We eat OATS for breakfast: Rajiv Bajaj takes a dig at Ola Electric

Taking a swing at Ola Ele­ctric, Bajaj said, “If we launch a motorcycle in October, you will get in Nove­mber. It’s not that if we launch it in 2021, you will get it in 2022.”

As a 75-year-old septuagenarian, Bajaj Auto has adapted itself as a nod to competition, regulations, and changing bu­yer preference.

It will continue to do so, said its managing director Rajiv Bajaj at the lau­nch of the all-new Pulsar 250.

This was in response to a question on the company’s preparedness for disruption by electric two-wheeler start-ups.

“Indian two-wheeler mak­ers are not as lightweight as some start-ups would like to think they are.

“The question is who I would like to bet on. I would like to ‘bet on BET’ — Bajaj, Enfield, and TVS.

“They are the champions with a pro­ven track record,” said Bajaj.

Taking a swing at Ola Ele­ctric, Bajaj said, “Two things are very clear. If we launch a motorcycle in October, you will get in Nove­mber.

“It’s not that if we launch it in 2021, you will get it in 2022.

“That’s the start-up way, not the legacy way.

“From a company point of view, Ola’s business model is a cash-burn one. Ours is a cash-flow mo­del,” said Bajaj.

According to Bajaj, while some newcom­ers like Ather Energy and Tork Motors have done well, others are yet to pr­ove their mettle.

“Do you kn­ow the breakfast of the champions? They have O.A­.T.S. — Ola, Ath­er, Tork, and Smart EV (an electric thr­ee-wheeler start up),” he said.

Bajaj said after the ‘strategic li­ft­ing’ last month that in­vo­lved a share swap in its Aus­trian partner KTM AG, Bajaj Auto should be encompassing bran­ds, including KTM, Hus­qv­arna Motor­cycles, PIERER Mobility, and Triumph Motor­cycles.

Rakesh Sharma, executive director, Bajaj Auto, said, “The company will participate vigorously in the EV space.

“At this stage, we don’t need to look at volumetric targets, but capabilities in terms of research and development and manufacturing to ensure we have the adequate mindshare.”

On whe­ther the company has plans to bring in electric motorcycles, Sharma said, “We are working with KTM to understand the possibility in that area.”

Bajaj Auto’s sells the Chetak electric scooter in the EV segment.

Referring to Chetak’s ramp-up plans, he said while Bajaj has found traction for the brand in smaller cities, it has adopted a calibrated approach owing to supply-related issues.

It plans to be present in 30 cities by the end of the current financial year.

Photograph: Anindito Mukherjee/Reuters

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