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Friday, March 09, 2018

Dawn of a New Era - The Changing CV Landscape


29th March 2017 - The day that no soul, if it had even an iota of exposure to Indian Automobile Industry, will ever forget . This was the day when virtually every Indian Automobile Manufacturer's plant came to a stand still and the Policy Paralysis again kicked in. This was the least of what NDA Govt., which is known for its business friendly atmosphere, could have expected. 

Honorable Supreme Court of India banned the sale of outgoing BSIII emission compliant vehicles with immediate effect and gave a window of just 2 days until 31st March to sell off the inventory pileup of over 15000 Cr - Effectively 2 months worth of stock for commercial vehicles industry.

As if that wasn't enough, CV & Two Wheeler manufacturers were caught on the back foot on the preparedness for BSIV Emissions compliant products, wherein no breather was available to upgrade & then stabilize their production lines.

Now, eleven months since the turmoil Indian CV Space has come a long way leaving behind the losses accumulated in FY1617.

After the introduction of BSIV emission norms every quarter of the FY17-18 saw a different challenge ranging from vehicle STA approvals across the country for newly launched BSIV vehicles in Q1 to Product Establishment and counter strategies by OEMs with a question - "Who is Placed better?"

•Q2 & Q3 of FY1617 witnessed an increased industrial output coupled with further strictness on practice of Overloading leading to spurt in TIV and higher demand for high payload vehicles.

•This also saw an era of shifting preferences wherein a given section of price sensitive customers scouted for CVs with lower price tags and yet another set of customers going in for technically advanced vehicles. Yes, the advanced technology came at a premium though. These were the customers who were tech savvy enough to fully understand the impact of the two BSIV technologies SCR and EGR available in the Indian CV Space. Debate upon the superiority of SCR vs EGR is still On.

• Growth in 49T Segment within India saw a boom and with rated load becoming the norm, vehicles fitted with Bell Crank suspension gained momentum & are contributing to roughly 60% of the 49T sales.

•TIV in 37T Segment saw an upswing with exponential growth cannibalizing the decade old hot favorites 25T & 31T Segment.

•Tippers though had not been on the free run as majority of the surface transportation of Construction material shifted to 37T & 49T segments.

•No one would have had ever imagined and expected this phenomenal growth in Q1 when the industry tanked to negative 30% in the last FY.
      In totality if we consider the number of axles getting rolled out of the factories this FY the overall growth is even way higher. All thanks to the Govt's focus on Road and Infra Projects.

•With the Government at the center hell-bound to bring a turnaround in the country, Road Projects, which were held up for a long time, got revived, Check Posts were abolished for smoother passage across state borders. 

•There are always two sides of the coin. This changing landscape coupled with demand of high tonnage vehicles has now led to the change in ownership periods. Increased acquisition cost of the vehicle owing to BSIV Emission norms has led to higher fixed cost with stressed disposable income in hand leading to higher payback time.

•Transporters are now vowing to ply the vehicles for periods extending beyond 6 years which was 4-5 years few years back that led to CVs changing hands 3-4 times in there lifetime.

•Due to higher plying periods/rated load applications need for more reliable vehicles kicks in. This is evident from the fact that Tata Motors increased Warranty on their Trucks to 6 Years from 4 years and maintaining supremacy in the CV industry due to which it has been holding the no 1 position for ages now.

•Since the average age of the vehicles in any transporters' fleet is bound to increase, and driver shortages further taking the toll, transporters are looking for value for money features at relatively lower cost in trucks much inline with what we see in cars. Gone are the days when Transporter/Driver settled for not so good looking Trucks and now are considering comforts like AC, Cruise Controls, Projector Head Lamps, Reverse Parking Cameras & Sensors for their trucks.


All said and done still it's long way to go and probably the best is yet to come.







Wednesday, January 17, 2018

Customer is "King" Indeed - And He Ought To Be Treated Like One


Indian Automobile Industry, one of the most dynamic industries of our country, has come a long way. Journey from Luxury to Necessity has been rather short and post liberalization Industry Dynamics changed for good. Last Decade further saw an Exponential Growth with Passenger vehicles (PV) & Commercial Vehicles (CV) now contributing 7.1% of country's GDP.

Last Decade too saw the entry of new players in CV as well as PV Space, that spoiled the end user with choices ranging from more refined Products and exposure to world class "Services". Gone are the days when the laid-back attitude & rigidness was overshadowed by the huge backlog of "Advance Bookings", with customers waiting for deliveries of the products.

You would all agree that today's markets indeed thrives on the "Customer is King" philosophy. In the world of Internet and Super Sonic communication networks it becomes yet more important to agree to it and mould towards being more agile and Service oriented. 

Today, as we move forward towards the new arena where we would see minimum Technological Differences in the products being offered the only differentiator remains in the form of Response Time & Value Added Services. 


We have seen companies’ offerings going up trying to raise the bar and gain customer confidence in the process. 


In November Maruti Suzuki introduced Extended Warranty Packages on its cars up to 5 Years and a step ahead Tata Motors from January 2018 raised warranty on its Trucks & Tippers to 6 years 6 Lakh Kilometer.


Still as a surprise where companies are working towards gaining customer confidence at times, customers still have to resort to Crude Tactics to get themselves listened and acted upon their grievances. 


Speaking about one such incident to Mr. Jai Gopal Shah of Shah Carriers, Amritsar had a very different experience to share. He had purchased Six BSIV Tippers from Ashok Leyland in November 2017. He is until date fighting to get one of his brand new Tipper to be made on road, which is stranded for the want of parts. Consecutive meetings with company officials failed to yield any result.



 

However, we rarely see the sight of roadside "Dharnas" other than the ones by Political Parties but the agony seems to be so high that the "Dharna" seemed to be the last resort to get his voice heard.

In the absence of Strict Policies on Product Recalls, Incidences like this do shake the overall customer confidence on the Brand and raise a serious question on the intent of customer focus of so called 70 year Old Companies leading to the adage - Is Customer Still a "King" or He will have to wait for some more time to be listened. 






Sunday, November 13, 2016

Top 5 Fastest Hatchbacks in India

When it comes to cars in India, the most popular car model type is definitely hatchback. Hatchbacks are meant to be most suitable city cars, as their compact forms are easily drivable in the most dreadful traffic conditions and let the owners park them in tight parking spaces. However, hatchbacks are usually associated with their practicality and easy handling in urban roads and are not associated with great performance or speed. Hatchbacks are not generally looked upon as great powerful cars that can race with the winds, especially in India where these are the most affordable buys for economical city drives. When it comes to power and speed, Indian buyers usually go for the expensive SUVs or sedans in the premium space and often bypass the luxury hatchbacks that are superb tiny racers.

Nevertheless, the Indian car market is a highly progressive and fast developing space, and the car buyers are slowly accepting the more powerful and performance oriented premium hatchbacks as well. Mercedes-Benz which is India’s leading luxury car maker is witnessing better than expected demands for its premium hatchback models and so are companies like Volkswagen and Fiat for their sportier models like the Polo GT and Abarth models in India. So, are you also interested in knowing some of the speedoholic premium hatchback models that are available in the Indian car market?

Take a look at this list of top 5 fastest hatchbacks in India:
 
1. Mini Cooper S
The latest model of the Mini Cooper S is presently the fastest accelerating car in the car market of India, as it has the ability to reach the speed level of 100 km per hour from standstill in just 6.8 seconds. This cool speed monster also offers a top speed of 235 km per hour. The Cooper S packs in powerful 2.0 Liter twin-turbocharged 4-cylinder motor that has the ability to churn out a max power output of 192 bhp and 280 Nm of top torque. This sporty hatch is also one of the most fun to drive vehicles that is currently available in India, while also being one of the most practical luxury cars. The Mini Cooper S has been tagged at Rs. 34.6 lakh (ex-showroom, Delhi).

2. BMW 1 Series
It’s not possible that the list won’t have a name from the house of BMW. The BMW 1 Series 118d comes second in the list with a boastful acceleration speed of just 8.6 seconds to reach 100 kmph from a standstill position. The diesel version of the premium hatch is faster than the petrol by only 0.1 seconds. The car offers the top speed of 212 km per hour. This powerful hatchback gets equipped with 2.0L diesel mill which has the capability to pump out a peak power output of 143 bhp and 320 Nm of peak torque. It also gets a rear wheel drive system that is a rarity in the Indian market. The generated power gets transmitted by a sophisticated 8 speed automatic transmission gearbox. The BMW 1 Series is priced from Rs. 26.5-33.1 lakh onwards (ex-showroom, Delhi).

3. Mercedes Benz A-Class
The Mercedes Benz A-Class is one of the most spectacular hatchbacks and one of the most popular luxury cars in India. The A-Class’ petrol A180 Sport variant boasts of accelerating from a standstill to a speed of 100 km per hour in only 9.2 seconds. This hot hatchback also offers a top speed of 202 km per hour. The A-Class comes packed with a 1.6-liter petrol motor that has the capability to belt out a peak power output of 121 bhp of power and 200 Nm of top torque. The power figures may not sound impressive or exciting, but this doesn’t make the A-Class stock hatchback from any way and it is actually a highly fun car to drive around. The highly refined engine gets skillfully paired to a sophisticated 7 speed automatic transmission gearbox. The Mercedes Benz A-Class A180 Sport model is tagged at 27.45 lakh (ex-showroom, New Delhi).

4. Volvo V40
The A-Class has a very close rival in the luxurious and very capable Volvo v40. This hot car can run to a speed of 100 km per hour from a standstill in only 9.3 seconds. The premium hatchback model also comes with a top speed of 200 km per hour. The Volvo v40’s petrol version is even faster. Under the hood, the Volvo v40’s diesel version gets equipped with a 2.0-liter diesel mill that has the capability to generate a peak power figure of 150 bhp and 350 Nm of maximum torque. The potent engine gets coupled to a 6 speed automatic transmission gearbox. The Volvo V40 luxury hatchback model is available for sale in India with a price range of Rs. 24.75 to Rs. 27.70 lakh (ex-showroom, Delhi).

5. Volkswagen Polo GT TSI
The Volkswagen Polo GT is a popular choice among the Indian driving enthusiasts who wish to enjoy a sporty driving experience without shelling out hefty amounts of money on a luxury hatchback model. The Volkswagen Polo GT is the more pepped up and fun to drive version of the Polo premium hatchback, and the best part about this model is that it is also easy on the pocket. The Polo GT is the best sporty hatchback cars in the less than 10 lakh price bracket. The Polo GT is not only very fun to drive and powerful, but is also among the fastest cars in India. This premium hatchback can speed up to a 100 km per hour level from 0 in just 10 seconds, which is highly appreciable as its really close to the luxury hatchbacks that carry price tags around three times more than the Polo GT’s price. This hot hatch has a top speed of 190 km per hour. The petrol version named as the Polo GT TSI gets powered by a 1.2L turbocharged mill that delivers a max power of 104 bhp and a peak torque of 175 Nm and is paired to a sophisticated 7 speed DSG automatic transmission. The Polo GT is tagged at Rs.8.5 lakhs (ex-showroom, Delhi).
 
Guest Post authored by Aahna Singh. The views expressed here are solely those of the author in her private capacity and do not in any way represent the views of the www.highwaysmastred.com
 

AIMTC Press Release

Friday, May 29, 2015

Why You Need to Learn About Car Repair



Car repair can create a hole in your pocket pretty fast. People resort to mechanics for easy tasks that they have convinced themselves they can’t get done on their own. Have you ever been in a situation where you got back home from work and found out that one of the brake lights wasn’t working? You take your car to the shop and have them undo the two screws that are required to change a brake light and then put a bulb in and you end up getting charged probably three times the cost of the bulb. Now you have a choice. You can either go to the mechanic every time you get a little fault in your car only to get your pocketbook drained really fast or you can choose to learn how to do car repair yourself.  

Photo credits: http://incubme.com/

Most people drive their vehicle around 12,000 to 15,000 miles a year, and if you’re going to get an oil change every 3,000 to 5,000 miles that means you’ll be in the shop every 3 to 4 months getting your regular pre prescribed maintenance on your vehicle. As the car gets older those pre prescribed things get bigger. Which will lead to a dramatic increase is your visits to the mechanic and your bills will also abruptly increase (which is pretty obvious).
So if you’re guilty of taking your car to the store too often then I advise you to read on as I highlight easy car care tips that will help you ensure that your car runs properly which will save you money, keep you safe and reduce your trips to the car maintenance store.

Photo credits: http://blog.mandfauto.com/


1.     Manual: You need to read the manual of the car. It’s the first step towards knowing your car and becoming that maintenance savvy car owner.
2.     Engine oil: You need to change your engine and filter oil regularly. Your engine oil is the most vital fluid for your vehicle to operate. You should have it changed every 3 months or 3000 miles.
3.     Gasoline: Make sure you always use the type of gas that is recommended for you vehicle.
4.     Battery: Have a service facility check your battery once a year. Keep your battery case clean with a wet wash cloth.
5.     Belt inspection: To keep your engine running smoothly conducts a basic belt inspection once a month. All you have to do is look at your belt and look for any signs, if you notice any problem contact your local service station to have them replaced.
6.     Brakes: Don’t ignore brake noises. If you hear something funny, have your brakes checked. If not, have them inspected at least every 6,000 miles.
7.     Tires: Make sure to keep a close eye on tire inflation. Remember to rotate your tires every 6,000 miles or every other oil change. If your tires get worn out you can get new ones from Treehopper which is a top rated tire retail store online.
8.     Air filter: Change your air filter once a year or every 12,000 miles. If you live in an area with a lot of dirt, dust or smog you might need to change it more frequently. Changing your air filter can also help you save money at the pump.
9.     Engine inspection: Have your service technician check your engine every 30,000 miles to make sure everything is working properly.
10.  Coolant: Lastly, check your engine’s coolant system. Make sure your coolant level is at least one inch from the radiator filler neck. Have your coolant system flushed out or refilled at 40,000 to 100,000 miles.

Author Bio:
This article was written by Katherine Mills. She is studying automobile engineering and love writing. She currently works for www.Tyre-Shopper.co.uk as a project manager.



Monday, March 10, 2014

A T1 Truck Race – Are you serious, Weren't Trucks meant for Carrying Loads???




Much to the Motorsport enthusiast’s delight, year 2011 saw the entry of Formula 1(F1) in India with the race being organized at the Buddh International Circuit (BIC). We all have had experienced Go-Karting at one point or the other but a F1 race was like a dream come true for many.

Come 23rd March and yet again the entire country is to witness another major sporting event after Formula 1. But this time it won’t be zooming cars but Mammoth Trucks which will actually burn rubber on the Track. In line with the F1 the Truck Race has been named T1.

Trucks? Are we Serious? Really!!!! Aren’t Trucks meant for just carrying loads on Highways???

As a layman when we think “Trucks”, our first visualization is that of a Slow Moving, Fuel Guzzling - Smoke Throwing big chunks of Metal driven by filthy & unhygienic drivers. These are also often seen and represented as an “Evil on Roads”, be it a 70s movie or a latest Yash Raj flick.

So, a Truck Race???

Well the answer is a big “Yes”. The entire Idea behind the race is to give due recognition & respect to “Trucking” as a profession. Unlike United States or various EU countries, driving a truck in India is seen as a blot and it is becoming increasingly difficult to find good potential truck drivers across the country.

The entire credits for the T1 Truck Race goes to Tata Motors, India’s leading Truck manufacturer which from time to time through several initiatives like Driver Training Institutes and Programs, Driver Life Insurance and other driver focused facilities have been trying to support the truck drivers and thus the profession. Truck Racing is a step forward to honor this profession and celebrate it with the due importance it deserves.

OK…. tell me More about this….!!!!!

The first ever Truck Race was organized in US at the Atlanta Motor Speedway way back in the summer of 1979. American Truck Racing Association(ATRA) was the sole sport authority for organizing these races. However in past few years, England Truck Racing has attained new levels and now in total 30 teams competes for excellence. To compete in racing the Trucks have to meet the safety guidelines issued by British Truck Racing Association (BTRA).

Maximum speed of trucks is limited to 160Kmph for safety reasons and the weight of Trucks need to be minimum 5500Kg.

Coming on to Indian version T1, in total 12 Prima 4038 Trucks (All Tata Brand) divided among Six Teams will compete with each other.

In order to meet the safety guidelines a whopping 22 modification have been carried out with significant changes in Fuel, Exhaust & Braking system. The trucks get an all new exclusive racing seats & seat belts along with detachable steering column. Each truck is powered by 370HP motor and the top speed is designed to go up-to 110Kmph.


T1 Racing Truck



Great to hear that…. “What Next”???

Since the entire event has been conceptualized by Tata Motors and all the competing vehicles comes from TML’s stable it clearly reflects the TML’s technological superiority & capability to steer ahead in the CV space. It’s all about the durability and performance under extreme conditions to which these trucks will be exposed to prove their worth.

In line with the TML’s vision – One Step Ahead of Competition, the technology in these trucks represents the future of trucking in India, and is once again being showcased for the first time by Tata Motors.

Thrilled!!!!!…. When & Where???

23rd March 2014 @ Buddh International Circuit, Yamuna Expressway, Greater Noida.

More details at:-



Friday, March 07, 2014

Finally The Bulls Lock their Horns - Will it be Survival of the Fittest

Amid much fanfare Tata Motors launched 10 new products under its Prima LX Range at Pragati Maidan in New Delhi. The Gross vehicle Weight (GVW) of the launched products ranges from 25T to 49T. This includes 4 Tippers & 2 Multi Axle Trucks in 25T & 31T Category viz Prima LX 2523T, Prima LX 3123T, Prima LX3123KPrima LX2523K & 4 Tractors in 40T & 49T category viz Prima LX4023, Prima LX4923, Prima LX4928 & Prima LX4028.


Prima Lx Range Launch
With this launch the Product Portfolio of Tata Motors expands to a new level where in these products neatly fit in the Existing Range & the High End Prima Range of World Trucks.




Prima LX 3128K


Prima LX 2523K


Prima LX 3123T
Prima LX 4028S
Prima LX 2523T
Prima LX 2523K

This launch reminds me of a similar article written on this very blog 2 years back which focused on the new product developments by various CV manufacturers and an anticipated onslaught by the upcoming new entrant in Indian CV space – Bharat Benz.


Though as per plans CV manufacturers did launch their products in time yet last 2 years have been the worst hit for CV industry with TIV reducing to the all-time low. With 70 dealers Bharat Benz entered the Indian CV industry. With consistent sales in different segments BB has managed to clock sales which as yet cannot be considered viable but good enough for a new entrant in this dwindling TIV. Recently DICV under which the Bharat Benz brand trucks are retailed in India made a filing with Bureau for Industrial and Financial Reconstruction (BIFR).

Today’s launch can be seen as Tata Motors’s quest in maintaining its lead to provide highly reliable products, meeting todays challenging environment in trucking & upgrading its customers to more modern Trucking system. With this launch TML intends to upgrade its customers to a higher Power to Weight (P/W) ratio trucks.

High P/W ratio coupled with increasing infrastructure tends to lower down the Total Cost of Ownership (TCO) for the years for which vehicle remains in operation. With more refined aggregates, TML has gone a step ahead to enhance the number of years in a Life-cycle of a Truck. Generally a Truck sees an average life of 48 months with its First Owner and can see upto 4-5 ownership shifts in a total life-cycle of 15 Year limit set by the government.

Though the LX range was conceptualized quite some time back but TML's launch comes at a time when the CV industry has started showing little signs of revival. This could be seen as one strategic move by TML.

Brief Salient features of the vehicles are as under:-




So finally the Bull Horns are locked and coming months could well be an Acid Test for their Zeal to Supremacy.