How was the bajaj scooter made popular by rahul bajaj

How was the bajaj scooter made popular by rahul bajaj. After the 1991 reforms that lowered import barriers and liberalized foreign investments, Rahul Bajaj’s name became linked with Bombay Club industrialists. The latter desired a “level-playing field” versus global corporations. Throughout the 1970s and 1980s, Bajaj Chetak and Bajaj Super scooters enjoyed a free run on Indian roads, with multi-year waiting times and the nearest lone competitor rivaling only in name. However, Rahul Bajaj, who died on Saturday at 83, wasn’t your typical protectionist industrialist who thrived in a seller’s market. His vehicles were challenging, complied with rigorous production quality standards, and appealed to customers. The Chetak was the ultimate “Hamara” scooter for them, as it could be ridden by the entire family. Bajaj wanted to create more, but the governments of the time refused on the most bizarre socialist grounds imaginable: his company was a monopoly. After an initial technological collaboration with Italy’s Piaggio, Bajaj also completely indigenized the production of its scooters, making it the world’s fourth-largest two-wheeler manufacturer by the early 1990s.

While his scooters represented typical middle-class ambitions during the Amol Palekar-Farooq Shaikh years, Bajaj deserves credit for staying focused on the road ahead. In the mid-1980s, Bajaj Auto partnered with Kawasaki to produce motorcycles alongside Hero-Honda and TVS-Suzuki. In 1990, it released the Bajaj Sunny, a 50cc single-gear scooter aimed at 16-18-year-olds who couldn’t handle bigger scooters or bikes. When his son Rajiv decided to leave the scooter section in 2009, it hurt him. In retrospect, the senior Bajaj may not have been entirely incorrect. The former king of scooters could not participate in the gearless scooter revolution spearheaded by Honda Activa and TVS Jupiter. Unlike the older “family” scooters, these catered to individual purchasers, notably women, who desired mobility. Rajiv did, however, make Bajaj Auto the second-largest motorcycle company in India and the third-largest motorbike producer in the world. Sanjiv, the other son, has built Bajaj Finserv into a significant financial services company with a market capitalization that exceeds that of Bajaj Auto.

Rahul Bajaj will be remembered as a man who voiced his thoughts — not only to his son but also to then-finance minister Manmohan Singh and current home minister Amit Shah as a Bombay Club member. When he warned the latter about the need to create an environment in which businessmen could “openly criticize” the government while still being respected, he expressed a concern that few of his peers dared to articulate. It was a concern of a man who firmly believed in “Make in India,” understood the necessity of embracing global industry best practices, and stayed true to his craft without branching out into other ventures.

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