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Smooth Ride Podcast: What makes Bajaj Auto tick globally and why it will not 'bleed to evangelise EVs'

Smooth Ride Podcast: What makes Bajaj Auto tick globally and why it will not 'bleed to evangelise EVs'
India's two-wheeler market is having a moment.
The roughly 20 million units sales of two-wheelers in India are looking at a moment of ostensible disruption as electric vehicle upstarts invest in capacities to build these vehicles at scale and scramble to grab a spot at the leaderboard of this nascent transition.
However, a leading manufacturer of two and three-wheelers —one that caters to the world out of its Indian factories, besides domestic demand —is not in a rush to "evangalise" this transition at the cost of profitability.
"We will not bleed to evangelize EVs", Rakesh Sharma, Executive Director, Bajaj Auto, tells CNBC-TV18's Alisha Sachdev in this episode of the Smooth Ride podcast.
"We may bleed to build capability", he adds.
Sharma reflects a point of view that signals a legacy brand like Bajaj Auto, which goes back decades, does not view EVs as a proposition that presents a threat. He says it is an exciting opportunity, and one that the company is preparing to leverage, but it is not viable at this moment.
"There is a gap between cost and price. Partly, the gap is between what ICE vehicles can offer and what it is landing at with EVs", he says, adding, that the automaker will be in a mad rush to build capability rather than put in dollars to bridge some kind of a price gap.
Bajaj Auto is also tracking its best-ever export figures this financial year after delivering record export volumes in 2020, and volumes "just a shade below 2020 levels" in 2021.
Sharma delves into what motivates Bajaj Auto's global outlook, growth drivers in its next phase of expansion (after having 80 markets and having almost run out of meaningful markets to enter into!), competing whilst retaining profitability, and its plans for the new and only wholly-owned subsidiary in India.
Tune in to Smooth Ride Podcast for more