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Thursday, November 19, 2009


India driving global auto majors’ growth wheel

19 lakh more Tata Motors shares sold

Tata open to expat successor

The Beat of the Beetle

Bruiser Cruiser

Honda cr-V: Modest Modifications

Turanza goes for silent elegance

Of Ghosts and Spirits

Reva set for Iceland debut
Cars, SUVs & MUVs

Indian carmakers rejig Europe export plan

Hyundai India sales set to beat China

Hyundai looks to Indian arm to drive up profits

No plan to set up diesel plant in India: Hyundai MD

Low-cost car: For Ghosn doing it right, not delays, is key

Strong local demand to drive commercial vehicle sales

BMTC buses to have bicycle racks
Construction & Agri machinery
2 & 3 Wheelers

Hero Honda may offer special dividend to use Rs 4,000 cr cash pile

Hero Honda set to reward investors

Hero Honda Rolls out 11th million Splendor

Royal Enfield Classic bikes launched

Global biggies to source parts from Nano vendors for low-cost models
Allied Industries

Exide falls on equity dilution fears

Exide likely to take QIP route to fund R&D

Exide to raise Rs 597 cr via shares issue

India to be strategic manufacturing location for Michelin group
Finance & Insurance
Oil, Lubes & Alternative Fuels

Everest Kanto shelves China spread

Oil rises towards $80/barrel

GM, Chrysler not required to make electric cars: Bloom

GM narrows search for new finance chief to two outsiders

Toyota Oct car sales up 5 pct, 1st rise in 15 months

Hyundai Motor to sell Hyundai Mobis stake -report

Ford, Subaru and Volkswagen Safest Cars in 2010

Volvo truck shipments fall 41% in Oct

Rupee gains against dollar

Sensex falls on profit taking
The News in detail…



Pankaj Doval

The Economic Times (Web & Print Edition)
New Delhi: The midas touch of India is clearly visible on the financials of global auto majors. Just like Japanese auto majors Suzuki and Honda, that get a sizeable portion of their revenues, sales and profits from their Indian subsidiaries , Korean car giant Hyundai too is increasingly banking on its Indian operations for adding weight to its business as numbers stay uncertain in developed markets due to economic recession and slowdown.

Hyundai, which enjoys a strong presence in India now, after starting operations more than a decade back, said the country is playing a pivotal role in the company's global operations and is expected to contribute higher contribution to profits than even from China.

HW Park, the new MD & CEO of Hyundai India, said the Indian subsidiary contributes between 15% and 20% to Hyundai's global turnover. Asked about the profit, he refused to quantify, but said it is expected to be higher than China next year. The Indian subsidiary had been making profits for many years.

Park said unlike China, India has a unique position in Hyundai's operations as factories here not only service the domestic market but also cater to overseas markets in Europe. "While China only sells domestic, India is used both for domestic and export markets." Higher profits, however , could be justified considering that the companies have to operate through a JV in China, while in India solo operations are allowed which mean full repatriation of profits to the parent.

Hyundai, the secondbiggest car maker in India behind Maruti Suzuki, has a capacity of around 6 lakh units, half of which service export markets. The company has earmarked India as one of the hubs for manufacture of models like i10, i20 and Santro and sells India-made cars to over 100 countries. While developed markets in Europe and US remain under pressure, operations in India have been growing . The company's cumulative sales in January-October 2009 period have grown by 12% year-on-year at 4.57 lakh units (4.07 lakh) with domestic sales up 11% at 2.39 lakh units and exports up 13% at 2.17 lakh units.

Hyundai is not the only company to benefit from a strong presence in India. Suzuki trebled its full-year global net income forecast on the back of strong Indian operations , despite sluggish sales overseas. While home market Japan as well as European countries contracted for Suzuki, India remained the only market to grow, with first half sales here moving up by 24% at 4.7 lakh units against 3.8 lakh units in the corresponding period.

Honda is another company that is reaping benefits of India. The company has been gaining due to its strong presence in two-wheeler market. Its JV Hero Honda and fullyowned Honda Motorcycle and Scooter India (HMSI) — are expected to contribute 40% of its global motorcycle production and a sizeable portion of profits and revenues.

“Copyright © 2009, Bennett, Coleman & Co. Ltd. All Rights Reserved"


India driving global auto majors' growth wheel

The Times of India (Web & Print Edition)



The Times of India (Web & Print Edition)
Mumbai: The Tata group raised a further Rs 93 crore on Wednesday by selling nearly 19 lakh Tata Motors shares with differential voting rights (DVRs) through two block deals on the bourses. On Monday, the group had raised about Rs 95 crore by offloading part of its holding of Tata Motors DVRs.

These transactions are part of Tata Group’s strategy to monetise a part of their investment portfolio. On Wednesday, Tata Sons — the group’s holding company — sold 12 lakh Tata Motors DVRs on the BSE at Rs 500 per share, aggregating Rs 60 crore. Part of the lot — about 6.5 lakh shares — was picked up by JM Financial, while the buyer of the balance 5.5 lakh shares was not disclosed. On the NSE, nearly 6.8 lakh Tata Motors DVRs were sold for about Rs 33 crore.

Here again the buyer’s name was not disclosed. At the close of session, Tata Motors DVRs on the BSE ended 4.6% higher at Rs 500.

“Copyright © 2009, Bennett, Coleman & Co. Ltd. All Rights Reserved"




See this story in: The Financial Express (Web & Print Edition)
Mumbai: After steering the Rs 3.25-lakh crore ($70.8-billion) Tata group for the past 18 years, India’s iconic industry chieftain, Ratan Tata, is now looking for a successor—and the candidate could be from outside the family, even from overseas.
In an interview to the Wall Street Journal, the 71-year-old Tata said the group is in the process of formalising a successor to lead a diverse industrial conglomerate that includes Tata Motors, Tata Steel, Tata Consultancy Services and Tata Power among its 27 listed companies.
“We have some outside consultants and a formal search process is on. There are no constraints. We are looking both within the organisation and outside. The successor, I would hope, would have integrity and our value systems in the forefront and hopefully would carry on the path that we have tried to set for the company’s growth,” Tata was quoted as saying.
When contacted by FE, the Tata management, however, declined to comment any further than what was stated in the interview.
“(The succession plan) gives investors a lot of clarity. It reiterates their faith that the company is not driven by a single personality, as is with some groups in India, but is thoroughly professional and that they can depend on it,” said a research head with an overseas fund.
One possible reason for extending the search beyond local talent is the fact that 65% of the Tata group’s revenues come from overseas. “We are a company that has global reach and global presence,” Tata said in the interview. He, nevertheless, added that it would be certainly easier if the candidate were an Indian national.
All but one of the group’s past chairmen have been Tatas, although at the moment no family candidate has been publicly identified to take over as chairman. Market watchers say the broad nature of the group’s search is testament to the high standards of corporate governance that the group has set. “This is a very professional move and we do not see any adverse impact of this on the market,” said Motilal Oswal, chairman of leading Mumbai-based brokerage firm Motilal Oswal Financial Services.
Three of Tata group companies were among the top ten gainers on the BSE Sensex on Wednesday, with Tata Steel and Tata Motors topping the list.
Tata said the conglomerate model would continue to work reasonably well in India despite falling apart in other parts of the world, adding that when the group had tried to shed some businesses it ran into strong objections from employees and the public. The group has a total of 98 operating companies.
Under his chairmanship, Tata has led a drive to expand the reach of the group internationally, making headlines worldwide with the $12-billion acquisition of Corus by Tata Steel and the $2.3 billion Jaguar-Land Rover deal of Tata Motors. “Tata has truly gone global. Its Corus and JLR acquisitions are strong representations of how the Tata group is truly a global Indian MNC,” said Mobius Strip Capital Advisors principal Indranil Deb.
Tata said the group was still digesting those acquisitions, which had been made harder due to the global financial crisis and economic downturn. In their wake, he asked group companies to undertake a major cost-cutting drive. And despite the hiccups, Tata believes the two pricey buys were strategically sound and worthwhile end of the day.
“Tata Motors was able to extinguish its borrowing of $3 billion through this difficult period, and most people don’t realise the magnitude of that task,” he said.





Sopan Sharma

The Economic Times, Zigwheels
We told you it was coming soon in the November issue of the ZigWheels magazine (vanishing off stands as you read this, mind you) and verifying the news, the legendary bug from Germany is set to make its Indian debut in December. Car lovers across the country should be rightfully delighted at the entry of what arguably is - and has been - the cutest automobile in the world. We thought this was as good a time as any to take a dip into the Beetle's glorious history, and explore the car in its current retro-chic form.
The beginnings of the Beetle stretch way back to 1931, when a young Austro-Hungarian engineer by name of Ferdinand Porsche developed a 'car for everybody'. Impressed by his treatment and understanding of realworld expectations from a daily transport vehicle, Adolf Hitler commissioned Porsche to make a 'Volks-wagen' - a people's car for Germany - a basic four-wheeler with a roof that would carry two adults and three children at contemporary freeway speeds - then pegged at about 100 km/h. And then there was the key rider - the car had to be sold at around the same price as that of a motorcycle.
Porsche and his team of engineers and designers set to work on the new project, and the rest as they say is history. World War II came and went, leaving a large part of Germany dilapidated, but thankfully for Volkswagen the occupying allies took little interest in dismantling the Beetle plant at Wolfsburg. Thanks to the efforts of a few kindhearted military personnel, production first continued and then thrived - within ten years, more than 1 millions Beetles had rolled out of the plant for public consumption. The Beetle deserved the success too, given that it outperformed contemporary compact European cars like the Citroen 2CV and the Morris Minor in almost all respects, be it on-road performance, maintenance or reliability.

Small touch-ups and tweaks to the design followed right through until the 90s, but the world had changed enough for the car to finally reincarnate. In 1998, Volkswagen introduced the New Beetle, very similar to the one that we shall be seeing on our roads soon. Based on the same platform as the Volkswagen Golf Mk4, the new Beetle was an all-new car even though it borrowed heavily from its predecessor in terms of its looks, be it the sloping headlamps, the round tail lights or the curving roof all of which came together to make the design a very smart and contemporary tribute.

The round-roofed retrocoupe that was launched in 1998 has not been redesigned yet, save a few nips and tucks here and there. That does not keep the car from being one of the most distinctive looking vehicles on the road, and by virtue of that, a great set of wheels to be seen driving. Retromoderns are about making a statement, driving a car that comes with tradition and legend behind its name - as opposed to modern cars that ditch their design customs every model year to keep in tune with the ever changing aspirations of consumers.
Internationally, the Beetle comes with a host of engine options from the technologically rich VW Group, ranging from the small 1.4-litre inline-4 engine right up to the stonking 3.2-litre V6. The most popular remains the 2.5-litre inline-5 that most American Beetles come fitted with, and the 150bhp power output makes sure that the car cruises smoothly and in style. It may not be the most powerful thing on the road, but the Beetle still comes with sureshot German build quality, comfortable on-road mannerisms and a rich sprinkling of features, enough to make the old mobile modern on the inside.

The car still carries 'new' Beetle name, even though the current model has been over a decade in production. The success of the car internationally has meant that there is little that needs to be changed - much in the spirit of the original Beetle. What has kept the brand fresh however are the limited run models and concept design studies (see box) that have kept the car's clique up. The retro-chic space that the Beetle operates has some newer and more competitive models too - the Fiat 500 and the MINI One are foremost in line - but whatever the new Beetle lacks in real world, it makes up for it with the space the brand holds in the hearts of millions across the world. That's the power of love for you, ready to sap out on Indian streets with style real soon!

“Copyright © 2009, Bennett, Coleman & Co. Ltd. All Rights Reserved"


Priyadarshan Bawikar

The Economic Times, Zigwheels
There are some cars which are athletes - fiercely powerful, exceptional handlers, but far from what you would call comfortable. Then there are those, most of them in fact, which rate practicality over performance. And then there are some, like this Audi A6 here, which try to do both. We happen to believe, and most of you would agree, that it's really rather difficult to get that balance between performance and comfort 'just' right. Sure, it's possible to do that in a country like Germany for instance, with its miles and miles of autobahn as smooth as a baby's bottom. But on Indian roads, it's a whole different story. And this really makes us chuff, because the Germans keep getting more and more of these 'high performance luxury sedans' into the country.

That being said, sitting behind the wheel of this spanking new Audi A6 sends a shiver down my spine. Its not fear, but nervous excitement. I've got all of 290 PS of power from the 3.0-litre supercharged V6 motor at the whim of my right foot, but plodding around in traffic at city speeds, one would really be unable to guess that. The A6 feels very luxurious and easygoing, almost to the point of feeling like a luxury limo. It's no magic carpet ride by any means, and the few bumps and potholes that I unfortunately have to drive through do shake me up a bit, but unlike its Bavarian rival, don't shatter my spine. Finally I'm on the open highway where I pull to a stop by the side of the road and wait for a large gap in traffic. Thankfully, it's not a long wait, and with the automatic gearbox in 'Sport', I floor the throttle.

Now I'm really hard pressed to think of the right words to properly describe what happened next. Anyone who has been to a rock concert will be able to picture this quite vividly - it was like the moment the stage explodes and the band kicks the intensity of the music up to maximum. I was pinned to back of the seat violently as the A6 started its mind-bending acceleration. 100km/h came up in just 6.9 seconds and within no time at all, the car was already at its electronically limited 250km/h top speed. And it's not just open highways where the A6 is impressive. Even on twisty mountain roads, the car's Quattro fourwheel drive system afford it loads of grip and the steering is razor sharp when attacking corners and it's easy to forget that one is driving a car that's nearly 5 meters long. If anything, it's a little too sharp and certainly takes a bit of getting used to, requiring one to really curb his enthusiasm of turning the wheel forcefully when chucking the car into a turn. Drive it with the finesse of a racing driver, and the experience is extremely rewarding.
Sadly though, there is trouble in paradise. The engine is brilliant, no doubt. The handling is excellent beyond belief. But the A6 3.0T comes with a 6-speed tiptronic gearbox that feels completely out of place in a car that drives so well. It shifts well enough when accelerating from a standstill. It even provides smooth gear changes when just cruising around. The problem raises its head when you punch the throttle while going for an overtake. It actually feels like the gearbox's decision to downshift is decided by a committee, which spend seconds (which feel like hours) debating what the right course of action should be. Eventually, the committee does reach the decision to summon up a gear change and then engine summons up all its power and the car rockets forward with unrelenting fervor. The tiptronic box doesn't even come with steering wheel mounted paddle shifters. It really boggles the mind as to why Audi didn't provide a DSG gearbox in this car.

And this sort of split personality seems to be carried over on the insides as well. Some of the trim is sporty black and brushed aluminium. The rest of it is beige leather and glossy wood straight out of the luxury car making handbook. The car is loaded with gadgets though, like a reverse camera, Bluetooth connectivity, a 40 GB music player and more. But the new MMI (Multi Media Interface) system that is used to control all of this can be labeled as confusing at best and doesn't really match up to BMW's latest generation iDrive interface.

So what do you get for your 45-odd lakh rupees? A gorgeous looking car for one, with LED daytime running lights, LED tail lamps, classic, but beautiful proportions, a stonker of an engine and four-wheel drive for unprecedented grip. But if you want just luxury, you're better off buying the diesel version. This one is for those who like to spend their time behind the wheel, not in the back seat.

“Copyright © 2009, Bennett, Coleman & Co. Ltd. All Rights Reserved"


Vikram Gour

The Economic Times, Zigwheels
The Honda CR-V is essentially a CBU import that enjoys a strong fan following globally. Its heritage lies in the essence that most people rarely take their SUV's off the tarmac, so why build something that will never be used in the manner that it is designed for. This gave birth to the idea of a soft roader, or an SUV-looking passenger vehicle that had the street presence and commanding driving position of an SUV, yet was designed essentially to stay on the road. A bit of 'light' off roading was still possible thanks to gizmos like the Real Time four wheel drive system, but the vehicle essentially remained a 'car' that looks like an SUV. No doubt the formula was a success and the CR-V has grown in popularity worldwide. Here in India the CR-V has dominated segment of petrol soft roaders and its comfort and drivability is legendary.
Coming to the new or rather refurbished CR-V that Honda Siel recently unveiled, one realizes that the company has not tinkered with the vehicle too much. After all why change a good thing right! Anyways, the latest CR-V happens to be a minor makeover job to possibly give it a very subtle change yet bring out an element of sophistication, which it manages with élan.

Subtle changes seem to be the theme of this particular makeover for at first instance you might be hard-pressed to tell the difference between the outgoing model and the new one from the outside. A closer look reveals a new hood and two step front grille as well as a slightly redesigned front bumper that houses neat oval fog lights. The rear only boasts of a new bumper as well and the result of these changes in the bumpers has lead to a 45mm length extension on the vehicle. The only other exterior change are the new alloys - gone are the 7 spoke and in come in these neat 17-inch 10 spoke rims that add a sporty touch to the vehicle now.

The interior is where Honda has played up the game a little more than the exterior. You will find that the high end 2.4 L model boasts of steeringmounted Cruise Control system. Other improvements include six airbags with occupant position detection system (OPDS), a new improved music system with a USB port in the upper glove box, a lightened color scheme for the interiors, and chrome audio controls and gear knob. No doubt, the interiors of the Honda CR-V have always been a great place to be and with these changes, the luxury feel is definitely enhanced and it's bound to bring a smile to your face. One touch that I definitely liked about the interior changes is small but definitely a convenient feature. The backlight for the dash has been changed from a rusty orange to the neat blue that you also find in the Civic. It's easier on the eye and at night it gives the dash a premium look that can't be matched by some higher end SUVs even.

On the engine front, Honda continues to offer the same engines that the outgoing model had, namely, the 2.0 L - MT 2WD and 2.4L MT / AT Real-time 4WD. I had the 2.4 MT with me and as expected power delivery, drive comfort and performance all matched the high expectations that one gets when you drive a vehicle of this caliber. The CR-V has always been a formidable soft roader and luxury sedan rolled into one and it remains an amazing vehicle to tool around in. The new package does offer more to the customer and though the CR-V is a bit high priced thanks to the prevailing custom duties in our country, it still comes across as a formidable package that few others can match.

“Copyright © 2009, Bennett, Coleman & Co. Ltd. All Rights Reserved"

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