India on road to ‘car registration portability’

Source: The Hindu Business Line, May 21, 2019

New Delhi: Owners of cars or other vehicles relocating from one State to another will be spared the tedium of re-registering their vehicles and changing the vehicle number plates, if a planned move of the Road Ministry takes off. The proposed policy is still in the idea stage and was discussed at the Group of Transport Ministers meeting a few months ago, according to an official.

To get around this, the Road Transport Ministry had written to all the State governments with a suggestion to introduce a common tax regime across States based on the price of cars. Currently, car buyers tend to flock to States that offer lower tax rates, which make for cheaper cars. If implemented, this will enable number portability of vehicles across regions.

Another line of thought in the government is to allow seamless transfer of relatively older vehicles – those that have completed a few years. This means relatively older vehicles will not require a re-registration and related paperwork when used in a different State. This would, to some extent, separate the genuine buyers from those looking to “manage addresses” in their hunt for a cheaper vehicle. Read the rest of this entry »

Small trucks see growth, bucking industry slowdown

Source: The Hindu Business Line, May 24, 2019

Chennai: The small commercial vehicle (SCV) segment — particularly sub-1-tonne mini-trucks such as the Tata Ace — is expected to continue witnessing growth in the near term, riding on a few favourable factors, according to industry representatives and analysts.

“Demand for SCVs is expected to be driven by high replacement demand (especially in the mini-truck segment), steady growth in private consumption and OEM (original equipment manufacturer) aggressiveness,” said Hetal Gandhi, Director, Crisil Research.

Investments by e-commerce logistics companies and strong rural demand are also expected to support growth. Read the rest of this entry »

Tata’s biggest challenge: $14 billion in auto debt and a slowdown in China

Source: Business Standard, May 22, 2019

Signs of a turnaround at its marquee Jaguar Land Rover unit may not be enough to ease the challenges facing India’s oldest and most-storied business empire.

The Tata Group bought the British luxury carmaker in 2008 for $2.3 billion, and it’s lately become a drag on the salt-to-software conglomerate, racking up losses in three quarters through December. Although Jaguar posted a net income of 119 million pounds ($151 million) this week, debt at owner Tata Motors Ltd. has grown to almost $14 billion, as it struggles to tide over a demand slump in China, the world’s biggest auto market.

JLR’s mixed fortunes have hit Tata — whose wider group debt load bloated to at least $36 billion, the largest among India’s conglomerates — just as it seeks to revamp the sprawling business. Making matters worse, a steel deal in Europe that would’ve eased the group’s liabilities unraveled this month. Tata Motors and Tata Steel Ltd. had a combined debt of about $27 billion, accounting for more than half of the total dues owed by the group’s top 18 units. This excludes debt of $9 billion till March 2018 for Tata Steel Bsl Ltd. and Tata Teleservices Maharashtra Ltd, which are in the process of restructuring. Read the rest of this entry »

Why the second-hand car market is seeing a boom

Source: LiveMint.com, May 16, 2019

Even as new car sales have slowed down in the recent past, the pre-owned car market has continued to grow over the past year and is larger than the new car market now. Consider this: In 2018-19, while new car sales were recorded at 3.6 million units, 4 million second-hand cars were bought and sold, according to a recent report on India’s pre-owned car market by IndianBlueBook, a used car pricing guide by Mahindra First Choice Wheels.

The growth rate of new car sales has slowed owing to a variety of reasons, including cyclical slowdown in auto sales in election years and an overall consumption slowdown in the economy. New car sales grew 2.70% in 2018-19, the slowest growth rate for the industry in four years. In April, passenger vehicle sales saw a sharp decline compared with the same month last year, and domestic sales saw a contraction of 17.07%. Read the rest of this entry »

Top automakers cheer govt push for EV localization drive

Source: LiveMint.com, May 13, 2019

Mumbai: Top automakers have cheered the government’s recent push to localise manufacturing for hybrid and electric vehicle (xEV) under the revised norms of the Faster Adoption and Manufacturing of (Hybrid &) Electric Vehicles Scheme (FAME 2).

This is in sharp contrast to the several instances over the last decade where auto industry stakeholders have clashed with government agencies on multiple fronts such as dual fuel policy, roll out of CNG stations, vehicular pollution, emission norms, safety mandates, as well as the government’s thrust on biofuels and electrification of vehicles.

Mint had on 7 May reported that the latest draft guidelines on FAME list components such as control units, chargers, and AC units that need to be built locally, with specific deadlines, for manufacturers to qualify for subsidies under a government scheme launched to encourage the adoption of such vehicles.

FAME, which was introduced on 1 April 2015, entered its second phase (FAME 2) in April 2019. Read the rest of this entry »

Ford, M&M set to enter into JV in India

Source: The Economic Times, Apr 10, 2019

NEW DELHI: Ford Motor is nearing a deal with Mahindra & Mahindra to form a new joint-venture company in India, a move that will see the US automaker cease its independent operations in the country, two sources with direct knowledge of the talks said.

Under the terms of the deal being negotiated, Ford will form a new unit in India in which it will hold a 49% stake, while Mahindra will own 51%, the two sources said.

The carmaker’s India unit will transfer most of its current automotive business to newly created entity, including its assets and employees, according to one of the sources. They spoke on condition of anonymity.

Ford said it does not comment on speculation, but added both companies continue to work together.

Mahindra too said it does not comment on speculation. It said in a statement it was “working together in identified areas” with Ford after a 2017 partnership arrangement, and “will announce further definitive agreements as we progress on some of the other areas.”

Top-level exits at two-wheeler firms signal churn in industry

Source: LiveMint.com, Apr 09, 2019

Mumbai: India’s two-wheeler industry has witnessed more than a dozen top-level and senior management changes in the past nine months, shows data compiled by Mint. The most recent departure is Arun Siddharth, head, marketing -motorcycles, TVS Motor Co. Ltd.

Yogesh Phogat, who has served Ducati India for more than five years as director of commercial operations, is also on his way out, two industry executives aware of the development told Mint. Phogat has put down his papers and is currently serving his notice period. Ducati India declined to comment on the matter.

Other recent departures include Ashok Bhasin, who headed the sales and marketing vertical of Hero MotoCorp; Amit Nandi, who headed KTM in India and in other South Asian markets such as Indonesia and Malaysia; Rudratej Singh, former president, Royal Enfield; Vimal Sumbly, ex-managing director, Triumph Motorcycles India; Sajeev Rajasekharan, ex-EVP, Suzuki Motorcycle India; and Roy Kurian, former senior vice president, sales and marketing, Yamaha Motor India Sales. Read the rest of this entry »