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Increasing production, sales during festive season our focus right now, says SIAM

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NEW DELHI: The auto sector’s priority right now is to fight coronavirus and increase production and sales to cater to the festive season demand, while other important matters like reduction in GST rate on two-wheelers could be taken up at a later stage, industry body SIAM said on Friday. “Right now, nationally and globally everybody is fighting the coronavirus. We will have to collaborate and integrate our effort to fight this pandemic. It is the priority right now,” Society of Indian Automobile Manufacturers (SIAM) President Kenichi Ayukawa told reporters.

He was responding to a query if the industry body has made another attempt in the hope of convincing the government to cut the GST rate on two-wheelers.

In August, Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman had said two-wheelers were neither a luxury nor sin goods and so merit a GST revision.

But in the August 27 GST Council meeting, nothing materialised and the tax rate remained the same.

Two-wheelers attract 28 per cent GST and the two-wheeler industry has been demanding to reduce it to 18 per cent.

Ayukawa said the priority for the industry right now was to increase production and sales in the festive season while meeting COVID-19 related safety protocols.

“So our focus is on that right now,” he noted.

On sales forecast, he said due to coronavirus nobody had a clear answer to that question.

“Need to see what happens after the festive season. We are hoping for a sustained demand going ahead,” Ayukawa said.

When asked about achieving 50 lakh sales target for passenger vehicles he said “that is our industry dream”.

“Under the current situation we have to focus on reality and how we can fight this pandemic. This is very important. I guess we will have to once again plan how to achieve volumes of 5 million, 7 million or 10 million,” Ayukawa said.

On enhanced inventory levels at dealers, he said it is the general exercise of increasing the stock at dealers before the festive season.

Ayukawa noted that rural demand has been good and now with festive season approaching the urban areas were also coming back.


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Ather Energy rolls out assured buyback scheme for e-scooter model

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Mumbai, Oct 20 () Electric vehicle maker Ather Energy on Tuesday rolled out an “assured” buyback scheme, the first of its kind in the domestic EV space, for its 450X e-scooter model, which is set to hit the road next month. Besides, the Bengaluru-based start up, which is 34.58 per cent owned by two-wheeler market leader Hero MotoCorp, also announced cutting prices of Ather 45Plus model by Rs 9,000.

Under the assured scheme, aimed at accelerating EV adoption in the country, Ather Energy will buy back Ather 450X e-scooter at Rs 85,000, at the end of three years, Tarun Mehta, co-founder and CEO, Ather Energy, said at a virtual press conference.

The company revised its subscription plans, offering more flexibility to customers, starting at Rs 125 per month.

Ather Energy has built its own li-ion battery packs and an overall robust platform in the Ather 450 product line.

The reliability of the product line has been tested since 2018 in Bengaluru and later in Chennai, and on seeing the high consistency in performance, Ather Energy has launched a unique buyback plan, the company said.

The high reliability of the product will ensure that the scooters will command a strong value in the resale market, as witnessed by existing owners of Ather 450, it added.

The revised subscription plans now offer four independent packs that the customer can choose from based on their usage–Connect Lite (for all basic connected features), Connect Pro, Service Lite (periodic maintenance, roadside assistance and labour) and Service Pro (premium service experience), according to the company.

Ather has also made the charging at public charging points, Ather Grid, free till March next year, Mehta said.

“Our faith in our product line has allowed us to create innovative solutions to make the switch to electric, easier – whether it is purchase or ownership. We believe Ather Energy’s electric scooters are going to have a fantastic value for years and will keep improving with new features which we will roll out as over the air upgrades. And to strengthen that assurance we are announcing a resale guarantee,” Mehta said.

Aside from the new buyback programme, Ather Energy has also improved some of the purchase enabling solutions for the launch of Ather 450X, it said, adding post the success of the lease model in Bengaluru and Chennai, the company will be extending the same for the Ather 450X across all cities.

The model allows the customers to access a fully loaded Ather 450X at a lower price point and a nominal monthly fee.

In the current economic context, this might be significant for a segment of customers who are unwilling to opt for a full purchase, Ather Energy said.

To reduce the overall cost of ownership of the 450X model, Bengaluru consumers can exchange their old petrol internal combustion engine-powered 2-wheeler and others can opt for low interest rate loans from multiple partners that the EV start up has tie-ups with, it said.

The revised price of Ather 450 Plus now stands at Rs 1,39,990 (ex-showroom) from Rs 1.49 lakh earlier, Ather Energy said.


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Mercedes-Benz to start local assembly of vehicle range AMG in India

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New Delhi: German luxury car maker Mercedes-Benz on Tuesday said it will start local assembly of its performance vehicle range AMG in India. The first Mercedes-AMG product to roll out of the assembly line from Mercedes-Benz India’s plant at Chakan in Pune will be the AMG GLC 43 4MATIC Coupe, the company said in a statement.

Mercedes-Benz India Managing Director and CEO Martin Schwenk said, “The decision to locally produce AMG in India underlines Mercedes-Benz’s clear road map for the Indian market and our long-term commitment to our Indian customers. We want AMG to be more accessible to the potential customers and play a bigger role in our overall portfolio we offer in India.”

He further said this decision is an important milestone towards strengthening the company’s AMG ambitions in India further.

The AMG brand over the years has become synonymous with performance motoring in India and remains highly aspirational, Schwenk said.

Mercedes-Benz’s performance sub-brand AMG has a wide portfolio of performance limousines, performance SUVs, SUV Coupes, and sports cars in India. The AMG brand has a dedicated retail presence through the AMG Performance Centres located across Indian metros.

On the decision to start with the local assembly of the AMG GLC 43 4MATIC Coupe, he said it is an important model in the company’s portfolio having the distinction of being one of the highest selling AMG models in India.

“We are proud to introduce this dynamic SUV Coupe for our Indian customers now in its ‘made in India’ version. The addition of the stylish AMG GLC 43 Coupe will further cement our strong position in the performance SUV segment,” he said.

The company is confident that the launch of the locally produced AMG GLC 43 4MATIC Coupe will drive in value and aspiration for customers and help the model retain its top preference among the discerning AMG customers, Schwenk said.

Till date, Mercedes-Benz India locally produces Mercedes Maybach S 560, S-Class, E-Class Long Wheelbase, CLA, C-Class and the GLA, GLC, GLC Coupe, long wheelbase GLE G350d and GLS luxury SUVs.

The company’s completely built imported cars portfolio includes the V-Class, CLS, C-Class Cabriolet, the G 350d, the EQC and the other products of the AMG range.


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TVS NTORQ 125 Avengers price: TVS Motor launches Marvel’s Avengers inspired scooter priced at Rs 77,865

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TVS Motor Company on Tuesday launched its Marvel’s Avengers inspired TVS NTORQ 125 SuperSquad Edition scooter priced at Rs 77,865 (ex-showroom Delhi). The company has associated with Disney India’s consumer products business to introduce the special SuperSquad edition, TVS Motor said in a regulatory filing. The special edition brings forth finer nuances associated with each Marvel Super Hero through the product design, it added.

“We have all had our favourite Super Hero, with whom we relate. We find ways to celebrate this relationship. The TVS NTORQ 125 SuperSquad Edition, gives new expression to this ageless fascination,” TVS Motor Company Vice President (Marketing) – Commuter Motorcycles, Scooters and Corporate Brand Aniruddha Haldar said.

The scooter will have the SuperSquad logo and the iconic Avengers’ ‘A’ prominently placed on the front panel, leg shield, and below the speedometer. The scooter is powered by a 125 cc engine. The company further said its TVS Connect App of the SuperSquad Edition is powered by SmartXonnect and will come with a customised user interface inspired by the Avengers’ characters.


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