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Tata Motors crosses 40 lakh cumulative production milestone



NEW DELHI: Auto major Tata Motors on Saturday said its passenger vehicle vertical has crossed 40 lakh cumulative production milestone, nearly three decades after it rolled out its first model in the segment – Tata Sierra SUV in 1991. The company, which over the years has produced models like the Indica, Sierra, Sumo, Safari and the Nano, had achieved the 10 lakh production mark for passenger vehicles in 2005-06 and 30 lakh milestone in 2015.

“This is a very significant milestone for Tata Motors. Very few players in the industry have reached such a milestone. This has been a long journey since we rolled out Tata Sierra in 1991,” Tata Motors President Passenger Vehicles Business Unit (PVBU) Shailesh Chandra told .

Over the years, the company always challenged the conventions and brought in many path breaking products, many times first in the market, like Sierra, Estate, Safari, Indica and the Nano, he added.

With Sierra, the company took its first shot at the SUV segment in the country. The company consolidated it further with Safari.

Further in honour of the legacy of Sumant Moolgaonkar, Tata Motors introduced the first ever multi purpose vehicle in Tata Sumo. With Indica, the company changed the customer perception in terms of how a passenger vehicle is received.

The company set up the PVBU vertical in 1998 and the first product to roll out under its aegis was Indica.

“It was the first indigenously developed car and since then we have always challenged conventions and have strived to bring in technologies which are supportive of the cause of the nation, whether it is safety or things related to sustainability,” Chandra noted.

The company has been focussing not only on the safety aspect of its vehicles but has also been leading the electric vehicle space in the country, he said.

“We have brought a paradigm shift to the industry that safety is also important otherwise it was not taken that seriously and to ensure that we were also the first company to commission crash safety testing in the country,” Chandra said.

The company’s compact SUV Nexon was the first model in the country to receive a 5-star rating from Global Ncap. Tata Motors is also the country’s largest electric vehicle manufacturer with 67 per cent market share.

It currently sells Nexon EV and two trims of Tigor, with different range, in the electric vehicle segment. The company also has ambitious plans to launch further electrified models in the future, with an electric version of its premium hatchback Altroz next in the line.

Chandra said with greater acceptance of its current model line up, the company would be able to reach the next 10 lakh production mark in much lesser time.

“It will take us a shorter time to achieve the next one million production mark. This should be on the back of the Indian growth story as well.

“So the industry should also reach higher peaks. It has been growing, barring last year and this year as well due to the pandemic, but the underlined fundamentals of the passenger vehicle industry remain intact whether it is from penetration perspective or buying capacity of people,” Chandra said.

From all the angles the growth story should come back as the economy also stabilises post pandemic, he added.

“So on the back of that growth and certain actions that we are taking to strengthen our product portfolio and the traction we are already seeing, I am sure the next one million should be faster then three to four million mark,” Chandra said.

The company now sells five BSVI compliant models — Tiago, Tigor, Nexon, Harrier and the Altroz.

Tata Motors has manufacturing facilities at Chikhali, Pune; Sanand in Gujarat; and a joint venture plant with Fiat at Ranjangaon in Pune.

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Regulatory hurdles, valuation issues delays M&M’s exit from Ssangyong




Mumbai: Regulatory hurdles and valuation issues are hobbling a change of control in SsangYong Motors while Indian vehicle maker Mahindra & Mahindra is battling against time to revive the ailing Korean venture.

Informed sources said Mahindra wants to completely exit, while Haah wants to come in as a strategic investor. This has led to valuation issues with Haah Automotive and that has come in the way of concluding the stake sale as yet.

“We have not been able to agree to certain financial terms with Haah as yet,” said one person in the know.

The Mahindra Ssangyong combine may have to resort to a one-time write-off of foreign investment, which could run into regulatory hurdles, people in the know said.

“If the divestment of an overseas investment by an Indian company results in a write-off, Reserve Bank of India (RBI) permits such divestment only in limited circumstances,” says Sudip Mahapatra, partner at S&R Associates.

“Depending on the circumstances, RBI can grant exemption on a case-by-case basis. However, RBI might be concerned that such an exemption could set a precedent for other similar cases, Mahapatra added.

Mahindra currently owns 74.65% of cash trapped in Ssangyong. Samsung Securities and its global partner Rothschild have been brought on board to help find a suitor for SsangYong.

While negotiations are still going on, it is getting tougher with each passing day as bankruptcy is looming large on Ssangyong, said the person quoted above.

Currently, this is the only investor that Ssangyong is in discussions with and if this falls through, Ssangyong will have to go back to the drawing board and start to look for a new investor.

To sustain the operation, SsangYong Motor has managed to sell one of its service centres located in the Guro district in Seoul to an asset management company, PIA Investment Management.

Through this sale it raised close to $147 million for the Korean auto major that faces severe liquidity issues, according to reports in a section of Korean media.

Since July of 2020, SsangYong has witnessed month-on-month improvement in its sales, both in the domestic market as well as exports. In the first 10 months of 2020, the company had cumulative sales of about 85000 units with volumes down by about 24%.

The company was able to record sales increase for three consecutive quarters and delivered highest performance in Q3 thanks to diversified sales channel and non-face-to-face marketing and it is forecasting for a better Q4 both in terms of sales and profits on back of new models like Tivoli Air and All new Rexton.

SYMC was able to reduce its operating losses in Q3 with sales of 25,350 vehicles. The revenue for Q3 stood at 705.7 bn won, and operating loss at 93.2 bn won.

An email sent to Mahindra & Mahindra did not elicit any response.

Haah Automotive responded to an email query saying “We do not comment on rumours and speculation.”

With sales seeing some pick-up lately , Ssangyong is managing it’s working capital requirements in the interim. It’s in desperate need of funds to stay afloat after parent company Mahindra decided to let go of its control.

In September Haah Automotive made an “initial” offer of $258 million for a substantial stake in SsangYong Motors.

Mahindra paid Rs 2,100 crore ($463 million) for the purchase of the Korean car maker a decade ago and invested over $110 million.

Haah had also sought an extension of the loan repayments and their terms might not be acceptable to lenders.

Banks like JPMorgan, BNP Paribas, Bank of America, among others, have a 260 mn dollar (306 billion won) exposure.

Banking sources told ET that while the initial amount will be used to seek extension of SsangYong’s debt repayment, the lenders have made it clear that the incoming investor in the company will have to clear the dues upfront if Mahindra cedes control.

Haah Automotive Holdings, purchases various vehicle assemblies from Chery which, along with parts sourced in North America, are assembled in an American factory where the final vehicles are produced. These products are sold under the brand name VANTAS in North America. Informed sources say the aim is to close the deal as soon as possible so that vehicle exports to North America can start , allowing SsangYong Motor to make an inroad into the US market.

Mahindra’s board moved a special resolution at its AGM to reduce its shareholding in SsangYong to less than 50%, an indication of a new investor coming in rather than a complete sell out.

The board last April rejected a Rs 3300 crore turnaround plan for SsangYong, pushing the Korean car maker into deep financial distress.

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Omega Seiki plans to launch electric tractor, cargo pick-up truck as part of expansion plan




Omega Seiki Mobility aims to bring in multiple electric products including two-wheelers, a four-wheeler cargo vehicle and a tractor over the next two years, as per a top company official.

The company, which is a part of the Delhi-based Anglian Omega Group, also aims to set up manufacturing facilities across various parts of the country.

Omega Seiki already has multiple manufacturing sites in Delhi/NCR.

The company also plans to have around 200 dealerships across the country by the end of next year.

It has earmarked an initial investment of Rs 200 crore for the projects and going ahead aims to raise another Rs 1,000 crore in order to fund the expansion plans.

“We are going to have factories and we are going to line up the products, we are going to be non-stop from here till next few years,” Anglian Omega Group Chairman Uday Narang told PTI in an interview.

The company would consider taking various routes to raise required capital to fund various projects, he added.

“We will try a combination of various things which may include going public, private equity, green bonds etc,” Narang noted.

Elaborating on the product pipeline, Omega Seiki Mobility Managing Director Deb Mukherji said the electric two-wheelers for both passenger and cargo segments would be introduced around April next year, while the four-wheeler for cargo and tractor would make way around next 2021-end or early 2022.

Commenting on electric two-wheeler range, he said the vehicles would be powered by lithium ion batteries and would cater to last mile deliveries.

“These scooters are already in advanced stages of testing and trial stages,” Mukherji said.

The electric pick-up truck would come with two tonne payload and would cater to last mile cargo delivery, he added.

“The market is moving towards higher payload. With the development of highways like the Delhi-Mumbai corridor and other similar kinds of  projects, we see this is going to be a big driver of electrification in India particularly in logistics space as all along the highway there will be logistics hubs and warehouses,” Mukherji said.

The vehicle would be a great option to deliver cargo from such warehouses to city centres with its range of 200 kms in a single charge, he added.

Commenting on the electric tractor he said, the model would come with 30-40 HP power range and could be priced around Rs 10-12 lakh.

“We want to be the first mover in the electric tractor space  and solve the problems of farmers with smaller land holdings. Data shows 80 per cent of the farmers in the country hold less than an acre, so this is a huge market. The cost of preparing the land with diesel powered tractors costs Rs 150 to Rs 200 for an hour whereas our product would cost Rs 20-Rs 30 an hour,” Mukherji said.

He said the company is currently witnessing a significant demand coming up for electric three-wheelers in South India, primarily from e-commerce firms.

“We see around 40 per cent of the demand is being generated from there. So we are in an advanced stage of discussion with a possible partner for a facility there,” Mukherji said.

The company, which has recently set up dealerships in Hyderabad and Bengaluru, now plans to open 20 more outlets in Tamil Nadu, Karnataka and Kerala by this year end.

“We aim to have around 200 dealerships across the country by the end of next year,” Narang said.

The company, which currently sells electric three-wheeler Rage, has also recently unveiled  three new products Sun Ri (three-wheeler cargo), Ride (E-rickshaw), and Stream (passenger auto-rickshaw) which it plans to commercially launch in March next year.

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COVID-19 has put the focus back on personal vehicles, pushed out shared mobility, says Motherson Sumi chairman




NEW DELHI: The coronavirus pandemic has clearly established the role of private vehicles, pushing out shared mobility in the process while also dampening the ‘whole excitement’ over electric vehicles, according to auto components major Motherson Sumi Systems Ltd Chairman Vivek Chaand Sehgal. Citing global experience of countries like China, Japan and South Korea, where there has been a spike in demand of personal vehicles when the countries re-opened after the COVID-19 induced restrictions, he exuded confidence that the conventional automotive industry has a bright future.

“One thing is certain that COVID-19 has clearly established the role of a private vehicle for daily usage. All those particular thoughts about shared vehicle and that’s going to be the future is all out of the window,” Sehgal told .

Stating that the demand for personal vehicles has has been “very very strong” after the reopening of the economies, he said, “We saw that in China (where) demand came back very strong. I think the same happened in Japan, the same happened Korea and as countries opened up, we could see there was a beeline for buying a vehicle because the space is very very important for you.”

Commenting on the impact that the pandemic has had on the automotive industry, Sehgal said, “I believe that a lot of clarity has been brought in, at least for the next two years.”

Also, he added, “I think the whole excitement about that the future is going to be the electric cars and things like that is also a bit toned down for the simple fact that to replace 1.4 billion cars in the world at one time it is a mammoth task.”

Observing that “a lot of the feeling of reality has set in and people have understood that”, Sehgal said going forward more focus is going to be given towards trying to expand fuel economy of vehicles, “and that I think will be more reasonable and doable in the next 10-15 years”.

On the road ahead for the automotive industry, he said, “I think there is a huge future. It is going to go very strong and (we are) looking forward to exciting times.”

Sehgal also said once the COVID-19 vaccine is found, it “will make people little bit more wanting to go out and that’s very important”.

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