Bajaj Auto’s MD Rajiv Bajaj recently said that the platform they have been building for the Renault-Nissan manufacturer in India, will be put to multiple uses and be profitable by itself. The OEM deal for producing a small car, which Renault-Nissan is to sell under its brand name is just an added bonus for them.
He said that they are developing a platform, which will meet the needs of their company. This platform can be utilized for producing a three wheeler model, commercial vehicle or van. They are building this platform to meet their own needs. This same platform will be used for making the proposed car. The deal with Renault-Nissan is just an added bonus for them. They have to showcase the prototype to Renault-Nissan, for which they are right on track.
There are apprehensions in the market, that Bajaj Auto have invested an undisclosed but huge amount to create this platform, and may make a huge loss if this project does not take off or is delayed. They are creating a car for Renault-Nissan which will have a mileage of 30kmpl and will be commercially available by next year.
Bajaj Auto is developing a three wheeler model as well, which it hopes will replace the 5mn three wheelers currently plying Indian roads. Their new three wheeler model will be more comfortable, less polluting, bigger and more secure. The engine of this three wheeler model could have a slightly better fuel economy as well.
This three wheeler is likely to be priced about 15 to 20% more than the models currently available in the market, which are priced around Rs.1,10,000. Bajaj Auto is also looking to enter the growing passenger van market in India, and may compete with the new Tata Ace. They are also considering producing a small commercial model.
Bajaj also dismissed Honda Motorcycle and Scooter India’s plan of increasing production capacity to 4mn models per annum. HMSI had decreased their motorcycle production earlier, especially in the market of 100cc bikes, as they did not want to directly compete with their then ally Hero Honda.
Bajaj said that he does not buy into this argument. There has been nothing to stop them from competing with Bajaj, as they are the lead, when it comes to the 150cc bike segment. He added referring to HMSI that they might have more products, but Bajaj still dominates this category. Bajaj sells around 95,000 models in the 125-250cc category per month, in comparison to HMSI’s 47,000 models per month.