The highest selling luxury carmaker Audi plans to expand its market reach in India by an extensive promotion and launching new models in the year 2015. The company has gained a significant sales in FY15, though its arch rival Mercedes-Benz is not so far behind. Keeping in mind the leadership position in India, the company plans to launch at least five new models in the next five months in India. The ambitious project aims to retain the top position in this year also.
The company currently sells only three models in India – A3 and A6 sedan and Q5 SUV, which reported a sharp growth of 15 percent in January-March quarter at 3,139 units compared to 2,740 units in the previous year.
FY15 seemed to be a satisfied year for the company as it sold 11,292 units at 11.51 percent growth from last year.
The company is satisfied with the performance, but also said the company would have performed better if the supply chain was smooth. Due to supply constraint, the company is limited in India. Seeing the growth of the company in India, Audi has decided to launch new cars in India.
It is reported that models A3 and A6 sedans and SUV Q3 faced supply issues and orders were moved to May deliveries for this constraint.
In the first quarter in 2015, the company has performed well and the company hopes to continue to grow in the next five months. The company is also hopeful that with five new launches, it will retain its market leadership position for this year as well.
One of largest selling premium carmakers, German auto maker Mercedes-Benz earned three World Car Awards at the New York Auto Show. The company has also rewarded with 2015 World Car of the Year.
Pitted against Ford Mustang and VW Passat, the Mercedes C-Class was awarded the World Car of the Year. The jurors expressed their satisfaction, saying the new C-Class fabricated with premium aluminium and steel platform and improvised rear-drive power-trains was a model of refinement, luxury and safety.
Mercedes-Benz also earned the World Luxury Car award with the S-class Coupe beating BMW i8 and Range Rover Black Autobiography LWB in a group of 12 cars. The jury said in their statement that the design and technology formed a “marriage that is more happy than ever” and that there was “no better car to prove it than this stunningly beautiful derivative of the S-class, available with powerful, turbocharged V-8 and V-12 engines.”
In the performance category, the Mercedes-Be AMG-GT earn prestigious World Performance Car of the year. The car was competing with heavy weight BMW M4 coupe and Jaguar F-Type R Coupe. The jurors said that the car was ruggedly handsome with impressive specifications.
In the category of World Green Car of the Year, the award was won by BMW i8 beating Mercedes S 500 plug-in hybrid and VW Golf GTE.
Other award won by Citroen C4 Cactus as the World Car Design.
Indian four-wheelers are going through slump due to global economy, interest rates and other domestic situations. However, companies are not demotivated to launch their products in the market. By the end of 2014, car sales started to show some improvement and companies are optimistic that India has still a large untapped market to grow sales, especially in small car segment.
With the success of Duster, Renault India is all set to launch multiple products in this year. The company has planned to launch its first hatchback in the second half of 2015. The new 800cc, 3-cylinder petrol engine car is been designed by joint association with Nissan and expected to launch at the second half of this year. The expected price is 3lakh and believed to be a fuel efficient car pitted against Maruti Suzuki Alto and Hyundai Eon.
Another Nissan venture Datsun redi-GO hatchback is expected to launch in the festive session. This will be one of the cheapest cars in India with expected price is 2.5 lakh. The redi-GO-inspired hatchback will be built on the CMF-A platform with 800cc and 3-cylinder petrol engine. The car will compete against Tata Nano, Maruti Alto, and Hyundai Eon.
Tata Nano AMT will launch in 2015 with 634cc MPFI naturally-aspirated twin-cylinder engine, of course with new AMT. The new model will feature fog lamps, head-lamps, new bumpers. The expected price is 2.5 lakh.
Another venture by Tata will be Tata Pelican 800, is to take on the likes of Maruti Alto K10, Hyundai Eon and other in this segment. It is similar like Nano though with a larger engine. The car is expected to launch at the end of this year with a base price of 2.5 lakh.
Honda had earlier hinted a major change in its top level management, which is formally announced on Monday. The company has appointed Katsuni Inoue as President & CEO of Honda Cars India from April as Hironari Kanayama, the former president is due to retire and return to Japan.
The company has also changed some other key positions as Hiroyuki Shimizu will be the new senior vice president & director, marketing & sales in Honda Cars India Ltd, the company’s wholly owned subsidiary. The managing office of Honda Motor Co Ltd. of development, purchasing and production in Asia and Oceania is scheduled to move to Japan in April 2015.
Former president & CEO Kanayama was appointed in the position in April 2012 and did lots of innovation in the company. During his tenure the company had witnessed sharp growth in India. He has been instrumental in launching Honda Amaze, Honda Mobilio and Honda City. The new president Inoue has been associated with the company for more than 29 years. He was the General Manager in Marketing Planning office in headquarter of Honda. He has done lots of Honda projects in various global markets such as Thailand, Malaysia, the UK, Poland and Germany.
Another top executive Shimizu who has taken the position of Senior Vice-President & Director, Marketing & Sales, has been associated with Honda for more than 25 years. He has worked extensively in Thailand to promote Honda brand, and also associated with other subsidiaries of the company.
Magneti Marelli, Fiat Group’s auto component arm is going to hire 300 people in 2015 to back its expansion plans in India. The company has announced some major establishment in India in 2015-16, which will require a good amount of manpower.
The company has decided to establish two plants in Gujarat and Manesar near Gurgaon, and majority of hiring will be taken place in those plants. Currently, the company has 2300 employees in India spread across 10 plants different parts of India.
In early this year the company had announced a new plant in Manesar (Haryana) in association with the top carmakers Maruti Suzuki India. The plant will be a major production for Automated Manual Transmission (AMT). The other plant will be set up in Gujarat to produce automotive lighting.
According to the Italian component maker, India has a strong potential, and the market is bullish. The company is expected to double its revenue in the next three years to Rs. 3000 crore from current 1300 crore.
AMT has a high demand in the market, and the company hopes to capitalize on its new technology in the Indian market. The main objective is to turn the country into one of the important exports hubs to transfer the technology to the rest of the world. The company also feels that Indian automobile industry has the potential to become a major provider of cyber security technology for automobiles. The Italian component maker is also thinking to make India as a major hub for sourcing and research.
The global car safety organization has forced Japanese carmaker Nissan to improvise on its hatchback, which recently scored zero in the safety test conducted by the UK watchdog. The company has agreed to improvise the body shell and incorporate airbags of its Datsun Go model, which is currently being on sale in India and South Africa since 2014.
Initially, Nissan had defended the making of vehicle, but after the Global NCAP asked Nissan to withdraw from from Indian market, it clearly questioned the integrity of the vehicle. A car test conducted by NCAP showed that the Datsun Go totally collapsed and passengers were unlikely to survive a head-on collision.
The chief executive of Global NCAP David Ward said the test was a wake-up call for not only Datsun hatchback but all Indian carmakers who used to sell potentially dangerous cars in emerging markets.
After the published report by Global NCAP to take urgent action on vehicle safety, Nissan had to go in back-foot. The Datsun Go is specially sold out to low-income countries and this car is failed to meet even UN basic safety standards for head-on collision and side impacts.
The report chalked out 10 point plan with call to governments and the insurance industry to offer fiscal incentives and discounts for consumers who opt for safer models. Global NCAP chairman Max Mosley said that the safety improvement could be implemented by the government initiative and consumer awareness campaigns.
India’s auto production is inflating to a high where it will become the fourth-biggest producer by volume by 2015. The overall economic growth of India with Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s ‘Make in India’ project to put froth manufacturing facility in the front, additionally thrusts the automobile segment into a higher pedestal.
On the other hand, number of Australian cars manufacturing has been trended downward since 1970s and predicted to reach a stagnancy by 2018.
Austrade’s Nicola Watkinson, Senior Trade and Investment Commissioner, South Asia in her interview cited that the manufacturing sector in India was growing it would create opportunities for the Australian sector.
In her argument she said that 22 percent of all of manufacturing in automobile industry has been reached in a consolidate stage. Competition from foreign companies like Honda, Hyundai and even luxury carmakers like BMW and Audi are now a big players in India. Whereas, domestic companies like Tata and Mahindra are struggling hard to keep the momentum. In this open market, Australia has a big opportunity to enter into the Indian market when they are going for stagnancy.
Indian car manufacturers are looking for foreign companies to bridge the in-house capability gap, and in this respect Australian companies could be well-placed in the game.
Australia is also well-developed in the areas of process improvement, design, technology and engineering, and this could be a big advantage of Australian companies to capture the automotive market in India.
A top car designer company Pininfarina said that Indian automobie manufacturer Mahindra & Mahindra had expressed to buy them, but the deal was still be finalized. According to sources, Indian major automobile company was expressed an interest to purchase majority shares in Pininfarina, who is renowned for its top class designs of Ferraris and other luxury cars.
However, the Italian car design company is burdened with debt and now open themselves to an Asian investor. It is may be a sign of recovering debts after China National Chemical Corp announced a deal of 7.3 billion deal to buy major stakes into tyre-maker Pirelli.
The deal between M&M and Pininfarnina has not been finalized by there according to the sources, the Indian company would probably going to buy up to 26 percent of shares. At present the valuation of company is 140 million and the shares were trading down 7% in Milan exchange.
Pininfarina said that the deal would need to support of its controlling shareholder Pincar, which has a largest stake of 76 percent in the Group. There are also 13 creditor banks, who need to approve the deal.
Pincar’s shares has been put as collateral for the bank’s financing.
It is noted that M&M is one of the important clients of Italian car designer company, cleared in a separate statement that the report published by Pininfarina was speculative and there was no such agreement so far.
Magneti Marelli, an automotive component maker, a part of Fiat Group who introduced Automated Manual Transmission (AMT) in India with Maruti Celerio, is expecting to more than double its revenue. Currently the company has earned 160 milion euros ( approx. Rs. 3000 crore) and expect it to 400 million euros.
The company also expects the global revenue generation will also rise to 4% by 2018 from 2% of present.
Seeing the current success of AMT, the company plans to start two new plants in India for automotive lighting and AMT.
The Italian component maker said the company will set up a new manufacturing plant for AMT in India at an investment of Rs. 150 crore at Manesar. The plant is likely to be operational from the later part of this year.
The company plans to start it from the first line and then after the response, it will start the second line. The company expects to reach a capacity of 2 lakh units by teh Q3 of FY16. The company’s president and CEO said that to remain competitive in the market, it was important to reach cent percent localisation.
AMT was introduced in India by a joint venture with Maruti Suzuki to manufacture engine control units or ECU in its Maruti Celerio. Later on the technology was incorporated in Volkswagen. Since its inception in 2008, the company has already invested Rs. 750 crore in 10 plants.
Bajaj has recently launched its new variant Pulsar RS 200 bike at a price of Rs. 1,18,500 for non-ABS and Rs. 1,30,268 for ABS version. The company has drastically facelift the bike with a sport look, eyeing top slot position in the Super Sport segment.
Initially the company plans to sell at least 2,500 units per moth of this variant. The company hopes to get good leverage with is new design, engineering and performance.
The company has launched two versions of non-ABS and ABS. The price tag of both versions are more than 1 lakh that is quite for Bajaj brand. The company perhaps wants to compete in the sports segment where already there are companies who sell bikes in lakhs in India.
The company is optimistic in the success of new model, as it claims to be a market leader in two-wheelers, and try its hand in the Super Sports segment as well. The company’s initial plan is to sell 2,500 units in India per month, and if things go well, it will start export the bike.
The first Pulsar was brought by the company in 2001 when it became instantly hit in the market. Today Pulsar sells more than any bike in India, with more than 55,000 units every month in the domestic sports segment. The market share of the company has 43 percent and remains in the top position for 14 years in a row.