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BMW Motorrad sales increase 7 per cent to 2,563 units in 2020

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NEW DELHI: BMW Motorrad, the two-wheeler arm of German luxury carmaker BMW, on Tuesday, said its sales increased 6.65 per cent last year at 2,563 units from 2,403 units in 2019. In the last quarter of 2020 (October-December), the dispatches grew by over 51 per cent as compared to the same period in 2019.

“In a particularly tough year, BMW Motorrad once again delivered a stellar performance against all odds and became the number one selling premium motorcycle brand. This hard-earned success came on the back of carefully planned launches, a visionary strategy and most importantly – our relentless focus on what our customers desire,” BMW Group India President Vikram Pawah said in a statement.

The winning combination of the company’s products with outstanding aftersales and attractive financial solutions is the centrepiece of this success, he added.

“Our aim is to continuously grow the BMW Motorrad community and culture here in India and we will keep delivering on that promise,” Pawah said.

The company said sales momentum last year was primarily driven by G 310 R and the G 310 GS motorcycles which commanded a share of over 80 per cent in the yearly sales.


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Luxury carmakers line up 70 launches for 2021, expect V-shaped recovery

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Mumbai / New Delhi: Luxury carmakers in the country are betting on a V-shaped recovery with most predicting 25-40% growth in sales this calendar year, driven by more than one car hitting the roads every week on an average.

Luxury carmakers have lined up about 70 launches – including all-new models, facelifts and variants – this year, which is almost double of Covid-hit 2020 when lockdowns and supply chain challenges forced most firms to defer rolling out of new vehicles.

The biggest product action will come from BMW, which plans 25 launches this year, followed by market leader Mercedes Benz with 15 new products planned and Jaguar Land Rover with 10. Audi and Volvo have lined up seven and five new launches, respectively, this calendar while another 6-8 launches will come from sports car and super luxury car makers such as Porsche, Lamborghini, Ferrari, and Rolls Royce.

Mercedes Benz India managing director Martin Schwenk said the industry will get back to a normal growth track in 2021-2022 with customer base will grow on the back of financial growth in the Indian economy.

“We expect to grow by over 40% for the next two years,” Schwenk told ET. “The fundamentals of GDP growth and per capita will drive demand. The momentum is there; it is carried forward by new products. There is a generally positive market outlook. New products will definitely help us to sustain the momentum. It will be a completely fresh portfolio of 15 cars.”

Industry officials expects the luxury car market to record sale of 28,000 to 33,000 units in 2021, up from 20,000-21,000 last year.

As the economic recovery gains momentum and sentiment improves on the back of Covid-19 vaccination drive and fall in new infections, vehicle makers are confident of a strong double digit growth.

Balbir Singh Dhillon, head of Audi India, said the worst is over for the luxury car market. It will be a busy 2021 from Audi with a clear strategy focused on four pillars on strength – customer centricity, digitalisation, network and products, he said. The company aims to more than double its volumes in 2021.

BMW expects a minimum of 25-30% growth in 2021. Vikram Pawah, MD of BMW India, said the company has seen rapid recovery month on month after the third quarter of 2020.

“We will aim to outpace the market because of 25 new launches planned for 2021,” Pawah told ET. “This has to be the highest level of product action from the company. The demand for personal mobility is moving up, it is evident from consumer behaviour. With the time to spend with our family, there is a lack of international and local travel, there are a lot of driving holiday concepts coming up as well, which is increasing the demand for premium and luxury cars as well.”

Rohit Suri, MD of JLR India, said the British luxury carmaker owned by Tata Motors has planned 10 new product actions for 2021 on the back of quick recovery.


LUXURY EVs DRIVING IN


It is going to be an action packed year for luxury electric vehicles, too, with Jaguar I-Pace, Mini Cooper electric car, Audi E-Tron, Porsche Taycan, Tesla Model S and Volvo XC40 Recharge expected to hit the roads.

A Volvo Cars India spokesperson said the Swedish luxury carmaker expects its sales pace to further improve in 2021 on the back of all-new S60 to be launched in March followed by all-new electric vehicle XC40 Recharge.

While the industry is bullish, experts foresee bottlenecks of supply chain and high taxes continuing to impact overall market recovery.

Ravi Bhatia, president of automotive industry analytics firm Jato Dynamics India, said the premium vehicle segment has struggled for growth in India with sales halving since 2018 from 41,000 to about 20,000 in 2020.

“There are several factors holding back the growth of the luxury market in India,” he said. “The OEMs (original equipment manufacturers) continue to struggle with growth in face of heavy taxation and limited size of ultra HNIs (high net-worth individuals) in India. Also, culturally, Indians are uncomfortable with bold and in-your-face display of wealth. This has forced luxury carmakers to play on backfoot, be it in product, pricing and distribution strategy.”

Bhatia said sluggishness in the market may continue in 2021 and supply side challenges, especially on the semi-conductor front, may play a spoilsport due to high dependence on chipsets in luxury cars. This may not allow the industry to reach the 2019 sales levels of 33,000 units, he said.

While the Indian luxury car market is struggling, the Chinese luxury car market has grown from strength to strength to reach 3.6 million last year.


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Tata Motors hikes prices of passenger vehicles in a bid to offset rising input costs

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NEW DELHI: Tata Motors on Friday said it has increased prices of its passenger vehicle (PV) range by up to Rs 20,000 to offset rising input costs and semiconductors. The company joins others like Maruti Suzuki and Mahindra & Mahindra, which have also hiked their vehicles’ prices. “Rising input costs and material costs of steel, precious metals and semiconductors have compelled the company to pass on the part of the cost to customers,” Tata Motors said in a regulatory filing. The company further said, “Tata Motors has marginally increased prices from 0 to Rs 26,000, depending on the variant.

Continuing its commitment towards customers, the company will also offer protection from the price increase to customers who have booked Tata passenger vehicles on or before January 21, it added.

Tata Motors currently sells PVs ranging from hatchback Tiago with starting price of Rs 4.7 lakh to SUV Harrier tagged at Rs 19.1 lakh (ex-showroom Delhi).

Tata Motors said its PV business has been witnessing strong demand for its ‘New Forever’ range of Cars & SUVs and grew by 39 per cent in financial year 2021 over financial year20.

In the third quarter of financial year 2021, Tata Motors also registered the highest ever sales in the last 33 quarters and continues to work on debottlenecking the supply chain and ramping up its output to meet the increased demand, it added.

On Monday, Maruti Suzuki India had said it increased the price for select models by up to Rs 34,000 to offset the adverse impact of rising input costs. Earlier this month, Mahindra & Mahindra announced a hike in prices of its range of personal and commercial vehicles by around 1.9 per cent.


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Long road for Tesla in India with infrastructure, supply chain woes

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NEW DELHI: Tesla Inc is gearing up for an India launch but the U.S. electric carmaker is likely to remain a niche player for years, catering only to the rich and affluent in the world’s second-most populous nation.

India’s fledgling electric vehicle (EV) market accounted for only 5,000 out of a total 2.4 million cars sold in the country last year. A lack of local production of components and batteries, negligible charging infrastructure and the high cost of EVs mean there have been few takers in the price-conscious market.

It’s also difficult to see how Tesla’s sought-after and expensive autonomous driving features will work on India’s congested roads.

Ammar Master, a forecaster at consultancy LMC Automotive, said he expects Tesla to annually sell only 50-100 of its Model 3 electric sedans in India, at least in the first five years.

“As a country, India is still not so environmentally conscious to pay that much of a premium,” Master said.

“It always comes down to the price point. There will be some high net-worth individuals like movie stars and top business executives who will look at it for the brand value. But then, how many buyers are there?”

The world’s most valuable automobile manufacturer registered a local company in India earlier this month, a step towards its entry in the country, expected to be as early as mid-2021.

Tesla plans to import and sell the Model 3 in India for around $65,000-$75,000 – roughly double the price in the U.S. market, sources familiar with the plans said.

This means it will compete in India’s even smaller luxury EV segment that has recently started seeing interest from the likes of Jaguar Land Rover (JLR) and Daimler’s Mercedes Benz.

The Mercedes Benz EQC, India’s first luxury EV launched in October for $136,000, and has since sold 31 units, according to auto researcher JATO Dynamics. British luxury carmarker JLR, owned by India’s Tata Motors, plans to launch its I-PACE EV before March. It sells in the United States for around $70,000.

Although India’s road infrastructure has improved in recent years, traffic discipline – like lane driving – is still rudimentary. Auto analysts say that means many of Tesla’s features like the automatic lane changing function will be tough to deploy on crowded Indian streets.

Stray animals, including cattle, and potholes on the road are a further problem.

“Most of Tesla’s high technology features will be redundant and users will not get the bang for the buck despite paying premium prices”, said Ravi Bhatia, president for India at JATO Dynamics.

LOCAL PRODUCTION
Rohan Patel, a senior public policy executive at Tesla in the United States, is among those leading efforts around its India launch, the sources familiar with the plans said. The EV giant is looking to hire 15-20 people mainly for sales and marketing, one source said.

Tesla and Patel did not respond to a request for comment.

India has some of the world’s most polluted cities and wants more clean cars on its roads, but the federal government still does not have a comprehensive policy like China which mandates carmakers to invest in the segment.

One reason is that auto manufacturers have pushed back saying there is no demand for EVs in India as costs of components like batteries remain high, and push up prices.

And Tesla CEO Elon Musk has himself expressed concern about India’s high import taxes on cars.

In contrast to India, China sold 1.25 million new energy passenger vehicles, including EVs, in 2020 out of total sales of 20 million.

Tesla is a major player in China, which last year accounted for more than a third of the carmaker’s global sales, according to JATO Dynamics, and where it also has a factory.

Daniel Ives of U.S.-based Wedbush Securities said however that within 7-8 years, India could account for 5% of Tesla’s total sales. The key to success, however, will be local manufacturing, he said.

“It is a matter of when, not if, they build out a factory in India,” said Ives, adding that building out a local supply chain will be a multi-year effort.

“India is a potential sweet spot and Tesla does not want to be late to the game.”


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