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Luna to Bajaj Chetak, retro vehicles are coming back as EVs; will it work?

Luna to Bajaj Chetak, retro vehicles are coming back as EVs; will it work?

Retro vehicles are making a comeback as EVs. Will they taste success?

Retro vehicles are making a comeback as EVs. Will they taste success? Retro vehicles are making a comeback as EVs. Will they taste success?

For every generation there are some tag lines that catch their imagination. For a host of Indians growing up in the Seventies and Eighties, “Chal meri Luna” and “Hamara Bajaj” were two such tag lines, for two iconic products—the Kinetic Luna moped and the Bajaj Chetak scooter.

Those days are gone. Now, electric vehicles (EVs) are the talk of the town. And these brands are coming back as EVs. What is it that makes companies name their new offerings after iconic products? “To have a name like Luna that is easy to remember and has a great recall value back in the market could encourage the older generation to consider the new EV options,” says brand expert Harish Bijoor, CEO of Harish Bijoor Consults, adding that the brand is targeting more than one generation.

That, of course, doesn’t guarantee success. Take the Chetak, for instance. It came back as an EV more than two years ago, but hasn’t lived up to the reputation of its predecessor. In the first five months of FY23, just 12,023 units were shipped to dealers. One possible reason for this could be its high price tag, say industry watchers. The original Chetak was for the middle class; the electric Chetak starts at Rs 1.40 lakh. The Luna might have it better: While the original was said to have been launched at Rs 2,000 in 1972, the EV could be priced at around `50,000. “The Luna is expected to pick up because it will be affordable,” says a source.

For now, Bajaj Auto and Kinetic Engineering are focussing on production. Bajaj Auto aims to double production and sales with its new EV plant in Pune, which will have an estimated annual production capacity of 500,000 units. It also plans to introduce two new models. And Kinetic has set up a dedicated production line with an initial capacity of 5,000 units a month.

Bijoor says that when naming a product, companies have two options. The first is to name it such that it sounds futuristic. “The second is to bring something back to the minds of people, like a retro name.”

Will it be yesterday once more for the Luna? Watch this space.

 

@r_dhanrajani

Published on: Jan 21, 2023, 2:57 PM IST
Posted by: Arnav Das Sharma, Jan 21, 2023, 2:53 PM IST