Here is a look at all the major news developments in the auto space this week
Earlier in the week the Ministry of Road Transport and Highways said it is open to take suggestion to amend the Motor Vehicle Amendment Act 2019.
It has invited suggestions for vehicle recall and driving licence among other - two high impact subjects for manufacturers and general public, respectively.
More on this later in the copy, here is a look at all the major news developments in the auto space this week.
Small cars making a comeback?
Is COVID-19 helping small cars, otherwise overshadowed by the likes of SUVs, make a comeback?
It may seem so if auto sales data of May is taken as an indicator show that social distancing norms may have fueled demand for small cars as first-time car buyers came to the market.
Shelby to enter India
American race car brand Shelby is keen on not just beginning sales operations in India, but its Europe-based distributor is in talks with a few companies to build the iconic and expensive cars in the country.
Coronavirus and the ensuing economic slowdown has delayed Shelby’s entry into India which was otherwise planned for 2019.
Bharat Forge to make ventilators
Pune-based forging giant Bharat Forge has signed a time-bound non-exclusive licence agreement with NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) to manufacture and supply ventilators.
The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) developed a ventilator specifically for coronavirus patients at the JPL in Southern California.
Bajaj beats Hero in May in sales
Pune-based Bajaj Auto clocked total sales of 112,798 units in the domestic and export markets in May. In comparison Hero MotoCorp sold 112,682 units during the same month in both the markets.
Honda sues Hero Electric
Japan’s largest two-wheeler manufacturer Honda Motor Company has dragged India’s biggest electric two-wheeler maker Hero Electric to court over alleged design infringement.
Honda has sought an interim order from the Delhi High Court restraining Hero Electric from manufacturing, selling, exporting, or advertising a scooter model developed by Hero called Dash.
Ashok Leyland to shift to new platform
Ashok Leyland, the flagship company of the Hinduja Group, has launched its range of modular trucks, AVTR built on a Rs 500 crore platform with BS-VI technology. The platform is a first of its kind in the Indian commercial vehicle industry.
This new platform, which will replace all Ashok Leyland products for the Indian market, will be available in five engine options having a power range of 200-360 hp. It will be available in the 18.5 to 55 tonne load capacity which is the medium and heavy category.
JLR secures $704.5 million term loan
Jaguar Land Rover (JLR), owned by India's Tata Motors, has entered into agreements with lenders in China for a secured term loan facility of 5 billion yuan ($704.50 million), marking its first debt financing in China, it said.
Arthur Yu, JLR's vice president and China chief financial officer, said the Chinese banks that would provide it with the three-year revolving loan include Bank of China, ICBC, China Construction Bank, Bank of Communications and Shanghai Pudong Development Bank.
Road ministry invites public suggestions for licence, vehicle recall
The Ministry of Road Transport and Highways has re-invited suggestions and comments from all stakeholders including general public on the proposed amendment in the Motor Vehicle Rules.
The rules pertain to registration of new vehicles, driving licences, and recall of old vehicles. These notifications were earlier issued on March 18 this year.
The Centre however felt that the stakeholders need adequate opportunity to examine the notification again and provide comments and suggestions which in earlier case got affected due to conditions of lockdown.
Learner’s licence and dealer point registration of vehicles and vehicle recall policy were some of the highlights of Motor Vehicle Amendment Act 2019. The government is now inviting suggestions, including from general public on the same.
Last year the government decided to do away with the requirement of minimum educational qualification for obtaining driving licence. This is despite the fact that road signage and other transport related information are mentioned in regional language and in English throughout the road network in India. Drivers of transport and commercial vehicles drive the vehicle irrespective of state borders.
Perhaps the biggest change in the Motor Vehicle Act was the insertion of vehicle recall law. India never had an official vehicle recall policy. This saw individual vehicle owners challenge vehicle makers in the courts of law instead of making the government become a party to it.
The government can force a vehicle maker to do a recall of a particular model is a certain percentage of owners, testing agency or any other source asks deem it fit. For defective vehicle the government even proposed a fine ranging from Rs 10 lakh to Rs 1 crore on the manufacturer.
The measures taken by the government in the MVAA will safeguard interest of the buyer much better especially in the absence of a definitive national vehicle recall policy. Moreover manufacturers will be more vigilant in avoiding malpractices right down to the dealer and sub-dealer level.The government has now invited suggestions over procedure of recall, procedure to detail investigating officer, investigation in time bound manner (0-6 months) and role of testing agencies. In addition obligations of manufacturers, importers and retrofitters and accreditation of testing agencies also needs fine tuning.