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Tata Motors looks to bolster SUV play with two launches



Mumbai: Tata Motors, whose sales grew 11% in 2020, is looking to leverage the popularity of sport utility vehicles (SUVs) to sustain the momentum this year by widening its portfolio with the launch of two new SUVs.

The company will unveil a top-of-the-line 7-seater SUV under its Safari brand as well as a small entry-level micro-SUV codenamed HBX in 2021.

“The Safari and the HBX will come in this calendar year and there’ll be a whole set of incredible interventions, small and large, throughout the year,” said Pratap Bose, vice president for global design at Tata Motors. “There’ll be no let-up in our action.”

The company will also launch the Altroz Turbo this year, which is a more powerful variant of its premium hatchback.

Its performance in 2020 got a boost after it updated its portfolio design-wise and upgraded to BS-VI emission norms, as well as launched the Altroz hatchback at the beginning of the year, according to Bose.

Tata Motors sold more than 170,000 passenger vehicles during 2020, a 11% growth over the previous year even as the broader automobile market declined by 17% to 2.9 million units.

The passenger vehicles business of Tata Motors is gaining ground on the back of new vehicles after years of sales decline. The company gained 180 basis points to corner 7% market shares by the end of the year — its highest since 2012.

Its market share had declined to 5.2% in 2019 from 11% in 2012.

“The real impact of that refreshed portfolio is starting to be felt now,” Bose told

“If you look at our last two quarters, the numbers have been phenomenal. Many players have de-grown, but Tata Motors has not only grown but outpaced anything we’ve ever seen. We are selling more Nexons now than we were ever selling in the past. Our December numbers are almost double of December last year,” he said.

Kia and MG Motor were the other automakers to grow in 2020, but it was the first full year of sales for them, having entered the market in mid-2019.

Bose said Tata Motors also reaped the benefits of placing big emphasis on safety. Nexon and Altroz have been rated 5-star on a scale of 5 for crash safety by Global NCAP, an international charity that campaigns for vehicle safety.

Its Tiago and Tigor have scored 4 stars, giving Tata Motors one of the most highly rated product line-ups in India.

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87 per cent of global consumers prefer to use a personal vehicle: Capgemini




Mumbai: Without a clear end to Covid-19 pandemic in sight, 87 per cent of global consumers surveyed by consulting major Capgemini have said their safety and physical well-being alongside that of their families is best served through a personal vehicle.

Nearly 81 per cent of consumers said they will avoid using car-pool services due to health and safety concerns compared with just 42 per cent in April 2020. Meanwhile, 78 per cent of consumers will opt for using their personal vehicles over taking public transport.

This shift is likely to translate into vehicle sales with almost 72 per cent of consumers stating that they value constant access to a private vehicle more than before the pandemic, according to ‘Shifting gears: Covid-19 and the fast-changing automotive consumer’ which assessed 11,000 consumer attitudes to buying a car across 11 countries in October and November 2020.

Almost half of global consumers (46 per cent) are considering purchasing a car in the next 12 months, an increase from 35 per cent in April 2020. “This reflects a continuous shift in consumer preference towards personal mobility, fueled by the Covid-19 pandemic as car ownership today is seen as a safeguard against the risk and spread of infection.”

Purchase intent has grown globally in almost all markets and is being driven by a combination of low-cost auto loans, government incentive programmes for electric vehicles and a pent-up demand for cars following an economic recovery overlaid by the desire to avoid public and shared transport.

Younger consumers (aged 18 to 35 years) are leading the trend with 59 per cent considering purchasing a car in the next 12 months compared with 46 per cent across all age groups.

However, just over half (56 per cent) of those considering buying a car have downgraded their desires from last year with a preference for utility and functionality over the aspirational value of the car.

As a result, competition is likely to heat up in the smaller and entry-level vehicle segments as automakers push for refreshed variants of existing lines to cater to consumer interest.

In contrast, Capgemini identified a small but sizeable segment of buyers (21 per cent) willing to pay more for premium features like extra space, connected services and voice-based controls.

According to the research report, targeting this premium segment of consumers can be more profitable and help offset some margin pressure in entry-level segments.

The criteria of what makes a modern car desirable has shifted as hygiene and wellness features have assumed new importance in a span of six months.

Nearly 85 per cent of consumers today want a car that offers air filters, ambient air quality indicators, health monitoring of passengers and the use of sterilising UV LED lights, up from 49 per cent in April 2020.

The research note highlights that carmakers need to be receptive to emerging trends and include features and services that will attract the hygiene-conscious segment while still remaining attractive to price-conscious buyers.

To do so, automakers need to adapt to emerging micro-markets and provide customers with personalised offers like leasing and subscription packages.

Automakers will need to digitalise each step of the customer journey to create an omni-channel experience that establishes a direct relationship with the customer.

“The pandemic has increased consumer expectations around hygiene and wellness-related mobility features along with digitisation of vehicle sales and after-sales process. The automotive industry has to adapt to these emerging needs,” said Markus Winkler, Executive Vice President for Global Automotive at Capgemini.

“While the pandemic did affect short-term automotive demand, it has accelerated critical long-term trends: digitisation, electrification and connected cars. Companies that take the lead in these areas will emerge stronger when the crisis finally recedes,” he said.

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




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




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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