The following article appeared at Rediff.com on 8th January 2008.
We are reproducing this article for the benefit of visitors to Indiacar.com. The original article is available here.
The country's second largest bike maker Bajaj Auto Ltd on Tuesday cocked a snook at those who sniggered at its efforts to get into the passenger car market.
The company silently unveiled its 'Lite' concept car in New Delhi, two days before the much hyped launch of Tata Motors' Rs 1 lakh car.
The car -- which reminds you of the Matiz front on, but has a very upright auto-like back -- has been conceptualized by the Baja j team at Akurdi, near Pune.
Bajaj Auto expects to launch its small car in the next four years in partnership with Renault and Nissan.
They are developing both diesel and petrol engines. Bajaj Auto will also be setting up a new manufacturing unit in Chakan that will manufacture the small car and light commercial vehicle.
Bajaj has done away with the centre panel and placed the two front seats touching each other. The gear shaft has been mounted on the dashboard.
The company said it will also take inputs from Renault-Nissan for development.
In a statement, the company said, 'The Lite concept would first offer low running costs and affordable monthly outflows coupled with a reasonable cost of acquisition. This would lead to unbeatable total cost of operation'.
The company did not reveal any specification, price or launch date.
The initial installed capacity will be 250,000 units and the company will look at exporting the car, BAL managing director Rajiv Bajaj said.
Bajaj also said it will launch three two-wheelers in the executive and premium segment during 2008.
The company would launch two motorcycles -- XCD 125 cc DTS-i Sprint and Discover 150 cc DTS-i -- and one scooter 125 cc Blade within this year.
"The 125 cc motorcycle segment is getting crowded so we would upgrade the Discover to 150 cc," BAL CEO (two-wheelers) S Sreedhar told reporters in New Delhi.