Bajaj Auto’s plan to deliver the Chetak electric scooter to early adopters and new Indian cities has been delayed by the throes of the COVID-19. The company has closed bookings for the moment and notified customers via its website that “Due to Govt. guidance on COVID-19, manufacture of Chetak has currently stopped. If you have already booked a Chetak, you shall receive information on email. New bookings are currently suspended.” It says that “At this stage it (reopening of bookings) depends on Govt. advise and progress of COVID-19 at our factory and at all or vendors.”
The global pandemic has disturbed the supply of components from China and the delays in getting the product feedback from the customers is another reason for the setback in expansion. Bajaj Chetak, which started deliveries in the month of March just before the nationwide lockdown, is currently sold in Bangalore and Pune. The Chetak received a good number of orders but Bajaj had to stop taking fresh requests as the supplies were interrupted and parts were sourced from places such as Wuhan. The company will continue to focus on Pune and Bangalore markets for now and then decide on the expansion to other cities.
Bajaj hasn’t revealed the number of orders it has received for the Chetak but is now looking to fulfill the pending orders in priority. In April, PluginIndia had reported, based on a letter issued by the Bajaj Chetak team, that deliveries of the Chetak would reopen in the July-September quarter. One report said that the company had received 2,000 orders in about 15 days. Currently, Bajaj will focus on servicing the demand and receive feedback about the product, the charging ecosystem and the subsidies and they are at a loss of four to five months depending on when the lockdown is lifted.
Though it has started production of other products after the current lockdown restrictions were eased, production of the Chetak could take a while to resume. The company however has confirmed that some of its Chetak service centres in Bangalore and Pune have reopened.