A few weeks ago, Rajiv Bajaj, the Managing Director of Bajaj Auto, said that he does not have any hopes from the second half of this fiscal. Painting a very pessimistic view over the future of the Automobile industry, he said that the cost of vehicles has increased due to various regulations, and therefore, the demand of the festive season could not be sustained. On the day he painted this view, the shares of Automobile companies fell by around 6 per cent.
However, the automobile shares have gone up exponentially today as the figure for the October month sales were very encouraging. Hero, TVS, Honda, and Bajaj posted a double-digit increase in the sale figure as compared to last year.
The domestic sale of Bajaj registered 11 per cent growth to 2,68,631 units while exports grew by 29 per cent to 2,01, 659 units. “Pulsar brand recorded sales of over 170,000 units. Highest ever,” said Bajaj in a statement.
After Bajaj Automobile released its sale figures, Rajiv Bajaj was heavily criticised by the social media users for trying to paint the devil on the wall last week- for obvious political goals.
Hero motocorp sells 8 lakh vehicles in Oct. Just when Bajaj was saying demand isn't that much. pic.twitter.com/0BnUq2VpMt
— Deepak Shenoy (@deepakshenoy) November 1, 2020
“Hero Motocorp sells 8 lakh vehicles in Oct. Just when Bajaj was saying demand isn’t that much,” tweeted Deepak Shenoy, an acclaimed investor and market analyst.
This smart guy said this on TV….2 wheeler stocks fell 6% that day….how did Hero sell 8 lk units if situation is so bad as he says…hero in call also clarified that all said was humbug….Bajaj wale chacha, kitna jhoot bologe? https://t.co/1r1Dnc037y
— Darshan Mehta (@darshanvmehta1) November 1, 2020
“This smart guy said this on TV….2 wheeler stocks fell 6% that day….how did Hero sell 8 lk units if the situation is so bad as he says…hero in call also clarified that all said was humbug…Bajaj wale chacha, kitna jhoot bologe?” tweeted Darshan Mehta, business journalist and investor.
The performance of the other two-wheeler players like TVS and Hero Motocorp was even better. TVS’ two-wheelers sales grew by 24% recording 382,121 units with a growth of 19% to 301,380 units in the domestic market and 33% in exports to 92,520 units.
Hero Motocorp, the largest two-wheeler player, registered a growth of 35 per cent in October to 8.06 units. “With the higher dispatches during the month, the company’s customer touchpoints across the country now have adequate inventories in line with market demand in the ongoing period,” said Hero.
Even the sale of four-wheelers registered double-digit growth, with two major players Maruti Suzuki and Hyundai, being the top players. These companies increased the market share as most new buyers went with tried and tested products amid the pandemic.
This is well known that Bajaj Auto, which had a market monopoly in the pre-liberalization era, is not happy with the Modi government because its market share is being reduced as the company faces stiff competition from other players. Three decades ago Bajaj had a near-monopoly in two-wheelers while today it is in third place after Hero and Honda. Although the company adapted to increasing competition, it still could not maintain the leadership position, and now, is left with less than 20 per cent of the market share.
The Bajaj family is no well-wisher of the Modi government as it enjoyed the fruits of crony-capitalism during the Congress era. Rahul Bajaj, father of Rajiv Bajaj, expressed his resentment against the Modi government at an event in which Home Minister Amit Shah was present.
The industrialist’s empire known for being in cahoots with the Congress for decades has gone as far as to brag that Rahul got his own name ‘Rahul’ from Jawaharlal Nehru, and then claimed that he was born ‘anti-establishment’.
Sparking off a controversy, Bajaj questioned the Home Minister Amit Shah at a function about Bajaj’s own brainchild ‘the Hawa of fear’, in the same question he claimed his name was given by Nehru. Bajaj asked about Amit Shah’s stance on Sadhvi Pragya, talked about ‘intolerance ki Hawa’ and lynching.
Till as long as the economy was liberalised by former Prime Minister PV Narasimha Rao, Bajaj scooters enjoyed a monopoly in the market, wherein it crushed its competitors and remained relevant even while shoving substandard products down the Indian people’s throat. ‘Humara Bajaj’ became that invincible Soviet-esque brand, which behind the scenes remained a beneficiary of intense crony capitalism.
It has to be mentioned in order to understand the benefits of being in cahoots with the Congress that during UPA rule, Bajaj got the INS Vikrant which played a major role in the 1971 Indo-Pak war at a throw-away price. This iconic vessel was used by Bajaj’s company for a motorbike model launched by it.
Notably, Rahul Bajaj has always been a hater of PM Narendra Modi to the core and is a living beneficiary of the license–quota raj, which was a creation of Congress along with the rest of the left-establishment. In February 2003, the Confederation of Indian Industry, CII held a session at New Delhi for its members to interact with Modi. On the stage with Modi was Rahul Bajaj along with other people including Tarun Das (then director-general of CII).
The businessman was unrelenting on Modi, a CII functionary who was closely involved with the event says the speakers chosen for the day (read Bajaj) were men who could not have been controlled. Almost 100 CII members from Gujarat threatened to quit over this incident. A handful of Gujarat businessmen even set up a rival organisation called the Resurgent Group of Gujarat. And in Delhi, CII saw its access curtailed to the then BJP government. This was blunting CII’s edge in its core business of lobbying. When Das approached Arun Jaitley, the then law minister, he agreed to broker peace – but CII would have to formally apologise. The letter was sent.
Therefore, anything that the members of the Bajaj family say about the market condition or the political environment of the country needs to be taken with bags of salt. At least the investors should not listen to the commentary of the family because the ultimate aim of the Bajaj Family is to defame and embarrass the Modi government.