Category — Automobile

Polaris and Eicher Motors Aim to Enter the Small Car Segment in India

Minnesota-based Polaris, maker of all-terrain vehicles, has entered into a joint venture with Eicher Motors India, to build a personal vehicle with a 600cc diesel engine. The double cabin micro pickup and multipurpose van is targeted for sale to small farmers and small business owners.

To make the vehicle affordable, the cost of production will be kept low by using composite materials which will make the vehicle light and therefore more fuel efficient, as well as by building it on tubular platform, an architecture that can be modified for making multiple products. The manufacturers expect that the car will get 58mpg. (25 km to a litre.)

Production is expected to begin in May this year in a new facility in Jaipur, a city in the state of Rajasthan.

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January 6, 2015   No Comments

Mercedes-Benz Inaugurates Second R&D Facility in India

Mercedes-Benz, the German automobile manufacturer opened its second research and development in Bangalore to expand R&D and IT activities in India for its parent firm Daimler AG.

“The India R&D center plays a crucial role in our global R&D organization, with 200 patents filed for innovation in automotive development since our entry into India 18 years ago,” Mercedes-Benz R&D India officiating chairman Thomas Merker said in a statement. “As India is a high potential market for us, the center will ensure that development initiatives are in accordance to customer needs,” he added.

Daimler’s chief information officer Michael Gorriz said that the new R&D center was in line with the company’s IT strategy to further expand and have diverse skills, know-how and foreign cultures.

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December 12, 2014   No Comments

Rising Optimism for Doing Business in India

The environment for foreign investments in India started improving a short time before Narendra Modi was elected prime minister on a business-friendly reform agenda in May 2014. United Arab Emirates’ Etihad Airwas acquired a stake in India’s  largest corporate carrier, Jet Airways. As a result of this deal, the U.A.E. ranks in the top five of India’s leading foreign investment sources.

A survey conducted by Ernst & Young found that 53% of more than 500 business leaders around the world planned to enter or expand their operations in India within the following 12 months. The list of multinationals that are making long-term investments in India includes U.K. liquor company Diageo, which acquired majority ownership of United Breweries, once run by Indian billionaire Vijay Mallya; French energy company GDF SUEZ; pharmaceutical giant GlaxoSmithKline; Sweden’s IKEASingapore Airlines; Starbucks, which partnered with the Tata BeveragesUnilever, Vodafone and Volkswagen all upped the ante upon Modi’s eelection.

Over the last year, 67% of foreign direct investment in India has gone go the services sector, with 18% going to the manufacturing sector. The remaining 15% has gone to agribusiness investments, according to the Reserve Bank of India.

FDI in India is capped in a number of key sectors.  Foreign ownership cannot exceed 49% in Indian defense contractors, or 74% in private banking. Nandan Nelivigi, head of India’s practice at White & Case said, “Competition for the best opportunities [in India] is already fierce and will only intensify as the business climate improves. Fortunately, investing in India today is no longer a step into the dark.”

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November 17, 2014   No Comments

Expat and Local Executives Say India on Growth Track

Top Indian industry executives who spoke at an  Economic Summit held in New Delhi from November 4 – 6, 2014, welcomed the Modi government’s initiatives in land and labor reforms. Quicker approvals for business would boost manufacturing and creation of jobs they said.

The government, which came to power promising to revive the economy, has raised foreign direct investment (FDI) limits in defense, real estate and railways, and freed diesel prices. Modi is aiming to replicate at the national level his success in bringing investments to Gujarat as the state’s chief minister by easing the country’s cumbersome labor laws and cutting red tape.

“I am extremely confident. A country in general needs leadership and there is a leadership; it needs direction and there is a direction; it needs confidence and there is confidence here in India,” said Etienne Benet, head of Nestlé South Asia Region and Nestlé India.

Inflation measured in terms of wholesale price index touched a five-year low of 2.4% in September. Retail inflation has also dropped to 6.5%, the lowest since the new series was released in January 2012.

“This is a large flywheel. It is not a jump-start, it takes a while to gain momentum. I see signs that the flywheel is beginning to move,” said Anand Mahindra, chairman and managing director of Mahindra & Mahindra the Indian multinational automobile manufacturing corporation headquartered in Mumbai.

 

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November 11, 2014   No Comments

Car-Riding Services Popular in India

Only about 5 percent of the population owns a car in India, and car-riding services are becoming a popular option to the existing autorickshaws.

The services that are offered differ amongst the various rental companies around the world. In India, OlaCabs’ sedans and hatchbacks can be accessed via mobile phone apps as well as by calling a call center for service. Cash payments, as also payments made through pre-loaded money wallet mobile apps are accepted.

OlaCabs’ CEO Mr. Bhavish Aggarwal disclosed that his three-year-old company’s revenues are growing by 40 percent to 50 percent every month, and that he has expanded to 20 cities in India already.

Even though the company has yet to register profit, it has already had four rounds of financing, with the most recent being to the tune of $210 million from SoftBank, Tiger Global, Matrix India and others.

In contrast, North American car rental companies add  differentiators to attract customers in a fiercely competitive business. Car2Go recently launched a Brooklyn-only, per-minute ride to supplement several cities, and uses Smart Cars with built-in eco-friendly tracking services to monitor fuel efficiency.

 

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November 11, 2014   No Comments