Archive for the ‘Automobiles’ Category

Car Racer Ashwin Sundar and his wife died after BMW hit tree, catches fire

car racer ashwin sundar

Professional Car Racer Ashwin Sundar and His Wife Niveditha died today in Chennai after their BMW hit the tree and caught fire. Ashwin Sundar, a former National Champion, and his wife, who was Doctor by profession rushed to the nearest City hospital, but the couple had died on the spot. The BMW hit the tree after which it caught fire and the racer, and his wife was unable to get out of the car as the doors were locked. According to initial investigations, Ashwin Sundar was believed to be behind the wheels.

car racer ashwin sundar

After the BMW had hit the tree, Mylapore fire and rescue services rushed to the spot, but it took half and hour for them to reach before which the couple had already died. The local investigator sent to the accident site which revealed that it was a case of rash driving. Ashwin and his wife were returning from a friend’s house from MRC Nagar in Raja Annamalaipuram after which the accident happened. “The vehicle got stuck between the tree and the compound wall on the road side… (and then) the car caught fire,” S. Yuvraj, a local investigative police officer said.

ashwin sundar accident

Ashwin Sundar was a rising Champion in racing industry where he had won National F4 Championship two times consecutively in 2012 and 2013. Sunder also won MRF Formula 1600 International Challenge champion in 2010 and 2011. Sunder also went on winning  2002 MRF National Go-Kart Championships (U-17 age group) as a 13-year-old and winning it again in 2012. He signed a deal with German racing team Ma-Con Motorsport and drove for the German Formula Volkswagen ADAC Championship in 2008. Ashwin Sundar was only 27 years old when he died.

Planning to buy Bike/Car, This is the best time, Here’s why

auto sales 2017

Monthly automobile sales growth rate in India slipped to a 16-year-low in December with total vehicle sales declining by 18.66 percent as demonetisation hits the industry hard.

auto sales 2017According to latest SIAM data, most of the major segments, including scooters, motorcycles and cars, witnessed record decline December sales as the automobile sector continued to bear the brunt of negative consumer sentiments in the wake of the ban of Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 banknotes announced in November.

Vehicle sales across categories registered a decline of 18.66 percent last month at 12,21,929 units, from 15,02,314 units in December 2015, as per Society of Indian Automobile Manufacturers (SIAM).

“This is the highest decline across all categories since December 2000, when there was a drop of 21.81 percent in sales. The reason is largely due to the negative consumer sentiment in the market due to demonetisation,” SIAM Director General Vishnu Mathur told reporters here.

Except for the light commercial vehicles segment, which saw a growth of 1.15 percent at 31,178 units, all the other categories of the industry saw decline in sales in December, he added.

Mathur, however, said the drop in sales is temporary but how sales pick up would depend a lot on “how the Bugdet comes up with steps that will boost consumer sentiments and increase disposable income besides improving the overall economy.”

Domestic car sales were at 1,58,617 units last month as against 1,72,671 units in December 2015, down 8.14 percent.

It was the lowest rate since April 2014 when sales declined by 10.15 percent.

Passenger vehicle sales declined 1.36 percent to 2,27,824 units in December 2016 from 2,30,959 units in the year-ago month. The previous biggest decline in sales witnessed by the segment was in October 2014 with a drop of 7.52 percent.

Similarly, total two-wheeler sales in December also witnessed the steepest decline since SIAM started recording data in 1997. It tanked 22.04 percent to 9,10,235 units compared with 11,67,621 units in the year-ago month.

Likewise, scooter sales, which is mostly urban-centric, also saw the biggest decline in over 15 years, falling 26.38 percent at 2,84,384 units in December 2016 as against 3,86,305 units in the year-ago month. The previous biggest decline of 27.05 percent was recorded in March 2001.

Motorcycle sales also saw the biggest decline in eight years last month at 5,61,690 units from 7,24,795 units a year earlier, down 22.5 percent, SIAM said. The segment witnessed biggest drop of 23.07 percent in December 2008.

“Almost half of two-wheelers sales comes from rural markets, which have been hit hard by demonetisation,” Mathur said while explaining why the segment has suffered a big blow in December.

Sales of commercial vehicles were down 5.06 percent at 53,966 units in December 2016 as against 56,840 units in the same month in 2015, SIAM said.

So, if you are planning to buy an automobile, this could be the best time for you as company may roll out some best offers to lure customers.

Bajaj Auto to hike price by up to Rs 1,500 from January

bajaj auto price hike

Bajaj Auto today said it will hike prices of its bikes by up to Rs 1,500 from January in order to partially offset the impact of rising input costs and upgrading of its entire portfolio to BS-IV emission levels.

bajaj auto price hike“All two-wheeler manufacturers in the country are trying to be BS-IV compliant by April next year. We want to be the first ones to transition to the next emission levels,” Bajaj Auto Ltd President (Motorcycle) Eric Vas told PTI.

Some of the models have already been made BS-IV compliant and the company expects to covert the rest of the product lines conforming to next level of emission norms by middle of next month, he added.

“As a consequence of shifting to BS-IV norms we will be hiking the prices of our bikes between Rs 700 and Rs 1,500, depending upon specific models, from next month,” Vas said.

Elaborating further on the reasons for taking a price hike, he said the input costs have also gone up due to the firming up of oil and commodity prices.

“The price hike is due to the transition to BS4 and also to accommodate increase in raw material costs as well. The hike shall not affect recently launched products like the Dominar 400,” Vas said.

Currently, India follows BS-III emission norms for two-wheelers. From April 2016, all new two-wheeler models started complying with BS-IV emission norms, and the existing models would comply with BS-IV emission norms from April 2017, on a pan-India basis.

Auto companies such as Hyundai Motor India, Nissan, Renault, Toyota, Tata Motors, Mercedes Benz and Isuzu have said they would hike prices of their products from January to offset higher input costs and adverse impact of foreign exchange fluctuations.

Footfalls in Mercedes showrooms fall by 50-60% post demonetisation

mercedes showrooms find hard to find customers post demonetisation

Luxury carmaker Mercedes-Benz India today said footfalls at its showrooms across the country fell by up to 60 percent in November due to banning of high denomination notes by the Union government.

mercedes showrooms find hard to find customers post demonetisationThe wholly-owned subsidiary of the German auto major Mercedes-Benz is also expecting its sales to fall marginally in India during the current year, mainly on account of ban on large diesel vehicles in the National Capital Region till the middle of August.

“Due to the demonetisation drive by the government, there is a short-term impact on footfall in our showrooms. It has fallen by 50-60 percent in November. Some of the potential customers might have lost some cash,” Mercedes-Benz India Managing Director and CEO Roland Folger told.

Declining to share sales figure for the month, he added the company hopes that the trend will be “normalised” in the next one or two months with people “just postponing” their purchases as the policy decision had an “emotional impact”.

“Our policy is not to sell cars on cash. On November 8 night, our dealers informed that people came to showrooms with bags of cash. We told the dealers not to sell cars to them. We fully appreciate what the government is doing,” Folger said.

He informed that 99 per cent of Mercedes-Benz India’s sales are done through finances, but accepted that a small percentage of dispatch takes place through cash route also at dealer level.

“Not accepting cash sales may impact negligibly on sales. But it is about our position and image. Usually the large cash transactions are not legal,” Folger said.

When asked about sales, the CEO said it is likely to fall marginally during the current year.

“For 2016, we had set a two-digit growth target. But due the diesel ban in our largest market NCR, sales in the first nine months were severely impacted. So our sales in this year will be flat. In fact, in can be on negative side,” he added.

Of 13,502 units it sold in 2015, 25-30 percent were contributed by NCR, of which 80 per cent were diesel vehicles.

During January-September this year, the company sold 9,927 units across the country.

When asked about next year, Folger said the company aims to achieve a double-digit growth, but refused to put a number.

He said the company is now increasing its investment in the country following the withdrawal of the ban on diesel vehicles by the Supreme Court, but declined to share any figure to substantiate his claims.

Mercedes-Benz India today rolled out a new showroom in Guwahati, its 88th outlet and the first in North East.

Folger said with opening of the latest dealership, sales contribution from Eastern India will grow significantly from the existing around five percent.

Apollo Tyres logistics arm plans $100 mn fundraising from PEs

apollo tyres fundraising
Logistics firm Apollo LogiSolutions (ALS) is aiming to raise USD 100 million from private equity investors to fund acquisitions as well as domestic expansion, a top official said.

apollo tyres fundraising“We are aiming to raise USD 100 million from private equity investors by March. Over half of the money will be used for acquisitions in the third party logistics space,” ALS Vice-Chairman and MD Raaja Kanwar told PTI here.

He said the company has already identified possible acquisition opportunities, adding that it may include one big player or two small firms.

ALS has appointed investment bank Edelweiss for the fundraising and aims to start meetings with the investors soon.

The company, which had revenue of Rs 900 crore with a pre-tax margin of 8 percent in 2015-16, will use the rest of the funds for IT solutions, adding two facilities with an eye on the positive impact of GST and entering the liquid logistics space, he said.

Kanwar, whose family is the promoter of Apollo Tyres, said ALS is reporting profits and only 0.5 percent of the revenues are captive from the group.

At present, the family owns 90 percent of ALS, with the rest with being held by the royal family of Abu Dhabi.

Kanwar said his family will dilute up to 75 per cent stake through the fund raising exercise.

Asked if this means he is aiming for an enterprise valuation upwards of USD 800 million for the 2009-incorporated company, Kanwar declined to comment.

He said the company is looking for an IPO by 2019, which can provide the exit for any financial investor.

Stating that there is ample interest in institutional money in the domestic logistics space, Kanwar said ASL has drawn a USD 200 million capex plan for the next three years.

It will be split equally between the USD 100 million private equity infusion and bank loans, he said.

At present, it has container freight stations or inland container depots at Panvel near Mumbai and Chennai, and is planning to open two more at Kathupalli near Chennai and Tuticorin over the next few weeks, he said.

It is also looking at Mundra on the West coast and one more facility on the East Coast for its expansion, he said, adding that some money will also be ploughed into having warehousing facilities in Gujarat.

Till now, a total of USD 100 million has been invested in the venture, including an equity component of USD 50 million by the family, he said.

Kanwar said ALS is not keen to serve the burgeoning e-commerce space with last-mile offerings because of the cash burn which can happen and is happy serving the B2B clientele.

It has a JV with German Fiege Logistics which gives it access to best systems and global ties, he said, adding the JV has leased out over 1 million sq ft space as well.

Internet browsing before purchasing car doubled: Study

internet browsing before purchasing car doubled

The number of customers browsing the internet before purchasing an automobile has more than doubled in the last decade, the J D Power 2016 India Escaped Shopper Study has revealed.

According to the study, the number of new-vehicle buyers using the internet and magazines to research vehicles during the shopping process grew to 48 percent in 2016 from 19 per cent in 2006.

“In the past, new vehicle shoppers were largely limited to information they received from close friends and relatives or from television and print advertising. With increased internet penetration, buyers are turning to the internet to get the information”, J D Power Executive Director, Mohit Arora said.

While 56 per cent of new vehicle buyers in the Southern region use the internet for information, it was comparatively less at 41 per cent in the North.

Car buyers in the South spend more time in researching vehicles they were considering buying, like visiting dealerships and taking test drives, while it was low when compared with similar buyers from North India, it said.

“Regional dissimilarities have always existed and they greatly influence the way potential new-car buyers shop for their vehicle. Automakers need to identify these differences and create an appropriate shopping experience that caters to characteristics of each region”, J D Power, Director, Shantanu Nandi Majumdar said.

The country’s largest car manufacturer Maruti Suzuki emerged as the preferred automaker among new vehicle shoppers for the 12th consecutive year.

“About 45 per cent of shoppers purchased either one of its models, compared to 40 per cent in 2015”, it said.

The 2016 India Escaped Shopper Study was conducted on a sample of 9,408 buyers between September 2015 and April 2016.

Hyundai plans to launch entry level SUV by 2019

hyundai tucson price rs 24 lakh

Hyundai Motor India plans to launch an entry level SUV in the first half of 2019 as it looks to strengthen its presence in the fast growing segment.

hyundai tucson price rs 24 lakhThe company, which today launched all new Tucson with an introductory price ranging between Rs 18.99 lakh and Rs 24.99 lakh (ex-showroom Delhi), has already three SUV models in its portfolio, including Creta and Santa Fe.

“We aim to launch an entry level SUV in the first half of 2019. It will be below Creta. So, we will have four SUVs in our product range,” Hyundai Motor India Ltd MD & CEO YK Koo told reporters here.

SUV sales have been growing all over the globe, including China and Europe, and is also going to be a very popular segment in India as well, he added.

Hyundai is currently developing a sub 4-metre compact SUV in order to fill the gap that lies below Creta. It had showcased concept compact SUV Carlino at the Auto Expo this year in February.

When asked about vehicles with alternate fuels, Koo said the company has asked its global R&D centre to look into possible models for the country.

“Hyundai has strong portfolio of electric and hybrid vehicles. We are planning to unveil a hybrid product during the 2018 Auto Expo,” he added.

Commenting on the Tuscon launch, he said with the introduction of the SUV the company is aiming to strengthen its presence in the premium segment. The company has set a target of selling 500-700 units of the model per month.

Hyundai has launched the third generation Tucson with both petrol and diesel powertrains.

The manual petrol variant is priced at Rs 18.99 lakh while the diesel versions are priced between Rs 21.59 lakh and Rs 23.48 lakh.

The petrol automatic is priced at Rs 21.79 lakh while the one with diesel powertrain is priced at Rs 24.99 lakh.

“The launch of third generation all new Tucson will create a benchmark by giving Hyundai experience to the aspirational Indian customers,” Koo said.

With over 45 lakh units sold globally, Tucson is one of the best selling SUVs in the world, he added.

Tucson comes with 2 litre petrol and diesel engine options and new various features including a puddle lamp, downhill brake control and front and rear parking sensors.

The petrol version with manual transmission company comes with 155 PS of power and delivers a fuel efficiency of 13.03 km/ litre. The petrol automatic delivers a fuel efficiency of 12.95 km/ litre.

The diesel variant with manual transmission offers 185 PS of power and a claimed fuel efficiency of 18.42 km/litre. The diesel automatic delivers a fuel efficiency of 16.38 km/ litre.

Hyundai launches all-new Tucson priced up to Rs 24.99 lakh

hyundai tucson price rs 24 lakh
Strengthening its SUV portfolio, Hyundai Motor India today launched all new Tucson with an introductory price ranging between Rs 18.99 lakh and Rs 24.99 lakh (ex-showroom Delhi).

hyundai tucson price rs 24 lakhThe company has launched the third generation Tucson with both petrol and diesel powertrains.

The manual petrol variant is priced at Rs 18.99 lakh while the diesel versions are priced between Rs 21.59 lakh and Rs 23.48 lakh.

The petrol automatic is priced at Rs 21.79 lakh while the one with diesel powertrain is priced at Rs 24.99 lakh.

“With the launch of all-new Tucson, we aim to strengthen presence in the premium segment with strong leadership positions,” Hyundai Motor India Ltd MD & CEO YK Koo told reporters here.

The launch of the third generation all-new Tucson will create a benchmark by giving Hyundai experience to the aspirational Indian customers, he added.

With over 45 lakh units sold globally, Tucson is one of the best-selling SUVs in the world, Koo said.

Tucson comes with 2-litre petrol and diesel engine options and new various features including a puddle lamp, downhill brake control and front and rear parking sensors.

The petrol version with manual transmission company comes with 155 PS of power and delivers a fuel efficiency of 13.03 km/ litre. The petrol automatic delivers a fuel efficiency of 12.95 km/ litre.

The diesel variant with the manual transmission offers 185 PS of power and a claimed fuel efficiency of 18.42 km/litre. The diesel automatic delivers a fuel efficiency of 16.38 km/ litre.

Hyundai Motor India, which crossed the 70 lakh sales milestone in domestic as well as export markets, aims to have four SUV models in its product portfolio in the next four years.

The company also plans to launch a sub 4-metre compact SUV in order to fill the gap that lies below Creta. It had showcased concept compact SUV Carlino at the Auto Expo this year in February. The model is under development right now.

With Tucson, the company now has three SUVs along with Creta and Santa Fe.

Ashok Leyland gets Deming Prize 2016 for Pantnagar plant

Ashok Leyland Pantnagar plant
Hinduja Group flagship firm Ashok Leyland today said it has been awarded the prestigious Deming Prize 2016 for its Pantnagar manufacturing facility.

Ashok Leyland Pantnagar plantAshok Leyland Pantnagar has become the first truck and bus plant in the world and also the only CV manufacturer outside of Japan to win the Deming Prize, the company said in a statement.

Ashok Leyland Managing Director Vinod K Dasari said: “It is indeed a proud moment for all of us at Ashok Leyland to receive this coveted prize. Being the first truck and bus plant in the world and the only CV manufacturer outside of Japan to win this prize, adds another feather to company’s achievements of delivering industry firsts.”

Equipped with the latest technology and processes, the Pantnagar plant is a fully-integrated plant capable of manufacturing all future-ready products across trucks and buses, he added.

The Deming Prize is a global quality award and the oldest and most widely recognised quality award in the world. It is awarded to companies that have established TQM in their business operations.

The prize was established in 1951 by Japanese Union of Scientists and Engineers (JUSE) to honor W Edwards Deming, who contributed greatly to Japan’s proliferation of statistical quality control after World War II.

Govt begins deregistration of 15 year-old diesel vehicles

Delhi-NCR Roads Jammed, Protest against Diesel Taxi Ban

Under intense pressure in the wake of health alarm due to grave pollution situation, the Delhi government today began phasing out diesel vehicles over 15 years old numbering around two lakh, while a ban was imposed on the bursting firecrackers.

Govt begins deregistration of 15 year-old diesel vehiclesThe latest directives, issued after a meeting chaired by Lt Governor Najeeb Jung, came on a day the three-day-long shutdown of schools began, construction and demolition came to a halt and a power plant closed owing to a toxic smog blanketing the city since Diwali.

Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal and top officials of key agencies attended the deliberations.

A meeting of Environment Ministers of NCR states chaired by Union Environment Minister Anil Dave saw Haryana and Punjab seeking to counter the AAP dispensation’s repeated allegation that the week-long smog episode in Delhi was mainly due to farm fires in the neighbouring states.

However, NASA images showed farm fires were raging in the entire region, billowing out smoke laden with pollutants.

Dave also sought to put the onus on Delhi as he underlined that 80 percent of the emission sources were within the city and only the rest could be attributed to stubble burning.

“Directions have been issued to all Registering Authorities/MLOs to start deregistration of diesel vehicles which are more than 15 years old in a phased manner. This will bring about a reduction of 2 lakhs diesel vehicles on the roads in Delhi,” Raj Niwas said in a statement.

In a first, the city government also issued a health advisory, asking people to avoid highly polluted areas and those with lung diseases to not venture outdoor for any activities.

A senior official at the LG office said decisions taken today will be reviewed in the next meeting on November 15.

Apart from that, ban on construction and demolition activities will continue till November 14 and overloaded trucks and vehicles not destined for the city will not be allowed in the national capital.

In July, the National Green Tribunal (NGT) had directed the Delhi government to de-register diesel vehicles older than 10 years, which it later said, should begin with the deregistration of vehicles which are over 15 years old in the first phase.

IIT-Kanpur, in a comprehensive report, had identified vehicular pollution as the second largest and most consistently contributing source to respirable pollutants PM 10 and PM 2.5 in winters.