Hot News – May 2007

* The high octane Forza Motorsport 2, eagerly awaited sequel to Microsoft’s Xbox 360 exclusive motor racing game, Forza Motorsport, is hitting Indian PCs on may 25th.  Developed by Turn 10 of Microsoft Game Studios, the sequel is expected to build on the euphoria around Forza Motosport, and enhance overall gaming with Xbox 360. Forza Motorsport 2 sees more than 300 of the world’s hottest cars revving-up and racing it out on more than 45 tracks carved out of twelve environments, which include several real-world licensed racing circuits such as Silverstone, Tsukuba, and Laguna Seca. Add to this is the new real-world licensed circuits, an advanced Physics engine courtesy top automotive engineers and programmers, plus detailed camera effects like blooming, lens flare, heat shimmer, and crashing. Microsoft had spent nearly 40 million dollars and two years in upgrading the title for gamers globally. Microsoft were earlier selling titles for Rs 2,599 and have brought this popular title Fortza for just Rs 1,895. Microsoft is presently looking at bringing online gaming through XBox live in India soon.  Microsoft is also planning to bring a top-end variant of its high-definition gaming console, X-Box Elite, in the Indian market by August.

* MRF is ranked the highest in customer satisfaction with original equipment tyres in India, according to the J.D. Power Asia Pacific 2007 India Original Tyre Customer Satisfaction Index (TCSI) Study. For a fifth time (tying in 2002 and 2003), MRF has ranked highest in the study, improving its overall performance to 840 points on a 1,000-point scale — up 18 points from the 2006 study. JK Tyre follows MRF in the rankings with 822 index points, while Apollo (812) improves by 34 points to rank third. In its seventh year, the study analyzes new-vehicle buyer perceptions of five critical factors regarding their original equipment tyres. In order of importance, they are: appearance of tyres, durability of tyres, ride quality, traction and handling. Among vehicle segments, small-car owners have greater satisfaction with their original tyres compared to those in other vehicle segments. However, the average kilometres driven on a small vehicle are nearly 10 percent less than the industry average.

*Honda Siel Cars India (HSCI) will set up its second car manufacturing plant in India near Alwar in Rajasthan at an estimated investment of Rs 1,000 crore. Honda plans to manufacture two models from the plant – One model will be a new small car and the second will be from Honda’s existing line-up. But the new Honda’s small car won’t be cheaper as the Honda’s other cars the new small car will also be priced higher(relative to Maruti and Hyundai’s cars). For More

* Harley Davidson – the cult bike maker is unsure of its Indian foray because of high duty structure on import bikes. On the other hand Honda Motorcycles and Scooters India Limited, a fully owned subsidiary of Honda Motor Company, is already moving ahead with plans to manufacture bikes in the sub-500 cc category and bring in high-end (including 800 cc) bikes as completely built units through the import route. The company plans to introduce two such bikes initially, which are expected to hit the market later this year or early next year. The other major Suzuki is not yet decided which models to be introduced. A third player, Yamaha, has not taken a final call due to problems in its India operations.

*Country’s largest car manufacturer Maruti Udyog Ltd (MUL) on Tuesday posted 17 per cent increase in domestic car sales for the month of April. Maruti’s volume in the domestic A2 segment, which includes models like Zen, Swift, Alto, sales grew by 20.3 per cent and in the C segment which houses Omni, Versa by 21.1 per cent last month compared to the same period in 2006. Meanwhile, in A1 segment, which comprises the popular M800 model, MUL posted a fall of 9.8 per cent growth and the A3 segment (Baleno, Esteem) sales recorded a downfall of 12.7 per cent, it added.

Auto News – Apr 2007

* Chinese car maker Chery Automobiles(manufactured QQ) is likely to partner India’s International Cars & Motors Ltd (ICML) to roll out its small car in India next year, the Business Standard reported. ICML is planning to launch a premium hatchback in the 300,000-400,000 rupees price range, which is the fastest-growing car segment in India. ICML currently offers ‘Rhino’ a Sports Utility Vehicle. ICML joined the elite club of India’s manufacturers along with Tata and Mahindra .

*Toyota Motor Corp. became the world’s top auto seller in the first three months of the year, passing rival General Motors Corp. for the first time in history. Toyota sold 2.348 million vehicles worldwide in the January-March quarter surpassing the 2.26 million vehicles that GM said it sold during the same period.For More

*Maruti Udyog (MUL), India’s largest car-maker, has lowered prices between Rs 3,000 and Rs 5,000 on its cars following a reduction in the concessional central state tax (CST) offered by the Haryana government.For More

*Hero group may tie up with japanese major Isuzu for its four wheeler foray. Isuzu already has a brand presence in the country, Isuzu has provided engines to M&M Invader, the HM Ambassador and for the recently launched Rhino SUV from Sonalika.

*Bajaj not to exit from the 100cc market, According to Bajaj Auto GM marketing Amit Nandi, “We are not getting out of the 100cc segment. Rajiv Bajaj’s statement has been misinterpreted. We will continue to sell 100cc bikes till there is demand.” For More

*Because of the increased interest rates car sales in March declines badly expecting the april too manufacturers announced rebates on thir products to woo customers. Here’s the list

#General Motors is offering customers an option of lower interest rates of around 10 per cent or free services or accessories worth Rs 20,000.Customers can choose any of these and also opt for a total maintenance plan to control operating cost. The 10 per cent interest rate is offered to all products of General Motors.

#Market leader Maruti Udyog Ltd increased rebates on its small cars from Rs 5,000 to Rs 15,000 a few days ago to reduce the cost of ownership.

#Honda-Siel is working with ICICI Bank to extend the tenure of the loans from five to six years to help customers absorb interest rate hikes. With this, customers will pay 10 per cent to 15 per cent lower EMIs than what they are paying now.

#The second-largest car maker, Hyundai, which is offering its flagship car Santro at a lower rate of 8.99 per cent, might extend this offer to other cars. It has tied up with ICICI Bank, HDFC and Kotak Mahindra for the Santro for a deal in which around Rs 30,000 per car is being absorbed by the dealers, banks and the manufacturers.

*Toyota’s small car may be made in India, India may win the battle against Brazil for the new plant. Toyota’s is planning to develop a 1-litre engine global car by 2010 which will cost around $7,000-8,000 (Rs 3-3.5 lakh). The small car will be made specially to meet the needs of developing countries BRIC (Brazil, Russia, India, China). Earlier, Toyota planned to introduce passo/boon in India but was stopped due to its higher price. For More

* German sports car major Porsche on 12th March rolled out its second generation Cayenne SUV in India in the price range of Rs. 49.30 lakh to Rs. 1.10 crore. Porsche will have 4 more dealers (Mumbai, Hyderabad, Bangalore & Chennai) in India by the end of 2007 in addition to the Delhi. Porsche currently offers Boxster, Carrera 911 and Cayman. Porsche may launch its sedan Panemara in India by 2009.

* Rajeev Bajaj announced Bajaj Auto will roll out a new motorcycle in the executive category, which could be priced around Rs 40,00o and will be launched by July. Rajeev Bajaj also said the company would develop high power bikes in technical collaboration with Kawasaki, but the bikes will be manufactured and marketed under the ‘Bajaj’ brand. He added Bajaj is working on four wheeler cargo, which will compete with Tata’s ‘Ace’

* Bajaj has once again slashed price by Rs3000 for its 100cc offering ‘platina’. Last month Bajaj made a similar discount. Platina will cost Rs33000 – an unimaginable price for a 100cc bike. Bajaj expects sales to jump by 25% due to this discount. A tough news for TVS star city and Hero Honda CD deluxe. Source:NDTV profit

* Outlook posted as excellent article influence of Indian brains in formula one. For More on TCS relationship with Ferrari.

*Fernando Alonso of McLaren won the Malyasian grand prix. Lewis Hamilton ofMclaren and Raikkonen of Ferrari followed Alonso in order. For Detailed Results

*Most car companies and dealers are doling out lucrative discounts to push sales during April, which is considered as a lean month. Maruti 800 gets cheaper by Rs15000, Esteem by Rs 30000, Getz and Santro by Rs10000 and Indica Xeta by Rs25000 For More

* Tata’s 1lakh rupee car attracts not only Indian majors like Bajaj but also charms world majors like Renault-Nissan. “If you want to be serious in India, you should not cross the $3,000 figure,” said Carlos Ghosn, CEO, Nissan Motor Co, in Nashik. Nissan Motor Co, plans to produce a car priced at below $3,000 (Rs 1.30 lakh) in India. The vehicle would prove the most formidable competition to the Tata Motors Rs 1-lakh ($2,000) car under development and Bajaj’s planned light weight car.

*Fiat new Fiat Palio Stile comes with two petrol engine options: Palio Stile 1.1 (in three versions- SL, SLE, SLX) and Palio Stile 1.6 (Sport). The Palio Stile 1.1 is priced in the range of Rs 3.49 lakh to Rs.3.90 lakh (ex-showroom, Delhi), while the Palio Stile 1.6 is priced at Rs.4.31 lakh (ex-showroom, Delhi). For Fiat Palio Stile new features

*Mahindra Renault, the joint venture between Mahindra & Mahindra (M&M) and Renault of France, on Tuesday unveiled much awaited Logan in India. The Logan will be available in diesel and petrol versions and in six colours. The price (ex-New Mumbai) of the petrol 1.4 and 1.6 versions ranges from Rs. 4.28 lakh to Rs 5.69 lakh (before octroi) and the diesel 1.5 version from Rs. 5.47 lakh to 6.44 lakh. The same ex-New Delhi would be Rs. 4.35 lakh to 5.76 lakh for petrol versions and Rs. 5.54 lakh to Rs. 6.51 lakh for the diesel version. The Logan offers fuel efficiency of 14-18 kilometres a litre (kmpl) on the Common Rail Diesel engine and 10-13 kmpl with the petrol engines, according to Mahindra Renault officials. Bookings will be open from april 9 and the vehicles will be delivered from May 9 onwards. For More

*Fiat launches new Palio Stile. Palio Stile is the first product form Tata-Fiat Joint Venture For More

* Cool news for Hot summer, From April 1 onwards Mumbaikars can travel across the city in air-conditioned Maruti Esteem and Indigo Marina beginning from April 1. Maharashtra Chief Minister Vilasrao Deshmukh yesterday launched V Link Fleet Management Services, a private taxi service, which will ply 150 vehicles to begin with and will later increase to up to 1,000. The taxis, which will operate from tomorrow, will charge a minimum of Rs 15 and additional Rs 13 per km with a centralised number for advance booking.

* Hero Honda on March 31 launched a face-lift variant of its 150 cc motorcycle ‘Achiever’ priced between Rs 52,650 and Rs 54,950 (ex-showroom Delhi).The company has launched ‘Achiever’ in two variants — kick start and self start — and would be available in five colours(silver metallic, palace maroon, candy blazing red, magnetic blue metallic and black). The new Achiever comes with improved features including disc brakes, body colour graphics and body colour grips.

Auto News – Mar 2007

*India is going to allow the import of a specified number of the iconic motorcycles at lower duty in turn US will allow Indian mangoes. Earlier Harley Davidson had tried to enter the indian market but not succeeded due to strict indian emission norms and high import duty.

* Bajaj Auto plans its foray in to four-wheelers with a light goods carrier which will compete with market leader Tata ace and soon to be launched piaggio 4-wheeler. . Bajaj Auto is working on a “non-traditional light car concept” for which it’s open to partnering with Tata Motors which is working on a Rs 1-lakh car. The concept car will be showcased at the 2008 Auto Expo. The concept car will not be a one-box passenger carrier, but a two-box vehicle like Maruti 800 or Alto.

*General Motors India on March 29 launched a special ‘Platinum’ edition of its luxury sedan Chevrolet Optra priced at Rs 8.24 lakh (ex-showroom Delhi). The company plans to sell 250 units of Chevrolet Optra Platinum limited edition throughout the country. The limited edition sedan comes with an additional three-year warranty and sports new feature including a platinum badge on the trunk lid, chrome kit for the front lower bumper, outer rear view mirror and tail-lamps, new gear knob and an MP3 music system.

*Hyundai will launch environment-friendly compressed natural gas (CNG) version of the Santro within two months. Hyundai, which started exporting the compact car Getz today, will also launch three versions of the car in the domestic market. The car will be rechristened Getz Prime and will have three variants with 1.1 litre and 1.3 litre petrol engines and a 1.5 litre diesel engine.The 1.3 litre Getz that we have here today will get a facelift with the same engine while the diesel variant will come in the second half of the year.

*Bad news for two wheeler manufacturers! A Merrill Lynch report says the growth figure for the two-wheeler market will fall to a single digit in the next two years. Two-wheeler sales grew 12.5 per cent in April-February 2006-07, down from 13.63 per cent in the same period of the previous fiscal year. Growth in passenger car sales, on the other hand, accelerated from 11 per cent to 25 per cent during the period.

*Financial Express reported Bajaj is expected to launch passenger carrier version of light commercial vehicle(LCV). The proposed vehicle will be fitted with a 500-600cc engine and will be available in diesel, petrol and compressed natural gas versions. Bajaj had earlier said it would launch a goods-carrier version of a light commercial vehicle in the first half of 2009 to take on mighty Tata ACE.

*Valentino Rossi – five time motoGP champion won the Spanish motoGP. Rossi dominated the race from the begining and won the spanishGP(Rossi failed to win the championship in the past five races). Fiat – Yamaha is happy to see both Rossi and Edwards in the podium.

*Porsche- the maker of SUV cayenne has launched a takeover bid to Volkswagen. Volkswagen has control over popular car brands such as Audi, Skoda, Bentley and luxury brand Lamborghini. In India Skoda has niche market in the premium car segment with its offerings such as octavia,superb and laura.

*Ford and Honda occupies the top position in the Customer Satisfaction Index (CSI), a collective measure of the loyalty and experience index of car buyers in a survey conducted by Businessworld India. Hero Honda, Bajaj and TVS occupies the top slots in the survey

*DaimlerChrysler India unveiled its latest edition of the S-Class diesel, S-320 CDI-L, and the premium Mercedes-Benz CL-Class on March 23. The S-320 CDI-L will cost Rs 71.12 lakh, while the CL-Class 500 Rs 1.17 crore and the Cl-Class 600, Rs 1.62 crore (ex-showroom, Mumbai)

* Impact of Inflation on car sales are clearly seen in March figures. In 2007 India’s inflation has hovered above 6%, to curb rising inflation rate, Reserve Bank of India has moved up the interest rate. This has affected the car sales badly. Over the last two months, car loan rates have seen a rise of 250 basis points (2.5%) to touch the 14.5-16% range which means consumer have to bear additional burden in Equated Monthly Installments(EMI) for buying their dream machines. DNA has reported sales so far in March are down anywhere from 5-15% from last year.

* When bikes like Bajaj Pulsar 200cc, New Karizma and soon to be launched Pulsar 220cc, Karizma FI are priced/expected to be priced at Rs80,000. Consultancy Firm JD Power said, the much-touted “people’s/1 Lakh car” from the stable of Tata Motors could create a major dent in the top-end motorcycle sales with its lucrative price tag, which has already become a global case study.

*China and India’s growing auto markets carry high credit risks for foreign automakers, despite promising high returns, mainly due to intense competition, Standard & Poor’s Ratings Services said in a report published on 22 March 2007.

*Economic Times reported Honda is planning to launch a whole range of 100cc motorcycles in India soon. Honda also plans to import fully built bikes in the 500cc and above range. Honda may first go for 500 cc and above models where Honda may look at importing completely built units. But for models less than 500 cc engine displacement, Honda is studying options to assemble them in India. Honda has recently launched Grand Prix limited edition of Unicorn.

*Skoda – subsidiary of Volkswagen has been assembling cars from completely knocked down kits imported from the Czech Republic. Now, Skoda is looking at changing its India strategy from an assembly operation to full-scale manufacturing. This will help in reducing the production cost and hence Skoda can position its cars competetively.

*The India-assembled high-end BMW cars are set to formally roll out on March 29 at the company’s assembly facility near Chennai. BMW will initially roll out the BMW 3 series from the new assembly plant. BMW now has a total of eight dealers, covering major cities. Besides two dealerships each in Delhi and Mumbai, it has one dealer each in Chennai, Bangalore, Hyderabad and Chandigarh. “BMW is likely to expand this to Kochi, Kolkata and Ahmedabad,” reported Economic Times.

* Tata Motors rolled out its 1,00,000th Ace, its mini-truck, 20 months after its launch, from the company’s Pune plant. Recently,a special variant of Ace called TataAce HT (High Torque) is launched to deal with a wide variety of gradients, especially in the North Eastern region. Tata is also planning to launch to omni version of Tata Ace to compete Maruti Omni soon.

*Honda has launched special/limited edition of Unicorn which is priced at 59,425 (ex-showroom Delhi). It would sell 2,500 units of the limited edition, which would be rolled out in May.

* Honda launches sporty Unicorn with new graphics which is priced at Rs58,150(ex-showroom, Delhi). Honda’s Sporty Unicorn is set to be launched nationwide on April 9. Honda is also going to launch new scooter by the end of 2007. source NDTV profit

*Kimi Raikkonen of Ferrari won the Australian Grand Prix.

*Here’s another war between TVS and Bajaj. TVS has launched a special website for its flagship product ‘Apache’ to combat Pulsar’s famous web

*Aston Martin, James Bond’s preferred car, is changing hands. To raise cash after last year’s record loss, Ford Motor Company will sell its profitable Aston Martin luxury sports-car unit for £479 million ($926.522 million or Rs 4,119.4 crore) to investors led by UK auto-racing champion David Richards.

*Kimi Raikkonen will start the first race of the 2007 Formula One season on pole position after qualifying fastest in

*Piaggio plans scooter Vespa’s third entry into India soon.*Indus Elec-Trans, a division of Electrotherm (India) Ltd on March 15, 2007 announced launch of its Yobykes in Eastern India. *Two-wheeler major, TVS Motor Company (TVS-M) has launched a sport variant of its popular entry level motorcycle, ‘Star City’. The 100 cc ‘Star Sport’ is launched in two versions, the basic and premium. The base version will come with alloy wheels in 2 colours – Red and Black. The deluxe version with alloy wheels will have fuel gauge, chrome graphics and will be available in three colours – Silver, Black and Blue. While the basic variant of ‘Star Sport’ has been priced at Rs 33,990 (ex-showroom Chennai), the premium variant of the new model will carry a price tag of Rs 35,490 (ex-showroom Chennai). TVS will also launch a new Apache, a three-wheeler in August, and a new Victor during 2007-08

*Stoner of Ducati won the Qatar Moto GP. Former champion Valentino Rossi finished second and defending champion Nicky hayden finished 8th.

*Ford India announced the introduction of the Ikon 2007 on sedan on March 9th that comes packed with plush interiors and stylish exterior enhancements.

*Bush to sign biofuels pact in Brazil, earlier Bush called on Congress to require the annual use of 35 billion gallons of ethanol and other alternative fuels such as biodiesel by 2017, a fivefold increase over current requirements.This move will give new dimension to biodiesel market for which India has great potential.

*Bajaj slashed out Tata’s talk of small car as a marketing gimmick.
“He has to sell his car… so he has to speak like that,” Bajaj shot back when reporters asked him about Tata Group Chairman Ratan Tata’s remark that one of the major reasons for him to decide on the ‘people’s car’ was the concern for safety of those travelling by two-wheelers.

*Fiat to sell its cars only through Tata -Fiat dealership chain.Mr De Filippis Giovanni, Managing Director, Fiat India, said the company has been selling its models using the existing 41 outlets of the Tata – Fiat dealership chain and has now proposed to link the remaining 38 `Fiat’ channels to the Tata – Fiat chain.

*Visit your favourite manufacturer cars shown in Geneva auto show- one of the biggest auto shows in the world.
Geneva auto show home page

*Bajaj will slash the price of its 100cc bike Platina thus making it cheapest bike in the segment, more affordable than Hero Honda CD Dawn. This strategic move by Bajaj will put more pressure on its rival Hero Honda. Bajaj will exit the 100cc market in mid-2007.For more

*Mahindra and Mahindra bags Punjab tractors in an all cash deal. The winning bid by M&M is said to be Rs360 per share.Source CNBC TV18.

* Tata has unveiled it’s new concept car ‘elgante’ in 77th geneva motor show. New Indica and Indigo sedan will borrow design cues from this concept car.

Auto News – Feb 2007

*Here is the budget impact on automotive sector, budget 2007 has no major announcements for automotive sector.For the sector the budget remains neutral. Manufacturers said 1% increase on education cess from the previous 2% will be passed on to the customers. For more

*Yamaha may move out of india because of its declining sales.With a marketshare of just 3.76%, Yamaha is fourth among India’s top five bike makers.The financilal condition of yamaha motors is said to be critical For more

*Nissan is going to launch its new sedan ‘Teana’ in India.The gasoline car will be priced between 22-24lakhs will take on Toyota camry and recently launched 7th generation Honda accord.For Nissan Teana review and technical specification

*Tamilnadu may be the manufacturing base for the trio- Nissan, Mahindra and Renault. The trio may choose Tamilnadu over Mahrastra for the new plant. Official statement is expected on 26th Feb.The trio may produce 8lakh vehicles in the new plant.For more

*Tatas plan new indica range to counter swift diesel.For more

*Hyundai will launch a new small car named “pa” either in the fourth quarter of 2007 or early next year. The car will be positioned between getz and santro.For more

*Ford has launched the seventh model of Fiesta.The new Fiesta 1.4 L ZXI is priced at Rs 6.30 lakhs, ex-showroom, Chennai.

*The government on Feb 22nd invited bids from public sector financial institutions and mutual funds for its remaining 10.27 per cent stake in Maruti Udyog Limited that would bring in Rs 2,700 crore.For more

*Country’s second-largest car manufacturer Hyundai Motor India Ltd (HMIL) has sold one million sales mark for its flagship product ‘Santro’.

*Tata Motors has extended the application of the same 1.4-litre common rail diesel (DICOR) engine to the Indigo Sedan and Estate range.For more

*Another new small car from an indian manufacturer is going to be launched in 2009 not from Tata or Mahindra but from a new manufacturer.Hyderabad-based MLR Motors Private Limited is setting up a Rs. 2,500-crore car manufacturing unit on the outskirts of Hyderabad and plans to roll out its entry-level diesel cars in 2009.MLR Motors, which is headed by B. V. R. Subbu, former president of Hyundai Motor India Limited, has bought the daewoo india plant for Rs765crore.For more

*Daimler-chrysler -world’s fifth-biggest carmaker could spin off or sell loss-making U.S. arm Chrysler.Hyundai has denied the speculation that it may buyout the chrysler. Various news agencies has posted GM may acquire chrysler.For more

*Bajaj has launched much awaited pulsar 200cc india’s first bike engine to have oil cooler.By May, the Pulsar 220 cc with fuel injection will be launched and the following month the 200 cc cruiser bike Avenger will hit the market. Fuel injected DTS-i 220 cc bike could cost about Rs. 80,000-Rs 85,000, while the just launched 200 cc Pulsar DTS-i had been priced at Rs. 65,497. The company would gradually phase out its entry-level bikes `Platina’ and `CT-100. To counter Bajaj Pulsar 220cc HeroHonda will launch the fuel-injected version of its 223cc Karizma(Karizma has already hit our TV screens).Hero Honda might also launch PGM-FI version of achiever to boost its numbers.Racing bike manufacturers Suzuki and Yamaha are expected to roll out models to capture this new segment.America’s cult bike brand Harley Davidson is also exploring the opportunity to sell it’s bike in india.

For pulsar 200cc features and technical specifications visit bajaj pulsar page.

PGM-FI–programmed fuel injection.Fuel injection(direct injection of fuel into the cylinder against through carburettor) has long been used in cars(u might have heard MPFI in maruti cars like swift).Hero Honda Glamour FI is the India’s first fuel injected version of bike.Fuel Injection gives you better pick-up and fuel efficiency than carburretor version of a bike.Overdrive magazine has calculated that premium you pay for these bikes equals the savings on fuel.

*Fiat said “ferrari will be launched in india within 5 years” and Fiat also said “alfa romeo will be launched in india within 2 years”.for more

*Honda is going to roll out 100cc bikes in india.

*Hero Honda will launch revamped models of achiever and Karizma.

*CSE-centre for science and environment has notified the government to curb the tax sops enjoyed by diesel cars.For CSE letter on diesel cars
Whereas SIAM-society of automotive manufacturers has proposed the government to reduce the excise duty on all cars from 24% to 16% (currently engines under 1500cc for diesel and 1200cc for petrol falls under tax band of 16%.)

*Burmans(promoters of dabur india) holding 14.5% stake and actis holding 29% are selling their stake in Punjab tractors.Key contenders are Mahindra&Mahindra, TAFE, Sonalika tractors and Tata – Fiat.The deal is expected to be over 800crores.