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India’s automobile exports drop 18.87 pc in 2020: SIAM

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New Delhi: Automobile exports from India declined 18.87 per cent in 2020, a year marked by coronavirus pandemic induced disruptions across the globe, according to the latest figures by Society of Indian Automobile Manufacturers (SIAM), Overseas shipments of vehicles in the January-December period last year stood at 38,65,138 units as against 47,63,960 units in the same period in 2019, SIAM said.

One of the main reasons for the drop in automobile exports was the dip in shipments of passenger vehicles, which were down 39.38 per cent last year at 4,28,098 units as compared to 7,06,159 units in 2019.

Passenger cars exports dropped by 47.89 per cent at 2,76,808 units last year as against 5,31,226 units exported in 2019. Utility vehicles exports also dropped by 12.60 per cent at 1,49,842 units as compared to 1,71,440 units in the previous year, according to SIAM.

Another category that contributes majorly to the export basket, two-wheelers, also suffered a dip of 12.92 per cent last year at 30,06,589 units as compared to 34,52,483 units in 2019, with scooters witnessing a decline of 37.28 per cent at 2,33,327 units as against 3,72,025 units in the previous year.

Motorcycle exports were also down 9.87 per cent in 2020 at 27,64,301 units as compared to 30,67,153 units in the previous year.

Similarly, overseas shipments of three-wheelers were down 27.71 per cent at 3,82,756 units as compared to 5,29,454 units in 2019.

SIAM said total commercial vehicles exports declined by 36.80 per cent at 44,687 units as compared to 70,702 units in 2019. RKL SHW SHW


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BMW cuts prices for its China-made electric SUV by $10,000

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A BMW iX3 electric SUV is on display during 2020 Beijing International Automotive Exhibition (Auto China 2020) at China International Exhibition Center on September 26, 2020 in Beijing, China.

Visual China Group | Getty Images

BEIJING — German automaker BMW has cut prices for its all-electric iX3 SUV in China, bringing the car into closer competition with vehicles from Tesla and Chinese start-ups like Nio.

BMW’s website said as of Thursday, the recommended retail price for the iX3 will start at 399,900 yuan ($61,713).

That’s down 70,100 yuan — or about $10,800 and 15% cheaper — versus the original price of 470,000 yuan announced in September.

“For its size the iX3 would be competing directly vs. the Tesla Model Y & NIO ES6 which both have starting prices substantially less than the iX3 prior to this cut, so BMW must’ve seen softness in the demand for the iX3 at that price point,” said Tu Le, founder of Beijing-based advisory firm Sino Auto Insights. “Bottom line it wasn’t competitive.”

BMW cut the price on a higher-end version of the iX3 by the same 70,100 yuan amount, for a new price of 439,900 yuan, down from 510,000 yuan. A representative for the company did not immediately respond to an emailed request for comment.

The price drop follows Tesla’s 30% cut to its China-made Model Y earlier this year to 339,900 yuan, down from 488,000 yuan, according to Chinese media reports.

For comparison, Chinese electric car start-up Nio’s ES6 sells for 358,000 yuan to 468,000 yuan.

BMW manufactures the iX3 in China through a joint venture with Brilliance Auto. The China-made car is slated to be the first the joint venture will export to other countries, according to the German automaker.

Global car companies are increasingly looking to China to launch their latest electric cars. The country is the world’s largest auto market and the government has supported the electric vehicle market with subsidies and the rollout of battery charging infrastructure.

Sales of new energy vehicles, which include both plug-in hybrid and pure electric cars, are expected to surge 40% this year to 1.8 million, according to the China Association of Automobile Manufacturers. New energy vehicle sales last year rose 10.9% to 1.367 million vehicles despite an overall drop in car sales and the coronavirus pandemic, the association said.


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Auto Sector news: Auto sector is going through a long-term structural slowdown, says industry body SIAM

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NEW DELHI: Automobile industry in India is going through a long-term structural slowdown as the compound annual growth rate (CAGR) across all major vehicle segments has witnessed a decline over the last three decades, as per industry body SIAM. The auto industry has been facing headwinds even before the COVID-19 pandemic derailed the entire sector last year, a research conducted by the Society of Indian Automobile Manufacturers (SIAM) has revealed.

The study clearly shows that the pandemic is not the only reason for the auto sector slowdown, which is facing deeper structural issues that need attention, the industry body noted.

According to the research, which focused on industry growth rates till March 2020, compounded annual growth rates of all segments, including passenger vehicles, commercial vehicles, three-wheelers and two-wheelers have witnessed a continuous drop over the last three decades.

CAGR of the domestic passenger vehicle industry stood at 12.6 per cent between 1989-90 and 1999-2000. It, however, dropped to 10.3 per cent between 1999-2000 and 2009-10 decade, the research data showed.

The growth rate further dropped to 3.6 per cent in the last decade.

The research further pointed out that contraction in the domestic passenger vehicle segment has been much steeper in the last five years.

From a CAGR of 12.9 per cent between 2004-05 and 2009-10, it came down to 5.9 per cent in the 2009-10 to 2014-15 period.

However, in the last five-year period, between 2014-15 and 2019-20, the CAGR of the passenger vehicle segment has dropped to just 1.3 per cent.

“The numbers show a clear long-term structural slowdown in the Indian automobile market across segments even before COVID pandemic began,” SIAM Director General Rajesh Menon noted when contacted over the matter.

For instance, the passenger vehicle market’s 10-year CAGR over the decade FY2000 to FY2010 stood at 10.3 per cent which dipped to 3.6 per cent in the decade FY2010 to FY2020, he added.

In the two-wheeler segment, the CAGR has dropped from 9.8 per cent in 1999-2000 to 2009-10 period, to 6.4 per cent in 2009-10 to 2019-20, data showed.

Similarly, the research showed a drastic drop in annual growth rate in the commercial vehicle segment. From a CAGR of 12.7 per cent in 1999-2000 to FY 2009-10, it has come down to just 3 per cent in the last decade.

Further, three-wheeler sales have dropped from a CAGR of 9.8 per cent in the 1999-2000 to 2009-10 period, to just 3.8 per cent in the last ten years.

As per the FY20 statistics, passenger vehicle sales at 27.7 lakh units were the lowest in four years, SIAM data revealed.

Similarly, commercial vehicle sales at 7.2 lakh units were the lowest in three years, two-wheeler sales at 1.74 crore units were the lowest in three years and three-wheeler sales were at lowest in two years at 6.4 lakh units.


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From autos to agriculture, top executives hail sustainable tech

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From the invention of the wheel to the advent of the steam train and development of smartphones, humans have been creating new technologies for thousands of years.

Our hunger for innovation has transformed society and turbocharged economies. Now, as concerns about the environment mount, new ideas and innovations could have a big role to play when it comes to creating a more sustainable planet.     

At a recent panel discussion moderated by CNBC’s Steve Sedgwick, ex-Unilever CEO Paul Polman touched upon the subject, referring to the Paris Agreement on climate change in the process.

“One of the reasons we’re moderately optimistic that we can achieve the one and a half (degrees Celsius) … warming target and be net zero by 2050 is obviously technology,” he said. “And this is where the private sector comes in.”

The automotive industry is one area where technology and concerns about the environment have driven change in recent years.

Today, major players such as Daimler, Nissan and Volkswagen are ramping up their electric vehicle offerings in a bid to compete with Elon Musk’s Tesla.

At the political level, a number of governments around the world have pledged to ban the sale of new diesel and gasoline vehicles by the end of the decade.

During the discussion Polman, who’s the co-founder and chair of the social venture Imagine, went on to highlight the pace of change taking place.

“We thought the tipping points for electric vehicles would also be 2050 — we now think that the tipping point is 2024,” he said.

“We’re very close to obsoleting the combustion engine,” he added. “Many countries (are) already making agreements to go out of the combustion engine by 2030, 2035, and most of the major car companies have done the same thing.”

Food production is another industry where digital innovations and technologies are helping businesses find value and conduct operations in smart, sustainable ways.

Last year Polman’s former company, Unilever, announced it would partner with Google Cloud to “use satellite photos to help monitor the ecosystems connected to our raw materials.” The collaboration would initially focus on palm oil, Unilever said.   

“Thanks to technology … like Google Earth, we’re now able to match, (to) … the square meter, concessions that are given to … palm oil plantations with deforestation or with fires,” Polman explained.

Armed with this kind of knowledge, firms are able remove such plantations from their value chain, he added. “That’s a verification or a compliance measure, that is enormous.”

Changing attitudes, hope for the future

It’s clear that technology has an important role to play when it comes to meeting ambitious goals connected to the environment.

But ideas about sustainability rely heavily on financial backing and on major companies — as well as their shareholders — having the will to take steps to alter how things are run. 

In recent years, ideas around ESG — which stands for environmental, social and corporate governance — have started to gain traction at some of the world’s biggest companies.

Earlier on in the panel Jan du Plessis, the chairman of British telecommunications company BT, articulated how much things have changed.

“I have been — either as an executive or as a chairman — dealing with public equity investors in the City of London for more than 30 years,” he said.

“Now, 30 years ago, the idea that they might ask you, when you do these investor visits, about climate change and ESG, it would have been unthinkable,” he added. 

“Twenty years ago, it would not have happened, 10 years ago, they started talking about it but frankly … you could you sense they feel, ‘well, it’s something I should ask about,’ but actually, they’re not interested in the answer.”

“Even five years ago, when they gave more airtime to asking about ESG and climate … you knew full well, they’re going through the motions. That has changed, big time, in the space of 12 to 18 months.”

Du Plessis went on to state he was “extremely optimistic” about what was now going on.

“The end investors, the end providers of wealth, young people, wealthy people, pension funds, are insisting that their fund managers invest in companies with credibility in the climate space,” he said.

“And so the fund managers — surprise, surprise — are hammering companies on their climate agenda.”


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