About Rahul Bajaj, the former chairman of Bajaj Auto, and his contribution to India's automobile industry
Rahul Bajaj, a well-known name in the Automobile Industry, is the former chairman of Bajaj Auto. Recently, on 12th February 2022, he left us at the age of 83. He was born in Kolkata on 30 June 1938. The Bajaj Group was founded by Jamnalal Bajaj, father of Rahul Bajaj in 1926 and was succeeded in 1942 by his father Kamalnayan Bajaj. Kamalnayan became a forerunner of Bajaj Auto. Within a very short period i.e., three years the business of Bajaj Auto expanded into new industries such as cement, household appliances, and scooters. Rahul Bajaj is a graduate of St.Stephen's College, Delhi in 1958 and received his law degree from Bombay University. He then completed his MBA from Harvard Business School and in 1968, he became the CEO of Bajaj Auto. Rahul Bajaj was the president of the Confederation of Indian Industries (CII) and the Association of Indian Auto Manufacturers (SIAM).
Rahul Bajaj Journey in Bajaj Auto
In his starting days in Bajaj Auto, Rahul Bajaj became the Deputy General Manager. He was responsible for handling the operations of major and important areas of the company such as marketing, accounting, procurement, and auditing. Guided by Bajaj Auto CEO K. Firodia, Rahul understands the uncertainty of the industry. Firodia and Bajajs later broke up their business ties. After his father's died in 1972, Rahul was named director of Bajaj Auto. Under the tenure of Rahul Bajaj, the company has grown significantly. Rahul Bajaj increased the market value of the company in the 1970s and 1980s and registered its success by making an entry to the $1 billion club. On its mission, Bajaj brings the Chetak and Bajaj Scooters to the Indian market. Originally based on the Italian Vespa Model, the Chetak became an affordable and very famous means of transport for millions of Indians in its decade and still is known as the "Hamara Bajaj".
After the expansion of the market, Japanese competitors such as Honda, Yamaha, and Suzuki introduced new motorcycles. With other competitors' entry, India's market scenario changed and Bajaj sales reached a low level around 2001. However, with many marketing and promotion campaigns, the company quickly recovered from a loss caused by new entrants. Bajaj Auto reinvented itself with the release of the Bajaj Pulsar motorcycle. The company was divided into three divisions in the year 2008. Bajaj Auto, Bajaj Finserv, and Financing, and holding company. His sons are currently in charge of the day-to-day operations of the company.
Contribution and Achievements
- In 1986, he was appointed as the President of Air India.
- He received Padma Bhushan in 2001.
- In June 2006, Rahul Bajaj was elected to the Mumbai Rajya Sabha. He resigned as president of Bajaj Auto in 2005 and his son Rajiv became the Managing director of Bajaj.
- The Bajaj family was awarded the Family of the Year award in 2003. They are rewarded for dedicating their wealth and time to the welfare of the public.
- The family operates schools such as Balwadis, vocational training centers, and technical schools, including ITI. They teach local women how to sew and embroider.
- They established various hospitals and rural development programs under the auspices of Jankidevi Bajaj Gram Vikas Sanstha.
Bajaj’s Initiatives in EV Industry
Bajaj Auto Limited announced recently that it will invest Rs 300 crore in a new electric vehicle factory which will be set up in Akurdi, Pune. The brand claims that the factory will have an annual production capacity of 5 lakhs electric vehicles in a year. This place (Akurdi, Pune) is also the first place where the iconic scooter, the original Bajaj Chetak scooter started being manufactured. Bajaj Auto has announced the introduction of a "state-of-the-art robotics and automation system" at its new electric vehicle unit. Logistics and material handling, production and painting, assembly and quality control are all automated. The facility spans over half a million square feet and will provide employment to approximately 800 people. The company said more suppliers will be on hand to raise an additional Rs 250 Crores in addition to the announced investment. The department's first vehicle will be unveiled in June 2022. Also, Bajaj plans to launch a range of electric three-wheelers. The company is also working on an electric four-wheel Qute, a four-wheeler EV that Bajaj Auto launched a few years back. As per the reports Bajaj Auto is building a second EV facility in Aurangabad. As per Bajaj officials, Bajaj EV plans are still being conceptualized and it is too early for the company to talk about future plans of EV at this stage.