Bajaj Auto begins exporting Qute to Egypt, electric variant in the works | Autocar Professional

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Pune-based auto major Bajaj Auto, which wrapped up FY2024 with domestic market sales of 22,37,118 two-wheelers (up 24% YoY) and 463,413 three-wheelers (up 54% YoY), and was India’s top exporter of both two-wheelers (1.47 million units, down 10%) and three-wheelers (154,694 units, down 15%), is set to receive a new charge with its four-wheeled product. The Bajaj Qute, India’s first-ever quadricycle (a sub-group of the LCV segment) launched in the country in FY2019, has begun to be exported to Egypt. 

Speaking in a conference call, following the announcement of Bajaj Auto’s FY2024 results in mid-April, Rakesh Sharma, executive director had said: “We are delighted that the Egyptian government has formally recognized the category of quadricycles for public transportation, and we will commence the first exports of Qute to Egypt within this month.”

As is known, Bajaj Auto has a strong three-wheeler presence in Egypt, which was a major market for this product in the past. It is estimated that the country still has around 500,000 Bajaj RE three-wheelers plying on its roads. In end-2021, Egypt had banned import of three-wheelers (called tuk-tuks there) which had impacted Indian exports. In early March 2024, the Egyptian parliament approved a draft law aimed at creating a new vehicle category for quadricycles to transport people

It is understood that the government of Egypt plans to progressively replace all three-wheelers with quadricycles, and its recent move to recognise the quadricycle vehicle category is expected to give a major fillip to exports of the Bajaj Qute. According to Sharma, this has “decisively opened the door for last mile four-wheel mobility for us in Egypt.”

This could effectively translate into a strong export business opportunity for Bajaj Auto. The Bajaj Qute quadricycle, which is designed to be an urban mobility alternative, is powered by a 216cc, single-cylinder, liquid-cooled engine that develops 13.2hp and 18.9 Nm of torque and has bi-fuel CNG and LPG variants.

Between FY2016 and FY2024, over 27,000 Bajaj Qutes have been exported. Egypt’s recent move to recognise quadricycles as public transport makes for a big new business opportunity and sales in FY2025 should rise sharply.    

More Qutes have been sold overseas than in India. Bajaj Auto, which began exporting the Qute in October 2015, has till end-March 2024 shipped a total of 27,393 units overseas (see data table above). In India, the quadricycle has sold 3,155 units since FY2019, with sales starting around end-2018 initially only for commercial use and then for personal use.    

Bajaj Auto’s strategic approach to its exports business has seen its divide its overseas markets into three sets: stressed, recovering and new markets. It is the third category, which comprises a group of new territories and new segments in existing markets, which the company plans to aggressively tap. And a new Egyptian business opportunity has just arrived for the Bajaj Qute quadricycle.

Electric Qute in the offing
Meanwhile on the electric vehicle front, Bajaj Auto which now has a presence in both two-wheelers with the Chetak e-scooter and in three-wheelers with the RE E-Tec 9.0 passenger and Maxima XL Cargo E-Tec 12.0, is making moves to electrify the Qute.

Speaking in the conference call Rakesh Sharma said: “We are investing behind the Qute platform. When the BS-IV, BS-VI transitions took place, there was such a lot of work which was there in our R&D that we deprioritize Qute only because of the volumes. But we are now looking at an upgrade, which will provide the customer with a tech condition in Qute. And we are already now got a CNG-based Qute, and we will be working on an electric Qute as well.”

All images: Bajaj Auto

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