LML’s new vespa scooters NV SPL & Select II

LML is back

LML (Lohia Machines) is planning to make a comeback with its Vespa brand geared-scooters. After a break of 14 months,LML has launched its 150cc Vespa brands – NV SPL and Select II with an on-road price of Rs 35,000 in New Delhi this week. LML has started operations with two dealers in New Delhi and is targeting sales of 500 units in the next few months. NV and Select are not new scooters they are the same old scooters that LML used to produce and export. LML stopped its production in Kanpur plant in Feb 2006 due to severe financial crunch, the plant has an installed capacity of 3 lakh scooters & 2.4 lakh motorcycles. LML had five motorcycle models in the domestic market before February 2006. LML used to sell around 1,000 units a month in the national capital region(Delhi) before it downed the shutters. LML resumed partial operations in April with the export of geared scooters to Egypt, West Asia and Africa, besides Bangladesh and Sri Lanka.Revival plan:

Lured by the robust domestic demand for scooters(despite the poor show of two wheeler industry, the scooter sales are up by 17% during the first four months of the current fiscal year), LML plans to revive the operation. LML also has ambitious plans for export market- the company which exported 16,000 units till July and is now targeting another 50,000 units during the rest of the fiscal year. Rs35000 may be needed to take home the scooters -NV SPL and Select II. LML which introduced the scooters in Delhi will gradually get into Punjab, Haryana, Jammu & Kashmir and then to West Bengal, Assam and few others. LML, which was once the fifth largest player in the motorcycle segment, does not plan to re-enter that lucrative and mass-volume market before its operations are revived entirely due to the massive investments required in the plant. For capital ,to come out of the financial crisis LML has registered with the Board for Industrial & Financial Reconstruction (BIFR) and has submitted a revival plan with a strategic investor and fresh capital investment. Currently LML uses the initial advances made from exports for domestic operation and it bets on domestic sales to generate some working capital for its future operation.

Hot scoops on Getz diesel,Honda’s small car and more

Hyundai:

Getz diesel:

Hyundai Getz diesel will be rolled out in the first quarter of 2008(january to April). Getz diesel may be powered by a much powerful 1.4L diesel engine since the Hyundai arch rival Maruti swift is currently powered by 1.3L engine. The Swift’s 1.3L engine is going to power the next generation indica – Indica V3 and Fiat’s Punto. Hence a 1.4L engine for Getz may give Hyundai an edge over others. Because of this engine Getz diesel will be priced at a premium over the swift diesel and will compete with upcoming skoda’s Fabia i.e. getz diesel may be priced around Rs6 lakhs.

LPG Santro:

Hyundai may roll out LPG variant of Santro soon. Recently, Hyundai Motor India launched a CNG variant of Santro in Delhi. Since CNG availability in southern states are limited Hyundai is mulling a LPG variant for its Santro.

Santa-Fe SUV:

Hyundai is planning to bring the santa -Fe SUVto india, Hyudai will replace the ageing Hyundai’s Tucson with the new santa Fe since all key players in this segment have launched new variants of their cars Maruti-Suzuki grand vitara, Ford Endeavour and Honda CR-V and new players like chevrolet will enter this market through its captiva. Hyundai will bring the next-generation 2007 Santa Fe debuted at the 2006 North American auto show. A 2.2L 150hp CRDi will power the new santa Fe.

Maruti:

Maruti is working on small car possibly the new WagonR what we already reported. The new Wagon-R named the ’splash’ is based on an all-new platform, the new wagon-R has some hints from both the Swift and SX4. Splash will get Suzuki’s newly developed gasoline engine – a 1000cc, 65 bhp 3-cylinder and a 1200cc, 86 bhp 4-cylinder engine will power the splash.

TVS Motors:

TVS has recently announced it plans to roll out 11 new models before April 2008. The new product line includes motorcycles in both the entry level and the high-volume executive segment, a scooterette and an electric scooter, besides two-stroke and four-stroke three-wheelers. But what TVS secretly planning is a four wheeler which might take on tata’s one lakh car

* It is already reported that Two wheeler giants Hero group, Bajaj and TVS are taking steps to foray into four wheeler market. While Bajaj tie up with Renault is almost done, sources said TVS is developing a powerful two stroke engine which may be used for its four wheeler foray. Though it is not clear that whether TVS will use this engine for a cargo carrier or small car. If this is true, TVS might challenge Tata’s one lakh car in the future.

More two-wheelers:

* TVS Motor has almost firmed up plans for launching a 100cc plus four-stroke scooter during the next fiscal. TVS scooty pep is the market leader in its segment as TVS want to increase its share in the robust scooter segment. As the 90cc TVS Scooty has always been associated with women and TVS hopes the new 100cc plus scooter could bring in male customers into the fold.

* TVS Motor Company plans to launch an electric bike at the end of this year and introduce two to three variants of the bike next year.

* TVS Motor will launch an upgraded Star motorcycle, two new motorcycles in the executive category, two high-end Apache models. The launch of new star variant is expected during the coming festival season.

Tata Motors:

We have already reported Tata’s next generation Indica – indica v3, new sumo and new safari 2.2L. Here’s more scoops on Tata’s Line-up.

Panel van:

* Tata is working on an 18-20 seater called the Panel V. Based on the 207 platform, it is tipped to be along the lines of the recently launched Winger Maxi-van. The Panel V will be fitted with the 2.2 litre engine that Tata acquired some time back from Renault.

Sprint pick-up:

* Tata Motor’s new one-tonne pickup, popularly referred to as the Sprint, will be launched in India soon. The vehicle will be christened the Xenon and sport Tata’s 2.2 litre Dicor engine. Tata aptly named this project Sprint since the entire process from conception and design to development took only 18 months.Tata has developed the vehicle completely inhouse. It is yet to decide on the exact variant of Xenon – be it single, double or space cab – in India, but industry experts believe it will be to Tata’s advantage to have more than one variant in the market. After the India launch, the pickup will debut in Thailand possibly in the first quarter of 2008 through its joint venture with Thonburi Automotive Assembly. Tata has developed both the 2.2 litre and 3.0 litre engines for the Thai market. At present, it is conducting customer research to help it decide on the engine. The company will stick to the utility function of the pickup and promote the Sprint as a workhorse as opposed to the luxury/lifestyle image of many Japanese pickups in Thailand. However, it cannot be ascertained if this is going to be the same strategy for the India market too since Mahindra has introduced the lifestyle segment in India through it scorpio getaway.The sprint pick-up will be subsequently launched in Argentina, where Tata has an agreement with Fiat to use its Cordoba facility from 2008 onwards. It is likely that this sprint will be a little different from the models to be introduced in India and Thailand. Although the company has the option to badge the Sprint as either a Tata or Fiat vehicle, it will most likely be branded a Fiat product in Argentina. South Africa is also another potential market.

Nissan – Renault:

new Logan variants:

Renault – Mahindra would roll out new Logan variants including the Logan 7 seater logan MCV(Multi Connival Vehicle), which could be launched sometime next year.

Serena and Vanette:

* Nissan and Renault is said to be looking at opportunities in the utility vehicles (UV) segment, the company is conducting a market feedback on the possible introduction of the Serena and the Vanette in the Indian market. While the Serena is a multi utility vehicle on the lines of the Toyota Innova, the Vanette is a more van-like multi purpose vehicle that can also seat eight people.In the short-term – before production begins at Chennai – Renault-Nissan could use the serenna,vanette, X-Trail and Teana, to showcase its prowess in terms of quality and reliability. In that sense, these models would a curtain-raiser to potential consumers.

Renault – Nissan two new small cars:

* Nissan – Reanualt is working on two models codenamed XO2A and X02B to be produced in Chennai. The X02A is a compact hatchback, which is slated to debut in 2012. Renault has targeted sales of nearly two lakh units. The X02B is a roomy hatchback, whose projected sales for 2012 is in the region of 130,000 units. The engines options for the cars will be 1.2 and 1.5 litre (petrol) and a 1.5 litre diesel. These hatchbacks and Ghosn’s $3000 car will make renault a serious player in india

Honda Siel:

Small car Jazz:

* Honda’s upcoming small car -jazz will be powered by a 1.2 litre engine specifically for the Indian market – it uses a 1.3 and 1.5 litre internationally. With a price expected to be around Rs 6 lakh, the Jazz hatchback is likely to be positioned against skoda’s Fabia.

Honda’s another small car:

Honda Siel Cars India plans to have at least two small cars in its portfolio. Other than the premium hatch Jazz, the additional, India-specific small car will be in the B-segment, in the Rs 3 lakh-plus price category.

Honda’s MPV to take on Toyota Innova:

* Honda Siel Cars India (HSCI) is eyeing diesel options for its MPV debut in India.MPV – Multi Purpose Vehicle is currently dominated by diesel models such as Tata Safari,Mahindra Scorpio, Toyota Innova and Chevrolet Tavera. Hence diesel has to be the natural choice for Honda but since has just only one 2.2-litre diesel engine available in the Accord and CR-V models for the European market, Honda plans to develop new generation diesel engines that will have very low emissions and modern technology. This new diesel is not just for developing markets but also for Europe too. It is important to recall that Honda has tested two multi-purpose vehicles (MPV) – Steam and Odyssey two years ago.

Civic Hybrid:

* Honda is planning to launch a hybrid version of the Civic in India next year. Hybrid cars, which use both a petrol engine and an electric motor, are usually more fuel-efficient and produce lower levels of emissions, making them more environmentally-friendly than the regular petrol or diesel vehicles. The Civic Hybrid will be priced at a substantial 60% premium to the conventional model(because of High import dutie of 105% on the completely-built-up units ), with a selling price of around Rs 20 lakh, compared to the Rs 12-13 lakh on road price for the petrol model. Honda Siel believes that there will be a demand for these cars due to their superior technology, low emissions and fuel efficiency, the volumes will be low, making local manufacture of this model unviable.

Bajaj:

It is already reported on Bajaj new small car, venture with Renault and its Triumph acquisition.

* Bajaj has finally hinted on its acquistion plan “Rajiv and team are looking not necessarily an ACQ, partial ACQ, could be initial collaboration, technical marketing production leading to equity major players in small 2 wheeler fields” said Rahul Bajaj, chairman, Bajaj Auto. Bajaj has enough resources to fund any such acquistion – Bajaj has access to almost Rs 6000 crore and currently it has zero debt. Even if raises Rs 10-15, 000 crore it can bear its impact on equity-debt ratio.

*Bajaj says the company hopes to be among the top 4 two wheeler companies in the world and attain the number one position in India by 2010. Bajaj now has 36% market share in the motorcycle category and is just 30,000 units shy of market leader Hero Honda’s sales for July.

* Final contours of the Bajaj- Renault alliance is expected to be announced in early 2008. A buzz about the venture is that Renault won’t use its brand name for the $3,000 car.

Bajaj’s new commuter bike the eXceed

For the price consciuos:

Bajaj has been trying to grab the No 1 slot from Hero Honda but absence of any pulsar like motorcycle in the commuter segment hinders the company for a long time. Infact Bajaj itself on the record said that it wants to exit the 100cc segment. It cited the low margin in 100cc forced it consider exiting the segment(in 125cc and above segment the margins are 15-20 per cent). Bajaj enjoys a market share of 47 per cent in the growing and profitable 125 cc and 150 cc segments against a smaller share of 24 per cent in the declining but larger 100 cc segment(The 100 cc segment has shrunk to 61% of the overall motorcycle market in July, from 73% a year ago. T). Bajaj knows that it cannot ignore 100cc customer if it wants to topple Hero Honda from the first position. Finally Bajaj has find a solution to meet both the conditions (atleast according to Bajaj). Bajaj has unveiled a new engine platform on August 10th, Bajaj bets the new engine (DTS-Si)is far superior to the widely used 4-stroke, 100cc engines. Bajaj will roll out a new 125 cc bike called ‘eXceed’ with this new engine in september. It will price the new bike ‘eXceed’ around Rs42000. With this aggresive price tag and new engine Bajaj is aiming to wean customers from the lower-margin 100 cc bikes, which is an extremely price-sensitive and crowded market dominated by market leader Hero Honda Motors Ltd. Bajaj will target the 100cc customer with the words eXceed – a bike with 100 cc mileage and 125 cc performance.

Bajaj claims the DTS-Si(Digital Twin Spark-Swirl induction) engine is returning mileage/fuel efficiency of 109 kilometres per litre under the ideal test conditions.Let’s see about Bajaj’s new DTS-SI.

Bajaj’s new DTS-SI:

bajaj-dts-si-exceed.jpgBajaj’s much popular Digital Twin Spark – ignition(DTS- i) is the mother technology for the latest Digital Twin Spark – Swirl induction or DTS-Si technology. At light loads on DTS-i engine Bajaj finds an opprtunity to improve the combustion even further. When burning lean Air-Fuel mixtures through the two spark plugs, the combustion conditions could be further improved by generating high turbulence in the combustion chamber. The DTSSi technology gives better fuel efficiency by introducing swirl induction to the DTSi engine to create turbulence in order to achieve efficient combustion. The technology has been in existence for a few decades, but is used on larger capacity diesel engines. Bajaj has applied for a patent for this new engine. Bajaj’s ‘eXceed’ would be priced close to Rs 42,000 (ex-factory).

Bajaj’s strategy:

Though Bajaj palns to position the new exceed placed between platina and 112cc Discover (currently bajaj sells the Platina for Rs33000 and Discover for Rs45000) , chances are heavy that exceed will eat into the sales of platina. Bajaj itself acknoweldges, it said “We expect cannibalisation of about 25,000-30,000 (of the expected 50,000) units. We are not so sensitive to the loss of Platina (Bajaj’s existing premium 100 cc bike) in favour of Exceed since Exceed would bring us better margins”. Bajaj expects to make about Rs 4,000 in additional operating profit on each Platina customer shifting to Exceed.

Bajaj plans to make 5000 units in August, 20,000 units in September at its Aurangabad plant in western Maharashtra state, which would be ramped up to 50,000 units. Production would be further raised when the company starts making the new bike at its plant in northern state of Uttarakhand some time in December or January. Bajaj indicated that the DTS-Si platform was flexible and could be expanded both to smaller and larger motorcycles as well adding that the bike would be offered for export in the next fiscal.

Triumph acquistion and Renault tie-up:

Bajaj declined to answer any queries on the company’s small car project or the plans to tie-up with UK-based Triumph for high end motorcycles. Bajaj informed that the company’s relationship with Japanese two-wheeler maker Kawasaki continues to be strong.

Here’s the specification of eXceed 125cc engine:

Type: Four stroke Natural Air-cooled
No. of cylinders : One
Bore: 54 mm
Stroke: 54.4 mm
Engine displacement : 124.58 cc
Compression ratio: 9.5+/- 0.5 : 1
Maximum Net Power: 9.53 PS( 7.01 kW) at 7000 rpm
Maximum Net Torque: 10.85 Nm at 5000rpm
Ignition system: Microprocessor controlled Digital CDI, with TRICS incorporated in Carburettor
Ignition Timing: Variable Timing with Multiple maps
Fuel: Unleaded Petrol, 87 RON minimum
Carburetor: Side draught type,
Ucal – Mikuni VM16 with Auto choke/ Keihin FIE PTE16, with Auto choke
Lubrication: Wet sump, forced
Clutch: Wet, mulit disc type.

Bajaj wins the credit for making an advertisement for a engine(first in india!) Here’s the DTS-SI engine ad

Hot news – August 2007

*  Chennai-based Tractors and Farm Equipment (TAFE), India’s second-largest tractor manufacturer, is eyeing a big-ticket acquisition in Europe.TAFE is eyeing Yugoslavian tractor majors Industrija Masina Traktora and Industrija Motora Rakovica, one of the largest tractor makers in Serbia. TAFE is aiming at acquiring majority stake in both the firms, and could also go in for a 100% buyout, as both enjoy major marketshare in East Europe. If it goes through the deal, TAFE would have to fork out around Rs 1,000 crore. Both companies have a production capacity of around 25,000 units each.  The last acquisition by TAFE was of Delhi-based Eicher tractors in 2005 for Rs 310 crore. TAFE holds around 23% marketshare in the domestic tractor market.

* Maruti Suzuki has announced a special offer to increase its sales and to counter impact of high interest on sales. The offer named “Smile India Smile” offer, which runs from Aug 1-15, offers discounts ranging from 7,000-30,000 rupees on several models, including its best-selling Alto and the Esteem sedan.

* Tata Motors is setting up the largest fully-built bus plant in the world, which will make it one of the leading global bus manufacturers. Tata Motors has identified Karnataka and Goa as possible locations for the proposed facility, but is yet to finalise the location. The proposed plant is likely to come up in 2008. Tata is chasing a sales target of 50,000-60,000 passenger carriers in the next few years to emerge the largest player in terms of units, ahead of leading bus manufacturers like DailmerChrysler and Volvo

* NDTV profit reported Tata and Mahindra may enter a swap deal under which Mahindra which has been on a buying spree for scaling up his auto components business is believed to have turned his attention to Tata group’s auto components arm, Tata Auto Component Systems or TACO. It is learned that Mahindras are said to be in negotiations with the Tata group’s top brass to take control of TACO. Mahindra & Mahindra’s (M&M) auto component business is pegged at close to Rs 3,000 crore and TACO with revenues of close to Rs 2,800 crore will almost double M&M’s ancillary business.

The interesting twist in the deal is Tatas could take charge of the Mahindra group’s IT flagship Tech Mahindra in lieu of giving up control over the auto components company. While Anand Mahindra denies any plans to let go of Tech Mahindra, merchant banking sources claim that the negotiations are currently on over valuations and the deal could be routed through Tata Consultancy Services (TCS). Tech Mahindra has a market cap of around Rs 16,000 crore with M&M’s stake valued at over Rs 6,000 crore. Valuation of the closely held TACO, on the other hand, is pegged at around Rs 3,000 crore, if a deal finally materialises, Tatas will pay up for the difference. For More

* Mahindra is planing to invest around Rs 60 crore to set up six ‘FirstChoice’ stores, the company’s first multi-brand used car superstores, in the next 15-18 months. FirstChoice is a three-way joint venture between Mahindra Group, HDFC and Sah and Sanghi. Mahindra group will hold a 75 per cent stake in the venture. Mahindra’s existing used car subsidiary Automartindia Ltd has been renamed ‘FirstChoice’ and Mahindra palns to expand this new initiative to more than 200 stores in next 2-3 years. Maruti similar intitative “true value intitiative” sells around 75000 cars a year and Tata motors is also planning to enter this robust used car market.

* TVS Motor Company has decided to launch 11 new models by April 2008. The new product line includes motorcycles in both the entry level and the high-volume executive segment, a scooterette and an electric scooter, besides two-stroke and four-stroke three-wheelers. Of the 11 new products TVS announced seven two wheelers, a two-stroke and four-stroke three-wheelers is for the Indian market and two for Indonesia. With the proposed launch of 11 products, TVS wishes to flex its muscles as it said “The investments we made in quality and technology will be put on actual display from now on”.

* Founders of truck maker Eicher Motors Ltd are exploring selling their majority holding to a global commercial vehicle maker. Though international truck makers Daimler and Hyundai Motor were eyeing a stake in Eicher, Daimler which already holds a 3.56 per cent indirect stake in the company, is tipped to be the front runner. The very important isssue is Royal Enfield India’s only cult bike maker is a subsidiary of Eicher. Is Royal Enfield will change hands? we have to wait!

Revai – Reva’s new electric car

Reva Electric Car Company has launched an advanced version of its electric car, Reva-I which uses AC drive train to give better speed, range and acceleration.The technologically advanced car is also equipped with a `boost’ mode for short-term acceleration and power. Revai also has a “hill restraint” feature which allows enhanced negotiation on slopes. Revai costs Rs 3.49 lakh. As an eco-friendly and economical car, it offers ease of driving without clutch and gears. Its small size makes parking hassle-free and manoeuvrable for safe driving on city roads. Revai – the new model can drive at 80 km per hour as compared to 65 km per hour by its earlier models, with acceleration from 0-40 km in seven seconds as against 10 seconds earlier. The capacity of its torque has been increased by 40 percent for quicker acceleration, climbing and negotiating slopes. With trip odometer and automatic computer controlled indicator for power consumption and regeneration and electronic control panels, Revai will have more battery life to cover about 200 km without recharging as against 80-100 km by its earlier models.

Reva has so far sold around 2,000 units of Reva, of which 70 per cent have been exported. Over 1,000 units of Reva car have been sold in the UK market. Reva said part of the $20 million funding it received from Global Environment Fund (GEF) and Draper Fisher Jurveston (DFJ) would be utilised for increasing the capacity of the plant. Reva has a production capacity of 6,000 vehicles a year, which would be expanded to manufacture 30,000 vehicles. During 2006, Reva sold around 600 cars and with the launch of the new model RevaI, it plans to sell about 3,000 cars this year. Reva is foraying into Norway and Spain to spread our footprints in the European markets. Set up as a joint venture with the US-based AEV LLC in 1994, Reva has 10 patents to its credit in the manufacture of eco-friendly and cost-effective electric cars. Its plant on the city’s outskirts has an installed capacity of 6,000 units per annum.

source: Reva India

Mitsubishi’s cedia select LPG

Hindustan Motors (HM) – Mitsubishi has launched a factory fitted dual fuel Cedia under the name’cedia select’. Cedia Select incorporates ‘Sequent’ type technology for effective performance on LPG. This technology from BRC Italy uses32 bit microprocessor that synchronizes on real time with engine ECU. The controls are precise and automatic, delivering great performance, be it on petrol or on auto LPG. The driver enjoys the performance while the microprocessor & ECU take care of fuel efficiency. With a “full tank”, 50 Lt petrol and 48-63 litreLPG, the Cedia Select is capable of cruising well over 1000km at a stretch! This Cedia variant, with all premium features (air bags, ABS with EBD, MP3 CD player, wood and titanium finish, chrome door handles, windshield antennae, alloy wheels) ,is priced at Rs 8.60 lakh (ex showroom Delhi). Cedia Select is the first amongst premium cars to offer a dual fuel product that is environment friendly on both fuels. Over the next few days , Cedia Selcect – with the factory fitted Dual Fuel Option- will become available for test drive at all major dealerships all across the country.According to the Mitsubishi, the dual fuel model will be just as powerful and fuel efficient on both petrol & LPG and is emission happy to boot. Advanced microprocessor controlled technology makes it possible for the Cedia Select to deliver good fuel efficiency on two different fuels without any compromise on performance. Mitsubishi says that the cedia select will offer a fuel economy/mileage of Rs 3/ km in city driving on ALPG. The fuel economy on highways will be even better. According to Hindustan Motors’ MD R Santhanam: “The new duel fuel Cedia variant is targeted at the premium car buyers, who seek both the driving pleasure and operating economy at the same time and are also environment conscious.”

source: Hindustan motors

Tata’s Jaguar acquisition and Ferrari ride

in depth analysis on TATA acquistion of Ford’s Jaguar and Land Rover

Tata group which is responsible for India’s biggest foreign takeover, by acquiring the British steel company Corus through his Tata Steel business for £6.7bn earlier this year, is now reckoning for another big acquisition, this time for its automotive division. Tata Motors is in the early stages of evaluating a bid for the Jaguar and Land Rover reported British daily The Telegraph.. Ratan Tata is understood to have instructed advisers in the past fortnight to begin evaluating the merits of a joint offer for Jaguar and Land Rover, which have been earmarked for disposal by struggling American car giant Ford. People close to the situation last night said that Tata Motors’ evaluation of a bid was at an “exploratory” stage and may not lead to a formal bid for the two brands. One person familiar with the position said that Tata Motors had signed a confidentiality agreement with Ford in recent days. .Besides Tata, other car makers from middle east and eastern car manufacturers may be interested in bidding, while a formal auction would also be likely to attract private equity firms such as Apollo, Blackstone and Cerberus ( theUS buyout firm which acquired Chrysler earlier this year for $7.5bn).

Price of the luxury brands:

Analyst believe anything between $2.5bn to $3bn for jaguar and Land Rover. Here is their words

A Meryll Lynch analysts suggest that Jaguar and Land Rover may fetch about $1.5bn (£735m). Earlier a private equity firm called Alchemy Partners was said to be lining up a £3bn offer for the two luxury brands. “If you look at the financial position, [Jaguar and Land Rover] are worth some $1bn to $1.5bn,” Mr Dorris an analyst said. “Add a control premium, and the final sales price could come in at about $2.5bn.”

Ford bought Jaguar for £1.6bn in 1989 and it is believed that Ford have invested about $10bn in Jaguar since it bought, Ford bought the Land Rover from BMW for £1.7bn in 2000.

What may hamper Tata’s?

  • Union leaders of both Jaguar and Land Rover have already raised concerns about their job security because of the sale.
  • Jaguar’s sales were down nearly 32 percent for 2006 in the United States, the company’s largest market.
  • Jaguar lost more than $715 million last year and is expected to lose $550 million in 2007. According to the analysis, Jaguar is projected to lose more than $300 million in 2008 and is not expecting a profit for several years. These losses are mainly because of extremely high manufacturing costs in Britain and Ford has not earn a profit from jaguar since it bought.
  • Land Rover sold a record 192,500 vehicles in 2006 and is said to be profitable. Unlike the jaguar, Land Rover is a much stronger and more profitable business but Tata’s has to buy both the units since the products and manufacturing of vehicles for Land Rover and Jaguar is so intertwined..
  • The worried jaguar ‘s workers, they told “if the two companies are sold together, then there was no guarantee “that a new owner would not shut down most of Jag’s manufacturing capacity”.

Official Words from Tata and Ford…

A spokesman for Tata Motors said the group did “not comment on speculation about mergers and acquisitions”. Though Ford denied it, Ford had told that it was still some way from doing a deal, it also added hat it had been looking at its options for a year, and that it was neither setting a timeframe for any decision, nor ruling out any options.

is Mahindra in the race?

Mahindra & Mahindra (M&M) might also show interest in these brand. 

M&M which wants to be global SUV maker should have an interest, at least, in Land Rover, says the brand is attractive. Even so, it will not help Mahindra become an independent global sports utility vehicle, or SUV, brand. Moreover, Land Rover, which is about six times as big as M&M, might simply be unaffordable.  

I do not know what is on offer, whether it is the whole brand, or some products or what plants are being offered. I cannot say if it is a strategic fit or not. Mahindra is a SUV brand and Land Rover is an SUV brand. So, the two brands have something where synergy is possible. But having said that, its a big company,” said Pawan Goenka, President-Automotive Sector, Mahindra & Mahindra.

European car manufacturers Renault and Fiat have recently ruled out of the possibility of bidding for Jaguar and Land Rover.Ford – the struggling auto giant:

Ford which has become struggling automaker in recent years posted a full-year 2006 net loss of $12.7 billion, the largest single-year loss in the company’s history. Also Ford lost its No. 2 ranking worldwide to Japan’s Toyota. Ford Chief Executive Officer Alan Mulally, who took over the top post in September 2006 from Bill Ford has been restructuring Ford to counter losses. As a part of restructuring Ford has been selling assets in a bid to offset falling sales and profits. Premier Group, which includes Aston Martin, Volvo,Land Rover and Jaguar is the main cause for Ford continuing losses. Earlier this year Ford sold its UK based sports car division Aston Martin(popularly known as james bond car) for $848 million to investors led by U.K. auto-racing champion David Richards. Many believed that Ford was in talks with Germany’s BMW to divest the Volvo brand but Ford denied any such sale of Volvo. Ford reported a loss of $282m for the first three months of 2007.

Tata’s Ferrari ride:

Soon we can see the Ferraris cruising in India roads, as an extension of the existing Tata-Fiat(parent company of Ferrari) partnership, Fiat is planning to drive Ferrari into India and its navigator will be the Tata Motors. The world’s favourite sports car – Ferrari will zoom into India’s exclusive sports car market currently dominated by porsche. The two new Ferraris to be launched in India would be a 612 Grand Tourer, a big four seater and F430, an absolute sports car which is performance oriented. Tata Motors will market and set up engineering centers as a post sale services for these cars.

After some bad experiences in China and Russia, Ferrari did not want to take chances by going it alone. With Tatas in fold, the Italian major is expecting a solid infrastructure back up in India. Ferrari and Tata are natural partners because Ferrari already gets lot of its software done from TCS.

source: NDTV profit

Tata’s to setup production base in Thailand:

Tata Motors, India’s top commercial vehicle maker, will invest 1.3 billion baht (38 million dollars) to launch its first production base in Thailand, the Thai Board of Investment said on July 18th. Tata Motors plans to roll out one-tonne pick-up trucks by the end of this year with initial output capacity of 7,000 units per year, the state-run investment promotion agency said. Tata Motors aims to boost annual production capacity to 30,000-35,000 units over the next five years, with 80 percent of light pick-up trucks to be sold in Thailand and the rest for export, the agency said.

Ford’s small car for India

Ford officials have given some hint about their small car entry in india

When asked about Ford India’s small car plan

`It’s(small car) a segment we can’t ignore,” said McCormack – Ford india’s vice president for marketing and sales. “At some point we’ve got to be in that segment.”he added

When asked about Tata’s 1 lakh car plan

“We are always focused on what our consumers want… if our consumer comes back and says here are the trade-offs, I am willing to make ($3,000 car) and this is what I will accept and live with,” Ford India managing director and president Arvind Mathew said.

It’s Ford KA or Mazda2  for India

Unusually very tight lipped ford officials have given few indications on Ford small car entry in india. With this hint, Ford is joining with Honda,Toyota,Volkswagen in planning to sell small cars in India. It is believed that Ford will either use the existing Ikon or Fiesta platforms for a hatchback or it will tweak the new KA that Ford is developing jointly with Fiat in Europe. The new KA is expected to roll out in Europe next year. Fiat has already formally launched its euro small car Fiat 500 which is on the same platform as the new KA. But now many believe Ford may opt for Mazda2 which was formally previewed at the Geneva motor show earlier this year. The Mazda 2, when it debuted, got more wows than the fit/Jazz(Honda’s proposed small car for india). Also The Mazda2 can be a fairly decent India option and may even be cheaper to develop in India compared to the new KA. Ford already has both petrol and diesel engines that can be tweaked to enable the hatch to qualify for excise benefits. There’s a 1.4 litre duratorq (CRDi) diesel engine in the Fiesta and a1.3 litre petrol in the Ikon. Both may be likely probable if Ford decides to build an India-specific car on an existing platform. KA or Mazda2 whatever Ford opts for india surely it will have more impact on other manufacturers proposed small car.
source: bloomberg,livemint,overdrive and economictimes

Ford’s Fusion Diesel

Take the no-nonsense Ford Fusion, add a Fiesta’s 1.4L Duratorq Diesel engine, Fusion diesel is ready. Ford India on july 17th introduced its multi-utility vehicle Fusion with a diesel engine in a single variant that has been priced at Rs 6.59 lakh ex showroom Delhi. Ford launched its petrol fusion in 2005 and diesel for the Fusion is anticipated for a long time, as fiesta diesel is a grand success for Ford. The petrol fusion is little bit underpowered also the no-nonsense fusion has been criticized for its poor fuel efficiency. Ford tries to check both the shortcomings through the diesel fusion. Fiesta – ford india’s flagship product lure customers through its performance and its fuel efficiency(70% of Ford Fiesta’s sales is in the diesel category).

New Engine and reduced length:

Fusion is now powered by the 1.4 L Duratorq(Ford’s CRDi) diesel engine with Ford’s proprietary TDCi technology for great refinement and fuel efficiency. Fusion duratorq engine develops 160 Nm torque at 2000 rpm and generates a maximum power of 68PS at 4000rpm. Fiesta diesel which is powered by this engine delivers an excellent fuel efficiency/mileage figure of 16kpl in city and highway combined drive. Ford says “the fuel economy in the new diesel Fusion will be as same as in Fiesta”. But before accepting Ford’s word we have to note that fusion weighs 30kg more than fiesta sedan. Ford has also trimmed the fusion to 3989mm to avail the small car tax benefit but thankfully ford has retained all other dimensions including fusion’s 198mm ground clearance.

Nothing else about the car has been changed.

Bajaj’s new car and ducati acquisition

Bajaj’s Ducati or Bajaj Triumph:

Bajaj Auto ltd is looking for a big-ticket acquisition in the European motorcycle market to increase its product line-up of high-end bikes. Bajaj is targeting two cult bike companies, Italy-based Ducati Motor Holding SpA and Triumph Motorcycles Ltd of the UK. Bajaj Auto has been looking for an appropriate acquisition or an alliance to boost its engineering and product development to expand a product range currently limited to 220cc. A big-ticket European brand like Ducati or Triumph will not only give Bajaj products in the premium lifestyle range in India but also a vehicle to drive export growth in the developed markets. Bajaj Auto has been getting increasingly aggressive with its bike retail channel Probiking and Bajaj has been saying that it will crank out more products to stock its Probiking shelves. Bajaj’s reported talks earlier with Japanese major Yamaha were also focused on technology-sharing and expertise for bigger bikes while offering engineering and manufacturing expertise for smaller motorcycles. Japanese bike maker Yamaha had first initiated talks with Bajaj in November last year. Yamaha’s global team led by Yamaha Japan president Takashi Kajikawa had visited Bajaj’s facilities and had talks with the companies. The two bike majors might join hands for making co-badged bikes for the higher segments both for the domestic and export markets. Bajaj is also considering entering the segment under its existing collaboration with Kawasaki. 

Ducati is a 95.4 mln euro company and all its products are in the 700cc-plus range with the brand having a formidable reputation in the MotoGP series. Triumph is a 165.0 mln stg ($336 million) company and has cruisers, urban sports bikes and other lifestyle products in its range including apparel and accessories. 

Bajaj – Renault $3000 car:

The Tata Rs 1 lakh car project has triggered off a lot of excitement both among local auto majors as well as global biggies. Carlos Ghoshn is very keen on building a rival to proposed Tata’s 1 lakh car. Last month, he announced that the Nissan-Renault combine would develop a $3000 car using India’s “frugal engineering expertise”. If produced the car will be the Renault’s big pitch for global volumes after the Logan. But contrary to Renault – Nissan its Indian partner M&M is not interested in the $3000 car project as its long-term strategy is to be a global player in the SUV market. Hence Renault – Nissan has to find an Indian partner for its planned small car. Bajaj Auto is planning superior technology and multiple options to foray into the passenger car segment. So, is that what Renault-Nissan is looking for in its partner for its budget car.

Already India’s robust two and three wheeler manufacturer Bajaj is experimenting with the concept of a small car. Bajaj is also developing a six or eight seater vehicle that could compete with Maruti’s Omni van or even the more recently launched Tata’s Ace Magic. Unlike the Ace Magic or Maruti Omni, Bajaj is planning to offer both petrol and diesel engine options for its new vehicle. Interestingly, this month Bajaj created five strategic units including engineering and R&D. All these may make these two giants to produce the low cost car which will rival Tata’s 1 lakh car.