Bajaj RE60 : More than a Nano
Four years after Bajaj Auto showcased its ‘small car’ at the 2008 Auto Expo, the two- and three-wheeler giant has unveiled what it calls the RE60. “It is not a car. It’s a four wheeler,” said Rajiv Bajaj while addressing the media during the unveiling of the vehicle at hotel Taj Palace in New Delhi. And that's as apt a way to put things as any.
There are two radical directions that the RE60 - a name that harks back to Bajaj Auto's range of Rear-Engine autorickshaws - pushes the boundaries of engineering and market positioning. It is a new advancement in last mile people movers on one hand, and a modern rethought urban mobility solution on the other. Sounds deep? Here are some questions that might crop up in your minds, and the answers that throw light on the true grit of this paradigm shift.
Q). Why the RE name?
It is part of Bajaj Auto’s product strategy where the products define the brand and the firm has made this distinct with its motorcycle business completely. The Pulsar is the flagship range and brand of premium sports motorcycles; the Discover range is the brand of stylish and high tech mass market commuters while the Boxer series is the utilitarian, rugged and no-nonsense range of entry level motorcycles across the low price but heavy duty usage areas. In the same vein, there is now not much of Bajaj Auto branding on these machines but the fact that Pulsar, Discover and Boxer acquire the same generic thrust as say Chevrolet, Cadillac and Buick perform for General Motors. In the three-wheeled space, RE remains the most known and successful brand among all Indian three-wheelers and this stems from the smooth operating performance of the RE (rear engined) three-wheelers. As such RE will remain the brand for all Bajaj Auto offerings having more than two-wheels and with rear-engines!
Q). It looks like a car, but feels quite pared down. Is the RE60 a Nano competitor?
This is a four-wheeler built by the world’s largest manufacturer of three-wheelers used primarily as last mile people movers. The engineering is frugal but not at the cost of structural integrity, the thought behind the design is smart but not cocky and the overall tenets to drive home the point of light weight and optimum power-to-weight has resulted in a car which can and will perform adequately as an urban runabout for four with all-weather protection.
Q). What is the basic concept behind the RE60?
A last mile people mover it might be for the commercial aspect of it all, rickshaws and taxis in more explicit terms but there is no denying that it is also built to the emerging new quadricycle norms for basic city commuting in Europe which call for cars of a specific design and strength, high fuel efficiency and ultra low emissions in the very essence of the term, decent performance for four with ease of use and control, all weather protection that is not pared to the bone but more in sync with the A-segment cars. And to top it all, this is a car with very strong fundamentals with all-Indian tech which is already a proven world beater in the two-wheeled sphere.