Bajaj Qute (RE60) spotted testing in Pune, Indian launch still a mystery

It was 2012 when Bajaj first unveiled the RE60 as a low-cost four-wheeler. It's unimpressive styling aside, we were looking forward for the RE60's launch especially since Bajaj announced this is an evolution of the brand's own three-wheeled auto-rickshaws. It also led to the creation of a new segment in the Indian automobile industry, the quadricycle. 

Soon enough, Bajaj started testing the RE60, at first with complete camouflage soon after its unveiling and then with partial camouflage later that year. While we waited eagerly for the launch, Bajaj continued testing the RE60, albeit with no camouflage, as late as last year.

Last September, Bajaj christened the RE60 as Qute and announced commencement of exports to countries in Latin America, Africa, Europe and Asia. Pending certification from Automotive Research Association of India (ARAI) and decision on a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) filed against the Qute are cited to be the reasons holding up the Qute's launch in India.

That doesn't stop Bajaj from testing the vehicle though, as evident from these vehicles spotted in Pune with test registration plates. Of the two, the red Qute is a left hand drive model that's intended for exports while the white vehicle is a regular right hand drive model. The Qute might not be an attractive vehicle but it does look practical and built-for-a-purpose. In fact, in these pictures, the Qute isn't half as bad as it looked during its unveiling. It is built to a cost no doubt, with the single wiper, black plastic bumpers and the cheap rear view mirrors and door handles hinting at its commercial aspirations. Like Bajaj's auto-rickshaws, the Qute has just fabric roll-down sheets in place of windows. The Qute isn't a car and it doesn't try to be one either. Its boxy proportions with wheels placed at the four corners liberates a lot of space though, despite its compact footprint. Trapezoidal headlights with black surrounds houses integrated indicators while a similar theme is applied to the taillights as well.

Powered by a 216 cc rear-mounted engine that's said to produce 20 horsepower, the Qute can seat four in reasonable comfort and safety relative to three-wheelers, reach a top speed of 70 km/h and return a real-world fuel efficiency of 35 km/l. LPG and CNG fuel options might be in the pipeline too. 

If auto-rickshaws can be manufactured and sold with no problems whatsoever, what's stopping the authorities from giving green signal to the Qute that promises better safety for its passengers with the hard top, seat belts and added stability of four wheels? Bajaj appears to be clueless trying to find that out, resulting in they creating a website www.savethequte.in seeking public support. We've done our part. Now, go ahead and do yours. Let's help the Qute see the light of the day!

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