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RIP, Bajaj Chetak (1972-2005)

April 26, 2006

bajchet.jpgThough 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 (“…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.

Comments

7 Responses to “RIP, Bajaj Chetak (1972-2005)”

  1. BrookeNo Gravatar on April 26th, 2006 3:28pm

    Let me guess, you are not an officially certified and legitimized Piaggio blog?

  2. Professor MatthewNo Gravatar on April 26th, 2006 9:49pm

    Well, ArgoUsa is claiming that they still have quite a number of Chetaks left to sell for the rest of the year and that they can still get spare parts for much time to come so provided enough people in this country know how to work on them, they’re still a decent option.

  3. illnoiseNo Gravatar on April 26th, 2006 10:50pm

    Sure, Matthew. I’ve always been a big BajajUSA supporter, they’re fine scooters, and Argo’s dedication to their customers, along with the Chetak’s ages-long market dominance in India, will ensure parts supply for years to come.

    But I think it’s a disservice to consumers to present scooters that were likely imported in 2004–not to mention discontinued in 2005–as 2006-model bikes.

    If I were Al at Argo, I’d do the same thing, he obviously wants and needs to continue selling them, I was more trying to make the point that any “Buyers Guide” is pretty thin on journalism, it’s usually just a favor for advertisers. That’s not really an insult to Scooter World, they’re clearly more successful than I am, but they’re a commercial publication and thus they have obligations to advertisers that a bitter, penniless crapfest like 2strokebuzz does not, ha.

    On another note, what do you think Costatino Sambuy is doing these days?

  4. Professor MatthewNo Gravatar on April 27th, 2006 1:05pm

    I’m just hoping that they don’t become like the old German scooters in that you CAN get parts for them and there are SOME people who can work on them but they’re not the easiest things in the world to own. I suppose as long as Phil is still around I’ll have the possiblity to keep mine running.

    On the other hand considering the amount of money those German bikes are fetching maybe I should just drain the Chetak of all fluids and put it somewhere safe and dry.

    And buyer’s guides are just press releases unless the publication actually includes editorial content.

  5. 2strokebuzz » Blog Archive » The death of Chetak on May 1st, 2006 8:38am

    […] With a dearth of Bajaj Chetak news for the foreseeable future, here’s the story of The Battle of Haldighati, featuring Chetak, the horse after which the Bajaj scooters (and the HAL helicopters) were named. […]

  6. 2strokebuzz » Blog Archive » Business Standard interviews Rajiv Bajaj on July 8th, 2006 8:10am

    […] Rajiv Bajaj, managing director of Bajaj Auto, talks to the Business Standard about his plans for the company, which include a big push in Mexico, cooperation with Kawasaki, and breaking the 200cc barrier. Rajiv practices yoga, runs the company “holistically,” and drools over new technology, yet we sort of miss his Harvard-Business-School, sentimental, right-wing dad Rahul Bajaj (and the Bajaj Chetak). […]

  7. Vespa PX to return? : 2strokebuzz on September 9th, 2010 10:43am

    […] the PX, it will be making the same reactionary mistake again. (In that light, I fully expect Bajaj, who has repeatedly slammed “nostalgia” and recently officially discontinued all […]

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