Bajaj ‘RE60 is not a car but a four-wheeled vehicle’

India’s second largest automaker Bajaj Auto Tuesday made its foray into the four-wheel segment, unveiling a low-cost, eco-friendly automobile — RE60– targeting three-wheeler customers to shift to the vehicle for a smoother ride inside the city.

“We are looking at the customers who currently operate three-wheelers to shift to this four-wheeler low emission segment,” Rajiv Bajaj, company managing director, said introducing the vehicle, which is the first low-cost, four-wheeler commercial passenger carrier in the country.

“This is not a car but a four-wheeler vehicle, which is a new segment in its own right. We have put in a lot of technology and features which are not in three-wheelers or even cars,” he told reporters.

The four-wheeler is powered by a 200cc rear-mounted water cooled DTSi four-valve engine that can churn out a top-speed of 70 km an hour.

The company did not disclose the price at which the vehicle would be launched, but said it would hit the showrooms in a few months.

It will come in three fuel variants — petrol, CNG and LNG.

According to Bajaj, the four-wheeler holds a lot of potential in the Indian as well as the European, African and Asian markets.

It had taken four years for the company to develop the vehicle, Bajaj said, without revealing the cost of production.

“My competitors would love to know that (cost). But I can just say that just by going through our existing facility, we have been able to save Rs.350 crore.”

The vehicle weighs 400 kg and the engine can provide an output from 15 PS (horsepower) to 20 PS. It would be produced at the firm’s Aurangabad facility.

“This is a light weight vehicle which has primary position of a commercial passenger carrier, but it can be used as a personal passenger carrier, as well,” R.C. Maheshwary, president, commercial vehicle business, Bajaj Auto, told IANS.

The vehicle travelled 40 km per litre under test conditions and the company said under realistic driving conditions it could deliver 35 km per litre.

On possible participation of Renault-Nissan in the RE60 project, Bajaj said: “They have not seen the physical product as yet, only the one on the virtual media. They will see it at the Auto-Expo 2012 after which we are expected to meet.”

In 2010, both sides had signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) on the ultra-low cost (ULC) project in which Bajaj was supposed to have developed the vehicle but marketed through Renault-Nissan.

Bajaj also said the company manufactured half-a-million three-wheelers, a majority of which are exported.

“We make about 5,20,000 three-wheelers a year, of which only 2,00,000 are sold in India and the rest are exported. So we see markets for RE60 in Sri Lanka and Africa.”

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