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Last Updated : Jul 26, 2019 04:43 PM IST | Source:

Government's policy on electric vehicles has left everybody confused: Rajiv Bajaj

Bajaj also expressed concern over the slowdown in the auto market.

Swaraj Baggonkar @swarajsb
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The government’s shifting stance on electric vehicles has left the industry confused, with contradictory signals emerging from within the administration, Bajaj Auto  managing director Rajiv Bajaj has said.

Interacting with the company's shareholders at the 12th annual general meeting on July 26, Bajaj said, “Since the last two years, there have been lots of flip-flops as far as government policies are concerned. Sometimes they blow hot, sometimes they blow cold. Sometimes they make very definitive statements. Their own colleagues contradict their statements. And people in the industry are quite confused actually,” said the 52-year-old who helms India’s most valued two and three-wheeler company.

Bajaj was talking about the Centre asking manufacturers to convert all two-wheelers with engine capacity of below 150cc to electric vehicles by 2025 and all three-wheelers by 2023.


Earlier, the government had said there was no plan to halt production of fossil fuel-powered vehicles even as it made electric vehicles more attractive by cutting duties and expanding charging facilities.

“Even today there is a kind of dual talk in the government, depending on who you speak with. Frankly, as a company we have no clarity on this matter. We can only keep doing our job, which is to focus on brands, technologies, product categories, quality and cost and customer ownership,” said Bajaj.

He wouldn’t allow government policies to dictate the course of the company, Bajaj said. “We will not allow ourselves to be disrupted by government policies or be frustrated by it because India is only one of our markets and we have 90 markets to look after. So if we keep dancing to policy changes of governments across the world, we will never be able to put our mind to our own work,” he said.

Bajaj resorted to a Hindi couplet to voice his resolve. “Kuch aisa hua ki sabr ki ungli pakadke hum itna chalen ki raste bhi hairaan reh gaye”.

Bajaj’s preparedness was questioned by shareholders who during the 2018 AGM were promised a glimpse of an electric vehicle at this year’s meet.

“We should have been ready with electric vehicles by this time and I am happy to share on behalf of everyone that we are ready and you will see us in the market very soon and you won’t have to wait for the next AGM to see it,” Bajaj told the shareholders.

The Pune-based company will launch an electric three-wheeler and a two-wheeler before the end of this financial year. An electric Qute (a quadricycle) is also planned.

Bajaj also expressed concern over the slowdown in the auto market.

“Everybody knows that this is a very tough time for the industry. The crisis is pretty unprecedented. People are talking of job losses to the tune of 1 million jobs,” he said. Bajaj was referring to a statement by Automotive Component Manufacturers Association of India president Ram Venkataramani who has warned that one million people could be laid off if vehicle sales fail to pick up.

Bajaj Auto has reported a three percent increase in domestic two-wheeler volumes and a nine percent decline in commercial vehicle volumes during the April-June quarter compared to the same period last year.

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First Published on Jul 26, 2019 03:56 pm
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