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The end of Bajaj scooters?

December 21, 2009

Rajiv Bajaj announced last week that Bajaj Auto is halting all scooter production. Their only current model, the Kristal, is selling only a few hundred bikes per month, compared to hundreds of thousands of motorcycles, which are far more popular with Indian teenagers. The company is also looking to compete in the automotive business. A few years ago, I predicted a rebirth of a retro-styled Chetak in 2010, and even though this news sounds dire, and comes so close to the new year, family patriarch Rahul Bajaj is on my side, so I’m sticking to my prediction. Never underestimate the power of nostalgic elder Bajaj.

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4 Responses to “The end of Bajaj scooters?”

  1. BrookeNo Gravatar on December 22nd, 2009 12:21pm

    That’s very interesting that he’d comment on the decision. I wonder if the dowdy image of a simple beast of burden hurts the Indian scooter market in general. And more importantly, are there are real differences between the small motorcycle line and scooters that are significant in terms of utility? If there isn’t an advantage in terms of simplicity of operation, size, overall cost to run or carrying capacity I wouldn’t imagine a return of something purely for nostalgia. In the US, scooters surprise people because they make so much sense. It’s like figuring out part of the story in a Dan Brown novel. It’s rewarding because it makes you feel ‘smart’ as well as just fun to pass the time. I think small motorcycles make sense in the same way. But we don’t have real, good options for them so they didn’t have any opportunity to join in, eclipse or take over from the scooter resurgence we’ve seen over the last 6 years. Maybe it was just the archaic moped laws that made scooters seem like good ideas.

  2. Those Darn McCabesNo Gravatar on December 22nd, 2009 10:31pm

    The weird thing is that the Indian scooter market appears to be recovering. It will never have the numbers that motorcycles now hold but many Indians are returning to the scooter.

    Honda, at least sells a couple scooters that are doing very well. These scooters were designed to compete in the old Indian scooter market and have metal bodies and good ground clearance. One report I read said they are sell 70,000 units a month. That’s not shabby

  3. BrookeNo Gravatar on December 22nd, 2009 11:13pm

    Which models are these? With a description of a traditional scooter with high ground clearance suggests high floorboards and center of gravity. That doesn’t strike me as all that great from a practical point of view. Or does it mean that they’ve forsaken the Japanese style of empty swooping body moldings. That would be refreshing.

  4. BrookeNo Gravatar on December 22nd, 2009 11:18pm

    Ah yes, the Activa!

    http://www.honda2wheelersindia.com/activa/index.html

    They should have brought that in instead of the Elite version that they did. Best fork design for a scooter. I have two of the timeless front ends in the back of my van right now!

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