Rajiv Bajaj

Managing Director of the Bajaj Automotive Company

Rajiv Bajaj was awarded an Honorary Degree in Summer 2022. Here you can read his degree oration.

Vice-Chancellor, Distinguished Guests, Ladies and Gentlemen

Engineering underpins our daily lives. Engineers apply scientific principles to solve existing problems and create new opportunities. In this way, we engineers will help build a sustainable society and an inclusive economy.

Today I am honoured to present to you a truly inspiring engineer, who has, quite literally, been the driving force behind his family’s company based in Pune in India. Rajiv Bajaj is an innovator and an entrepreneur, and the Managing Director of the Bajaj Automotive Company, amongst other accolades the world’s largest manufacturer of the three-wheeler auto-rickshaws that are the ubiquitous symbol of India’s urban street scenes.

Rajiv joined the company as an engineer in 1990, after graduating in mechanical engineering from the University of Pune, followed by a master’s degree in Manufacturing Systems Engineering from Warwick University.

Over 15 years, he worked across all aspects of the business, from manufacturing to research and development and engineering, and then marketing and sales, as preparation to becoming the Managing Director of Bajaj Auto in April 2005.

As Managing Director, Rajiv set a brand-centred strategy to shift the focus of the company from scooter manufacturer for the domestic market to become an international exporter as one of the world’s leading motorcycle and small commercial vehicle manufacturers.

Rajiv’s strategy was to differentiate the company from others. He started by ramping down scooter manufacturing operations in favour of motorcycle manufacture, launching the award-winning Pulsar in 2001. The Pulsar proved to be a major turning point. Today, Bajaj Auto is India’s number one motorcycle exporter, exporting 40% of its output to 70 countries worldwide, including Africa, where 1 in 3 motorcycles sold are Bajaj’s.

In 2007, the company announced an equity partnership with KTM of Austria, Europe’s second-largest high-end racing motorcycle manufacturing company. More recently, in 2020, a deal was signed with Triumph motorcycles, the iconic British manufacturer.

Under Rajiv’s leadership, the company has significantly expanded its research and development facilities, and set up new state-of-the-art manufacturing facilities. New vehicle developments currently include a fuel-efficient quadricycle, and electric scooters and three-wheelers to reduce air pollution in urban environments. These developments evidence Rajiv’s recognition that we all must continuously adapt to changes in society and the natural world. Rajiv is committed to upskilling his workforce and, in recent years, Bajaj Auto has sponsored its high-performing engineers to join engineering MSc programmes at Loughborough.

Rajiv Bajaj is a widely respected engineer and businessman with a forward-looking vision.

Therefore, Vice-Chancellor, it is my honour to present to you and the whole University, Rajiv Bajaj, for the degree of Doctor of Technology, honoris causa.