The automobile industry showered glowing tributes on eminent industrialist Rahul Bajaj, who passed away in Pune on Saturday.
Bajaj, 83, the Chairman Emeritus of the Bajaj Group, held many positions across industry bodies in his long and illustrious career.
“The entire automobile industry joins me in expressing our deep sorrow on the sad demise of Shri Rahul Bajaj, Chairman Emeritus at Bajaj Auto,” SIAM President Kenichi Ayukawa said in a statement.
Bajaj was a great industrialist who built an empire on sound principles and left a legacy that makes India proud with presence in several countries, he added.
Bajaj headed SIAM reigns as President during 1976-77 and made invaluable contribution to the Indian automobile industry, Ayukawa noted.
“The greatness of his personality lay in his simplicity, accessibility, frank and honest communication just like his visionary entrepreneurship. SIAM pays homage to this great leader,” he added.
The Automotive Component Manufacturers Association of India (ACMA) also paid tributes to the noted industrialist.
“ACMA pays homage to the fearless man who revolutionised the two-wheeler industry in India – Mr. Rahul Bajaj. Your vision will keep inspiring,” it said in a tweet.
ACMA President Sunjay Kapur termed Bajaj “a giant of the automotive industry & one of India’s tallest industrialists. Dynamic & fearless, who spoke truth to power, may he rest in peace.”
Echoing similar sentiments, automobile dealers’ body FADA President Vinkesh Gulati termed the demise of Rahul Bajaj shocking and noted that it was an irreparable loss not only for the automobile industry but also for the entire country.
“When India started opening up its economy, Rahul ji made Bajaj a shining star in India’s growth story…On behalf of the entire dealer community, we convey our heartfelt condolence to the members of bereaved family and also pray to the almighty that the departed soul finds eternal peace up there,” he stated.
Under his stewardship, Bajaj Auto, the group’s flagship company, saw its turnover grow to Rs 12,000 crore from just Rs 7.2 crore with the firm’s scooters becoming the mainstay.
He later split Bajaj Auto into three units in 2008 — Bajaj Auto, Bajaj Finserv and a holding company. Rahul Bajaj’s sons Rajiv Bajaj and Sanjiv Bajaj are now managing the auto and finance companies, respectively.
The company’s Bajaj Chetak scooter became an aspirational symbol for the middle class Indian families then, with the ‘Hamara Bajaj’ tune becoming synonymous with their hopes of a better future, and the picture of a strong nation.
In 2005, he had started passing the baton of the company to son Rajiv Bajaj, who became the managing director of Bajaj Auto and led the company to become a truly global automobile player.