AutoGuide News Blog
The AutoGuide News Blog is your source for breaking stories from the auto industry. Delivering news immediately, the AutoGuide Blog is constantly updated with the latest information, photos and video from manufacturers, auto shows, the aftermarket and professional racing.
The facility, which will be located in Pune, close to existing Tata operations, will produce modular four-cylinder engines and is said to be a virtual ‘carbon copy’ of the company’s new engine plant being set up in the West Midlands, UK.
Both facilities have been conceived so that Jaguar Land Rover can replace, as quickly as possible the four-cylinder gasoline and turbo diesel engines it currently sources from Ford Motor Company, which have proven to be relatively expensive.
Jaguar says that work on the new Indian plant won’t begin until the West Midlands operation is fully up and running, but said that once operations are in full swing; both plants together will have capacity to produce as many as 500,000 engines per year, which will help satisfy growing demand; particularly in China where Jaguar Land Rover already has a local assembly operation.
As for Jaguar’s other engines, namely it’s V-6 and V-8 gas and diesel units, these will continue to be sourced from Ford at Dagenham, Essex, UK, at least for the time being.
To capitalize on India’s new found wealth, Ferrari has now officially opened doors to its first ever dealership in the country. The dealership is located in the city of New Delhi, a city best known for its Bollywood film studios.
The grand opening which was attended by local and international media, was hosted by Ferrari CEO Amedeo Felisa, Ferrari Commercial and Marketing Director Enrico Galliera, and Ashish Chordia, Chairman of the Shreyans Group, the official Ferrari importer to India.
India is the 58th country where Ferrari’s are officially sold. The well-to-do have owned Ferrari’s in India before, but those cars came through specialist importers.
Indian customer’s will be able to order any of the new Ferrari models, but due to the country’s high tax on imported vehicles, the cheapest model, the California, will be priced at $485,300. The same model in the U.S. starts at $192,000.
With clients spread all across the nation, Ferrari plans to open more dealerships in India over the next three years.
Honda‘s CR-V may be still popular, but it’s growing long in the tooth. With a new one dropping later this year, Honda may be preparing a diesel version for sale in the booming market of India—and likely depending on the perilous adventure that is gas-price speculation, we may be getting one too.
Honda’s new diesel for the CR-V will be a 2.2-liter unit. But the company is also readying a sub-1.5 liter diesel engine for use in the Honda City (which we don’t get) and the Honda Jazz (which we get as the Fit).
The styling of the new CR-V mimics that of Honda’s current lineup, like a taller Crosstour (which is already a taller Accord). Expect all of this tallness to come full circle by the end of the year, diesel or not.
Aston Martin has just established its first foothold in India, with its first showroom in Mumbai. The showroom will be managed in partnership with Infinity Cars Pvt. Ltd., a well known local distributor, with a location in a swanky district of Mumbai known as Kemps Corner.
“India represents a new opportunity for us and as part of our programme of growing the reach of the global Aston Martin dealership network; this expansion brings our brand to a different audience in a new market,” Aston Martin’s Chief Commercial Officer, Michael van der Sande said in a statement. “Our decision to bring the Aston Martin brand to India is driven by a strong level of interest and enthusiasm from potential customers in an emerging luxury market. We have taken our time to find the right advocates for Aston Martin and I am confident that we have selected strong partners with whom we look forward to starting a successful relationship,” he said.
Although Aston Martin will offer a full range of vehicles in India, the roads there are in such rough shape, we’re not exactly sure where these cars can be driven. Perhaps some track days at New Delhi’s Grand Prix circuit are in order.
As one of the world’s fastest growing economies, India is developing an increasing appetite for luxury goods and services. In terms of cars, the latest high-end brand to take the plunge is Maserati.
Entering into an agreement with local retailer Shreyans Group, Maserati will open its first store in India this year, in the bustling city of Mumbai. A second is projected to follow in 2012, in the capital New Delhi, with the goal of ultimately handling around 40 percent of all Maserati sales in India.
Partnering up with Shreyans is likely a shrewd move for the Italian automaker, the former has been successful in marketing everything from luxury cars to motorcycles to fashion accessories towards a growing number of affluent Indians.
At launch, Maserati will offer the Quattroporte sedan; along with the GranTurismo Coupe and GranCabrio. At present the company believes around 80 percent of buyers in India will opt for the sedan, the remainder split between the Coupe and Cabrio models.
It’s sometimes hard to believe anything you hear in the news these days. With countries still looking for bailout money (Portugal being the latest) and others struggling to climb out of recession, it would appear that austerity measures are still the norm, rather than the exception.
On the other hand, sales for some luxury goods and services, seem to be on the rise. Take the case of Jaguar Land Rover. On April 6th, the company reported that March 2011 was its best ever sales month with global growth up by some 6 percent over last year.
Much of that increase in demand came, not surprisingly, from China and India, though the UK, North America, parts of Europe and Russia also reported significant gains in vehicle sales.
Naturally Jaguar Land Rover was pleased with the results; Group Sales Operations Director Phil Popham stating that “Despite a challenging business environment, Jaguar Land Rover is flourishing on a global scale with March sales reflecting the confidence consumers have in our brands and products. We have ambitious plans to grow our business and it is clear that there is a strong appetite in the market for exciting new products, powertrains and technologies which will further improve our penetration in key markets and segments.”
Indeed. Although the global sales increase may seem by a fairly small amount; some individual markets, such as Russia for Land Rover and Germany for Jaguar; reported sales gains of almost 50 percent for the month of March. In lean economic times, that’s a sign of strong brand equity.
Along with China, India’s economy has experienced rapid expansion in the last decade, helping fuel the creation of a new middle class, which of course wants all the trappings most middle class folks do, their own house, car and plenty of creature comforts.
By 2015, India is expected to be the fourth largest single auto market in the world and already, some manufacturers, even US ones, are taking a serious look at peddling their offerings there. One of them is Ford, which plans to offer a version of its flashy third generation Focus.
According to a study by Boozy & Company, the average car buyer in India wants to spend less than $8000 on a vehicle. That really isn’t very much and helps partly explain why Tata believed it’s pint sized Nano could do so well on the sub-continent.
This price point will also make it difficult for Ford and others to sell current versions of their world cars there in many cases. But when it comes to cheap, practical cars, perhaps there’s another angle, here, something which could ultimately prove far more cost effective and beneficial.
India’s most popular car for many years has been the Hindustan Ambassador, essentially a brand new, Isuzu powered 1948 Morris Oxford. In fact they’re still making the blasted things and in sizable numbers too.
There’s many reasons why the Ambassador has proved such a success. It’s capacious by Indian standards, has proper doors, a trunk and prosaic, tough mechanicals, which make it easy to operate and easy to service in tough, harsh conditions, like those typically found in India. Because it’s been in production forever it’s also highly profitable. In fact it’s regarded in many quarters as India’s national car and the king of the road down there.
If car makers like Ford, GM and others are to really have a fighting chance and selling practical, low priced cars in India, perhaps the success of the Ambassador is something they need to consider at least in the short term.
Getting back to the study, Booz says it’s not just about the cars, it’s also about the fact that China and India will become the pillars of the global economy in the future? Really, that’s a bit like saying the sun will rise and set tomorrow. If you ever wondered what happened to all the money in the world in the last couple of years, now you know; it’s been used to pay hefty consulting fees to people who do nothing more than simply state the obvious.
[Source: USA Today]
India continues to boom, as a population, an economy and as a middle-class. And with that comes cars, lots of cars. According to a new study by Booz & Company, India will become the world’s 4th largest car market by 2015.
Currently that spot is held by Brazil, another emerging market, which is likely to give India a challenge. Brazil only captured 4th place last year, beating out Germany. In third spot for global vehicle sales is Japan, preceded by the U.S., with China topping the list.
When combined with China and Japan, Asia is set to take control of demand in the auto industry, with the report suggesting that by 2020 Asia could account for 65 percent of all vehicles sold.
We’ll spare you the awful cliches about failing to learn from the past and get right to the point. “Emerging markets” like China and India are all the rage right now for profit-hungry car makers, but the same problems of too much supply and weakened demand could spell doom for OEMs if a similar situation pans out in the locales that automakers are banking on to help propel their recovery.
A report released by multinational consulting firm KPMG was blunt in its findings, stating “”It does seem likely that China and India will see some overcapacity within the next few years. The industry may have to brace itself for some casualties.” The report was based on interviews with 200 auto executives around the world.
The biggest culprit behind a surprise contraction of the industry would be automakers expectations not matching up with reality. Despite seeing year-over-year growth of over 30% in China and India, the potential exists for automakers to “overbuild” by as much as 20 percent. China’s recent limits on the number of vehicles its allowing to be put on the road could play a big role in this phenomenon. India, on the other hand, is already experiencing overcapacity by 17.6%
[Source: The Financial Post]
Toyota is projecting sales of 8 million units in 2012, according to parts suppliers who have been briefed by the auto maker. The projections do not include units sold by Toyota subsidiaries Daihatsu and Hino.
The last time Toyota sold such a volume was in 2007, when the company moved 8.42 million vehicles. Toyota expects sales of 7.48 million units in 2010 and 7.7 million in 2011.
Toyota also credited “emerging markets” as a source of growth, stating that traditional markets like North America and Europe will fall from comprising 67 percent of Toyota’s worldwide sales to less than 50 percent in two years.
According to statistics, today Americans are using approximately 8 percent less fuel to power their cars than they did in 2006, which is recognized as the peak for U.S. oil consumption.
However, Americans still remain the number one consumer of oil of the planet, gobbling up 8.2 million barrels of the black gold each day. According to experts in the oil industry and in government, future forecasting predicts gasoline consumption will continue to drop, by as much as 20 percent in the next two decades, even as an estimated 27 million vehicles join the roads. Some of the reasons cited include less driving by baby boomers and more and more fuel efficient cars augmenting the existing vehicle fleet in North America.
However, there are those who predict that increased consumption from countries like China and India, as well as parts of the Middle East, will negate a lot of that decrease, so overall global demand for oil is likely to remain much the same, at least during the coming decade.
[Source: The Associated Press]
Jaguar is playing hardball when it comes to competing in emerging markets, and is even asking managers to serve a stint in places like China, or else risk being passed over for a promotion.
Jaguar’s parent company, Tata Motors, is looking to establish a joint venture manufacturing plant with a Chinese automaker to allow the British luxury brand to produce significant volumes for emerging markets. However, UK managerial staff is needed to oversee the plants, and Jaguar is having trouble recruiting sufficient numbers of employees, especially those with children or spouses.
One Jaguar exec was particularly blunt, stating “listen matey, if you want to go to the top you’re going to have to go to China, Russia or the US. We’re an international business, we’re 70pc overseas. It’s critical you move out of leafy Warwickshire.”
[Source: The Financial Times]
More than 75 percent of India’s population lives on less than $2 a day, but that hasn’t stopped Bugatti from selling their Veyron supercar in the country, where a 110 percent import tax has pushed the car’s price to $3.6 million USD.
“People have more spending power and are getting more aware of owning beautiful things,” said Satya Bagla, head of Exclusive Motors Pvt., the dealer for Bugatti, Lamborghini and Bentley, in an interview with Automotive News.
Ferrari will launch its California supercar in India in 2011, and Rolls-Royce has already begun selling cars in the subcontinent. India’s wealthiest 100 people have a combined net worth of $300 billion, or about one quarter of the country’s GDP. This extreme concentration of wealth means that there is a small, but affluent clientele for luxury goods.
[Source: Automotive News]
Beleaguered Indian truck manufacturer Mahindra has had their American launch delayed indefinitely, thanks to a series of legal battles between Mahindra and vehicle importer Global Vehicle Sales USA.
Global Vehicles argues that Mahindra wrongfully terminated the contract between the two companies. “The bottom line here is Mahindra now believes this is a huge project. They want us out of the way so they can go direct and save the money we were going to make,” Global Vehicles chief executive John Perez told the AP on Friday.
Mahindra’s managing director, Anand Mahindra said that the company has “no date” for entering the U.S.
[Source: Associated Press]
Nissan is denying reports that Suzuki‘s tie-up with Volkswagen will affect their small car ventures in countries like India. Nissan sells a rebadged version of the Suzuki Alto (one of India’s most popular cars) in that market, but a senior Nissan exec was quoted as saying that ““Suzuki and Nissan have done a lot of business for many years. As far as we are concerned, nothing changes.”
VW took a 20 percent stake in Suzuki last year, and was allegedly attracted to Suzuki’s small car and motorcycle expertise. Volkswagen CEO Martin Winterkorn told Autocar that “We have set up a joint project office in Wolfsburg to coordinate cooperation,” he said. “Work on concrete ideas and vehicle projects will begin in the coming weeks.”
Tata’s Nano city car is being investigated for a series of fires in India related to the car. A Tate spokesman said that the company was “conducting a probe” into the matter.
The Nano, which costs about $2,500, is billed as the world’s cheapest car. Initial reports of fires were said to be unrelated incidents, but further reports of smoke in the cars spurred a switch in ignition suppliers. Tata is asking Nano owners to have their vehicles checked at dealerships “to allay owners’ concerns”.
The Nano is a pivotal car for Tata Motors, and India itself, as an increasingly wealthy middle class looks to move from two-wheeled transportation into a proper car.
[Source: The National Post]
With markets like China, Brazil, India and former Soviet bloc countries becoming more prosperous, the demand for a low cost, bare bones car for the sake of personal transportation. Tata’s Nano, Renault’s Logan and all manner of Chinese upstart brands have been filling the void in these up and coming locales, and now Toyota wants a piece of the action.
Toyota is apparently looking at producing a car to slot underneath the Yaris, which would retail for under 1 million yen, or $11,500. This car will be targeted at China and Southeast Asia in particular, with the aforementioned markets getting their own cars suited to local tastes. Toyota’s first emerging market car, the Etios, will be launched in India in late 2010, and future cars made for emerging markets will follow practices used by the Etios, like local assembly, which should cut costs dramatically.
India’s Tata Motors is back in the black after rising demand for the Land Rover and Jaguar cars, as well demand in India for Tata products. The Tata group posted an overall profit of $543 million, compared to last year’s loss of $535 million. Tata was able to beat analyst expectations of a $321 million profit, thanks in part to Jaguar and Land Rover raking in their own profit of $46 million.
Land Rover recently fired 2,200 workers and hired a new manager away from General Motors Europe to help them back on the road to profitability. However, analysts are still skeptical about the economic conditions in Europe, and whether they are conducive to a recovery for the British luxury maker.
“Europe is in doldrums and that is a big worry for Tata Motors since it is a big market for Jaguar Land Rover,” said Umesh Karne, an analyst at BRICS Securities Ltd in Mumbai. “Until Europe stabilizes, Jaguar Land Rover will be under pressure.”
[Source: Automotive News]
India’s Mahindra is gearing up to sell its pickups in the United States and has recently completed all the necessary tests to gain approval for the diesel-powered truck. However, Mahindra’s US importer has already missed two launch dates, and is gearing up for a third, this time with the necessary modifications made for regulatory approval.
Joe Perez, CEO of Mahindra’s importer, Global Vehicles, refused to give any details regarding the vehicle’s launch when speaking to Automotive News, citing Mahindra’s unwillingness to name a launch date.
Importing smaller pickup trucks into the United States has traditionally been a difficult exercise, due to an import tax called the “chicken tax“. The chicken tax was a tariff placed on imported small VW trucks to safeguard the domestic automakers stranglehold on the pickup truck market, and has prevented many automakers from competing in this segment. If the Mahindra ends up being imported, it will join a small list of foreign compact pickups not fully assembled in the United States.
[Source: Left Lane News]
What’s smaller than Micra? Nissan is about to answer that question with news that the Japanese automaker will build a vehicle to slot in underneath its new Micra sub-compact (above) and rival Indian automaker Tata’s Nano.
Even more surprising than building the car is the revelation that Nissan believes it can actually make money doing so – despite the fact that the new mini car will retail for roughly $3,000. While the Nano starts at roughly $500 less, most Nano buyers opt for the LX model which retails for $4,183.
Designed for the Indian market, the car will be built in India with almost all parts coming from inside the country as well – helping to cut down on labor and shipping costs. Nissan has also partnered with Indian three-wheel vehicle manufacturer Baja Autos to put the project into action. The mini-Micra is expected to hit the market by 2012.
Nissan has big plans for the Indian marketplace, having sold just 360 cars there last year, but with plans to move as many as 100,000 units by 2013.
[Source: Automotive News via MotorTrend]
Discuss this story at MicraForums.com