 2005).

2. An overstretched R&D Department:

According to the above mentioned article, the R&D Dept. at TVS was a very busy one; working on various projects like a 3 wheeler auto rickshaw, a step thru model for Indonesia and other motorcycle models like the Star, Centra and the Flame.

A busy R&D probably did not allow TVS to concentrate fully on its first motorcycle, the Victor and give it proper timely upgrades. Also with TVS not sure on how to take the Victor brand forward, the R&D probably wasn’t bothered that much.

3. TVS lost faith in Victor and got busy with other products/brands (despite investing a lot in building the Victor brand)

TVS had invested a lot of money and resources to promote the Victor brand when it was launched. It had roped in Sachin Tendulkar as the brand ambassador and had started the memorable "More Smiles Per Hour" campaign to promote the Victor. As far as I remember the aggressive promotion for the Victor was continued even with the Victor GLX 125. The result was that the Victor was a well known model with decent presence in almost all cities/towns that I had visited back then.

But then TVS experimented with other ambitions projects like the Centra, which was supposed to be a bike which delivered super fuel efficiency figures. The Centra was styled atrociously and despite TVS best efforts, it failed to capture the attention of the masses.

Set back by the failure of the Centra and also the confusion on whether to promote the Victor as a 110/125 cc Big/Small bike, TVS went ahead with its Star range of bikes. In the meantime the Victor was not in the limelight and scheme of things anymore.. which probably led to its slow demise.

What TVS should have done..

According to me, after investing so much into the Victor brand, TVS should have kept its focus on the it by resolving its initial teething issues and providing timely and relevant upgrades. The “Bigger” Victor GLX 125 was ok and TVS should have continued with it as well. But the “smaller” 125 cc Victor Edge according to me was a fatal mistake.

TVS also could have saved a lot of valuable resources / time / effort by not venturing into other brands like Centra (failed), Star/Star City, Sport and Flame and have just kept it simple with the Victor 110 and Victor 125 models.

All said and done, it’s very easy in hind sight to look back and give gyan on what went wrong and what should have been done. The main challenge is to do the right thing when it matters most. But then one can always look back in history and learn from it.

So do you agree with my views?

Related Links:

TVS Victor (110) Review: Overdrive [Sep, 2001]

TVS Victor Edge 125 Review: AutocarIndia [Oct, 2005]

Related Posts


This is to remind that the Views or Opinions in the blog are entirely mine unless explicitly stated. The Views and Opinions published in this blog should in no way be related to any other person or organization associated -- directly or indirectly -- with me.


Deepak said...

There is a book called 22 immutable laws of marketing. Small but very powerful book. I see big companies failing to follow simple advice and end up wasting resources. Agree with your views.

manish jha said...

in short TVS shld have chartered on BAJAJ's footsteps and strategy!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Mahavir Kothari said...

Hi Payeng,

You are correct here. Now a days an individual brand plays a big role than a parent brand. Take example of leading brands Splendor, Passion, Discover, CD series, Pulsar, Apache, Activa, Scooty. Moreover a brand should reflect its value over a time period.

What Hero Honda and Bajaj has done correctly and TVS has done the same thing correctly with Scooty and Apache. This is also a reason why Bajaj Auto wants to relaunch boxer brand. I did study on Boxer and may be by the weekend i will have good article on that. I appreciate your research and comments on TVS victor.

Aditya said...

guess, what victor cudnt do, king will do

Sankoobaba said...

i agree
thats why bajaj strategy is perfect...and works for them well..
it allows them to focus and improvise
instead of making too many varieties as if bikes are baskin-robbins

even yamaha does similar stuff..
YBR-100, 125

S.P - Biker Next Door said...


that's true about Yamaha India, but the only problem with that is that apart from the FZ, Fazer bikes like its YBR haven't been that sucessful/well accepted brand in India. Also the SZ is relatively new..

.. but yes "Less is Definitely More" as it allows the company to focus on what it does best and also confuses the customers less

Sachin said...

Tvs also had lot of fight with bajaj over patents on 3 valve technology used in flame. May be the Tvs R&D teams was stuck their till outcome of court verdicts.

S.P - Biker Next Door said...


it wasn't the 3-valve technology but the "Twin Spark" technology

Pavan said...

This was a good bike. Suddenly its stopped. Now I came to know the reason.

Anonymous said...

@ nishant

i agree
TVS loos there brand value by loosing victor "
& also there 3rd class service network.
(i own the victor GLX 125)

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