The daggers are out,as the government tries to build a consensus on putting in place a policy framework for enabling quadricycles,or micro cars based on the motorcycle platform,to ply on Indian roads.
In a meeting convened by the road transport ministry here on Thursday,two groups were pitched against each other Bajaj Auto and Mahindra & Mahindra in favour of the move and both Tata Motors and Maruti Suzuki against it.
Bajaj Auto,which is ready to roll out its Quadricycle RE60 and showcased it in the 2012 Auto Expo,wants a policy in place to launch it commercially. Bajaj has also got support from Mahindra & Mahindra. Tata Motors and Maruti Suzuki are opposing any policy that allows quadricycles on the ground that launching the vehicle would mean compromising on safety.
The members against the quadricycle policy said that it will benefit a company that has already developed its product. So,there is a lack of level playing field, said a road transport ministry official present in the meeting. The official added that a decision can only come at the road secretary-level meeting,where both the arguments will be considered,likely to be held next week.
The road transport ministry sees quadricycle as a replacement for three-wheelers. A quadricycle will any day be a safer alternative for three-wheelers and we would like to provide people a safer alternative, said the official. We will provide a separate colour for quadricycles that will not be allowed on highways. I also do not see a reason,why people of old age can not use it for his short distance needs, the official added.
Opposition to quadricycle comes full circle
NEW DELHI: As a concept,the quadricycle has actually come a full circle; just that the corners have changed. Way back in the 1998 Auto Expo held in New Delhi,Tata Engineering (now Tata Motors) showcased a four-wheeled microcar concept,christened the zing.
The car was projected as a genuine peoples car based largely on two-wheeler components,thereby being the first quadricycle prototype made by a serious Indian manufacturer.
Interestingly,at that time,other manufacturers including Bajaj Auto Ltd and Maruti Suzuki India Ltd opposed the vehicle,citing safety parameters. The concept ultimately did not make it to production as it was found unviable. Fast forward to today,and the roles have been reversed. Bajaj Auto,with its RE60,waiting for approvals for its commercial launch. On the other side,Tata Motors is opposing its entry.
In western Europe,340-500cc quadricycles are quite common,especially in France,Spain and Italy. Many European countries need no full driving licence and in some cases none at all.