RIP, Bajaj Chetak (1972-2005)
April 26, 2006
Though we reported the end of the Bajaj on April 1, this India Times story from January 2006 (a reprint– the India Times page is popup-tastic, and thanks for the link, Matthew) says production officially stopped at Bajaj’s Akurdi plant on December 31st, 2005. (apparently Maharashtra continued building them from ‘CKD packs’ for three months.) The story is depressing, with chairman Rahul Bajaj citing their importance to Indian Culture (“â€¦marriages did not happen without Chetak. It was a compulsory dowry item,” he says), while his son and Bajaj Managing Director Rajiv Bajaj argues, “Holding on to anything from the past is a sign of weakness.” Even if Rajiv has been reading too many western business management books, his statement that “”Like the Volkswagen Beetle, the product had lost its relevance,” is ridiculous, the redesigned Beetle (and soon Rabbit) thrive on nostalgia. Perhaps, like Costantino Sambuy slamming then embracing the Vespa P-series design, he’ll change his story when a “new” Chetak appears in a year or two. In any case, we still have the LML Star, for the time being, and the new Scooter World 2006 Buyer’s Guide for some reason lists the Chetak and Legend, probably because ArgoUSA still had some ads left in their contract.