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TVS Motor Company invests Rs 30 crore in electric vehicle maker Ultraviolette Automotive

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MUMBAI: TVS Motor Company invested a sum of Rs 30 crore in electric vehicle maker Ultraviolette Automotive for an undisclosed stake as part of the latter’s series B round of fundraising, the company announced on Wednesday.

TVS Motor had earlier invested Rs 11 crore in the Bangalore-based company for an equity stake of 25.76% as per its latest annual report.

“TVS Motor is excited to see the progress and developments made by the UV team and we are confident that these actions will go a long way towards establishing a greener future for India,” said Manu Saxena, vice president, future mobility and dealer transformation, TVS Motor Company.

Ultraviolette (UV) had earlier showcased a high-performance electric motorcycle called F77. It plans to launch the motorcycle next year with expanding national availability planned in phases, according to a press statement. The company was established in 2016 by Narayan Subramaniam and Niraj Rajmohan.

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EV industry seeks higher incentives, FAME II scheme extension in Budget

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NEW DELHI: Industry has sought an increase in the slab of incentives for electric three wheelers and electric two wheelers to Rs 20,000 per KwH of battery on board from Rs 10,000 per Kwh at present under the Faster Adoption and Manufacturing of (Hybrid) and Electric Vehicles (FAME)-II scheme. This slab is currently applicable to e-bus under the scheme.

Electric vehicle (EV) manufacturers have also asked for an extension of the scheme for two more years upto 2025 in the Budget 2021-22.

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“This can be done within the existing overall budget allocation of Rs 10,000 crore as a short term booster incentive to enhance demand, since the current offtake is very low and a higher slab will help create demand and put more EVs on the road,” industry chamber FICCI said in its budget recommendations to the finance ministry.

With an outlay of Rs 10,000 crore, the FAME-II scheme came into effect from April 1, 2019 for a period of three years. It is the expanded version of the FAME-I scheme which was launched in 2015 and seeks to support 10 lakh two-wheelers, 5 lakh three-wheelers, 55,000 four-wheelers and 7,000 buses.

The extension has been proposed on account of the fact that much time was spent in scheme implementation details and for vehicle revalidation by OEMs in 2019. The industry was hit by the Covid-19 pandemic in 2020.

Citing unutilised budget for the scheme, the industry body said: “With the FAME II policy now in implementation mode, we request extension of the FAME II scheme by two years upto 2025, to enable its impact and benefits to reach the EV buyers effectively and help in demand acceleration.”

Manufacturers have also proposed that EVs be included under Priority Lending Sector to boost financing support to them.

Referring to the requirement that all EVs under FAME are required to have lithium ion batteries, along with three year warranty on vehicle as well as the battery, Ficci suggested that this criterion can be used to protect interest of banks and lower their risk as this “adequately protects the lender throughout the loan tenor”.

They have also sought a correction in the inverted duty structure as the goods and services tax (GST) on Lithium-Ion batteries is 18% while EVs attract 5% GST and proposed a 5% tax on the batteries, same as that on EV chargers.


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Renault unveils compact SUV Kiger, forays into high selling sub 4 meter segment

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New Delhi: French auto maker Renault on Thursday unveiled its upcoming compact SUV Kiger in India, which it plans to launch in the country in the current quarter. After Kwid and Triber, Kiger is the company’s third model, which would be introduced in India, followed by other markets.

The model, which would compete with the likes of Maruti Vitara Brezza, Hyundai Venue, Kia Sonet, Tata Nexon, Mahindra XUV300 and Nissan Magnite, would be powered by a new turbocharged 1 litre petrol engine.

The powertrain generates 100 PS of power and offers fuel efficiency of around 20km per litre, the company said.

The Kiger comes with 205 mm of ground clearance and 405 litre of boot capacity.

It also comes with multi-drive modes.

“Kiger is the third global car after Kwid and Triber, which would debut in India before any other market. With this, we enter the B-SUV segment, which currently accounts for 50 per cent of the industry sales right now,” Renault India Operations Country CEO and Managing Director Venkatram Mamillapalle said.

The automaker has continued to move forward in the country and has navigated the challenging macro-economic environment, bettering the industry trends, he added.

“We have managed this by our robust business strategy, which includes our exciting product range, laser-sharp focus on quality and customer-centricity and our aggressive network ramp up across the country,” Mamillapalle said.

The company has taken another significant step in India with the global reveal of R Kiger, which will stand out as a sporty and attractive offering, he noted.

“Following Duster, which made SUVs accessible to a large set of people, not just in India but across the world, Kiger will once again make SUV aspirations accessible to a whole new set of customers and we look forward to building on our increasing customer base with this new game-changer,” Mamillapalle said.

The automaker sold over 80,000 units last year, and its cumulative sales have crossed the 7 lakh mark in the country.

Mamillapalle noted that the company is expanding its sales network in the country, and in the last year alone, it has set up 120 sales and service outlets.

The company now has over 500 sales facilities and around 475 service touchpoints across the country.


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

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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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