The week saw yet another new entrant in the burgeoning compact SUV segment which would go on sale in March. But the highlight of the week would be the intention made by India’s largest two-wheeler maker to make products in the future having more than just two wheels. More on this later; but first here is a complete look at what else made headlines during the week.
Renault unveils Kiger SUV
French carmaker Renault has taken the sheets off the Kiger which also marks its world debut. This is the first sub four-metre compact SUV from Renault.
Designed in India and France, the Kiger has made its world debut in India. The compact SUV will be commercially launched in March after prices and bookings are announced in the coming weeks.
Auto industry going through structural slowdown
The automobile industry in India is going through a long-term structural slowdown as the compound annual growth rate (CAGR) across all major vehicle segments has witnessed a decline over the last three decades, as per industry body SIAM.
The auto industry has been facing headwinds even before the COVID-19 pandemic derailed the entire sector last year, a research conducted by the Society of Indian Automobile Manufacturers (SIAM) has revealed.
Auto sector employees get pay hikes
With factories running at peak capacity and companies struggling to meet demand, it's probably the best time to be an employee with an automotive company.
The better-than-expected turnaround in demand has made automotive and auto parts makers to not only roll back salary cuts but also reward employees with increments.
Hyundai to bring N Line brand to India
Hyundai is finally bringing its set of performance-oriented N-Line brand to India sometime in the next few months.
Similar to Ford’s RS and Volkswagen’s GTI, the N performance cars signify Hyundai’s take on their normal street cars pumped up for more fun and better performance.
Green tax to push up truck rentals
The imposition of green tax on certain categories of vehicles by the Ministry of Road Transport and Highways (MoRTH) could push up truck rentals as their owners will likely pass on the additional cess to customers.
To be calculated on road cess, the green tax is being imposed to ‘dissuade people from using old vehicles’ as well as motivate people to switch to newer and less polluting vehicles, the government has said.
Hero to look at segments beyond two-wheelers
About 10 days ago Hero Motocorp, the country’s largest-selling two-wheeler brand, rolled out its 100 millionth two-wheeler from one of its manufacturing plants. Since 1984 the company which was back then a joint venture between the Delhi-based Munjal family and Honda Motor Company and known as Hero Honda, focussed only on motorcycles. It branched out to scooters only in 2005.
But the senior management of Hero MotoCorp has radically different plans to get to the next million. Interviews given by Pawan Munjal, Chairman and Managing Director, Hero MotoCorp to the media suggest that the company would look at other forms of mobility for the future other than motorcycles and scooters. Though Munjal did not specify if the company’s intention was to get three-wheelers, four-wheelers of something even bigger he did drop hints about Hero’s intentions about the future.
In an interview to a daily Munjal said, “Hero has rolled out a record 10 crore two-wheelers since its inception in the early 1980s, and the next 10 crore line-up in all likelihood will not only be a motorcycle, scooter or three-wheeler.”
However, this is not the first time that Hero has looked at diversification. Back in 2008 Hero formed a joint venture with German heavyweight Daimler for making trucks and buses. Hero pulled out of the JV a year later after the commercial vehicle segment saw one of its worst slowdowns ever triggered by the Lehman Brothers crisis.
Earlier this financial year Hero spoke about getting into the three-wheeler segment in its annual report. “We are evaluating various offerings in emerging mobility opportunities, including two-wheelers and three-wheelers, telematics, charging/ swapping ecosystem and mobility as a service (MaaS)”, Hero MotoCorp had said in its annual report.
Hero Motors Company makes bicycles. Hero Electric makes electric scooters. Both these entities are independent of Hero MotoCorp, having no equity holding. They all do, however, use the Hero brand name.