Rajiv Bajaj: Turnaround artist

Under Rajiv Bajaj, managing director, Bajaj Auto, the two- and three-wheeler maker plans a small car to take on the Tata Rs 1lakh car. Mohini Bhatnagar reports.

The latest issue of the US business magazine Forbes carries a cover story profiling Rajiv Bajaj, MD, Bajaj Auto (issue dated 26 September, 2006) and son of the charismatic Rahul Bajaj who has been synonymous not only with the two-wheeler industry, but the face of Indian business.

The authoritative business journal, in earlier issues has profiled the accomplishments of Indian business giants like Azim Premji, chairman, Wipro Technologies and Lakshmi Mittal, chairman, Mittal Steel.

The current issue of Forbes details how Rajiv Bajaj turned around the scooter-maker Bajaj Auto, which till the early 2000s was fast losing out in a market moving towards aggressive Hero Honda's motorcycles.

That Bajaj Auto has once again reclaimed its place in the two-wheeler market within five years speaks volumes of the younger Bajaj's turnaround strategy that included launching new products in a changing market place and changing the image of the company from a stodgy scooter maker into a trendy motorcycle manufacturer. Moreover, Bajaj Auto's success at present is all the more remarkable because it is up against stiff competition from Honda, Suzuki and Yamaha, unlike when Indian companies thrived on protectionism.

Bajaj completed his mechanical engineering from Pune University and Masters in manufacturing systems engineering from the University of Warwick in 1991.