by Bennett Oghifo
Bajaj Auto’s recent recognition as the world’s most valuable maker of two-wheeler and three wheeler with the market capitalisation crossing USD13.6 billion, is unlikely to surprise many Nigerians.
For the revolutionary developments that trailed the recent national distributorship of Bajaj’s three and four-wheeler by Stallion Group has, no doubt, elevated the value of the brand in the minds of buyers and users across the country. The development comes as the scooter company is marking 75 years of operations.
“The company’s sharp focus on the motorcycles and tricycle categories and its unwavering commitment to strategies of differentiation, as well as the practice of Total Productive Maintenance combined with global ambitions, have today made Bajaj the most valuable two-wheeler company across the globe. This inspires us even more to serve and delight customers all over the world,” said Rajiv Bajaj, Managing Director of Bajaj Auto.
To reposition it as a durable and high-performance three-wheeler for Nigerian roads, Stallion Auto Keke Ltd, a member of Stallion Group, subjected five Bajaj RE4S to a brave and gritty trip, covering more than 5500 kms across the Southern and Eastern terrain of the country, aptly representing the brand’s tagline of “Baba Bajaj, Rund Faster, Lasts Longer”. That was a feat no other three-wheeler had dared to gamble on since the former Lagos State governor, Brigadier-General Mohammed Buba Marwa (rtd), introduced tuk-tuk into Nigeria.
Same belief was even further reinforced by the follow-up launch of Superkeke RE250, the most superior keke ever seen in Nigeria. And what’s more? The unveil was done by the nation’s legendary footballer, Austin J. J Okocha, who Stallion Auto Keke Limited appointed as a brand ambassador and the face of the brand in the country.
The RE250 stormed Nigeria with upgraded styling, power, equipment, comfort and space. Powered by a 236cc DTSi engine, the biggest engine to ever come in a keke, RE250 boasts of many first-in-class features like front fork, CV shaft, bigger 10” tyres, clear headlamps, remote controlled MP3 player, as well as an advanced style quotient through a rear spoiler and a transparent passenger hood.
Bajaj Keke Revolution in Nigeria did not stop at reforming the strength and quality of the tricycles. Users, buyers and their family were part of the bigger plan.
The Managing Director for SAKL, Mr. Manish Rohtagi expressed the company’s determination to further empower unemployed Nigerians via its new collaboration with Bajaj.
Without delay, the promises were put into actions. For instance, in consonance with its firm belief in equal opportunity for women across all fields, Stallion Empowerment Initiative (SEI), along with Stallion Bajaj, introduced its first batch of 38 assemblers at VON assembly plant in Lagos Nigeria. That happened in less than six months after the formation of Stallion-Bajaj alliance.
As confirmed by participants, the training has changed their lives and given them a fair playing field to bring out their best and support their families.
Also, the company, in conjunction with stallion Rider Training School, commenced training for unemployed youth to become tricycle riders. Focusing on driving technique and customer etiquette, periodic and preventive maintenance of the keke. They were also given the opportunity to get hired by fleet owners and easy finance facility to own their own keke. The first edition of the training was held in 28th October 2020 with 55 prospects and there have many thereafter on a weekly basis.
Furthermore, Stallion Bajaj has embarked on an expansive youth empowerment programme for 3-Wheeler mechanics across the country.
The Initiative was driven in 5 towns with more than 1000 enrolled mechanics and their families. The enrolment involved 65 mechanics from Enugu, 57 from Bauchi, 58 from Hadejia, 46 from Port Harcourt and 65 from Kano.
Technicians enrolled to show their skills and get an opportunity to win Professional Training, Workshop shed, Workshop Flooring, Workshop tools and spare parts, while mechanics competed to show their best skills and training, their families got engaged in fun day of games, prizes and entertainment.
Stallion-Bajaj made the foregoing happen in a world suffering from economic meltdown occasioned by COVID-19 pandemic.
The alignment in goals and objectives of the Stallion Group and Bajaj Auto is bound to resort in bounteous economic benefits for Nigeria and its citizens.
Manish Rohtagi, Managing Director of Stallion Auto Keke Limited stressed, “With similar brand ethos, we believe that this alliance between Stallion and Bajaj will go a long way to empowering Nigerians to be self-reliant and improve the interests of the stakeholders, be it employees, dealers, distributors, vendors, mechanics, unions, logistic operators or bankers.”