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Audi new launches: Audi prepares to launch half a dozen new vehicles to revive sales

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MUMBAI: Mumbai: German automaker Audi will launch over half dozen new vehicles in India over the next one year with a focus on youth and first-time luxury car buyers to revive demand and arrest the decline in its sales in the country.

The company discontinued several of its high-selling models in India and stopped selling diesel-engine vehicles from April this year when the country upgraded to the BS-VI emission norms, further impacting its sales.

On Friday, Audi launched the Q2 compact sport utility vehicle at a starting price of about Rs 35 lakh, which will be its most affordable vehicle in the country. This will be followed by at least six new vehicles over the coming 12 months as the company repopulates its portfolio in the country. This will include the e-tron electric vehicle.

Presently, Audi sells only six different models in the country including the Q2, as per its website. In comparison, rivals Mercedes Benz and BMW have over 20 models each while Jaguar Land Rover has over a dozen models on offer.

“We will continue to bring more models into the country both on the volume side and on the niche side,” said Balbir Singh Dhillion, head of Audi India. “We want to address not only our existing customers, but also a lot of first time buyers who want to upgrade to the luxury segment. With Q2 we are going to address a lot of prospective buyers which we couldn’t address till now.”

Audi will be importing the Q2 into the country rather than assembling it locally. The company has already received over 100 bookings for the vehicle.

Not just the response for the Q2, but the overall recovery in sales too was much better than anticipated as the country slowly opens up, Dhillon told ET.

However, with the luxury car market estimated to decline by 40% this year due to the economic impact of the pandemic, Audi’s sales are expected to dip below 3,000 units – less than it sold in 2010.

Audi had become the largest luxury-car maker in India in 2013. However, the company’s sales peaked at 11,192 units a year in 2015 before declining to just 4,594 units in 2019. Meanwhile, rivals Mercedes Benz and BMW sold 13,786 and 9,000 cars last year in India.


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Tata Motors sees better second half even as it prepares for hard Brexit

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BENGALURU – India’s Tata Motors Ltd forecast a stronger second half on Tuesday as sales of its Jaguar Land Rover (JLR) vehicles improved in key markets even as it continued to grapple with the COVID-19 pandemic and uncertainties over a hard Brexit.

The global health crisis has hammered sales for automakers worldwide and compounded problems for the company’s luxury unit, which, like most companies, will have to face a wall of bureaucracy as Britain casts off from the European Union from Jan. 1.

Tata Motors said while it was prepared for any friction at the border, it hoped for clarity on Brexit to avoid supply chain disruptions and better manage its inventory.

“In the situation of a hard Brexit, we expect to see tariffs definitely come through but we also expect depreciation of the pound, and so the net impact needs to be seen,” Chief Financial Officer PB Balaji told reporters after Tata Motors posted a quarterly loss.

While the automaker may need to correct its inventory level to an extent, it does not have any immediate plans to move production, Balaji said.

Tata Motors posted a consolidated net loss of 3.14 billion rupees ($42.47 million) for the second quarter ended Sept. 30, as retail sales at JLR, which accounts for a major portion of its profit, fell 12%.

Total revenue from operations fell 18% to 535.3 billion rupees, the carmaker said in a filing with the exchange.

The company said it had saved 600 million pounds ($782 million) during the quarter at JLR under Project Charge and was on track to achieve the full-year target of 2.5 billion pounds.


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Harley Davidson partners with Hero MotoCorp to sell motorcycles in India

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NEW DELHI: US-based motorcycle maker Harley-Davidson Tuesday partnered with the country’s largest two-wheeler maker to sell and service its products in the country.

Per a distribution agreement, Hero MotoCorp will sell and service Harley-Davidson motorcycles, and sell parts, accessories and general merchandise riding gear and apparel through a network of brand-exclusive Harley-Davidson dealers and Hero’s existing dealership network in India.

As part of a licensing agreement, Hero MotoCorp will develop and sell a range of premium motorcycles under the Harley-Davidson brand name.

These actions are aligned with Harley-Davidson’s business overhaul, The Rewire, and the company’s announcement in September to change its business model in India.

This arrangement is mutually beneficial for both companies and riders in India, as it brings together the iconic Harley-Davidson brand with the strong distribution network and customer service of Hero MotoCorp, said the latter in a statement.


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Kinetic Green plans to set up electric golf cart unit, battery swapping facility

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Mumbai: EV maker Kinetic Green is looking to set up a manufacturing facility for electric golf carts besides a battery swapping unit at an investment of Rs 1,750 crore in Andhra Pradesh, a top company official said. Kinetic Green Energy & Power Solutions, which is a part of the Pune-based Kinetic Group, had in February 2018 announced setting up of a joint venture with Tonino Lamborghini in India for design and manufacture of premium segment golf carts and other electric off-road vehicles.

“We are exploring the possibility of setting up a unit in SEZ for the golf cart project. It is in the proposal phase. It is a combination of a unit in SEZ and we are also looking at investment in setting up battery swapping (infrastructure) to promote electric three-wheelers irrespective of the brand,” Kinetic Green founder and CEO Sulajja Firodia Motwani told in an interaction.

She said the company has submitted a proposal to the Andhra Pradesh government, and it is awaiting the government’s response.

Motwani said the two projects– setting up a manufacturing facility for electric golf carts and a battery swapping unit — entail an investment of Rs 1,750 crore.

“For Lamborghini , we are looking to set up a plant in SEZ because that will allow us to have an attractive export opportunity,” she said adding that separately, the company is looking at setting up a battery swapping unit for three-wheelers.

“We are looking at these opportunities as part of our proposal,” Motwani added.

She said Andhra Pradesh is the largest three-wheeler market in the country but only for the high-speed three-wheelers.

“There is no e-rickshaw market there. So, if you have to penetrate in the high-speed market you have to have battery swapping (facility) because then the vehicle becomes very attractive.”

Kinetic Green plans to set up the battery swapping infrastructure in the key cities of Andhra Pradesh so that three-wheelers can be sold in a large number, Motwani said.

“The network that we are looking at is not only for our three- wheelers but for any brand,” he added.


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