Here's what made headlines during the week in the automotive space
Y K Koo of Hyundai was given an extension of one year in India and he made it count. As head of company, he pushed Hyundai to the number one spot in customer satisfaction index, launched several new cars and became the driving force of the company. He, however, has decided to move back to Korea, handing over the reigns to an outsider. But that was not the only big development. Read on to find out what made headlines during the week in the automotive space.
Hyundai and Toyota appoint new heads for India
South Korean auto major Hyundai Motor Company announced Seon Seob Kim as the new head of its Indian arm as part of leadership rejig of its global operations. Kim, who is currently senior vice-president, head of Business Operations Strategy Division at Hyundai Motor Company, will take over from incumbent Y K Koo.
Toyota Kirloskar Motor announced a top-level management change with its incumbent Managing Director Akito Tachibana being replaced by Masakazu Yoshimura. The formal appointment of the new managing director will be made at the company's board meeting scheduled for January 22, 2019.
In the Roxor US launch case it is advantage Mahindra over Fiat
Three months after Fiat Chrysler Automobiles dragged Mahindra & Mahindra to court over violation of intellectual property rights (IPR), the investigative staff appointed by the US Trade Commission has barred FCA from pursuing the investigation further.
If the US Trade Commission accepts the findings of the Commission Investigative Staff, the Mumbai-based M&M will be allowed to import the Roxor off-road vehicle from India to market them locally in the US. This could prove to be a huge setback for FCA which had accused M&M of copying the Jeep’s grille design for the Roxor.
Skoda-Volkswagen to scout for engine buyers
The combine of Skoda and Volkswagen will scout for buyers for their new family of engines to be manufactured at their India factory, as part of a plan to revive fortunes in the market from 2020.
Part of the India mandate from their headquarters in Germany is to meet economies of scale and work towards a profitable long-term growth which has remained elusive for the most part of the group’s presence here. The revival project is called India 2.0
JLR lays off workers to limit output
Tata Motors-owned Jaguar Land Rover (JLR) on Friday said it is undertaking adjustment of vehicle production at its plant at Wolverhampton, central England, as a result of which 250 temporary jobs will be affected.
The company further said it will undertake a two-week production pause at the plant in December and has asked 500 workers to stay at home although they would continue to draw salaries during the period.
Triumph to launch 6 bikes in India
British superbike maker Triumph Motorcycles said it plans to launch six new products in India by June next year. The company, which has completed five years in India, also aims to grow its sales in the country by 10-12 percent annually going ahead.
It would be a mix of new and facelifts of the current models. The company also intends to expand its sales network from the current 16 dealerships to 25 over the next 3-4 years.
Carmakers line up prices hikes despite a slowing market
A severe slowdown in sales notwithstanding, select car makers are threatening a price hike from January 1, 2019 to offset multiple cost pressures since the past several months.
Increase in commodity and fuel prices, rupee depreciation, lower-than-expected sales during the festive period and a predicted boom in demand next year due to BS-VI, have prompted these companies to consider a price hike from next year.
Will the Alturas G4 do for Mahindra what the Ssangyong Rexton couldn’t?
The declining acceptability of brand SsangYong forced its parent Mahindra & Mahidra to pull the brand out of India and launch a premium SUV under the Mahindra brand. Thus, the Ssangyong G4 Rexton was rebranded as Mahindra Alturas G4 as a bet by the SUV specialist to have a crack at the premium SUV segment.
Priced at Rs 26.5 lakh, the Alturas G4 is the costliest product ever launched by M&M under its own brand. The SUV will compete against Ford Endeavour, Suzuki Vitara, Hyundai Santa fe, Hyundai Tucson, Mitsubishi Pajero and the current market leader Toyota Fortuner.
Introduced first in 2012 in India, M&M failed to popularize the SsangYong brand here even though there was lack of a strong competition. Though M&M contemplated launching at least two more products under the Korean brand (including a compact SUV) it was forced to abandon those plans following lukewarm response for the Rexton.
Pushing a relatively unknown automotive brand in India has proved to be unfruitful for other car makers too. Nissan, for instance, revived a dead brand Datsun in India and launched three cars under it. Datsun has less than 1 percent share of the Indian passenger vehicle market. Toyota decided against launching the budget-friendly Daihatsu brand in India.The segment where the Alturas G4 is launched churns out volumes of less than 3,000 a month. M&M is hoping to grab 10 percent share of the premium SUV segment. The earlier generation Ssangyong Rexton generated volumes of less than 200 a month but in the final year its volumes dipped to under 50 a month.