Our Bureau

New Delhi, May 17

BAJAJ Auto Ltd today said that it plans to invest Rs 200 crore over the next 18 months towards capacity expansion, research and development and the launch of new products. "We will be introducing three new scooter models in both the geared and gearless segments next year," said Mr Rahul Bajaj, Chairman.

Further, the company would be expanding capacity at its plants by more than 30 per cent to 2.4 million units a year.

Mr Bajaj said that he expects the company's motorcycle sales to grow 25-30 per cent in the current year over the 1.45 million motorcycles sold last fiscal.

On the new scooter launches, Mr Bajaj said that the three new scooters that would be introduced in 2006 would have engine capacities between 75 cc and 150 cc.

"The decline in scooter sales has more or less stabilised. I think scooter sales should record growth in the current fiscal," he said, adding that Bajaj Auto was exploring the possibility of manufacturing a four-wheeled, low-cost alternative to a car.

The project would take 4-5 years to materialise, he said.

The four-wheeler would initially be a goods carrying vehicle, with a passenger version to be introduced afterwards.

On the current stand-off with the Firodias over the renaming of Bajaj Tempo to Force Motors, Mr Bajaj said that his company filed a special leave petition (SLP) with the Supreme Court on the matter last Friday. He added that Bajaj Auto would not be selling its stake in Bajaj Tempo.

(This article was published in the Business Line print edition dated May 18, 2005)
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