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Automobile Newsletter - December 03 to December 07, 2012

India Infoline News Service | Mumbai |

Suzuki Motorcycles brings Hayate owners a once-in-a-lifetime chance to meet superstar Salman Khan at a time when excitement is mounting over the release of his next blockbuster, Dabangg2, on December 21. Suzuki’s mega promotion “Dabangg2 Dumdaar, Hayate Shaandar” is a month-long celebration of the superstar’s grand finale for 2012 and rocking start to 2013.

Top Stories 

Fiat set to bring back iconic Jeep

9 significantly refreshed models by Fiat and Jeep brand in the next few years with the introduction of the Jeep Wrangler and Jeep Grand Cherokee


Fiat Group Automobiles India Private Limited (FGAIPL) announced a series of initiatives aimed at strengthening its position in the Indian market. These initiatives include the official launch of the Jeep brand in India. 9 new / significantly refreshed models by Fiat and Jeep brand in the next few years with the introduction of the Jeep Wrangler and Jeep Grand Cherokee will be imported towards the end of 2013. Jeep vehicles will be sold via a Jeep dealer network that will leverage the service and parts support offered by an expanding Fiat dealer network.


The company will expand its domestic production to include the new Fiat Linea classic edition and the new Fiat Punto edition.


“Our vision for India will revolve around a three-pronged strategy,” said Mike Manley, Chief Operating Officer for Asia and President and CEO – Jeep Brand. “First, introduction of new vehicles that will soon include the legendary Jeep brand. Second, the expansion of our independent dealer network and, finally, strong marketing initiatives that will continue to improve our awareness and brand perception in the market.” Read more…

Maruti to increase car prices by up to Rs 20,000: reports

Maruti Suzuki India has reportedly said that it will increase the vehicle prices across all models by up to Rs 20,000 from January.

The price hike has been necessitated due to increasing pressure on the margins due to currency fluctuation, report says.

"Quantum will vary depending on models, but it can be up to Rs 20,000,” Maruti Suzuki India Chief Operating Officer (Marketing & Sales) Mayank Pareek reported.

The company sold a total of 1,03,200 units in November 2012, a growth of 12.5 per cent.

This includes 12,318 units for export.  The Company had sold a total of 91,772 units in November 2011. Read more…

Mahindra XUV500 launches Mahindra Blue Sense App

Mahindra & Mahindra Ltd. (M&M), a part of the US$15.9bn Mahindra Group, introduces the first ever vehicle smart app for its global SUV, the XUV500. The Mahindra BLUE SENSE APP has been introduced on the XUV500 in India with a host of features. One can control features of the infotainment system as well as see vital information related to climate control, TPMS (Tyre Pressure Monitoring System), fuel statistics, etc. 


The Mahindra BLUE SENSE APP is supported on the XUV500’s W8 model and also provides alerts and warnings related to various features including ‘door-open’, tyre pressure, ‘distance to empty’, etc.


Through this application, XUV500 owners will be able to connect with their vehicle via Bluetooth, get information about periodic maintenance, tune-in to their desired radio station and operate as well as control the infotainment system using their Android devices, sitting anywhere in the XUV. Read more…

In Focus News

IIFL on Auto: CV cycle worsening; Cars, 2W relatively stable

IIFL Institutional Equities, a part of the IIFL Group, one of the leading players in the Indian financial services space, in a recent report on Auto said that, Auto OEMs reported sales volume numbers for November 2012. Two-wheeler companies recorded decline in volumes, despite growth in retail off-take, as they cut down dispatches to correct inventory, going into the lean year-end.


According to IIFL Institutional Equities, M&HCV growth trend is worsening, in line with the findings of our dealer checks. The big positive surprise was the 22% growth in M&M’s domestic tractor volumes versus our expectation of a slight decline.


We see upside risk to our FY13 volume forecast for M&M, both in UVs and tractors. We see downside risk to our volume forecast for Tata Motors and Ashok Leyland as it is turning difficult to call for a bottom to the current CV cycle, the brokerage added.


The report was published by IIFL’s Institutional Equities Research desk.

IIFL on SsangYong Rexton: Namaste, Gangnam style!

IIFL Institutional Equities, a part of the IIFL Group, one of the leading players in the Indian financial services space, in a recent report on SsangYong Rexton said that, Mahindra has introduced the first of its SsangYong portfolio in India via the Rexton. It has road presence, is good looking too, but carries a sober air around it.

According to IIFL Institutional Equitieswhile the overall interiors are very good, there are elements that one could crib about, including the instrumentation. That said, ride quality is very good (despite the body roll that comes with the ladder-chassis), and space seems decent. Overall, this is the kind of SUV that will have mass appeal.

The 30% localization at the Chakan facilities has helped Mahindra make the Rexton into a price warrior in the entry-level luxury SUV segment. And that seems to be working its magic, going by the kind of bookings that they have managed to generate in the 45 days since launch, the brokerage added.

The report was published by IIFL’s Institutional Equities Research desk.

Domestic News

TVS Motor in talks with BMW: reports

Reports stated that TVS Motor is in talks with BMW and some official announcement is expected later this fiscal.

TVS recently launched Phoenix, priced between 49,990 and 52,000 (ex-showroom, Delhi) across different variants, according to reports.

This is to compete with Hero MotoCorp's Glamour, Bajaj Auto's Discover and Honda Motorcycle's Shine, says report.

Audi opens new state-of-the-art service facility in Delhi

Audi, the German luxury car manufacturer, today, announced the inauguration of its state-of-the-art service facility in Delhi West - first facility with integrated approved plus concept. This is the third facility for the brand with the four rings in Delhi/NCR. The facility was inaugurated by Mr. Michael Perschke, Head, Audi India and Mr. Tarun Kapoor, Managing Director, Audi Delhi West (Sterling Vehicle & General Sales Pvt. Ltd).


“Our philosophy of ‘Vorsprung durch Technik’ is not just about advanced technology, but also about the flawlessness and excellence we endeavor towards our service standards. Audi prides itself globally and in India for impeccable service principles and a third service facility in Delhi reveals this commitment to Audi owners. After sales service is a key part of our growth strategy and we base a big chunk of our success in India so far to our workshops which strive towards customer delight.” said Mr. Michael Perschke, Head, Audi India.


“The opening of the third facility in Delhi also points out to our growing popularity in the Northern region. This is a very important market for us and inauguration of the largest service workshop here signifies our seriousness towards our customers here.” added Mr. Perschke. Read more…

Growing auto sales increases opportunities for logistics companies: Frost & Sullivan

Drawn by the growing domestic market for passenger vehicles (especially low-budget and diesel cars) and commercial vehicles, numerous global automotive majors have set up manufacturing bases, and are expanding their footprint. They are also looking to make the most of India's rising prominence as a global manufacturing hub to meet their export targets. Auto component manufacturers tend to locate their production facilities near these OEMs, driving the growth of domestic logistics market, including transportation and warehousing.

New analyses from Frost & Sullivan (http://www.automotive.frost.com), Logistics Scenario Tracker on Indian Auto Components Industry, and Logistics Scenario Tracker on Indian Automobile Industry find that the total automotive sector including auto components and automobiles spent a total US$3.13bn in 2011 on logistics activities. Within this, auto components industry spent an amount of $1.65 billion in 2011 on logistics activities, accounting for 5.5% of the industry turnover. Transportation accounts for the largest share of the entire logistics spend of the industry, while warehousing accounts for the second largest share. The automobile industry spent an amount of US$1.48bn in 2011 on logistics activities accounting for 3.5% of automobile industry turnover. Transportation accounts for the largest share of the entire logistics spend of both the industry segments and is also the most outsourced function to logistics service providers (LSPs). Read more…

BMW Guggenheim Lab Opens in Mumbai

Opening in Mumbai from Sunday, December 9, 2012 through Sunday, January 20, 2013 and presented in collaboration with the Dr. Bhau Daji Lad Museum, the BMW Guggenheim Lab will offer free public programs and projects throughout the city under the theme ME=WE. On the third stop of this mobile initiative, the Mumbai Lab will address challenges and opportunities related to public space and the choices Mumbaikars make to balance individual ("me") and community ("we") interests.

Part urban think tank, community center, and public gathering space, the BMW Guggenheim Lab is a global project aimed at raising awareness of important urban challenges and inspiring an ongoing conversation in cities around the world. The six-week program at the Mumbai Lab's central site will be presented from 3 to 9 pm, Thursday through Monday, on the plaza of the Dr. Bhau Daji Lad Museum. Activities also will be offered on dedicated dates from 5 to 9 pm at additional Labs in five communities throughout the city:  Read more…

Suzuki Motorcycles brings a chance to meet Salman Khan

Suzuki Motorcycles brings Hayate owners a once-in-a-lifetime chance to meet superstar Salman Khan at a time when excitement is mounting over the release of his next blockbuster, Dabangg2, on December 21. Suzuki’s mega promotion “Dabangg2 Dumdaar, Hayate Shaandar” is a month-long celebration of the superstar’s grand finale for 2012 and rocking start to 2013.

Lucky Suzuki Hayate buyers in the month of December could get a chance to meet Salman Khan. The Dabangg2 Dumdaar, Hayate Shaandar promotion will pick fifteen ‘lucky’ winners who will each walk away with a Suzuki Hayate. Of these, five ‘super lucky’ winners picked by a computerized random draw will also get a chance to meet Salman.

Commenting on the campaign, Anu Anamika, National Head – Marketing says, “The Hayate was the first Suzuki product endorsed by Salman Khan. His association with the brand has produced phenomenal results. Salman’s first commercial for the Hayate was inspired by the role of Chulbul Pandey in Dabangg and went on to drive high brand recall.” Read more…

Ashok Leyland sales down 6% in November 2012

Ashok Leyland Ltd total sales, including Dost, was down 6% to 7,370 units in November 2012.

The company's commercial vehicle sales (excluding Dost) in November dropped 36% to 4,487 units (from November last year).

The company sold 2,883 units of the small commercial vehicle Dost last month.

Mercedes-Benz India got grand finale of driving experience programme “StarDrive”

After giving an adrenaline gushing experience to the motoring aficionados across the country, Mercedes-Benz India got the grand finale of the nationwide signature driving experience programme, “StarDrive” in Mumbai today. This exciting journey was brought to life by Mercedes-Benz to showcase the unmatched performance of its products combined with the finesse of engineering technology and luxury. The StarDrive Experience by Mercedes-Benz aims to educate its prospects and consumers about the handling of critical road situations in a safe and controlled environment by simulating real accident & off road conditions.


The enthusiasm for StarDrive Experience was enhanced by the participation of a very special customer of Mercedes-Benz India, who is also the First owner of the New M-Class, renowned Bollywood actor, director and singer, Farhan Akhtar.

Debashis Mitra, Director Sales & Marketing, Mercedes-Benz India: “With the StarDrive Experience, Mercedes-Benz India continues to present a fascinating and adventurous extravaganza for its customers. The StarDrive Experience combines the essential elements of driving experience with simulation of critical road situation and embodies Mercedes-Benz’s spirit of innovation with an element of fun. This unique experiential marketing initiative now in its third year has been a key demonstrator of the technological prowess each Mercedes-Benz car embodies.” He further added “The participation of close to 7500 customers and enthusiasts in StarDrive Experience since its inception is a testimony of the trust the brand enjoys. We are extremely enthused by the resounding success of StarDrive Experience over the years and it makes us confident of our deep understanding of the pulse of our customers and we will bring StarDrive Experience 2013 with newer innovations.” Read more…

AMW reduces mining cost by 6%

AMW Motors Ltd. (AMW), India’s third largest heavy commercial vehicle manufacturer, announced the introduction of the 2528TP Tipper for the mining, construction and other infrastructure industries. 

The company showcased its latest offering for the specialized sector at the 11th IMME (Indian Mining and Machinery Exhibition) being held at Kolkata between December 5 and 8, 2012. AMW is also the Principal Sponsor at IMME 2012.

AMW’s “Mining Workhorse” is a power packed heavy-duty tipper designed for the most arduous applications in the mining industry.

A Highly fuel efficient Cummins CRDI engine, a 9 speed gear box, extra long life clutch, with a powerful drive line make the 2528TP the most reliable and productive heavy duty vehicle for the industry. Its short wheelbase and turning radius make maneuverability instinctive and easy. The fuel efficiency of this truck is 14% better as compared to competition. Read more…

Mahindra Xylo honoured with Master Brand 2012 from CMO Asia & Master Brand Congress

Mahindra & Mahindra Ltd. (M&M Ltd.), India’s leading SUV manufacturer, announced that the Xylo, one of India’s most popular MPVs (multipurpose vehicles), has been awarded the prestigious 'Master Brand’ award for 2012 – 13 by CMO Asia and the World Brand Congress.


The ‘Master Brand’ award recognizes key parameters such as market dominance, longevity, goodwill, customer loyalty and most importantly, the overall market acceptance for the brand. Brands are ranked according to their appeal to a very wide set of consumers – from premium to mass, according to the brand’s ability to keep in tune or ahead of ever-changing consumer needs. Out of a total of 8000 competing brands, 20 brands were conferred with the ‘Master Brand’ status in the 3rd edition of the Master Brand Awards.


According to Vivek Nayer, Chief Marketing Officer, Automotive Division, Mahindra & Mahindra Ltd., “This achievement gives us tremendous satisfaction as this is a recognition based on brand reputation, customer loyalty and market acceptance.  It recognizes our continued focus on delivering a strong customer value proposition that is unique and customer centric. We believe that with the Xylo we have created a strong brand that appeals to our customers for its technology features, luxurious space and comfort. It is an honour for the Xylo to be selected as a Master Brand amongst a host of other brands that are successful in their own right”. Read more…

GM India’s Talegaon unit achieves EPA’s Energy Star Challenge

General Motors India’s Talegaon manufacturing plant is one of 54 GM facilities worldwide to meet a voluntary energy-reduction challenge set by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), cutting its energy intensity by 12 percent in less than two years to meet the EPA’s ENERGY STAR Challenge for Industry Award.


To meet the ENERGY STAR Challenge for Industry Award, facilities need to reduce energy intensity by 10 percent within five years. Talegaon manufacturing plant reduction avoided 4,419 tons of CO2 from entering the atmosphere.


“Our employees are committed to helping increase our global operations’ energy efficiency,” said Mike Robinson, GM Vice President of sustainability and global regulatory affairs. “They remain at the core of our progress.  He said, "the total amount of energy savings across all GM manufacturing plants is $90mn and most of the plants are located in the U.S. and Asian countries.” Read more…

Ford India brings back unique event ‘Midnight Sale’

‘Change is a wonderful thing’ and Ford India is redefining the way Indian customers choose and shop for a car. By bringing back the hugely successful and unique event ‘Midnight Sale’ in all Ford showrooms across 129 cities nationwide on Wednesday, December 5, 2012, Ford India is inviting the customers and their families to experience a unique and unmatched convenience of ‘car shopping at leisure.’


Ford India’s 160 sales outlets in various cities will remain open from 8 a.m. till midnight for customers on this day to enable them to visit, test drive and choose their cars at leisure and benefit from an attractive array of offers and deals on all Ford vehicles.


Ford has understood that in India buying a car often involves taking into account the family’s needs and suggestions and has made elaborate arrangements to make it the best time to shop for a Ford car. During Midnight Sale, Ford dealerships will sport colorful decorations with staff dressed in traditional finery and will have a pleasant surprise in store for all car buyers.


The Midnight Sale gets bigger this time as customers across the country win assured gifts totaling Rs. 3.5 crores along with special offerings and schemes on Ford models. All customers who book a Ford car on December 5 will get a chance to win assured gifts such as LED TVs, washing machines, home theatre systems, microwave ovens and more. Read more…

Top Guns set for JK Tyre Hornbill Rally

The two-day fifth JK Tyre Hornbill Rally, boasting of a pan-National entry list and which doubles up as the fourth round of the FMSCI Indian National TSD Rally Championship, will commence here on Wednesday with a ceremonial flag-off at the Indira Gandhi Stadium presided by Dr. Chumben Murry, Minister for Agriculture, Government of Nagaland.

More than 20 top drivers and navigators of the country, including a six-car Tata Motors Full Throttle team, will be competing in the Indian National TSD Rally Championship organized by the Nagaland Adventure and Motor Sports Association (NAMSA) in association with Berunda Adventure Sports Club, Mysore with support from the Government of Nagaland.

In addition to this, more than 50 participants, in both four and two-wheeler categories, will be competing for the local championship. 

Crews from the neighbouring states like Assam and Meghalaya as well as from Delhi, Maharashtra, Andhra Pradesh, Kerala, Haryana, Tamil Nadu, Karnataka Chandigarh, Goa and West Bengal will be seen in action. Read more…

International News

Audi sold 805 cars in November 2012

Audi, the German luxury car manufacturer, displayed stellar performance in November by crossing its sales target of 8000 cars for 2012. The luxury carmaker registered a total sale of 805 units in November 2012, a strong growth of 89 percent over the same period last year (November 2011: 425 units). The brand with the four rings recorded a 58 percent growth rate YTD with 8072 vehicles sold from January to November 2012. (January-November 2011: 5117 units).


“We had set a goal of 8000 cars sold by the end of this year. But we have achieved our target even before the year ended and have revised our sales target to minimum 8600 cars even as the industry faces flat growth. We are constantly enhancing our product line, network growth and creating wider brand awareness; this is creating larger customer base and is reflecting clearly in our sales, every month. Besides, our top-down strategy for India (A8L, A7, A6, A4 / Q7, Q5, Q3) has worked very well for us. In a demanding economic environment to achieve targets even before the year ends clearly testifies the strength of the brand Audi and the affinity and aspiration it carries within its enthusiasts and customers. By 2015, we aim to be the No. 1 luxury car brand in India, and based on our current performance we are well on track to achieve that objective”, said Mr. Michael Perschke, Head, Audi India.


In November, Audi also opened a new Audi Terminal in Ahmedabad - the largest luxury car showroom in Gujarat. Spread over a total area of 22,354 sq. ft. Audi Ahmedabad has 12 cars on display. It will now be offering world-class and ultimate products and services in luxury from a new location. Read more…

Audi launches Approved: plus program

Audi, the German luxury car manufacturer, launched its Audi Approved: plus program in line with global standards to cater to the demand of pre-owned Audi cars.


“With rising incomes and growing aspirations, demand for pre-owned Audi cars has also witnessed a significant increase in the recent past. With the increasing desire of consumers to upgrade and change their cars more frequently than ever before, a professional used car program is the need of the hour. Audi Approved: plus program is the perfect solution for all those Audi enthusiasts who want to upgrade and own the sportiness, sophistication and progressiveness that Audi vehicles stand for.”, said Mr. Michael Perschke, Head, Audi India.


Audi Approved: plus program will provide the same luxury buying experience to new car and used car customers. It will guarantee the quality that customers expect from Audi. The program boasts of having more than 110 checkpoints so that every minute detail of the car and purchase can be looked into. Moreover, with a wide range of cars, the program will enable customers to find and finally own their dream Audi. The program will be introduced at 8 dealerships initially and then gradually be made available at entire dealer network across India. Read more…

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