Companies

Bajaj’s new quadricycle may be the show-stopper at Auto Expo

Murali Gopalan Mumbai | Updated on March 13, 2018 Published on January 28, 2014

Styling and design expected to strike a chord with the youth

Bajaj Auto will display an updated version of its quadricycle at the Delhi Auto Expo next week. The twist in the tale is that this product is quite unlike the RE60, which was primarily targeted at the three-wheeler user.

All Rajiv Bajaj, Managing Director, will say about the new quadricycle is that “it is a vehicle that defines its own category in the personal space”.

However, there is already a buzz in industry circles that the quadricycle could well be the show-stopper at the Expo, thanks to its design and styling, which will have a “distinct international flavour”.

Target segment

The idea clearly is to reach out to young buyers in India as well as an audience overseas that is looking for a high-mileage product. The issue, as Bajaj recently told this newspaper, boils down to “urban mobility, which has become a challenge not only in India, but across the world, right from South America to South-East Asia”. It is here that the quadricycle becomes the ideal mode of transport to tackle traffic congestion and meet the critical need of last-mile connectivity, he says. Compact, light and with a speed cap, he feels it is ideal for intra-city transport. The 35 km/litre fuel-efficiency is the icing on the cake. However, most car-makers are opposed to the quadricycle idea, citing safety issues.

Bajaj, whose constant refrain is that his is an anti-car company, is hoping the quadricycle will strike a chord with the entry-level Indian car buyer looking to graduate from a two-wheeler. To that extent, it could be a dramatic change from the RE60, which was unveiled at the 2012 Auto Expo and came as a shock to those expecting to see a sleek car.

Expectations ran high among car enthusiasts, especially because the product involved the Renault-Nissan alliance. Along with Bajaj Auto, the trio had first set out to make an ultra-low-cost car to take on the Tata Nano. The rivalry was evident at the 2008 expo when Bajaj Auto showcased a concept car beating the Nano unveiling. However, the script changed dramatically thereafter.

New business model

In November 2009, it was made known that the business model for the ultra-low-cost car would change, with Bajaj Auto handling its development and Renault-Nissan its distribution across various markets.

Nobody knew what was happening behind the scenes with Rajiv Bajaj only letting on that the product would be a four-wheeler.

At the RE60 unveiling, even while car enthusiasts were distinctly unhappy, the company reasoned that the product was essentially meant to replace its own auto-rickshaw.

The updated quadricycle at this year’s Expo will, perhaps, touch a different chord with car lovers if it offers attractive features.

Published on January 28, 2014
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