Auto slowdown not as big as projected, says Rajiv Bajaj
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Bajaj said auto firms must be able to absorb small fall in sales.
Bajaj said auto firms must be able to absorb small fall in sales.

PUNE: Bajaj Auto managing director Rajiv Bajaj on Thursday said the slowdown in the automobile sector was not as big as projected and the current phase was a part of the normal business cycle.

“The retail slowdown is only 5-10%. This 20-30% slowdown (as reflected in official numbers) is only because of stock reduction being made by the manufacturers for several purposes. So, to present almost a misleading argument (is a bit far-fetched). There is no business in the world that is growing all the time. Corrections take place everywhere,” Bajaj said at the launch of Bajaj Auto’s Chetak electric scooter in Pune.

Bajaj said auto firms must be able to absorb small fall in sales. “If you cannot face a 10% correction in business, you should not be in business,” he said, adding that companies should not depend on one market alone.

On e-vehicles, Bajaj said their introduction in the country had been slow as there was a conflict of interest in the minds of petrol and diesel vehicle makers, including Bajaj Auto. “Our entire supply chain and set-ups run on internal combustion engines. So, everyone has an interest in going slow on electric vehicles,” he said, while calling for a middle path.

While not disclosing the investment the company made in the electric vehicle line, Bajaj said the automaker was ready to respond to the demand. “Chetak is an iconic brand and there is a story to sell with the vehicle. So, we will do whatever it takes to meet the demand,” he said.

Bajaj Auto exported over 2 million motorcycles and three wheelers in FY2019, representing about 40% of its production that year.

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