Bajaj upgrades 3-wheeler models, to phase out existing range

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Pune, June 13: Three-wheeler major Bajaj Auto today unveiled its new RE compact passenger vehicles in the petrol, CNG and LPG variants, which aim to replace the company's existing range.

The petrol two-stroke version is priced at Rs 1.03 lakh, while the four-stroke petrol variant will cost Rs 1.15 lakh, which is at a premium of Rs 2,000 to the existing range (all ex-showroom Mumbai.)

The Pune-based firm plans to roll out two new products in the three-wheeler segment besides launching the RE compact version in diesel within the next six months, Managing Director Rajeev Bajaj told reporters here.

Bajaj Auto, which sold 2.26 lakh units, including exports, last year enjoys 65 per cent market share in the three-wheeler segment and 87 per cent in the compact segment. "We have been saying for some time that we are going to renew the entire range of three-wheelers. We will have a diesel version in a few months as it constitutes a large part of the demand. We will take around six months to replace the entire range," Bajaj said.

The RE compact comes with advanced features over the existing range like a DTSi engine (4-stroke), 10-15 per cent higher fuel efficiency, lower maintenance cost and better ergonomics. The product will be launched in a phased manner across the country.

Customers can save up to Rs 20,000 per annum owing to increased fuel efficiency, lower maintenance costs and improved mileage, Bajaj Auto President (Commercial Vehicle) R C Maheshwari said. "We have around 85 per cent market share in the small sized passenger three-wheeler category both in petrol and diesel. The new range will help us defend our overwhelming leadership position and induce existing customers to replace their vehicles," he claimed.

Of the total three-wheeler sale, 15-20 per cent comes from new permits, while replacement accounts for the rest, Maheshwari said.

The company, however, did not provide details on the investment made on the products upgrades.

On an average, Bajaj Auto exports 7,000 three-wheelers to Sri Lanka, 5,000 each to Egypt and Nigeria and 3,000 to Peru each month. On exporting the RE compact range, Bajaj said, "of the 40,000 three-wheelers sold monthly, we export a little more than half. So, it will be at least a few months before we start exports."

Stating that the company is working on two new product platforms in the passenger segment, Bajaj said one will be a large sized three-wheeler called Maxima', which will replace the existing Mega' model. The other, Optima', will be in the mid-sized range. The petrol and CNG versions of Optima and Maxima will follow the diesel variant.

Bajaj Auto sells around 2,500 units of the Mega a month. The Maxima will trigger further competition in the segment and pit the firm directly against the market leader Piaggio, which sells around 11,000 units a month of its larger diesel models.

Bajaj Auto currently sells around 9,000 units per month of its diesel variant three-wheeler.


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