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Indian auto sector has opportunity to emerge as global hub, chance must not be wasted: Pawan Munjal

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New Delhi: The COVID-19 pandemic presents an opportunity for the Indian automobile and components sector to become a global hub, thereby helping the country become self-reliant and such a chance must not be wasted, Hero MotoCorp CMD and CEO Pawan Munjal said on Saturday.

Speaking at the annual session of Auto Components Manufacturers Association of India (ACMA), Munjal said the auto sector can also lead the way for other industries in India in responding to Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s “clarion call” for Aatmanirbhar Bharat.

“The silver lining in this pandemic is the Honorable Prime Minister’s clarion call and push for an Aatmanirbhar Bharat — I believe that going forward we, and our sector can be the growth engine for bringing alive Atmanirbhar Bharat, a self-reliant India, by all of connecting, communicating and collaborating on multiple fronts such as innovation, engineering and R&D,” Munjal said.

Stating that India’s biggest advantage and key asset is its unique position of “having the world’s largest youth population, giving us a clear edge over many other countries”, he said, “I know, it is through the principle of Aatmanirbhar Bharat that our industry has the opportunity to become a global hub in the very near future.

“Collectively, we have to have the vision to strive to not only make it happen for our sector, we have to lead other industries into thinking like us.”

He further said, “I urge all of us here to not let this crisis to go waste. By connecting, communicating and collaborating, we can not only help each other, we can also help our nation to reach her goal of Aatmanirbhar Bharat.”

The world today is racing to develop a vaccine for COVID-19, and the process, which usually takes decades, has been fast-tracked as research laboratories, drug manufacturers and healthcare services are collaborating with each other for an antidote, Munjal said.

“A similar reliance on partnerships and collaborations is essential between Indian auto and component manufacturers and their global partners and counterparts as an antidote to stagnation and de-growth and to evolve world-class and technologically advanced mobility solutions for the future.”

For India to become the global automotive hub, Munjal said, “We must invest in technology, quality upgradation and most importantly in digitalisation in the context of today and the future.”

He also asserted that “the post-Covid reality is not a detour, it is a new highway to future growth that we must traverse with resilience, agility and innovation on the wings of connection, communication and collaboration.”

Exuding complete confidence in the ability Indian automakers and component suppliers, he said they can “race ahead in the face of adversity and together turn it into an opportunity for us”.

Equally, he said, “The government should play its part to facilitate regulatory approvals and improve logistical infrastructure, which has stymied competitiveness of Indian companies.”

Munjal also acknowledged the “other reality” of huge challenges faced by suppliers in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic and successive waves of lockdowns and the large-scale migration of workers, making availability of skilled manpower an issue.

“Additionally, they have to deal with lack of consistency in COVID-19 protocols across and within states. Even the protocols for testing for COVID-19 are not standardised. All these are affecting continuity in manufacturing operations just as productivity is impacted by the fewer number of workers on the shop floor on account of social distancing,” Munjal said.

Commenting on Hero MotoCorp’s performance, Munjal said the company has witnessed a revival in demand in select pockets over the past two months.

Sales have picked up in rural and semi-urban markets owing to the growth in the rural economy and stimulus provided by government schemes, he said.

In urban areas, due to social distancing needs and limited availability of public transportation, customers are showing a preference for personal transportation, he added.

“Our rural sales have outpaced urban sales in the first quarter of the current fiscal year. We anticipated the shift early on and prepared for that well in advance. We worked closely with our suppliers and dealers to restart our operations after the lockdown. We are now faced with the fortunate situation of having more demand than supply, and we are working closely and collaborating with our supply chain partners,” Munjal added.

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Tesla (TSLA) earnings Q4 2020

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Employees work at the Tesla Gigafactory in Shanghai, east China, Nov. 20, 2020. U.S. electric car company Tesla in 2019 built its first Gigafactory outside the United States in the new Lingang area, with a designed annual production capacity of 500,000 units.

Ding Ting | Xinhua News Agency | Getty Images

Tesla is expected to report 2020 fourth quarter results on Wednesday after the bell, and to offer guidance for the first quarter and full year ahead.

Here’s what analysts are expecting, according to an average of estimates compiled by Refinitiv as of Wednesday:

  • Earnings: $1.03 per share expected
  • Revenue: $10.4 billion expected

And here’s what guidance Wall Street expects from Tesla for the full year ahead:

  • 2021 earnings guidance: $4.15 per share expected
  • 2021 revenue guidance: $46.09 billion expected

Tesla previously said it had delivered 499,550 vehicles in 2020, falling barely shy of its guidance for half a million vehicle deliveries in 2020. (Deliveries are the closest approximation of sales numbers disclosed by Tesla.) It produced 509,737 vehicles during the year.

Both deliveries and production numbers set a new record for Elon Musk’s maturing electric car company, seen as a triumph in a year when auto sales and factory operations were dampened by a global pandemic.

Starting around the end of 2019, Tesla has said that it expects to report positive cash flow and net income moving forward, with possible exceptions around the launch and ramp in production of new products or facilities. Last quarter was its fifth consecutive quarter of profitability — which led to the addition of the company to the S&P 500.

Tesla is currently building new factories in Austin, Texas, and Brandenburg, Germany, after quickly constructing and reaching a high volume of production at its last new plant in Shanghai.

Vehicle sales in China largely enabled Tesla to hit record deliveries in 2020. So did the introduction of a new crossover SUV, the Model Y, which Tesla began to produce in serious volumes in the first quarter last year out of its Fremont, California car plant.

By the period ending in September 2020, Tesla was making more Model Ys than Model 3s for US drivers, according to NHTSA records on light vehicle production. The company has not historically broken out sales numbers by region, or precise model. Instead it combines sales of Model Y and 3, and Model S and X.

Since Tesla’s third quarter earnings call in October 2020, the price of the company’s stock has more than doubled, giving it a market capitalization of more than $835 billion and making it the fifth-most valuable company in the U.S.

This is breaking news. Please check back for updates.


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GM returning with two ads focused on electric vehicles

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One of General Motors’ two Super Bowl ads this year will feature the Cadillac Lyriq. In this provided screenshot of the Cadillac ad, the Lyriq appears to be in the fictional neighborhood of 1990’s “Edward Scissorhands” movie.

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DETROIT – General Motors will air two commercials during this year’s Super Bowl advertising its all-electric vehicles, the company confirmed Wednesday to CNBC.

One of the 60-second ads will feature the company’s new focus on electric vehicles — GM’s first corporate spot in more than a decade — while the other will feature the automaker’s luxury Cadillac brand and its upcoming Lyriq crossover EV.

GM is launching the new ad campaign after recently redesigning its corporate logo to better represent the its pivot to EVs, including 30 new models globally under a $27 billion investment in electric and autonomous vehicles through 2025. The redesigned logo accompanies a new “everyone in” tagline.

“General Motors is creating a movement by making EVs fun, desirable and accessible for people from every walk of life,” GM Chief Marketing Officer Deborah Wahl said in a statement. “We’re excited to demonstrate the tremendous energy and enthusiasm behind our EV commitment by showing up big at this year’s Super Bowl with both GM and Cadillac.”

A GM spokesman declined to discuss further details of the ads, which will likely to be released prior to their national broadcasts during next Sunday’s Super Bowl LV between the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Kansas City Chiefs.

Cadillac Chief Marketing Officer Melissa Grady separately said the brand’s Super Bowl ad “will surprise and delight audiences by transporting an iconic piece of pop-culture history into the future.” She said it will feature the Lyriq as well as the company’s Super Cruise hands-free driver assist system. It will be Cadillac’s first time advertising during the Super Bowl since 2012.

This will be GM’s second-consecutive year of advertising during the Super Bowl. A year ago, the company previewed its all-electric GMC Hummer EV pickup. The 30-second ad featured NBA star LeBron James and teased the new vehicle, which is expected to go on sale this fall.


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Fiat Chrysler to pay $30 million to settle federal corruption probe

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UAW President Rory Gamble (left) and U.S. Attorney Matthew Schneider announce a settlement agreement to end a years-long corruption investigation into the union on Dec. 14, 2020 in Detroit.

Michael Wayland / CNBC

Stellantis, formerly Fiat Chrysler, has agreed to pay $30 million as part of a plea deal to settle a criminal investigation into collusion and bribery of union officials by former executives of the company’s North American operations.

The deal, which was announced Wednesday by federal prosecutors in Detroit, ends a multiyear federal probe into Fiat Chrysler and the United Auto Workers union. Prosecutors announced a separate plea deal last month with the UAW.

It’s unclear at this time when Stellantis will pay the fine as the agreement remains subject to U.S. federal court approval.

Under terms of the deal, the company agreed to plead guilty to a single count of conspiracy to violate the Labor Management Relations Act.

The agreement also requires the company to hire an independent compliance monitor for three years. That person will oversee the dissolution of a training facility at the center of the probe, among other things, according to the company

The investigation has led to convictions of 15 people, including two past UAW presidents, three Fiat Chrysler executives and a former General Motors board member who was a union leader. Prison sentences for those involved have ranged from 60 days to 6½ years. A handful of people are still awaiting sentencing.


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