The group may have fended off competition from successive generations of the ‘people’s car’. But the challenges have by no means abated. Battery-operated scooters can now be entirely assembled by digital startups, and global automobile companies have placed big technology bets on electric mobility. The industry is headed for a structural change once it overcomes the issue of battery swapping. Technology is also disrupting the consumer credit industry. Fintech firms are atomising credit delivery using data. The prospects of scalability have diminished.
The market segments Rahul Bajaj was so intimately familiar with may not be as well-etched as they were during his watch. The frugal engineering that lent the group an edge could be rendered less relevant both by artificial intelligence and rising incomes. Home-grown capitalism deserved a charismatic icon as Rahul Bajaj, whose appeal stemmed from his deep connection with nation-building. He gave the country its first set of wheels, and he will remain, forever, hamara Bajaj.