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Force Motors – The Origin of the Word Auto Rickshaw


Reading something related to history always attracts us. Among few automotive companies in India after post-independence, Force Motors is one of them. We are very familiar with the auto-rickshaw that is today’s essential component in our life. Wherever we go, we need help from this vehicle. It might look different based on the place but the concept of the structure is the same as that made in 1958 by the late N.K. Firodia. This was one of the few innovations in Indian history that made the country different from others. Today, the word, Auto Rickshaw has a place in the Oxford dictionary.

Headquartered in Pune, Maharashtra, Force Motors is a multinational Indian automotive company. Whether you need Tempo, Matador, Minidor, or Traveller, Force Motors is there. They are famously known for making such popular Matadors. The company is now a public entity enlisted on the stock market. Over the years, the company has partnered with some global brands like Daimler, ZF, Bosch, VW, Traton, and MAN. Force Motors is the largest van maker in India. It was ranked 327 on the Fortune India 500 list. We will discuss many significant things in this article that made the company a global brand.

Force Motors

What you know today as Force Motors was famously known as Bajaj Tempo Motors. They not only make light transport vehicles but engines, axles as well as a variety of die-cast aluminum parts. Let’s delve into its origin and its evolution over the years.

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It was started as a joint venture between Bachraj Trading Ltd and Germany’s Tempo. The journey started in 1958 but before the joint venture, Bachraj Trading Company used to assemble three-wheeler Tempo auto-rickshaws and small trucks from 1945-58. So, Bajaj Tempo Motors was started as a joint venture. The production of auto rickshaws was increasing because of its popularity in the country. It took a turn when the Hanseat 3-wheeler was introduced. The production was started in Goregaon, Mumbai. It was a collaboration with Vidal & Sohn Tempo Werke Germany.

The foundation was mainly laid by the late Shri N.K. Firodia, who was already a freedom fighter and later industrialist. As the vehicles started to become famous, it was time to introduce the Tempo Viking 4-wheeler.


In 1964, Bajaj Tempo Motors introduced the Tempo Viking which was a 4-wheeler vehicle. Before jumping into making the Tempo Matador, the majority of the stake went to the Firodia Group. During those years, the company was planning for a new vehicle which came into being in 1969 by introducing the Tempo Matador. It was the first diesel light commercial vehicle in India. It was 1971 when the Tempo was handed over to the Daimler-Benz. They held 16.8% of shares in Bajaj Tempo Motors.

The company did not produce such famous vehicles or was not on the news much. The main journey of Daimler-Benz and Bajaj Tempo Motors started in 1982 after producing the Mercedes Benz OM 616 engine with the collaboration. The word Tempo was already famous in the country. In 1987, Bajaj Tempo Motors set up a plant at Pithampur in Madhya Pradesh. They produced Tempo Traveller, another milestone for the brand. As it was very new and the structure, and capacity was brilliant, the response from the audience was huge.

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As the collaboration was making faster progress, it was another vehicle that again grabbed the attention of the public. They produced the Tempo Trax in 1988. It was a jeep-like car with a hood which became very popular for adventurous people as it was a rough road vehicle. During this time, the company was producing plenty of 3-wheelers called Minidor. It was very similar to those of pick-up and auto-rickshaw models.

It was time to enter the agriculture field. So, Balwan was introduced in 1997. It was a solid tractor for plowing on the field. In the meantime, Daimler asked Bajaj Tempo Motors to set up a dedicated facility for assembling and testing engines for Mercedes passenger cars. The new generation LCVs were introduced in 1999. It was such state-of-the-art LCVs that set the milestone for the next generation. Its ergonomic design is still followed while making LCVs. In 2000, a variety of Trax vehicles were introduced.

As the whole country was witnessing the technology boom, Bajaj Tempo Motors signed technology sourcing arrangements in 2003 with MAN SE for which installments were made front. On completion of the localization of the licensed technology and with the solicitation from MAN, a joint endeavor was made shaping MAN Force Trucks Pvt. Ltd to produce the full scope of HCVs from 16t GVW to 49t GCW. Until 2005, the company was famously known as Bajaj Tempo motors. It was time to rename it. The company was renamed Force Motors which is today’s famous business.

A new state-of-the-art HCV manufacturing facility was inaugurated at Pithampur. In later years, especially in 2008, Force Motors introduced Traveller Shaktiman, Traveller Luxury, and Traveller Smooth. With instant success, they delved into making their first personal vehicle which came into reality with the launch of Force One in 2011. The next year a revolutionary passenger vehicle, Traveller 26 was introduced. The later years were hectic schedules for the brand. In 2013, they introduced Gurkha. If you are familiar with the yellow school bus, then remember it was made by Force Motors in 2014. Until 2017, they didn’t make such a vehicle except for the Kargo King Pick Up.

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As of 2018, the company has 10,000 employees spread around the country. They have a wide global presence. When the company was awarded a contract by BMW, a new manufacturing facility was inaugurated in Chennai. With their global presence, they export to countries like Africa, Latin America, the Gulf, Germany, SAARC, And ASEAN countries.


Read More: Auto News Reporter

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