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Last Updated : Oct 09, 2018 06:52 PM IST | Source:

Auto companies piggyback celebrities for sales push, September set to mark third monthly drop in sales

Here is the complete list of this week's major developments in the automotive space.

Swaraj Baggonkar @swarajsb
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Artificial intelligence and automated driving took another step forward this week with Toyota and SoftBank joining hands for projects following the partnership announced by Honda to use General Motors’ self driving technology Cruise.

Back home, unaffected by the negative buyer sentiments automotive companies have kick-started their launch campaigns ahead of the festive season some even riding on the power of celebrities.

Here is the complete list of this week's major developments in the automotive space.

Mercedes G63, Ford facelift Aspire launched  

German luxury giant Mercedes-Benz launched the AMG G63 priced at Rs 2.19 crore(ex-showroom). The SUV is powered by a 4-litre twin-turbo petrol that churns out 585 hp at 6,000 rpm and 850 Nm of peak torque. A 9-speed automatic transmission sends power to all four wheels.

Ford India launched the updated version of its compact sedan Aspire in the range of Rs 5.55-8.49 lakh. The petrol manual versions are priced between Rs 5.55-7.24 lakh. The automatic petrol variant is tagged at Rs 8.49 lakh. The diesel trims are priced between Rs 6.45-8.14 lakh (all prices ex-showroom).

Suzuki launches V Strom and RMZ series

Suzuki Motorcycle India launched the midrange adventure tourer, V-Strom 650XT ABS at Rs 7.46 lakh (ex-showroom Delhi).  The bike is powered by a four-stroke, liquid-cooled 649 cc, 90-degree v-twin engine with peak power of 70 bhp at 8,800 rpm and 66 Nm of peak torque. The bike will be assembled in India through the completely knocked down route.

Suzuki also launched the motocross-inspired, dirt bikes under the RMZ series in India. The RM-Z250 is priced at Rs 7.1 lakh while the RM-Z450 is priced at Rs 8.31 lakh (ex-showroom, Delhi). Both bikes are meant for off-roading and are not road legal.

Honda 2Ws to expand capacity

Honda Motorcycle and Scooter India (HMSI) the country’s second largest two-wheeler manufacturer said it will invest Rs 630 crore to set up a new assembly line in its Gujarat plant for expanding its capacity by 0.6 million units per annum to seven million. The new assembly line will be commissioned by 2020. This will be the 12th assembly line for the Japanese auto major that began its independent journey in 2001.

New car sales set to record third straight drop in a row

Two of the top four passenger vehicle manufacturers posted lower sales in September compared to the same month last year stoking probability of yet another poor month of auto sales. An increase in product prices, higher fuel costs, jump in interest and insurance rates, low consumer sentiment and the on-going shraadh period (considered inauspicious for new purchases among Hindus) hit demand at the retail and wholesale level.

M&M launches Peugeot motorcycles

A 70-year hiatus for Mahindra-owned Peugeot Motorcycles ended with the Paris Motor Show 2018 when the company displayed two new concept motorcycles: the P2x Roadster and P2x Café Racer. Peugeot Motorcycles was known mainly for its scooters in Europe.

Hrithik, Aamir and Virat bat to push struggling models

Ahead of the festive season auto companies are going that extra mile to give those models a much needed push and shove that have failed to create a space for themselves independently.

After signing actor Akshay Kumar as its ambassador for its commercial vehicles Tata Motors has brought on board another actor Hrithik Roshan to promote the Tigor compact sedan. The Tata car has seen immense competition from the Maruti Suzuki Dzire which sells more than ten times the volume.

Actor Aamir Khan agreed this week to promote the Go and Go+ facelift from yet another struggling company Datsun. Both models are set to go on sale shortly this month. Datsun, a sister brand of Nissan has had a forgettable presence in India so far despite several attempts by the company to revive its fortunes.

Hero Motocorp, the country’s largest two-wheeler maker, signed on India cricket team captain Virat Kohli to promote the Xtreme 200R motorcycle. Hero has fared poorly in the motorcycle segment of 150cc and above despite several launches. The company brought on board Hrithik Roshan to push sales of Karizma without much success.

While it is very difficult to ascertain if an association with a celebrity has helped bring in new customers it has been an age-old practice within the industry. While some have worked others have failed miserably.

One of the fruitless stories is that of Maruti Suzuki’s association with veteran actor Amitabh Bachchan for the Versa, a multi-seater van in 2001. The product never took off forcing the car market leader to phase it out and relaunch it under a new brand Eeco.

More recently French car maker Renault brought on board the third generation actor from the Kapoor family Ranbir Kapoor as it ambassador for its entire range. Despite all the high-pitch campaigns sales of the company have remained disappointingly low.

Scooter and motorcycle Mahindra Two Wheelers has had more than one celebrity to endorse products. The struggling company tried its luck first with Bipasha Basu followed by Kareena Kapoor and then with Aamir Khan as its ambassadors. Volumes of the Mumbai-based company remains amongst the lowest in the industry.

Even top rated actor Salman Khan failed to revive the fortunes of Suzuki, the maker of motorcycles and scooters, as the company remains as a fringe player despite years of operation in the country.
First Published on Oct 6, 2018 01:36 pm
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