Bajaj Auto test-runs ‘Qute’ in various cities

| Updated on: Jan 12, 2016
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But company’s quadricycle faces road-bumps until court cases are settled

Although court cases are on against the launch of quadricycles, the only Indian manufacturer as of now — Bajaj Auto — is gearing up to get its ‘Qute’ model into the domestic market. As of now, Qute is being test-run in various cities.

The company said it was test-running the quadricycle to ascertain the challenges it may face on Indian roads, such as speed control and the difference between a loaded and unloaded vehicle at a certain speed.

Export demand good “Qute is under road testing at multiple centres, including Noida. This is a routine process and is a part of the development phase of a vehicle. Manufacturers are given specific permission for road tests. Qute is being tested after following the due process,” S Ravikumar, President – Business Development and Assurance, Bajaj Auto, told BusinessLine .

The quadricycle is being exported to 13 countries. The company will export to other markets as well in future.

It said the vehicle was well-received in other markets with a free-on-board (FoB) price tag of $2,000 (around ₹1.35 lakh).

“Qute has been sent to 13 countries. Our plan in the initial months till March is to produce and sell about 100 vehicles a month. We are proceeding according to plan,” Ravikumar said, adding that the Qute has been well received in Turkey, Russia, African and Latin American countries.

The vehicle is being manufactured at Bajaj’s Aurangabad plant and is being manufacturing as per export demand. The Aurangabad facility has a total capacity of 55,000 units a month between Bajaj’s three-wheeler and Qute.

Legal tangle Powered by a water-cooled DTSi 4 valve engine with a fuel efficiency of 36 km per litre, the quadricycle can reach a top speed of up to 70 km an hour. The definition of the quadricycle has got into a legal tangle with multiple petitions in various high courts and now in the Supreme Court questioning the Centre’s process for creating a new vehicle segment.

The quadricycle has also drawn a lot of criticism, with many experts pointing out that it is not environment friendly and lacks safety standards.

However, Rajiv Bajaj, Managing Director, has been maintaining that Qute has been designed in response to the evolving requirement of low-cost, last-mile public transport across the world by optimising its size, weight, cost and speed.

But, according to industry experts, the company may have to face several hurdles before it rolls the Qute out in India, as it will be in an all-new vehicle segment.

Not a car

Ironically, Bajaj cannot launch the vehicle under the ‘passenger car’ segment (as initially planned along with Renault and Nissan) because it would need to undergo a lot of changes to qualify, such as safety norms, including a crash-test.

Ravikumar shrugged this off saying that it was “hypothetical at the moment, as we await the outcome of the judicial process that is under way”.

Published on January 19, 2018

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