Bajaj stops production of geared scooters, ArgoUSA future uncertain

Maharashtra Scooters, the factory that produces the Bajaj Chetak, has stopped production of manual-transmission scooters. 2,450 Chetaks remain on the factory floor, and it appears ArgoUSA (formerly Bajaj) isn’t expecting any more: (From their site)

“We are working to solidify relationships with other scooter manufacturers that can provide us with the quality and reliability that is expected by the American scooter rider.”

BajajUSA’s sales message of economy and practicality was ahead of its time in the US, when other importers were pitching scooters as luxury toys to internet millionaires, and $3/gal. gas was unthinkable. A serious blow was dealt by the introuduction of the similar, but trendier—and not-much-more-expensive—Genuine Stella about a year later. The Bajaj featured a more modern and fuel-efficient 4-stroke engine, and owners and dealers gave the Chetak and Legend high marks, but the Stella’s arrival, and a seeming lack of interest in the US market from Bajaj HQ, loomed over BajajUSA for the last couple years. (Another Maharashtra Scooters story)

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