Bajaj Auto, the Pune-based automaker, is well-known for its motorcycle range that includes the popular Pulsar series of performance bikes, Discover and V range of commuter bikes and the Dominar 400 power cruiser. The one segment that Bajaj Auto is yet to make a mark is the scooters. Though the company tried to crack the market before with Wave, the result wasn't as envisioned.
Fast forward to 2018, Bajaj Auto is reportedly planning to make a comeback in the scooter segment. However, it may not bring a run of the mill scooter this time. Though the company has not confirmed the new Chetak development, a report in Gaadiwaadi claims that Bajaj Auto is planning to launch a premium scooter in 2019 and it will go up against the lifestyle scooter icon in the country, the Vespa range. The most intriguing part is that the scooter will revive Bajaj Auto's most popular nameplate Chetak.
There was a time in India's two-wheeler history when Bajaj Chetak was a household name for scooters. People were willing to wait over one-and-a-half years to get their hands on the Chetak after booking. The sheen of Chetak faded away and Bajaj Auto eventually discontinued the brand in early 2000.
Now, it looks like Bajaj Auto is now planning to capitalise the nostalgia factor associated with Chetak's name for its new premium scooter.
The premium scooter segment has been experiencing reception from customers like never before with the dawn of this decade in India. Vespa kick-started the trend and positive response for Aprilia SR 150 also underlines the shift in customer preference. Hence, Bajaj Auto's plan to go premium makes complete sense.
A leaked image, which is believed to be an early prototype of 2018 Bajaj Chetak, confirms that it will have a retro design with contemporary cycle parts, a formula mastered by Vespa. The scooter is expected to get advanced suspension components and disc brake at the front is optional.
It will be based on a lightweight chassis and a four-stroke, single-cylinder, air-cooled engine with 125cc displacement is expected to provide power. In that case, the Chetak will pose a challenge to the Suzuki Burgman Street, Honda Grazia and TVS Ntorq in addition to the 125cc scooters of Vespa and Aprilia.
Bajaj may also offer many accessories as optional in the new Chetak. Considering the segment in which Bajaj Chetak expected to be positioned, the scooter may get a price tag in the range of Rs 70,000 to Rs 80,000, ex-showroom.