Bajaj Auto Managing Director Rajiv Bajaj has been fighting a year-long battle to get permission from the government to allow quadricycles as a new vehicle category, despite strong opposition from the Tatas and Maruti Suzuki. Bajaj talks about his plans for the RE-60, which was showcased in January last year in the Auto Expo, to Surajeet Das Gupta. Edited excerpts:
What does the policy clearance mean to Bajaj Auto? What is your estimate of the size of the market and when do you think you can start rolling out?
Will this impact the sale of your three-wheelers? Will you eventually phase these out, as the whole focus of the qudricycle has been more on fuel effeciency and safety?
I expect both, the three- and four-wheelers will co-exist. We will shortly unveil the all-new range of three wheelers — more green, more fuel efficient, more powerful, more comfortable, more reliable — to enhance our global leadership of this category.
There has been opposition from auto companies like Tata Motors, Maruti Suzuki and TVS. They have said it is a regressive step, as it is not a safe car. Do you think this was a fair opposition or do you think the fear is that R-60 could eventually challenge Tatas’ Nano and other small cars and be used as a personal vehicle?
So far, I have only witnessed them act out of self-interest & misplaced fear; I haven’t yet heard a logical argument for denying three-wheeler users a fourth wheel.
Do you see any area about which you are concerned, as the policy is meant for intra-city movement?
We have no concerns, we are delighted.