Wednesday, 22 May 2013

Government now allows Quadricylces to ply on Indian roads - Bajaj to benefit the most

Government today allowed a new category of vehicles called, "Quadricycles" to be allowed on Indian roads saying this is more safer form of transport than the regular three wheeler vehicle. However, there must be a certain speed limit and engine capacity to be specified which will be lower than the regular four wheeler small cars.

A meeting under the chairmanship of Road Secretary Vijay Chhibber was held today to discuss the issue of amendment to the Central Motor Vehicles Rules (CMVR) to include quadricycle as an additional category vehicle to be manufactured and registered in India. It was decided during the meeting that the Quadricycles are safer than the 3-wheeler as they have fully enclosed body structure with hard top and doors.

"A separate category has been proposed for notification to include quadricyle with specifications adopting present norms notified in the 3-wheeler category of the Central Motor Vehicles Rules (CMVR) or the European Union quadricycle, whichever is more stringent," a Road Ministry statement said.

The most to benefit out of this is the homegrown Bajaj Auto, which unveiled first quadricycle for India during the 2012 Auto Expo. Codenamed as RE60, the Quadricycle will be powered by a 200cc petrol engine with a top speed of 70 Kmph and a mileage of 35 Kmpl.

Quadricycles will be recommended for registration under commercial transport category for intra-city movement within the municipal limits only and these vehicles will be permitted to be driven only by licensed driver after due registration. Also, all Quadricycle registered vehicles will have an identification symbol "Q" prominently dislpayed on the body of these vehicles.

"It is expected to be a substantial upgrade over the 3-wheeler auto which currently provides for the last mile connectivity in most urban areas of the country," the statement said.

The meeting was attended by representatives of Ministry of Heavy Industry, ARAI (Automotive Research Association of India) and iCAT ( International Centre for Automotive Technology).

"This is a wonderful day for Indian automotive innovation. The RE60 will soon be joined by many more similarly small, light and low speed vehicles that will make for a cleaner, safer, quieter world. As an anti-car company we are just delighted," Bajaj Auto Managing Director Rajiv Bajaj told.

The company that will be negatively affected will be Tata Motors as the company while launching the small car, Nano, had a vision of replacing this with the existing three wheelers citing the safety benefits that Nano posses over three wheelers. While, Nano is powered by a 660cc petrol engine and costs around Rs 1.5 Lac, the price of Bajaj's RE60 is something to be looked at. The diesel version of Nano is currently under development and expect it to launch by the end of ongoing year.

Tata Motors small car, Nano is already on its all time low with just 948 units selling in April 2013.

What could be done by Tata Motors !
We expect Bajaj Auto's 200cc, four wheeler, hard top RE60 to be launched lesser than a lac, while the soft top version (if launched) will be even cheaper and could be priced in the range of Rs 75,000. With Tata Motors already working on Nano facelift, the current version of Nano could be trimmed down on existing features, thus making slight reduction in cost and put into market compete with Bajaj's lower powered and smaller engined RE60.

However, a close watch on this development should be kept as Tata Motors strategy of placing a product for both commercial vehicle market and passenger vehicle market has made its brand image as a "taxi vehicle maker" - this is something Tata Motors needs to look at. While we at Wheel-O-Mania have given them a food of thought.


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