Bajaj Small Car

Here's the Bajaj small car, but it won't cost Rs 1 lakh! January 08, 2008

The country's second largest bike maker Bajaj Auto Ltd on Tuesday cocked a snook at those who sniggered at its efforts to get into the passenger car market.

The company silently unveiled its 'Lite' concept car in New Delhi, two days before the much hyped launch of Tata Motors' Rs 1 lakh car.

Bajaj Auto, the country's second biggest two-wheeler maker, said it plans to bring out its small car in collaboration with Renault and Nissan within four years but it will not be for Rs 1 lakh (Rs 100,000).

"I know Carlos Ghosn (President and CEO of Renault and Nissan) has set a target of 2010 for Bajaj-Renault car. While it is hard to put any time-frame, we can say in two-four years we can expect to have the product ready," Bajaj Auto managing director Rajiv Bajaj told reporters in New Delhi.

Bajaj declined to give a specific price of the small car. Ghosn has earlier stated that Renault was looking for a $3,000 car in India, a move triggered by Tata Motors' Rs 1 lakh car that will be unveiled later this week.

Here's the Bajaj small car! January 08, 2008

The car -- which reminds you of the Matiz front on, but has a very upright auto-like back -- has been conceptualized by the Bajaj team at Akurdi, near Pune.

". . . but definitely, the small car from Bajaj will not be a Rs 1 lakh nor a Rs 10 lakh (Rs 1 million) car. Price is not the centre of the product, but it will offer twice the fuel economy that the existing products in the market," Rajiv Bajaj said, adding that the car could be powered by both diesel and petrol engines.

BAL and French carmaker Renault are currently undertaking a feasibility study for partnership in the small car project and is expected to be completed by next month, he added.

They are developing both diesel and petrol engines. Bajaj Auto will also be setting up a new manufacturing unit in Chakan that will manufacture the small car and light commercial vehicle.

Here's the Bajaj small car! January 08, 2008

Bajaj has done away with the centre panel and placed the two front seats touching each other. The gear shaft has been mounted on the dashboard.

The company said it will also take inputs from Renault-Nissan for development.

BAL and French carmaker Renault are currently undertaking a feasibility study for partnership in the small car project and is expected to be completed by next month, he added.

Bajaj said a new manufacturing unit at Chakan would be set up, which in "all probability" will produce the car. The unit will also make a light commercial vehicle that BAL will launch in the first quarter of 2009. It will have an initial capacity of 250,000 units per annum.

BAL showcased its concept car, built on its 'Lite' platform ahead of the 9th Auto Expo beginning this week, along with its light commercial vehicle range.

Bajaj also said the small car from Bajaj-Renault could have a 'unique' transmission, which could be in between manual and automatic.

Here's the Bajaj small car!

January 08, 2008

In a statement, the company said, 'The Lite concept would first offer low running costs and affordable monthly outflows coupled with a reasonable cost of acquisition. This would lead to unbeatable total cost of operation'.

Commenting on the partnership with Renault, he said BAL was looking to gain expertise from the partner not only in development of engines but also in the actual production of car, besides gaining global market access.

"We hope to learn a lot from them in terms of what it takes to produce cars in large scale consistently and also to de-risk the project in terms of geography," Bajaj added.

Here's the Bajaj small car!

January 08, 2008

"Renault says it is thinking over. . . I am open to it." BAL would also launch three two-wheelers in 2008. "These will be 125 cc XCD DTS-i Sprint, which will be a sports bike and Discover 150 cc DTS-i in the motorcycles segment, while a 125 cc Blade will also be launched," S Sridhar, BAL's CEO two-wheeler, said.

He said the company would target the youth with XCD Sprint, while the Discover 150 cc would be a move to upgrade from the 135 cc segment, which is "getting crowded".

"The Blade scooter will be aimed at the male riders," he said, adding BAL would also be introducing high-end sport bikes from its partners Kawasaki and KTM this year.

Sridhar said despite the dip in sales that the company witnessed this fiscal it expected to have a better performance in the new financial year with exports continuing to be a major growth driver.


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