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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

Renault KWID Racer and Climber concepts impress crowds at 2016 New Delhi Auto Show

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 opens $1 billion Gujarat, India plant amid plans to triple its exports

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

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

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

As it said, Nissan showcased the 2014 Terrano premium compact SUV at an event at a film studio in Mumbai, India. The new model is based on the Dacia Duster and as you can see from the photos, the new 2014 Nissan Terrano keeps the same profile as the popular Romanian car produced by Renault.

According to the official press release, the 2014 Terrano was developed specifically for the Indian market and features Nissan’s corporate front grille, new headlights and larger taillights. Moreover, the 2014 Terrano comes with include colored roof rails, silver-finished skid plates and a chrome finisher strip on the tailgate.

The exterior design is completed by the all-new 16-inch, chrome-coated, machined-alloy wheels. Inside, the Terrano features a two-tone dash with chrome surrounds for the AC vents and silver-finished accents around the glossy, piano black centre console. Moreover, we find extensive use of light-colored beige, which adds to the feel of roominess while useful storage spaces.

Read the entire article 2014 Nissan Terrano introduced in India

General Motors has let go of Sam Winegarden, its vice president for global engine engineering, due to irregularities in its emission-testing programs in India that have forced the carmaker to stop sales of two popular models, sources told Automotive News, adding that around 10 other GM Powertrain employees in the United States and India were ousted from the carmaker.

The departures came as GM disclosed the recall of around 114,000 Chevrolet Tavera utility vehicles in India to resolve emission and specification issues. Indian reports said that GM admitted to government officials that those employees deliberately doctored emission inspections to meet standards.

GM confirmed in a statement to Automotive News that it has "dismissed several employees" over "violations of company policy" related to the Indian recall. GM said in the statement that they “take these matters very seriously” and hold their leaders and employees to high standards.

Read the entire article GM fires top engine executive Sam Winegarden over irregularities in India

Nissan Motor Co. will start offering its first Datsun model in India by March 2014 as part of its bid to increase its market share in the country to 10 percent by 2016. Nissan chief executive Carlos Ghosn resurrected the brand to broaden Nissan's appeal to consumers in India, Russia and Indonesia. Nissan plans to use Datsun to chip away the market shares of Maruti Suzuki and Hyundai in India.

Nissan will initially sell Datsun-brand vehicles at existing Indian dealerships, according to Kenichiro Yomura, head of the carmaker’s Indian unit. He remarked that Nissan is expanding its sales network in India from the current 95 outlets to 145 in 2016. Yomura noted that while Hyundai and Suzuki are strong in India, no carmaker can "dominate the market indefinitely."

Ammar Master, an analyst at LMC Automotive, quipped that Datsun is not a cheaper version of Nissan, but is a real car built specifically for customers in India. He remarked that it will take some time for Datsun to build up its brand name.

Read the entire article Nissan to start selling Datsun vehicles in India in March 2014

German carmaker Audi AG has credited its overwhelming luxury car success in India to its unique market penetration strategy – rapid expansion to smaller cities in the country as well as the launch of small sport utility vehicles. Conventionally, luxury carmakers pounce on large cities in India -- Mumbai, Delhi, and Kolkata – where majority of the country’s rich are residing.

They entice these wealthy people to buy their luxury units by offering lavish sedans and big SUVs.  But Audi broke the convention by reaching out to the wealthy living in smaller cities and bringing in a smaller SUV in 2012.

To further increase its fortunes in India, Audi is planning to offer more SUVs, but won’t replicate its rivals’ move to introduce a compact hatchback in the country. Michael Perschke, Audi India brand director, remarked that for the carmaker, the offering sequence will be: SUVs first, then sedans and then hatchbacks. He noted that India is a country where SUVs have multiple benefits.

Read the entire article Audi overtakes BMW in luxury sales race in India thanks to its SUVs

A fire last Thursday destroyed a major warehouse that supplies parts to a Renault-Nissan plant in Chennai, India. However, Nissan has announced that this fire is not likely to have an impact on alliance operations in the country. A Nissan spokeswoman sent an e-mail to Automotive News Europe last Friday. She said that production is continuing typically and that this incident won’t affect production or exports from India.

Third-party supplier Yusen Logistics Co. is operating this warehouse, which contains spare parts and accessories used in the plant on the southeast coast of India. The spokeswoman also revealed that the alliance was working on a contingency plan to reduce any possible interruption to the usual supply of aftersales vehicle parts from Yusen.

The alliance plant, which can build 400,000 units annually, produces models for the domestic car market in India as well as for export. Nissan's Web site revealed that the $1 billion plant, which started operating in March 2010, builds the Nissan Micra subcompact and the Renault Koleos and Fluence. The fire didn’t result to any injuries.

Read the entire article Fire destroyed major warehouse that supplies parts to a Renault-Nissan plant in India

The German Big 3 -- Mercedes-Benz, Audi AG and BMW AG – are aiming to entice buyers other than the ultra-rich in India as part of their bid to boost luxury car sales in the country. The luxury carmakers are likewise shifting production of smaller and cheaper cars to domestic sites to reduce costs. Aside from the ultra-rich, the luxury carmakers are broadening their target market to include young, female and middle-class drivers in India by offering locally-made hatchbacks and smaller cars.

Eberhard Kern, India managing director of Mercedes-Benz, remarked that 2013 is “a real year of offensive," as the carmaker aims to recover after posting an almost one-third drop in sales in the previous fiscal year. Kern expects the introduction of its hatchback A-Class and a diesel version of its B-class model to boost its sales in India to double-digit figures. Although the sight of premium cars like a Lamborghini or a Bentley is already common in India, sales of luxury vehicles in the country only account for a percent of the total vehicle market.

The German Big 3 looks to change that by taking advantage of the Indian consumers' preference for compact vehicles - which account for around 75 percent of total car sales. However, this move would not guarantee their success, since their luxury hatchbacks are sure to face stiff competition from cheaper mid-market offerings of Toyota Motor Corp and Volkswagen AG.

Read the entire article German brands offer hatchbacks, small cars to target wider market in India

BMW Group is expanding its international production network by adding local production sites for select MINI models, in response to increasing global demand for the brand’s premium vehicles. For the first time since the MINI brand was re-launched in 2001, BMW is busy preparing for the local production of selected brand model for several growth markets outside Europe.

As a result, models from MINI will be rolling off assembly line beyond its home market for the first time later this year. Preparations are currently underway for the local production of the MINI Countryman at the BMW plant in Chennai, India, meeting the same stringent quality standards applied to all production of models of BMW Group.

The new assembly plant in Chennai, India, is currently being prepared just a year after BMW started selling MINI in the country. The assembly plant is expected to help meet the steadily increasing demand for MINI models in the Indian market. The Chennai site in India will first build the MINI Cooper D Countryman and the MINI One Countryman.

Read the entire article MINI begins production at Chennai plant in India

The image of Tata Motors’ Nano car as a cheap car that’s an alternative to a motor scooter didn’t actually do much good. That’s why Tata Motors is expected to launch more expensive models that are based on the Nano, the compact car launched in 2008 that only cost $2,000. It’s true that the Nano caught the world’s attention but the market in India didn’t quite match that enthusiasm with sales.

Since deliveries started in July 2009, only 229,157 Nanos have been sold. Sales in March 2013 were 86% lower than in the previous year. According to Tata Managing Director Karl Slym, the Nano won’t be discontinued but instead, it will get improvements meant to revive the model and for its prices to be nearer to those of its competitors.

Slym said that the Nano's marketing "didn't gel with anybody." Those who drove scooters weren’t drawn in since they didn’t see Nano as a real car but as something that’s between a bike and a car. It also didn’t appeal to car owners since it was marketed as a two-wheeler replacement.

Read the entire article Tata Motors expected to launch more expensive versions of the Nano

Auto sales in India decreased for the financial year that recently ended – the first time in the past decade that it experienced a drop. For 2013, sales in the country are likely to be modest. As a result, many are casting doubts and raising questions on the upbeat expectations that led to global automakers betting billions of dollars in this market.

A couple of years ago, India’s auto market had the most promising growth (after China). However, the market suffered under increasing fuel prices, high interest rates, and a drawn out economic gloominess in the industry. So from an outstanding 30% annual growth, the market instead was characterized by enormous discounts, showrooms filled with unsold cars, and constant overcapacity. Global automakers like Ford Motor Co. and Volkswagen AG aren’t likely to consider leaving India because of its long-term potential, big population, and increasing incomes.

What’s expected is that those automakers that have invested huge amounts into the country will cut back on their expansion plans and prepares themselves for one more year of bad sales. When interviewed by Reuters, R.C. Bhargava, chairman of market leader Maruti Suzuki, said that its economy as well as the industry has significantly slowed down. SUV sales have been surging but those for smaller cars (which make up majority of the passenger vehicle market) have collapsed this year. Bhargava said that with the expected sluggishness in the industry for two or three years, companies have to consolidate operations, make the most of what they have, and be more efficient.

Read the entire article Auto sales in India decreased for the 2012 financial year

Indian automaker TVS Motor Co Ltd is getting access to BMW’s motorcycle technology as the two companies entered a deal last Monday for the joint development of bikes. TVS Motor is doing this as part of a strategy to halt the decline in its market share. Under this agreement, TVS will be able to revive an old product pipeline that has been struggling to keep up with Honda Motor Co and Yamaha Motor Co.

In addition, BMW will be able to gain a foothold in India, which is the No. 2 biggest bike market in the world. TVS Chairman Venu Srinivasan said that the company aims to leverage the strengths of each other to offer a new lineup of products that offer advanced technology for its buyers. He also revealed that the products will be released in 2015.

TVS shares increased by up to 17.3% after the deal was unveiled. It ended the day with a 10% increase at 39.75 rupees ($0.72) on a Mumbai market that ended flat. Srinivasan said that in this partnership, TVS will make an investment of 20 million euros ($26 million). BMW didn’t offer any details about its investment in this tie-up.

Read the entire article Bmw will jointly develop bikes with Indian automaker TVS

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

The Fiat Group will try anew to penetrate the vehicle market in India by opening a new, wholly owned 57-dealer network on April 1, 2013. The Italian carmaker hopes to cut its woeful sales performance in India with the network, expecting to entice more customers in the country to avail of its product.

Fiat is planning to penetrate the Indian vehicle market with its sports utility vehicles and sporty cars, rather than bring in a cheap small car that is popular in the country but is in a market dominated by vehicles from Hyundai and Maruti Suzuki.

Fiat is planning to introduce its Chrysler Jeep SUV brand to India this year and produce a smaller version in the country by 2015. Fiat is also planning to bring its higher end models like the Abarth, the sports variant of its 500 and Punto models.

Read the entire article Fiat aims to improve India sales with launch of 57-dealer network

British luxury automaker Jaguar Land Rover is considering a plan to manufacture cars in India, according to insiders. JLR is hoping to increase its growth further in emerging markets with the assistance of its India-based parent Tata Motors. A source said that JLR, which has benefited from the rising demand in the Chinese market and other emerging markets to report record-high profits in the past year, is “actively” studying the proposal to produce cars in India.

Another source pointed to the Jaguar XF and Land Rover Freelander as the “obvious candidates.” It was also divulged that the British brands, which already build two models in India using parts and engines made and shipped from plants in the United Kingdom, will also start to assemble its Range Rover Evoque in India soon.

By producing cars in India (which has turned into an emerging market export hub for numerous global automakers), Jaguar Land Rover will be able to evade high import taxes on luxury cars. Just last week, the country's finance minister made his budget speech where he proposed increasing these taxes to 100% from 75%. JLR spokesman Del Sehmar told Reuters that JLR has grand plans to widen its manufacturing footprint and boost production in markets outside Britain.

Read the entire article Jaguar, Land Rover considering a plan to manufacture cars in India