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GM India to commence exports starting second half of the year

General Motors will commence shipping vehicles from India in the second half of 2014, as the carmaker bids to use more of its local capacity and offset the a slump in the domestic vehicle market. GM’s Indian operation will first export the left-hand-drive version of the Chevrolet Beat minicar -- labeled as the Spark in the United States – to Chile in the first quarter of 2015.

The Beat will be built at GM’s Talegaon plant in India. The Beat is currently GM’s best-selling nameplate in India after launching the minicar in the country in 2010.

GM India President Arvind Saxena said in a statement that the decision to export vehicles from the country reflects higher level of confidence in the quality of local supply base. He added that move is also made to offset slumping sales, keep the carmaker’s Telegaon plant churning out products and create more employment opportunities.

Read the entire article GM India to commence exports starting second half of the year

Ford India suffers 38.3% drop in wholesale and export in March

Ford India posted a nearly 38.3-percent drop in combined wholesales and exports in March 2013, no thanks to high inflation and high interest rates that continue to dull consumer sentiments and slow down the auto industry. Ford India sold 5,271 units in domestic wholesales in March 2013, compared with 9,026 units in the same period in 2012.

The company exported 2,228 vehicles in March 2013, compared with 3,122 units in the same period in 2012. Ford India also added Gabon as its newest export market this month. The carmaker is exporting the Figo to 36 international markets.

Vinay Piparsania, executive director, Marketing Sales and Service at Ford India, remarked that despite the difficult business environment in the first quarter of 2013, the company has continued to build its brand in India with the rollout of the Figo Celebration and the Endeavour Alterrain editions. He added that they view the current downturn as cyclical and expect stronger sales growth in the future.

Read the entire article Ford India suffers 38.3% drop in wholesale and export in March

India plans to go fully electric by 2030

India is working towards a sustainable future by selling only electric vehicles by 2030. As the Indian government is looking to manage its current pollution and environmental issues, Piyush Goyal, India’s minister for renewable energy said that they will be introducing electric vehicles in such a big way. In this regard, the minister also cited an example about the Indian government’s ongoing initiative in reducing the use of energy through LED lights.

In the hopes to completely get rid of vehicles with internal combustion engines, the government is considering innovative ways in encouraging consumers to buy an EV without the necessary subsidies. In spite of these, Goyal also made it clear that they have not finalized anything so far.

The minister however proposed that consumers could buy EVs with no down payment. Instead, people could pay for the vehicle’s cost by installment based on the savings they get out of petroleum. This type of payment scheme is the same to what the Indian government has already attained via the Domestic Efficient Lighting Programme. Under this strategy, the energy efficiency firms were tasked to sell their LED lamps at a fraction of the current price in the market. The homeowners will then pay for the total amount by installment through their monthly electric bills.

Read the entire article India plans to go fully electric by 2030

Lexus makes its debut in India with three models

Twenty-eight years after the company was first launched by Toyota, which was initially targeted to the United States market only, Lexus has already made its way to over 70 countries. And just recently, their newest addition is India, where they officially launched the company with a trio of models.

To make the debut interesting to the market, the company set up what they called a “guest experience center” in their four dealerships stores located in New Delhi, Mumbai, Gurgaon, and Bangalore. In these centers, customers can check out the first three models they released: the RX 450h, ES 300h, and LX 450d. Meanwhile, aftersales service will be established in Chandigarh, Hyderabad, Chennai, and Kochi.

As the company ended their launch in India, they gave the guests a sneak peek of the all-new top of the line 2018 LS, which is set to arrive next year. Though they have not yet given much information about the LS version that will be sold in India, they hinted that it will most likely be a hybrid version, which fits the local market better. This means that the less expensive LS 500h equipped with a pair of electric motors and a 3.5 liter V6 engine and that yields up to 354 horsepower (264 kilowatts) will be available in showrooms next year.

Read the entire article Lexus makes its debut in India with three models

The Volkswagen Atlas is yet to be sold in the US but it does look like the company is already preparing to expand its client base. As earlier reported, Volkswagen of America will be exporting the big SUV to Russia and will be using an exclusive 2.0 litre 4-cylinder diesel for its engine. This was revealed during the press interview at the Los Angeles Auto Show with Juergen Stackmann. When asked to comment whether the Atlas is going to be sold in Western Europe, Stackmann stated that the company has been eyeing Russia.

At the same event, Volkswagen’s head for Sales and Marketing also mentioned that they are considering other countries. But no other country has been specifically named afterwards. Instead, the Atlas will also be available in China beginning next year under the name Teramont. It is also believed that the Teramont will be slightly modified for its market. Considering this, Volkswagen has already confirmed that the particular model will be assembled locally in China and will not come from the US.

The Atlas was actually inspired by the CrossBlue concept three years before. Like this, it was created with Volkswagen’s MQB modular design platform. In fact, Audi A3 and Volkswagen Golf have been using the same platform as well. All these years, Volkswagen has picked out names that start with the letter T for its mid-size SUVs.

Read the entire article VW to export Atlas to Russia with exclusive 2.0 litre diesel engine

Renault has recently debuted two versions of its high-selling KWID mini SUV during the 2016 New Delhi Auto Show - the Renault KWID Climber and the Renault KWID Racer. The Climber version is marketed for a more off-road function while the Racer version is targeting an urban setting.

The announcement came after spectacular sales of the Indian-made original KWID, which is regarded as the response to previously untapped niches in this category.

Renault KWID Climber - Geared and marketed as an off-road version of the original base model, the new Renault KWID Climber boasts of a high ground clearance, short overhangs, wide track and tire patterns specifically made for this model.

Read the entire article Renault KWID Racer and Climber concepts impress crowds at 2016 New Delhi Auto Show

Ford Motor recently opened a $1 billion factory in Gujarat, India, aimed at tripling its exports from this country as it continues to suffer from declining sales. This plant, which spans more than 460 acres, has been very heavily automated as the automaker seeks to increase local production to be sold overseas.

With this plant, Ford will be able to almost double its annual production capability in India to 440,000 vehicles and 610,000 engines. Among the products of this factory are compact cars like the EcoSport and the Figo Aspire. At the plant opening, Ford CEO Mark Fields talked about how India is highly “cost competitive” – which is especially significant for small vehicles.

He didn’t say when Ford will be able to bring its exports to triple the present rates. For Ford to be competitive in Asia, specifically in India, it has to focus on compact cars. In India, small models make up 1 of every 2 units sold of passenger cars and utility vehicles.

Read the entire article Ford opens $1 billion Gujarat, India plant amid plans to triple its exports

The growth of the auto industry in Mexico will continue to surge as carmakers are bent on pouring more money into the country’s economy. So far, carmakers have invested or announced investments of around $20 billion into their operations in Mexico, as they try to take advantage of the country’s proximity to the United States, lower labor costs and free trade agreements.

In fact, vehicle exports from Mexico are expected to surge to 2.9 million this year -- over 70 percent of which are bound for the US, according to the Mexican Automobile Industry Association. In December 2014, exports jumped 21 percent year-over-year to 195,091 light vehicles and cars.

Trade group INA considers Mexico as the sixth-largest producer of auto parts in the world with an estimated $81.5 billion in sales last year. Eduardo Solis, the AMIA's president, remarked that the growth in production and in exports in Mexico has been spectacular, which reflects the confidence the industry has in the country.

Read the entire article Mexican auto exports to surge further as carmakers spend more

Fiat Chrysler Automobiles is now back in the business of exporting vehicles from Brazil to Mexico as a weaker Brazilian currency hikes value of exported products and as the carmaker tries to offset slumping demand in the country. According to Cledorvino Belini, Fiat Chrysler’s chief executive officer for Latin America, the last time the carmaker made a substantial export to Mexico from Brazil was in 2010 with around 15,000 shipped.

He expects the Brazilian real to further weaken against the dollar next year from the current BRL2.68 per dollar to BRL2.80 per dollar – a situation that could further shift the dynamics of bilateral auto trade between the two countries.

In 2012, Brazil pressed Mexico to limit its vehicle exports since a strong real and an over-surging Brazilian economy has resulted to a large inflow of cheaper vehicles from its northern neighbor.

Read the entire article Fiat Chrysler resumes vehicle export from Brazil to Mexico

Serbia could agree with Russia to place a quota on locally made Fiat cars exported to its neighbor, according to Serbian Prime Minister Aleksandar Vucic. Since a free trade pact between the two countries exclude autos, Serbia exports to Russia carry high customs duties.

Serbia’s request to include autos in the free trade agreement to locally made cars more competitive in Russia has so far fallen on deaf ears. Vucic announced the good news during a recent visit by Russian President Vladimir Putin to Belgrade.

“We will have a certain possibility to export a quota of Fiat (cars)." Fiat currently operates manufacturing site in Kragujevac, Serbia, which commenced producing Fiat 500L in July 2012 for export to the European Union and United States.

Read the entire article Serbia and Russia could agree on quota on Fiat exports

South Carolina is considered as a rural state, but BMW AG’s manufacturing facility in Spartanburg has etched its name as a model for the auto industry. BMW commenced building vehicles at its Spartanburg site around 20 years, and has found the site essential for protect its profit margins and staying ahead of its German rivals Audi and Mercedes-Benz.

Erik Gordon, a professor at the University of Michigan's Ross School of Business, remarked to Bloomberg that the Spartanburg site has shown the world that good cars could be made at a reasonable cost in the United States.

He said that the site led to a revival of automaking, initially in the southern states and then in Detroit. BMW is currently expanding the site and has earmarked a total of $7.3 billion for the project -- more than seven times than how much Volkswagen AG invested on a new plant in Tennessee.

Read the entire article Spartanburg-made BMWs are most exported US-built light vehicle

Volvo is intending to commence exporting China-built cars to the United States and Russia as early as 2015, a senior Volvo executive told Reuters. With support from Chinese owner Zhejiang Geely Holding Group, Volvo would commence shipping the S60L -- a long-wheel-based version of the S60 -- to the US and the XC90 SUV to Russia as soon as end of 2015.

A site in Chengdu started building the S60L sedan late 2013, and the second site in Daqing is ramping up output of the XC90. The executive said Volvo will eventually export around 10,000 S60Ls and a few thousand XC90s annually, noting that the carmaker believes it could minimize foreign exchange risks by adding China as a production base, despite worries about the quality of China-built products.

The executive said that the US dollar and the Chinese yuan have the “best relationship,” which is more stable than the euro and the dollar. David Ibison, Volvo's global head of media relations, has confirmed plans to start exporting from China, but said that the timing and target markets had yet to be determined.

Read the entire article Volvo wants to export China-built S60L and XC90 to US and Russia next year

General Motors is cutting its production in South Korea after losing a very valuable market in Europe, but is looking to shift its products to new export markets like Australia. GM Korea has been in hard times since last year. Following an announcement of a $7.3 billion investment into its Korean operations in February 2013, GM Korea’s labor union launched a strike demanding for higher pay and lesser working hours.

Likewise, the appreciating South Korean has undermined the competitiveness of GM's exports from the country. And then in December 2013, GM decided to pull Chevrolet from Europe, which left GM Korea dealing with 150,000 units of excess capacity.

Sergio Rocha, president and chief executive of GM Korea, managed to negotiate compromised with unions on slumping production and implemented white-collar buyouts. He also saw GM Korea post record sales of 151,341 vehicles in South Korea in 2013, giving the carmaker a 10-percent share of the country’s auto market.

Read the entire article GM Korea looking to export products to new markets like Australia

Mexico is primed to overtake Canada and Japan as the largest auto exporters to the United States.  In 1990, Mexico exported fewer than a quarter of a million vehicles to the US. But according to IHS Automotive, Mexico is expected to export 1.9 million vehicles into the US in 2015, effectively dethroning Canada as the biggest exporter of cars to the country.

The significant surge in auto exports from Mexico to the US has been boosted by lower tariffs under the North American Free Trade Agreement. For this year, Mexico is expected to overtake Japan as three Japanese carmakers -- Nissan Motor Co., Honda Motor Co. and Mazda Motor Corp. --  will open three sites in the Latin American country in four months.

Guido Vildozo, an IHS Automotive analyst, remarked that Mexico-built vehicles sold in the US will reach 1.69 million this year, topping the 1.51 million Japan-built vehicles. He added that by next year, Mexico-produced vehicles sold in the US will reach 1.9 million, topping Canada's 1.87 million.

Read the entire article Mexico expected to surpass Canada and Japan as biggest exporters to US

For the first time, Honda Motor Co. in 2013 exported more cars from the United States than it imported from Japan. Honda exported 108,705 US-built Honda and Acura vehicles, compared with the 88,537 vehicles shipped in from Japan. "Achieving net-exporter status is a natural result of our commitment and investment in the U.S. and North America," Tetsuo Iwamura, president and chief executive of Honda North America, said in a statement.

In 2013, Honda set calendar-year records for vehicle production at its sites in North America and the US. In North America, Honda’s output rose 5 percent to 1.78 million Honda and Acura vehicles in 2013 – with its US sites building a record 1.3 million vehicles for a 7-percent increase. 

Honda will start production of the Honda Fit next month at its Celaya site in Mexico, which is its eighth assembly plant in North America. The site raised the annual production capacity to 1.92 million units. Honda sells its US exports to over 50 countries like Saudi Arabia, Russia and the United Arab Emirates. 

Read the entire article Honda had more US exports than Japan imports in 2013

Exports from Japan had been selling well for the ninth month in a row in November 2013, thanks to more car shipments to the United States and China. The volume of cars exported to China and the US climbed 185 percent and 13.2 percent. The jump in China sales was logged a year after consumers in the country initiated a boycott of Japanese products following a row over disputed islands in the East China Sea. Cars are also becoming another hot item in the US as the country’s economy continues its road to a steady recovery. Likewise, a weaker yen compared to the US dollar gives a competitive advantage to exporters like Toyota Motor Corp., according to analysts.

"The weak yen is having its effects on Japanese exports albeit slowly, giving carmakers some room to cut prices," said Taro Saito, senior economist at NLI Research Institute. He noted that demand in China should not be expected to accelerate “from now on” since the Chinese economy is heading for a stable slowdown.

While the Japanese yen has depreciated around 16 percent against the dollar this year, export gains have fallen short of early expectations, even dropping 0.2 percent in November from the previous month on a seasonally adjusted basis.

Read the entire article Japan exports surge in November for 9th straight month

General Motors is considering a plan to export vehicles from South Korea to Australia as part of a global restructuring that entails dropping the Chevrolet brand in Europe and scrapping production in Australia, a source told Reuters. Australian media reported that GM has decided to withdraw from the country as early as 2016, which means vehicles to be sold there has to be sourced elsewhere.

One possible source is South Korea, where GM's sites are affected by a recent announcement that it will drop the Chevrolet brand in Europe by the end of 2015. While GM Korea exported 187,000 Chevrolets to Europe in 2012, the brand has failed to capture a significant market share.

"GM Korea could consider exporting Korean-made cars such as the Cruze compact to Australia if it were to shut down a plant there," the source told Reuters, adding that the company has yet to begin talks on the plan. In 2012, GM Korea exported about 30,000 vehicles -- including Barina/Aveo subcompact and Captiva SUVs -- to Australia, sold under the Holden badge.

Read the entire article GM may start exporting vehicles from South Korea to Australia

Honda Motor Co. President Takanobu Ito is aiming to have North America and other regional hubs export 20 to 30 percent of their output to other markets. This export target comes up as Honda’s top honcho expects record sales in the US in 2013 and in 2014. Honda’s sites in the US, Canada and Mexico set aside 5 percent of their production for export. 

Honda wants a great part of the export increase to come from its Ohio and Alabama sites, where it is producing large vehicles suited to export markets, Ito told Automotive News.

He said that if a regional hub has a 100-percent production capacity, then 70 percent to 80 percent should be sold in the local market and the rest should be exported to other regions. This means that Honda’s operations in North America would ramp up shipments of large cars like the Accord sedan and Pilot crossover to overseas markets like the Middle East.

Read the entire article Honda chief wants regional hubs to export 20-30% of output

A senior government official in India said that General Motors violated testing regulations. GM is being investigated by a government-appointed panel for its recall of 114,000 Tavera vehicles. The government official, who asked to be anonymous because the information is not public, informed Reuters that the report indicates that it is “in the nature of corporate fraud."

The official added that GM was responsible for whatever happened and that the testing labs made no wrongdoing. In a statement, GM India said that those responsible and the violations of company policy have been identified. He said that under the present provisions, the company may be fined around 100 million rupees ($1.6 million).

He added that the report, which India's roads ministry will use, doesn’t give the names of GM officials. The case is linked to the recall last July of 114,000 India-built Tavera SUVs due to issues related to emission standards and other regulatory specifications. Production also stopped. Last July, The Economic Times reported that GM had informed the government that workers had installed low-emission engines in the vehicles sent to be inspected.

Read the entire article Senior government official in India said that GM violated testing regulations

Ford Motor Co. is adding more sites in emerging markets around the world and is overhauling its production methods for more flexibility and lesser plant downtime, company officials remarked during a ceremony marking 100 years of Henry Ford's moving assembly line. The carmaker will add new assembly plants in China and India and new powertrain plants in Brazil, China, India and Russia by 2015.

The US carmaker disclosed that it is cutting the number of global vehicle platforms to nine from 15 by 2017. It is also planning to produce an average of four different vehicles per plant in order to improve efficiency, cut costs and respond quicker to changing consumer tastes. Ford is aiming to further improve its manufacturing flexibility and speed by adopting advanced techniques like 3D printing of prototype parts.

Ford said in a statement that 90 percent of its global sites by 2017 will operate virtually around the clock on three shifts a day, resulting to a boost in production run time by over 30 percent.

Read the entire article Ford to add plants in China, India, Brazil and Russia by 2015