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|AUTO NEWS BULLETIN|
Weekly News reports from June 10 – June 16, 2005
MURAD BAIG ASSOCIATES
R-8 Hauz Khas New Delhi – 110016
SIAM report on sales of automobiles till April 2005
Analysis: The motorisation of India seems well launched as seen from the robust sales of personal vehicles and 2-wheelers. Animal drawn vehicles and cycles are on the decline. But the heavy commercial vehicles have still not fully recovered from the impact of VAT and price increases. Export growth has been very encouraging.
Mahindra & Mahindra (M&M) has decided to add on to the current manufacturing capacity of its foray into the Chinese tractor market. It has decided to export 9,000 skid units of semi-finished tractor to its manufacturing facility at Nanchang, Jianxi province of China. With the addition of 9,000 units, M&M’s Chinese subsidiary will have a total capacity of 21,000 units per year.
Maruti Udyog Ltd. (MUL) has announced laying of the foundation stone for its new car plant at Manesar. The new car plant is being set up under a joint venture company Maruti Suzuki Automobiles India Ltd. Maruti will hold 70 percent equity in the JV company and the Suzuki will hold 30 percent.
Hero Honda has said it could cut margin albeit as last option if situation demanded. There is pressure on margins due to competition and rising raw material prices, which the company expects to continue for sometime. The company's operating margins in 2004-05 fell more than one per cent to 14.50 per cent from 15.56 per cent in the previous fiscal.
Hyundai is introducing its new luxury car into the Indian market, the new Grandeur. Priced at Rs 22 lakhs, pricewise the car will compete with the Mercedes Benz C-Class and the Skoda Superb. The Grandeur is longer than the Sonata. The lines are clean and simple, with a long bonnet, sweeping roof and a tight boot. The headlamp pod is long, elliptical and has three circular elements clearly defined. The bonnet has a prominent V-shape with a simple, slatted grille. The car is powered by a 3.3 litre V6 motor, with 233 bhp and 31kgm. It has a double wishbone front and multi-link rear suspension as well as Electronic Stability Programme. The interiors are top class with plastic quality up to luxury car levels. The legroom at the rear and seat comfort are also top notch. The car comes with advanced 141kW quadcam, 24 valve, 3.0 litre V6 engine; 5 speed fuzzy logic automatic transmission; tiptronic style clutchless manual operation; 5 year/130,000 km new car warranty; 6-speaker AM/FM tape player/CD stereo system; Tilt/telescopic steering wheel; leather seats & steering wheel; electronic driver seat; driver memory; trip computer; automatic climate control; keyless entry.
Yamaha Motors India Pvt Ltd has said it would pump in Rs 150-200 crore over the next three years to hike its production capacity and introduce new models to cross sales figure of one million units by 2009. It would be expanding its existing production capacity at Faridabad, Haryana to 5 lakh units per year from the existing 3 lakh units. This would need about Rs 70-80 crore. The company would spend about Rs 150-200 crore in next three years on capacity expansion and product development. It is expecting to touch a sales figure of about 3 lakh units by the end of this year and touch the one million mark in the next four years.
The shareholder, secured and unsecured creditors of Tata Motors have approved the merger of Tata Finance Ltd (TFL) with Tata Motors in the ratio of 8:100.
Hyundai Motor India has reduced prices of Santro Xing by over Rs 19,000. It has also rolled out three new variants of the Santro Xing with reduced price tags to take competition on to the Suzuki Swift. Hyundai has introduced three new Santro Xing variants, XK non-AC, XK and XL. Santro Xing XK has been princed at Rs 3,26,999, XL comes with price tag of Rs 3,45,999 and the XK non-AC bears price tag of Rs 2,78,999. the new variants will have the latest 1.1 litre engine with ERLX-active intelligence technology. This would give better pick-up, fuel efficiency, lower maintenance and enhanced engine life.
Bajaj Auto Ltd (BAL) has launched `Avenger' with the DTS-i technology, its latest offering in cruiser bike segment. The 180 cc Avenger is the technology showcase for the entire two-wheeler industry and will kick-start the cruiser segment in India. The bike has been priced at Rs 60,000 and would be manufactured at the company's Chakan plant. The new Avenger retains all the advantages of the earlier Eliminator bike and comes with the DTS-i engine and incorporates the ExausTEC for better low-end torque and the riders can expect more low-end and mid-range grunt and crisp carburetion for instant response in tandem with light throttle feel. Vibrations have been eliminated at the handlebar and foot-pegs for a comfortable all day ride and the bike has an ability to soak-in normal road undulations and bumps due to supension travel increase and optimisation of damping rates so that the rider gets a better poise and straight line stability.
M&M has launched its new LCV in Bangalore, the Loadking Pride. It will be available in four and six tyres with fixed side deck (FSD) and high side deck (HSD). The four-tyre FSD is priced at Rs 4.70 lakh and the six-tyre FSD costs Rs 4.86 lakh. The four-tyre HSD is priced at Rs 4.81 lakh and the six-tyre HSD is priced at Rs 4.97 lakh. Pride consumes minimum fuel, has a minimum turning circle diameter, has a lower acquisition, repair and maintenance costs. It comes with a four-year unlimited kilometers warranty. The new Loadking Pride will replace the old Loadking. Loadking Pride has been launched in Noida, Chandigarh, Karnal and is scheduled to be launched in other stated capitals and A category cities and b category cities. The company is expecting about 7,000 units of the new Loadking Pride to be sold in the current fiscal.
Powered with a high capacity electronic chip, driving licenses may soon turn into a storehouse of information ranging from one’s personal details to instances of rash driving. However, huge infrastructure requirements is holding back most of the states to implement this ambitious project initiated by the Ministry of Road Transport and Highways. Only a few states including Delhi, Chandigarh, Gujarat, Karnataka and Maharashtra have started works for implementing the project. The responsibility falls on the state governments to provide electronic readers to the traffic police personnel and the other agencies concerned.
While the production cost of an ordinary license or a registration book comes under Rs 20, a smart card will require over Rs 200. Besides that, the government will also have to invest in procuring a huge quantity of hand-held electronic readers. Each of these devices costs around Rs 2000. Because of these most of the states are not ready to implement the project. The National Informatics Centre (NIC) has developed the software to be used in operating the smart card based driving licenses and vehicle registration books. The software, named SCOSTA (Smart Card Operating System for Transport Application) basically comprises of two components, 'Vahan' for registration books and 'Sarathi' for driving licenses. Aiming at bringing transparency, responsiveness and e-governance in the transport sector through induction of information technology, the smart card project will use an electronic chip to store data. The 4KB RAM chip will enable a vehicle registration book or a driving license to carry the usual information and much more. The card will carry a lot of additional information other than the ones that we can see on an ordinary driving license or registration book. Besides the personal details of a bearer, it will also keep information about any incident of bad driving he or she may have.
M&M is setting up a Rs 64-crore plant in the Haridwar industrial estate in Uttaranchal for producing three-wheelers. The plant is expected to begin production in October this year. It will manufacture both goods carriers and passenger vehicles from this plant. The plant will also produce soft-roof jeeps at a later stage. The plant would produce 50,000 units per year once it reaches full capacity. The company will start operations by producing diesel versions of three-wheelers and production of the CNG version later. The plant would cater to the north and northwestern markets of the country.
Porsche AG’s new sports coupe Cayman S is likely to hit the roads in India in January next year. The two-seater sports car will be launched in India two months after the worldwide launch. The vehicle is targeted at high-end consumers and has a maximum speed of 275 kilometers per hour with manual transmission and centrally placed engine and accelerates from zero to 100 km/h in 5.4 seconds.
General Motors (GM) is planning to launch the Chevy Aveo in early 2006. The Aveo, with its hatchback and saloon versions, will hit the roads before the launch of Spark. The Aveo with 1.4 and 1.6 litre engine options are being tested in disguised form in Halol and Mumbai. The vehicle would be in competition to the Hyundai Getz and the Suzuki Swift and the sedan version will be larger than the Corsa and compete with the Hyundai Accent or the Ford Ikon. The vehicle would be priced between Rs 4.5-5 lakh for the hatchback version and Rs 6-7 lakh for the sedan.
Hindustan Motors (HM) launched the CNG Ambassadors in Delhi in a price range of Rs. 4 and Rs. 5 Lakhs.
HM also said that I is in talks with Volkswagen for supplying components such as body panels from its Uttarpara facility in West Bengal. HM expects the size of the component business to grow to around Rs 300 crore in the next three years.
South Korea’s Ssangyong Motors has unveiled a new model SUV type ‘Kyron’ during a ceremony. The vehicle is a diesel-powered 2700 CC engine car and priced at 25 million won.
Toyota plans to hike prices for almost all the vehicles it sells in United States from October. It plans to raise prices by partly absorb the high steel and other raw material costs and by reducing sales incentives.
Toyota Motor has begun developing a "flex-fuel" vehicle powered by gasoline and lower-priced alcohol fuel, and aimed at the Brazilian and other Latin American markets. Toyota aims to launch the new vehicle in the second half of next year or later, with the demand for alcohol fuel made from sugarcane or other plants rising as alternative to gasoline. A flex-fuel car runs with both gasoline and alcohol pumped into a single tank, allowing the driver to adjust the mixture between the two depending on their prices.
Brilliance China Automotive Holdings Ltd, the Chinese joint venture partner of German luxury car maker BMW AG, plans to export 2,000 of its Zhonghua sedans to Germany this year. Brilliance is eyeing exports of 6,500 cars and minibuses in 2005. Other export markets will include the Middle East and Southeast Asia. The Zhonghua that has sold poorly in China, will sell for about 20,000 euros ($24,000) each in Germany or about $1,000 less than the top-of-the-range model goes for in its home market. Brilliance is expecting to sell 20,000 Zhonghuas this year. The company is confident of receiving German safety certification for the Zhonghua by the end of the year.
GM is putting its faith in its new models, which are being designed and developed at its technical center in Detroit. There are about 18 cars, SUVs and trucks which could make or break the company. The cars will be rolled out in showrooms in the US and Canada over the next 2-3 years. The other alignments of the company’s plan is the realignment of its eight brands, shrinking capacity to fit its slipping market share. GM is also reorganizing its highly profitable financing arm, GM Acceptance Corporation, and may dispose of part of its interest. It has spend $ 1 billion this year. It is also bringing other vehicles into the market, including two sectors – crossover SUVs built on car frames, and petrol electric hybrids.