‘BET’ Will Be Champions in Electric Scooters. They Eat ‘OATS’ For Breakfast, says Rajiv Bajaj
Moneylife Digital Team 29 October 2021
Rajiv Bajaj, managing director (MD) of Bajaj Auto feels, India’s ‘good’ two-wheeler companies are not really as lightweight as start-ups would like to think. “I am going to bet on ‘BET’. ‘BET’ means Bajaj, Enfield and TVS.
They are champions...they have a proven track record. The reason why I will bet on ‘BET’... there is a saying of breakfast of champions...Do you know what champions eat for breakfast? Champions eat OATS for breakfast. OATS means Ola, Ather, Tork and SmartE,” he says.
Speaking at a launch event, he termed those companies as champions who have learned to adapt to the changing market conditions and regulations over a long time.
Talking about the new start-ups that have entered the electric vehicle (EV) two-wheeler space, he asked, “The question is who are you going to bet on? Are you going to bet on the legacy companies, as you call us, or you are going to bet on the start-ups?”
“First of all, if we launch a motorcycle in October, you get it in November. It is not that we will launch in 2021, and you will get it in 2022…that is the start-up way, and not the legacy way,” he says, adding, “There are start-ups out there that we respect, and the biggest one is Ola, but we have to still see them produce something and sell something. There is Ather we enormously respect, and they have demonstrated.”
Mr Bajaj also cited the difference in business models of legacy companies and start-ups. “Their business model is a cash-burn model, and our business model is a cash-flow model... We have to make sure that we make money when we make a motorcycle...so of course, we operate very differently.”
According to the Bajaj Auto chief, the sign of a champion in the auto industry is that you should be able to adapt. “This (Bajaj) is a 75-year-old company and it has adapted to challenges over and over again. Sometimes the challenge was moving from scooters to motorcycles, and sometimes it was regulations, competition, or the electric disruption.
Bajaj Auto launched two all-new Pulsar 250s. These models are priced at Rs1.38 lakh for Pulsar N250 and Rs1.40 lakh for Pulsar F250 (ex-showroom Delhi). These motorcycles were launched to mark 20 years of Pulsar brand’s launch.
Earlier in 2019, Bajaj Auto re-launched its famous classic scooter Chetak as an EV. However, Bajaj Auto faces stiff competition from legacy players like TVS Motor Co and Hero Electric Ltd in the two-wheeler EV market. Further, start-ups like Ather Energy, backed by Hero MotoCorp and Ola Electric, a popular ride-share company subsidiary, have created ripples in the EV scooter space.
In a tweet, Ather Energy responded to the jibe of Mr Bajaj saying, “Launching our new line of products for a quicker and smarter start to the day — OATs for champions Bowl with spoon… Recommended by experts.”
So it would be interesting to see legacy players get to eat OATs as breakfast or start-ups would gain a more significant foothold in the two-wheeler space. 
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