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Last Updated : Oct 19, 2019 01:52 PM IST | Source:

This week in Auto: EVs set to become the jugular vein for India; Chetak makes a roaring comeback

Here is a complete run down of all the important events of the week in the automotive space

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The unveiling of the all-electric Chetak by Bajaj Auto set the news charts on fire during the week. Social media was abuzz with the pictures of the 1970s best-seller making a starry comeback in an electric avatar.

Chetak would be just one of the several dozen electric vehicles lining up for launch, eager to bite into the growing pie. More on this later in the copy but here is a complete run down of all the important events of the week in the automotive space.


Ratan Tata to invests in Tork Motors

Electric vehicle startup Tork Motors on October 14 said Ratan Tata has decided to invest an undisclosed amount in the company.

Previously, the Pune-based company has raised funds from Bharat Forge and Bhavish Aggarwal (Founder of Ola cabs). Tork Motors is gearing up to launch its flagship electric motorcycle in the next few months.

 Demand recovery more than a year away: TVS Motor

A series of price increases by two-wheeler companies in recent quarters partly to cover for higher costs from the upcoming Bharat State VI emission norms will push back demand recovery in the segment by at least a year, a top executive of TVS Motor Company said.

Rising fuel prices, increasing raw material costs, enforcement of new vehicle braking laws, and hike in third-party insurance premiums are some other reasons for price hikes in two-wheelers, causing a meltdown in retail demand.

Mercedes launches G-class at Rs 1.5 crore

German luxury auto major Mercedes-Benz expanded its product range in the domestic market on October 16 with the launch of its new BSVI-compliant G-class sports utility vehicle (SUV), G350d.

The G-Class is the top model among luxury off-road vehicles in the Indian market. The diesel variant will be priced at Rs 1.50 crore (ex-showroom).

 Bajaj unveils electric Chetak

Over two decades after pulling out its last scooter from the market Bajaj Auto has made a comeback in the segment with the launch of an all-electric Chetak, the brand that made it India's biggest two-wheeler company.

The price of the Chetak will be announced at a later date at the time of its commercial launch, but Rajiv Bajaj, MD, Bajaj Auto said that the scooter will be priced attractively. The scooter will be commercially launched in January, 2020.

Mahindra to bypass hybrids for electric vehicles

Sport utility vehicle specialist Mahindra & Mahindra will focus on developing electric vehicles for itself and for its new partner Ford, even as competitors like Maruti Suzuki, Toyota and Honda put their weight behind hybrid technology.

The maker of Scorpio and Bolero is presently engaged in developing an affordable electric vehicle solution for one of Ford’s sedans, which is yet to get formal approval from both the companies.

TVS Motor net profit jumps 20%

TVS Motor Company has reported a 20 percent jump in its Q2FY20 standalone net profit at Rs 255 crore against Rs 211.31 in the same quarter last year.

Revenues were down 13 percent at Rs 4,347.8 crore versus Rs 4,993.47 crore. Earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortization (EBITDA) was down 10.8 percent at Rs 382 crore versus Rs 428.1 crore.

EVs set to becomes the jugular vein for India

The unveiling of the electric Chetak by Bajaj Auto in the presence of union minister Nitin Gadkari pushed electric vehicles into the limelight amongst all automotive news during the week.

The minister reiterated that it was essential and inevitable for the automotive industry to embrace the electric vehicle evolution if they have to stay relevant for tomorrow.

Also on stage was Bajaj Auto managing director Rajiv Bajaj who admitted that he was amazed to see the pace of interest the electric vehicle industry, howsoever, nascent and small it may be, has generated among a variety of entrepreneurs and start-ups.

“It is to our amazement how people who have spent their whole life making batteries or motors or just plain steel, suddenly want to put a coat on their stuff and manufacture electric vehicles as if it happens just with the click of your fingers. And you will be more amazed to see how sometimes people, who have done nothing but imported air conditioners, mobiles and refrigerators from China suddenly want to revolutionise our roads by making EVs out of thin air. Then there are existing two-wheeler makers who when it comes to making EVs invest in South-based companies as if it is the job of someone else to make EVs for them”, said Bajaj without naming any companies.

A range of companies having no experience of vehicle manufacturing such as Micromax, JSW Energy, Greaves Cotton and Exide had decided to jump into the EV bandwagon. JSW even promised to pump in Rs 6,500 crore in the EV venture only to pull out of it without providing any reasons.

This is also the first time in many years that new entities or business families who have never made a vehicle before are entering the automotive sector. Until now the auto sector, which thrives on brand value and cutting edge engineering, was the exclusive preserve of decades-old known brands of Indian and western origin.

More than a dozen start-ups have sprang up, some literally within a fortnight, all across India, promising to launch electric vehicles. Some have found the backing of known entrepreneurs like Pawan Munjal and Ratan Tata and companies such as TVS Motor, Hero Motocorp and Bharat Forge.

An equally large number of small companies have rolled out electric vehicles after benefiting from the central government’s subsidy. These are affordable and easy on pocket two and three-wheelers, some of which are direct copies of some Chinese counterparts. Multiple Chinese companies have also registered in India to sell electric vehicles.

Government of India wants to convert all vehicles to electric in an unspecified time frame. For this it is laying down a framework that houses a charging ecosystem, manufacturing incentives and vehicle scrappage scheme.

Last year saw 26.26 million vehicle sales in India including 21.18 million two-wheelers and 3.37 million passenger vehicles. With strong fundamentals this market is expected to rise to 46 million by 2030, as per NITI Aayog expectations. A small chunk (maybe 10 percent) may switch to electric which translates to about 5 million. The Indian automotive pie is too big to be ignored by anybody.

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First Published on Oct 19, 2019 09:56 am
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