TVS Jupiter launched in Chennai, 110 cc, power 8 bhp at 7500 rpm and torque of 8 Nm at 5500 rpm. The first scooter for Men from TVS.
TEXT: Sandeep Goswami (Old Fox)
There is an increasing trend among automotive corporates to eagerly share their market research and analysis in detail at the time of new vehicle launches . Which not just makes sense in positioning the vehicle in the minds and perception of the media but also reveals the maturity of thought and depth of perception of all those involved in developing, producing and promoting the product. Educative, revealing, interesting and useful. It was the same at the Chennai launch of a new scooter from TVS named Jupiter. Two detailed presentations individually by the market research and the development team heads gave an in-depth preview into the how’s and the why’s of Jupiter being conceived and produced.
The core concept lay in giving the consumer ‘more’ than he was getting from the present offerings in the market from other manufacturers. TVS identified early in their research that 1) the scooter sales were showing a steady upward trend-line for the past 3 years and so were worth stepping into with another model and 2) the ‘male only’ customer formed the largest section of this sales pie at 36% of the total scooter users/buyers. So the design brief was to make a male oriented scooter rich in features that would supplement their ‘female’ oriented Scooty Pep and the uni-gender Wego. Good sound strategy that had a clear target both for the development and the marketing teams.
The male orientation would normally demand a powerful engine and yet TVS chose to go ahead with their 110cc power-plant that puts down 8 bhp at a highish 7,500 rpm. The engine choice reflects the two pronged strategy of keeping manufacturing costs low while retaining the potential for high fuel efficiency. That they can claim 62 kmpl with a usually mileage sapping CVT drive sort of vindicates this decision. Of course an actual ride will only reveal how peppy or sloppy the on-road drive is and whether the stress on fuel economy has taken the fun out of the drive.
The presentations also stated that the potential buyer of a scooter would want his three key needs to be met vis a vis comfort, fuel economy and convenience. Comfort is about size, ergonomics and ride quality of the scooter. The Jupiter looks promising on this front given a good wide seat, large 12 inch wheels, front telescopic suspension and the rear with a gas charged shock and ergonomics that felt good with the scooter at stand still. The flat floor-board and the seat-height to handlebar position seemed well sorted but all this will only make sense after an actual ride on the machine.
The one thing Jupiter is big on is features. The more apparent ones are an external fuel filler point, under-seat storage good enough for a full face helmet, a USB charging port, a very convenient to put on main stand in addition to a side-stand, kick-start back-up with electric start as primary, 35W halogen head-lamp, flasher switch for the headlamp, LED tail lamps, a fuel gauge along-with a low-fuel indicator. The less apparent stuff includes tubeless tyres, a truly centrally mounted engine that eliminates any static imbalance usually found in scooters where the engine is offset from the centre-line and so shifts the center of gravity to one side of the scooter. This improves vehicle balance. This allied with a short turning radius improves maneuverability. The CVT drive of course adds to the convenience. That is quite a list for a scooter to be sold for Rs. 44,200/- ex-showroom in Delhi.
The usual gripe here would be – what’s new? There’s quite a bit of that newness as can be seen from the description above even though there’s nothing explosively or dramatically new about the Jupiter. The newness in fact is not as much a necessity in a machine as functional as this as are its reliability, consistency in performance, ease and comfort in usage and economy in ownership. If the Jupiter manages to deliver all that, the ‘newness’ itself would be old hat and quite unnecessary. It’s a work-horse, not a performance machine per se. This machine promises to be good for the purpose it has been built to. And when it does prove itself true to that, it would mean it is a winning product.
For More pictures of the TVS Jupiter
TVS Jupiter Specs
Read owners reviews of the TVS Wego and direct competion for the Jupiter the Honda Activa and Suzuki Access