By showcasing the much-awaited RE60, Bajaj has entered the four-wheeler segment. But what potential it holds in a market like India
The product marks the entry of the Pune-based automaker in the four-wheeler segment coming out of its comfort zone but the company has no intentions of jumping into the highly competitive personal passenger car segment with this product.
Going by the claim of the company, the vehicle weighs around 400kg, emits 60gm/km of Carbon di-oxide and gives a fuel efficiency of 35-40Km/litre. Carrying a 200cc gasoline engine-powered vehicle, the RE60 can provide a power of 15-20HP, which is almost double of the three-wheeler plying on Indian roads now-a-days.
"Being the world’s largest three-wheeler manufacturer, Bajaj Auto currently has 5 million three-wheelers on Indian roads and we will be delighted if we are able convert these consumer into the consumer for the RE60,"said Bajaj adding that the product also has attractive export opportunities.
While the company will be announcing the price when it will finally launch the product in the later part of the year, it is believed that the product has the potential to create a new segment in the City Taxi segment as it will be much cheaper than the passenger cars currently used as Taxis in the country.
It may be noted here the product was initially conceived by the Pune-based company, in partnership with Renault S.A. and Nissan Motor Co. as a small car to compete with Tata Motors' Nano, the cheapest car in the world. A JV was planned where Bajaj will have a 50% share and rest will be held by Renault & Nissan but the idea was dropped at a later stage.
For the uninitiated, the company showcased the Ultra-low cost car in 2008 but decided not to go ahead with the project. Later turned into a non-strategic partnership, it was decided that Bajaj would manufacture the car and the decision to brand and sell it will only be taken by Renault-Nissan only after seeing the final product.
"The platform serves as a base to develop more products and with modifications, we are ready to sell it to Renault and Nissan if they wish,"said Bajaj mentioning the fact that the product details have been shared with Renault-Nissan and they continue to show interest.
The company said that it is looking at an operating margin of 20% from the product and its entire focus is currently to make it a successful product. It will be manufactured at the three-wheeler plant in Aurangabad which will help the company to make it a risk-free platform.
The product will be on display at the Bajaj Auto pavilion during the Auto Expo 2012