Explaining Bajaj Auto’s tepid performance in the first quarter, the company’s chairman Rahul Bajaj said irrespective of “which government tells you what, the economy is in a bad shape”. Referring to the general slowdown in the two-wheeler segment, Rahul sought to highlight Bajaj Auto’s first-quarter performance against the broader economic backdrop. “Bajaj Auto grew its sales by 2% in the quarter. This is in an industry which is at a negative 7-8% growth,” he added, addressing shareholders at the company’s annual general meeting here on Friday.

Bajaj Auto MD Rajiv Bajaj said that these are tough times. “I don’t want to tell too much, but if we have to go through hell then we are going to go through this phase with the attitude that we own the place,” he said. On a shareholder’s question as to why Bajaj Group companies buy into each other so much and what was the purpose of separation, Rahul said, “This group doesn’t do anything illegal or immoral. Cross-holding is very much allowed.” He said that given the shape that other companies are in, Bajaj Group would rather invest in its own group companies. “Each company within the Bajaj Group, generally speaking, has benefited immensely from buying into each other. We have a lot more faith in our group companies that those of others.” “The only company that borrows is Bajaj Finance because of the nature of its business, all other companies are debt-free,” he added.