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Indian carmakers beat their foreign counterparts in vehicle crash safety

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MUMBAI: Domestic automakers have led the way when it comes to making safer cars for Indian roads. Seven out of the 10 safest affordable cars plying on Indian roads are made by Tata Motors and Mahindra and Mahindra, as assessed by Global New Car Assessment Programme (G-NCAP), an initiative by a UK-based charity that lobbies for safer cars around the world.

In fact, Indian automakers were the only ones to score 5 stars on a scale of 5 for adult occupant safety in the event of a high-speed collision.

“Global NCAP is neutral in terms of origin of different car companies. But it is pleasing to see Tata and Mahindra do so well in our ‘Safer Cars For India’ ratings,” said David Ward, president of Global NCAP.

“India’s made huge progress in the last few years. It is the country that has improved the most in the last decade,” he told ET in a recent interview.

The organisation has crash-tested as many as 42 cars sold in the Indian market since 2014. Of these, it found Mahindra XUV 300, Tata Altroz and Tata Nexon to be the safest.

“My 1st source of pride is that the 5 safest cars in India are Indian,” Mahindra Group Chairman Anand Mahindra said on Twitter.

To be sure, most of the vehicles tested so far come with a price tag below Rs 10 lakh and many premium cars sold by foreign automakers have not been tested. These vehicles could be safer if crash tested.

Other cars to excel on the test include Mahindra Thar, which got a 4-star rating earlier this week. Tata Tiago and Tigor, Volkswagen Polo, Mahindra Marazzo, Toyota’s now-discontinued Etios and Maruti Suzuki Vitara Brezza also feature amongst the top-10 on the list.

Foreign automakers have been criticised for making the same cars safer for export to other countries than the ones sold in India. A recently-launched high-selling SUV in India fared much better on crash tests in the US.

“It often depends on regulatory standards. For example, in most high-income countries electronic stability control (ESC) is mandatory but is not yet in India. Since the adoption of India’s crash test standards, it is more likely that the body shell strength will be more similar. Other differences may relate to number of air bags fitted,” Ward said.

Global NCAP attracted a sharp response from Maruti Suzuki when it rated the S-Presso as a 0-star car earlier this month. The market leader in a press statement said that all its vehicles were compliant with global safety standards and were duly tested and certified by the Indian government.

“It cannot be left to the opinion of any self-proclaimed party,” Maruti Suzuki’s statement read.


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Auto dealers’ body urges FM to introduce vehicle depreciation benefits for individuals in Budget

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NEW DELHI: Ahead of the upcoming Union Budget, the Federation of Automobile Dealers Associations (FADA) on Wednesday urged Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman to introduce benefits of claiming depreciation on vehicles for income tax-paying individuals and extend the depreciation period for corporates.

In its budget recommendations, FADA also said auto dealers should be kept out of annual TCS (tax collected at source) of 0.1 per cent saying it is a huge financial burden on the automobile retail industry.

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“The upcoming 2021 Union Budget should be focused on measures to revive the Indian economy from the pandemic slowdown and boost consumption led demand.

“The Indian automobile industry is a barometer of the Indian economy and its revival will in turn pull up the economy,” FADA President Vinkesh Gulati said in a statement.

He further said, “The auto retail industry is one of the key pillars of India’s growth trajectory, contributing around 4.5 million jobs. We look forward to a demand-led growth-oriented budget.”

Gulati recalled that “Sitharaman has already expressed her intention to revive growth and boost investor confidence”.

In its budget recommendations, FADA urged the finance minister to introduce benefits of claiming depreciation on vehicles for individuals paying income tax, and extend the depreciation period for corporates.

“This will boost vehicle demand during these extraordinary times and also increase the number of individuals filing I-T (income tax) returns and promote growth in GST collection for the government,” the apex national body of automobile retailers said.

It added that the increase in depreciation rate for all types of vehicles which was valid till March 31, 2020, should also be extended for 2020-21 and it will fuel demand further.

“The Finance Bill 2020 introduced TCS of 0.1 per cent to be charged annually w.e.f October 1, 2020.

“This is a huge financial burden on the automobile retail industry, tying up working capital until dealers receive refunds. It will affect demand since vehicle acquisition costs will go up and hence auto dealers should be kept out,” FADA said.

FADA also called for reduction of corporate tax for proprietary and partnership firms saying it will boost morale and sentiment of traders, who together employ 5 million people, 2.5 million of whom are on direct employment.

“The government reduced corporate tax to 25 per cent for private limited companies with a turnover of up to Rs 400 crore last year. This benefit should also be extended to all proprietary and partnership firms since most traders in the auto dealership community are in this category,” it said.

Reiterating the demand of the auto industry for vehicle scrappage policy, FADA said the government must design a robust inspection and certification (I&C) policy or end of life vehicles (ELV) policy for vehicles in the country.

“However, as both the above policies would take time to be effectively implemented, there is a need for an immediate scheme based on incentive for encouraging voluntary scrapping of old vehicles and replacing them with newer ones. The new vehicles are cleaner and meet stringent emission requirements,” it added.

FADA said the scrappage policy implementation should be focused on incentives rather than strict mandates.

“It is more feasible to encourage people than to force them to replace their old vehicles with new ones. We have already witnessed a similar success in the voluntary surrender of gas subsidies by consumers,” it said.

All vehicles registered in India until March 31, 2000 should qualify under the modern fleet vehicle replacement scheme, it added.

Similar schemes have been successfully implemented in the US, Canada, the UK and Italy by providing fiscal incentives and concessions for replacement through a single-window fleet modernisation programme, it added.


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Hyundai Motor India Foundation inks pact with FITT-IIT Delhi

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NEW DELHI: Hyundai Motor India Foundation on Wednesday said it has signed pact with FITT-IIT Delhi to help students study alternate energy powered vehicles and emerging technologies to innovate new-age mobility solutions.

Under the memorandum of understanding (MoU), the foundation, which is the philanthropic arm of Hyundai Motor India, donated a KONA Electric for NVH (noise, vibration and harshness) and battery technology research for students of IIT Delhi, the company said in a statement.

“We are glad to collaborate with FITT (Foundation for Innovation and Technology Transfer)- IIT Delhi to support the research work of students of Centre for Automotive Research and Tribology (CART).

“Our collaborative efforts with IIT Delhi and the donation of KONA Electric will provide an opportunity for students to study and develop insights towards a brighter & greener future for the generations to come,” Hyundai Motor India MD and CEO S S Kim said.

IIT Delhi Director V Ramgopal Rao said CART at IIT Delhi will carry out various R&D projects with Hyundai in the broad area of e-mobility.

“IIT Delhi puts a lot of emphasis on engaging with industry in emerging technology areas. As per its mandate, FITT at IIT Delhi shall play a key role in deepening our collaboration with Hyundai,” he added.

Under the collaboration, CART will conduct battery profiling in KONA Electric using external sensors or other gadgets to understand the performance of the electric vehicle during different driving conditions for research and training.


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The new A4 can sprint from 0 to 100kph in 7.3 seconds and Audi India's EV strategy

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The new A4 can sprint from 0 to 100kph in 7.3 seconds and Audi India’s EV strategy

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