Bajaj Auto revealed its plans of launching a new vehicle known as the RE60 for the Indian market during the 2012 Delhi Auto Expo. Though the vehicle is ready for production, it is yet to be launched as the Central Government does not have a policy in place for the sale of quadricycles, which happen to be vehicles placed in between the three-wheeler and a car. Meanwhile, Bajaj Auto has decided to sell this vehicle in export markets. Rajiv Bajaj, Managing Director (MD) of Bajaj Auto feels that Sri Lanka is ideal for the RE60.
Sri Lanka is one of the largest three-wheeler markets for Bajaj Auto. The company's MD said, “It is also a market which is geographically proximate to us. So, when we put in a new product we can be in touch with it closely in terms of its performance.”
Reportedly, a committee had been set up with an aim of conducting a feasibility study for the launch of quadricycles, which could replace the unstable auto rickshaws in the future. Unfortunately, members of the committee have been unable to come up with a concrete decision on the same. During this period and future, Rajiv Bajaj has been firm with the belief that the RE60 is a four-wheeler but not a car and so it would not be competing against market entrants like Tata Nano or the New Alto 800.
Manufactures have also stated that the RE60 would be an unsafe vehicle, which is further supported by the fact that the frequency of accidents on quadricycles is almost ten times than the passenger cars, as per the European safety council. Rajiv Bajaj dismissed these claims in the past, stating that he is looking at the RE60 for intra-city travel and not for inter-city usage.
The Bajaj RE60 is expected to be more fuel efficient than a three-wheeler and would also be much more stable. It would be powered by a 200 cc engine, capable of generating a power of 20 bhp. A major selling point of this vehicle is that it produces only 60 gm CO2 per km, which makes it an environment friendly proposition. The overall design of the RE60 is very basic and it would be able to seat 4 adults comfortably. A 44 litre boot, along with under-the-seat storage space of 95 litres would also be available with the model.
The vehicles would be built at Aurangabad in Maharashtra. It will be sold as a petrol vehicle in export markets; however the development of CNG technology is also under the process. One expects that when the Government decides to allow the sale of these quadicycles, CNG variants would be heavily in demand.