Man, thats an unexpected update. I thought Bajaj had issues with Nissan due to which the plans for this car had been scrapped. Looks like this expo is going to be far more exciting than the previous one.
Bajaj will unveil its much awaited small car on January 3, 2012 at the Taj Palace hotel in New Delhi in the run-up to the Auto Expo. The production ready car from Bajaj which will be showcased at Pragati Maidan comes four years after the original concept was shown at the Auto Expo in 2008. According to sources, the Bajaj Small car is more of an upgraded three-wheeler rather than a scaled down hatchback and draws heavily on Bajaj’s expertise and experience in the three-wheeler segment.
Renault will be particularly interested in the Bajaj small car as it has the option of marketing it under the Renault brand as per an agreement with Bajaj. Though few technical details are known, the Bajaj Small car is likely to come with path-breaking fuel efficiency to offset a purchase price that is expected to be higher than the Nano’s. The all-new car platform which can be used for private and commercial applications is likely to be launched as a commercial vehicle first before being upgraded for personal use.
The RE60 is seen as replacement to the 3-wheeler and not a car.
Dealership network – This will go through RE dealerships (commercial vehicle network).
This is a 4-wheeled vehicle – Pride and aspiration associated with a 4-wheeler present on this product.
Bajaj has developed an all new 200cc petrol engine to power the RE60.
100% new petrol engine – fuel injected, water cooled, 4 valves, twin spark technology – 60g/km of CO2 emissions – typically half what current small car emits. The engine is mounted at the rear.
This vehicle returned 40kmpl in testing and on the road, users should experience 35kmpl at least.
RE60 will hit a top speed of 70 kmph.
The Bajaj RE60 offers 2+2 or 1+3 seating and has the speedometer in the center of the dashboard, right above the center console. The vehicle has a single wiper and runs on 135/70/12 tyres. With a weight of just 400 kgs, the RE60 is very light and will also be offered in a CNG version. Bajaj will offer 2 variants of the RE60, a commercial variant and a private variant. The vehicle will be made at Bajaj Auto’s Aurangabad plant.
The length is 2752mm, the width is 1312mm, while the height is a generous 1650mm. The RE60 has 44-liter of rear boot storage, 7-liter under the hood and 400 liters with the rear seats folded down. The turning circle is very small at just 3.5 m (the Tata Nano has a turning circle of 4 m). Bajaj will commence sales by exporting the RE60 to Sri Lanka. Bajaj has used existing plant to save Rs. 350 crore on the RE60 project. This 4-wheeler is still open for Renault-Nissan to market as their own small car.
The RE60 is only for Autorickshaw drivers says Rajiv Bajaj
With RE 60, you are trying to upgrade three-wheelers. Given the price sensitivities involved in this segment, how will you make it a profitable product?
In the three-wheeler space we have a peculiar issue. On the one hand it’s an immensely profitable product (operating profit margin is 30 per cent); on the other hand, there is no real barrier to entry. Hence, we had to raise the bar somehow. the RE 60 will cost a little more, but we can still make a good profit. Customers will benefit even though fuel costs will be around 20 per cent more, depending on usage. The maintenance price will be almost similar. We will make sure that passengers get enough comfort. The size of the vehicle will be the same as an auto.
Was the Tata Nano an inspiration for the RE 60?
No. There is a basic difference — while Nano was targeting the two-wheeler population who wanted to upgrade to a four wheeler, we are sticking to the same set of customers — the auto drivers and passengers. We are giving them the assurance of comfort. We are very clear in the positioning of the RE 60 — it’s not targeted at the four-wheeler segment. I have no intention of claiming that the RE 60 is the cheapest car in the world.