With domestic regulations yet to be firmed up for the launch of the RE60 for the Indian markets, Bajaj Auto is looking to de-risk its business model by gearing up for the export markets instead. The company is looking at nearly half a dozen countries for its exports. Meanwhile, Bajaj is gearing up to set up a designated facility at its Aurangabad plant, which earlier used to manufacture the scooters, to produce around 5,000 units of RE60. While other geographies gear up to receive quadricycles, India will wait, reports CNBC-TV18's Ronojoy Banerjee.
It was on the eve of the auto expo that Bajaj Auto showcased the much-awaited RE60. Pegged as a small, smart, green vehicle the proposed new four-wheeler sought to bridge the gap between a traditional auto rickshaw and a passenger car.
But one year hence there is little clarity on when the guidelines for quadric-cycles would be finalised. The reason: opposition from a clutch of manufacturers who say the vehicle is not just unsafe but will be a retrograde step.
A statistic often cited is how according to the European transport safety council, accidents on quadricycles are more than 10-times that of a passenger car. Rajiv Bajaj dismissed these claims.
"I do see it primarily as an intra-city vehicle because it will be limited in terms of its size, its weight, its peak power and top speed. Hence, it will lend itself with great difficulty to the task of plying between cities. Therefore I am of the view that while one cannot restrict a vehicle from plying between cities it should certainly be kept off the expressways for example as much as any two wheeler or three wheeler is," Bajaj adds.
To break the deadlock, auto lobby Siam recently asked industry veteran Pawan Goenka of M&M to mediate. Goenka has met with Karl Slym of Tata Motors, Shinzo Nakanishi Of Maruti Suzuki, Rajiv Bajaj and Ravi Chopra of Piaggo - but they failed to break the ice. The USP of the vehicle, it is said, is not just affordability but the low carbon footprint. In fact the '60' in the RE60 stands for 60 gms of carbon emissions for every 1 kilometer.
Bajaj is however gearing up to sell the idea in the sub-continent including Sri Lanka and Bangladesh apart from Africa and Latin America. He hopes that by mid-2013 the idea of a quadricycle will finally come true.