Bajaj RE60, the four-wheel quadricycle displayed at the 2012 Delhi Auto Expo, is expected to be manufactured as per initial schedule. Talks between Bajaj Auto, Nissan and Renault India are proceeding well, as per information provided by the two-wheeler maker. In addition, the quadricycle project has also received an in-principle nod from the Indian Government.
This new four-wheeler would not be in the same category as a passenger car, since it is much cheaper. Possibly classified as a commercial vehicle, it would be more stable and safer than a conventional auto rickshaw. The design, weight and speed of the quadricycle are quite unique, which in turn has also caught the fancy of other top Indian auto manufacturers.
With respect to the Bajaj Renault-Nissan alliance, this is what Rajiv Bajaj, Chief Executive Officer (CEO) and Managing Director (MD) of Bajaj Auto, was quoted as saying, “We have been in touch with them (Renault-Nissan) for the last four-five years and have provided whatever information they wanted. At no point did they say 'no' to the project. We have never looked beyond Renault-Nissan." He also added, “Partnership was not about their technology. It was our technology and we would have tapped into their marketing network in Europe." Not only would this vehicle create an entirely new segment in India, but it could be exported to Europe, US and other international markets. In these markets, buggy vehicles are common for recreational purposes, which is where the Renault-Nissan alliance is expected to help Bajaj Auto. However, Rajiv Bajaj said more than the technology, it is the European marketing network of the Franco-Japanese alliance which would come in handy.
Prior to making its decision on exports, the two-wheeler manufacturer wishes to take a look at the fine print of the new Government policy. Reportedly, production of the new RE60 would take place at Bajaj Auto's Aurangabad based plant. This manufacturing facility would be capable of selling 60,000 units per year, which can be increased at a later date.
For the development of the RE60 quadricycle, Bajaj Auto has spent a total of three and half years so far. This vehicle has been designed such that it would easily meet European quadricycle standards. Interestingly, the platform could also be used to create a van-like vehicle powered by diesel, CNG or electricity in the future. With respect to specifications, RE60 gets a 214 cc engine with a maximum power output of 20 bhp. The small vehicle, with a low kerb weight of 450 kg, would be capable of delivering a mileage to the tune of 35 to 40 kmpl. So once this new vehicle is launched, industry experts believe that auto rickshaws may slowly be taken off the road to make way for a safer mode of commercial transport.