India’s second-largest motorbike manufacturer Bajaj Auto Ltd (BAL) on Tuesday unveiled its long-awaited compact passenger vehicle RE60, just two days before the start of the Delhi Auto Expo. The company, however, insisted it was not a car and was intended as a step forward for three-wheeler owners.
“We are not trying to make a car but a four wheeler meant to ferry people in cities,” said Rajiv Bajaj, managing director, BAL. “It is not an incremental but dramatic improvement over a three wheeler. There are over 5 million Bajaj three wheelers in the country today. Thats the market we are aiming for.”
Powered by a pudgy 200cc engine that belts out around 20bhp power, the RE60 is the smallest four-wheeler ever built. Boasting of an eye-popping fuel economy of 35 kmpl, it is also environment friendly with a CO2 emission of 60 gm per kilometer, the lowest in a four wheeler anywhere in the world.
The gawky looking vehicle, however, is no more than a glorified golf cart from some quarters and is unlikely to find favour with the Renault Nissan alliance, which has a partnership with Bajaj to build a Nano competitor.
Bajaj said Renault Nissan has not seen the vehicle yet and would get to do so only during the expo.
“It is okie for me if they (Renault Nissan) want to walk away,” said Bajaj. “There is always a risk when somebody tries to push the envelope and build something disruptive.”
Bajaj did not specify a price for the RE60 that will hit the roads only by the middle of this year.