Ford Launches New Global Truck In India

While Detroit is getting ready for NAIAS, the archetypical Detroit company is showing its newest truck in India. At the New Delhi Auto Expo, Ford today unveiled the second generation of its EcoSport “compact SUV.” Our friends at India’s were there to snap some pictures for you. According to Ford’s press release, the SUV “will eventually be sold in nearly 100 markets worldwide.” So why haven’t you heard of a Ford EcoSport before?

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It's Not A Car. It's A Rickshaw

Today, Nissan/Renault’s Indian partner Rajaj introduced an ultra low-cost car. Actually, Rajaj does not call it a car. Rajaj calls it a “four wheeler.” An analyst called it an “upgraded rickshaw.” Rajaj thinks the analyst is right on target.

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What To Do With Bankrupt Saab? Sell It To The Indians

Yesterday, the alleged enthusiast blog did play its usual “if we would tell you, they would shoot us” about a possible suitor from India:

“We are not allowed to reveal the identity of the company yet, but we are allowed to reveal some facts about it. They are of course based in India but acts on a world-wide basis with much more than 100’000 employees worldwide. They are a multi-billion dollar company, that work on multiple fields such as energy, logistics, real estate and of course within the aerospace and automotive industry.”

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Mahindra Denies Alabama Production Plans
Another day, another disappointment for American fans of the Indian automaker Mahindra’s rugged, diesel-powered trucks. Earlier rumors that Mahindra mi…
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India In October 2011: New Car Sales Way Down

Car sales in India got it under the chin in October. In October 2011, sales of passenger cars were down 23.77 percent, utility vehicles were up a hair at 0.41 percent, sales of vans decelerated by 17.57 percent.

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The Nano No-No: Export Launch Delayed Over… High Price?

Designed to be the world’s cheapest car, the Tata Nano is supposed to compete with scooters and three-wheelers rather than full-priced, global-brand vehicles. But the Nano has already seen several price increases since the target MSRP of $2,500 was announced, and the price in India for a base-level Nano is now about $2,870. And when you talk about such low prices, even small increases can wreak havoc on expected volumes, and as a result the Nano is turning into something of a flop (helped along by its pyromania problem).

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Where Will The Chevrolet Spark EV Be Built?

As I noted earlier this week, GM’s decision to bring a pure-electric version of the Chevy Spark to the US opens up an interesting challenge to its “range anxiety”-centric marketing approach. But WardsAuto reports that there’s another challenging question coming out of the decision: where will the baby EV be built? And as I’ve found, GM’s reticence on the topic of the Spark EV program only deepens the mystery for Wards, which writes

Some media are reporting the EV will come from South Korea, where gasoline- and diesel-powered Sparks currently are produced. If so, that’s news to the folks at GM Korea.

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GM Announces Spark EV

GM confirms

Chevrolet today announced it will produce an all-electric version of the Chevrolet Spark mini-car – the Spark EV. It will be sold in limited quantities in select U.S. and global markets starting in 2013, including California.

A123 Systems will supply the advanced nanophosphate lithium-ion battery packs that will power the Spark EV. Details on specific markets, range, quantities and pricing will be announced later.

Well, I was wrong about the battery supplier. Otherwise, we should have seen this coming. The only question now is this: how does GM overcome its own “range anxiety” fearmongering? And by doing so, will it hurt the Volt’s marketing?

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Who Wants To Bet GM Isn't About To Introduce A Spark EV To The US?

GM seems hell bent on convincing the automotive media that it’s better to stay behind their keyboards than show up to events like the Chevrolet Centennial event I was lured into. While my fellow oblivious “automotive journalists” and I were shuttled around GM’s facilities for some luxurious but entirely un-newsworthy “access,” the folks that aren’t here have scooped us suckers on the only remotely relevant news to come out of this event. The Detroit News‘s Christina Rogers reports that a news conference scheduled for about 12 hours from now will give GM occasion to announce that it will bring a

a small, battery-powered vehicle designed for urban market

to the US market. And, in the time-honored blogging tradition of speculating about speculation, GreenCarReport‘s John Voelcker has connected the dots that seem to confirm that this forthcoming EV will be based on the Spark City Car. All while us event attendees were still at the bar, drinking on GM’s dime. Oy…

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Toyota Intensifies Exports. From India

While the discussion about the value of the yen continues (also at TTAC), the exodus from Japan is picking up steam. Toyota is joining other carmakers that quietly turn India into a car export nation to be reckoned with. Toyota’s Chief Engineer Yoshinori Noritake (above) soon will be able to smile: Toyota’s subsidiary in India will export Toyota’s and Noritake’s “BRIC car”, the Etios, to South Africa in March 2012.

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India Adds Punch To Its Car Industry

India will likely report a good September for most of its carmakers. The final numbers are not expected until a week from now, but here are the results of some of the most important ones. Keep in mind that these “sales” numbers are the total of what has been sold in India and what has been shipped abroad. The Indian domestic market is still a bit sluggish, but exports are picking up nicely.

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"In Many Ways, the Marriage Between the Indian Middle Class and the Automobile Culture Has Been Disastrous."

The NYT’s opinion page has a provocative piece by Siddhartha Deb today. It explores the role that automobiles play in the class dynamics of a modernizing India. Deb writes

Until the mid-1990s, cars had been mainly available in two models in India: the unglamorous, onion-shaped, sturdy Ambassador and the more aerodynamic Maruti 800. Both were produced by state-run companies (though the latter had a partnership with the Japanese company Suzuki). But when India began to open its markets, a wide range of cars became available, just as rising middle-class incomes and cheap consumer credit made buying such cars feasible.

In many ways, the marriage between the Indian middle class and the automobile culture has been disastrous. Roads remain awful, drivers continue to be erratic, and traffic in cities like Delhi and Bangalore is worse than ever. And yet the car has become deeply enmeshed with upward mobility, while also complicating that mobility. In the India of the Ambassador and the Maruti, the distinction was largely between those who owned cars and those who did not. In the India of Ford, Fiat, Hyundai and Mahindra — where there is even a very cheap indigenous model called the Tata Nano — distinctions are parsed in terms of the model one owns.

Drom the Bollywood producer’s suit-matched Bentley Continental to a struggling middle class couple’s divorce over the wife’s aspirations to a red Mitsubishi Pajero, Deb documents the cars, and other forms of transportation, which help define the emerging class order in India. It’s a brief but intriguing glimpse into the social impact of cars in a rapidly-growing economy, and it illustrates how cars both affect and reflect the fabric of social order. Give the whole thing a read if you’ve got a spare minute.

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Wulings To Be Reborn In India As Chevys

The board of GM has a week-long meeting in Shanghai. Someone just happened to be in the same place at the same time, and quite possibly unearthed the secret all of India is dying to hear: Under what brand will the Wuling cars be introduced once they hit India? Apparently, not Wuling.

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Forster Says Ta-Ta To Tata

After only 18 months on the job (and he did a good job) Carl-Peter Forster resigned his job as group CEO and managing director of Tata Motors. In a press release, Tata cites “unavoidable personal circumstances”. The industry is scratching their combined heads: What are those reasons? Are they real, or the usual BS?

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Scandal: Half Of Our Young Ready To Drive Chinese

Someone call Homeland Security: Large segments of Americans (if we still can call them that) are willing to spend hard-earned dollars on (are you ready for that?) CHINESE cars. Market research company GfK Automotive’s did its annual Barometer of Automotive Awareness and Imagery, and found that a whopping 38 percent of the respondents would consider buying a Chinese car. Indian cars? A little less, but 30 percent ain’t nothing. That’s amongst all respondents. Once you get to Gen Y consumers, you’ll see wholesale desertion to the enemy.

Says the study:

“The openness to purchasing a Chinese and Indian vehicle is highest among Gen Y consumers, with 52 percent saying they are open to a vehicle from a Chinese automaker and 41 percent saying they are open to a vehicle from an Indian automaker.”

Imagine that. The cars aren’t even on U.S. shores, and especially basement dwellers are ready to buy them – even worse, with dad’s money.

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Get Sterilized, Receive A Tata Nano

With a massively growing population, and no Chinese-style national one-child policy in place, sterilization campaigns in India’s provinces and municipalities are far from uncommon. But now, in the Rajasthani district of Jhunjhunu, officials in charge of sterilization campigns have found a new incentive to encourage Indians to undergo the procedure: the subcontinents growing obsession with automobiles. Britain’s The Independent was the first Western news outlet to report on the scheme, which offers those undergoing sterilization

a coupon for a forthcoming raffle, with prizes including a Tata Nano car, motorbikes and electric food blenders.

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Flopping Tata Nano Prompts Talk Of Overseas Production, Styling Changes, Diesel and Hybrid Options

Tata’s Nano was launched with much fanfare in 2009, as the world’s cheapest car and a symbol of India’s automotive and economic aspirations. But first Tata had problems with its factory, which was to be built on land [allegedly] stolen from local farmers. Then, early last year, the cars started catching fire and refused to stop. Then finance was the issue, and when Tata revamped its finance, advertising and retail presence, it looked like things were beginning to improve. It turns out the bump was short-lived. After hitting 5k monthly sales last December, volume has fallen again dropping to 3,260 units in July (1/8th the volume of its main rival the Maruti Suzuki Alto) according to, which reckons

Startlingly, the most fuel efficient petrol car in the country, which is the most inexpensive too isn’t finding takers in a market troubled by high petrol prices and rising loan interest rates, that is clearly favoring cheaper and more fuel efficient cars… the market isn’t biting and the Nano sales have begun the downward spiral, this time continually.

So, what’s Tata going to fix to get its attempt at “India’s Model T” back off the ground. How about “everything”?

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Step Aside, Maharishi: The Mahindra & Mahindra Cult Is Coming!

Mahindra & Mahindra’s abortive plans to bring its rugged diesel-powered pickups to the US have garnered quite a cult following here at TTAC. We follow the impending coming of M&M religiously. And now we demand license fees for the continuously coming cult car.

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Toyota's Etios Coming To China?

Toyota is working on a small car based on its emerging market platform that underpins the Indian Etios, and will release it in China by 2013 – if The Nikkei [sub] is correctly informed. There is nobody working at Toyota on Thursdays and Fridays as a power saving measure, so there is nobody to ask. We expect no more than the usual “we cannot comment on future models” when people will be back to work on Saturday. With that in mind, let’s go down rumor lane.

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Ford Bets Big On India

Ford is betting real money on India. Not wanting to be as late to the party as Ford has been in China, Ford “plans to invest $1 billion to build a factory in western India to gain a greater share of one of the fastest-growing car markets,” reports Reuters from Bangalore.

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Toyota Doubles Footprint In India

In a race to get a more solid foothold in India, Toyota is nearly doubling its production capacity on the subcontinent. Much to the chagrin of some Indians, the country is called the “next China.” Currently, the market is dominated by Suzuki, which owns nearly half. Hyundai and Mahindra hold sizable shares – all of which bugs the world’s largest carmakers to no end.

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Chevy Beats The Gas Prices Blues In India With LPG, EV City Car

Speaking of GM’s future lineup, there’s no sign in GMI’s 2013 projected lineup of the on-again-off-again Spark city car (A-Segment) that we had heard would be here now. Hell, they’ve had the cupholders ready since 2009. So what’s the Spark up to?

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Tata Troubled By Lack Of Progress In Fiat Alliance

Before Fiat snapped up Chrysler from the US taxpayers for a song, it saw the Indian firm Tata as another logical partner for a long-term alliance. After Tata bought Jaguar/Land Rover, the auto media was awash in rumors that the British brand would share components with Fiat’s Alfa-Romeo brand. When Tata came out with the Nano, there was speculation that Fiat’s dealers in Europe and Latin America could be used to sell the low-cost car, even rumors of a Fiat-branded version were floated. Fiat even tried to sell Tata on one of its notoriously nasty Italian plants. What did surface from Fiat and Tata’s flirtations: a joint venture in India that, by all accounts, is going not well at all. And now, with Fiat distracted by its Chrysler rebuilding project, Ratan Tata is expressing his displeasure with his firm’s Fiat tie-up, telling The Hindu Businessline

I have to admit that so far, the venture with Fiat has not been as active as we had thought… I think that Fiat has to launch more models into the market to keep dealers interested. It also has to look at its cost structure in terms of parts and components. So the joint venture needs to be looked at quite critically and until that happens, it’s not going to be optimised… As far as what else we can do with Fiat, I think Sergio Marchionne and I can really talk to each other. However, at the working level, it hasn’t quite been that way. We have looked at Latin America to do something together, but things haven’t moved as they should have done

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Sell In To The Indians: India To Become World's Third Largest Auto Market By 2020

A lot has been said about the new car potential of populous India. This time, they mean it, says J.D. Power. India surpassed France, the United Kingdom and Italy to become the sixth-largest automotive market in the world in 2010. In 2020, India is expected to become the world’s third largest auto market. This according to a special report titled “India Automotive 2020: The Next Giant from Asia,” released by J.D. Power and Associates.

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EU Carmakers Rattle Sabers, Want Money, Accept Hyundai

The heads of the European automobile industry are assembling in London for their annual European Automobile Manufacturers’ Association meeting. While they were there, they dropped in with UK’s Prime Minister David Cameron to talk a little politics. Norbert Reithofer of BMW, Sergio Marchionne of Fiat, Carlos Ghosn of Renault, Nick Reilly of GM Europe and their leader Dieter Zetsche, president of the association and chief of Daimler, asked for assistance with fair free trade with major economies such as India and Japan, government support for the swift introduction of breakthrough technologies and less bureaucracy through lean regulations. All noble goals. But the BBC found a fly in the ointment:

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Get The Champagne! India's Car Sales Up Only 13 Percent In April!

A lot of people are worried that billions of people in China and India will buy cars in droves and use up our gasoline give polar bears a tan. The worry beads can hyperventilate a little easier. India’s April sales are in. And they are outstanding “grew at their slowest pace in nearly two years in April,” reports the Wall Street Journal with a sigh.

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Tata Nano Puts The "Personal" In Personal Coupe


Indian automaker Tata had planned to enter the European market with an upscale version of the world’s cheapest car, known as the Tata Nano Europa. Instead, it seems Tata will hold off on its European conquest until it develops this, the Tata Pixel, a shortened (112 inch-long, 1,653 lbs!), coupe-ified Nano. Autocar reports

Group chairman Ratan Tata says the car will partly replace the previously proposed Nano Europa, once its concept-only swing doors are replaced by two conventional doors and engineering of instrumentation and controls is completed.

Don’t expect the gullwing doors or iPad-alike instrumentation to make it into production, but the Pixel will remain a four-seater and features improved handling and NVH characteristics compared to the Nano. What’s not clear is whether the Pixel’s hyper-rotating wheels will make it to market, and whether they would be likely to cause an accident in the event of a steering overcorrection. Meanwhile, despite a lingering fire problem, the Nano is now selling around 9k units per month in India, and Malaysia is on tap as the vehicle’s first export market. Whether Tata can leverage the underpinnings of its radical low-cost car for a competitive mature-market offering is still very much an open question…

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Honda Not Exiting India

Some overly excited blogs may report that Honda is exiting the growth market India. Careful. Indeed, Reuters reports that “Hero Investments has agreed to buy Honda Motors Ltd’s 26 percent stake in Hero Honda Motors for around $851 million in a deal that will see the Japanese automaker exit its joint venture in India after more than 26 years.” So are they outta there?

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Piston Slap: The Corolla and the Khadda Factor

Raghav writes:

While searching Internet I saw your replies on Toyota Corolla. I too have few problems with Toyota Corolla 2007 model purchased in India, it has 37,000 Km on the odometer. The vehicle is serviced regularly every 10,000 km. The problems are:

1. Engine growling noise steadily increases with the RPM beyond 3,000 and this happens on all gears. What could be the reason?

2. One of the rear shock absorber was leaking and the dealer replaced just the faulty one (under warranty, car had done 27,000 km) and after that I feel the ride quality is poor. Do you think changing only one shock can cause this?

I have taken it to the dealer but their response is vague like (a) sound insulation from engine area must have become weak (b) change tires because side walls have a crack.

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Ssangyong Eyes US Sales: Mahindra Non-Launch Explained?
One of the many theories for Mahindra’s absolute botching of its long-anticipated US launch is that the Indian automaker was too busy last year acquiri…
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Suzuki And Volkswagen Are Having A Baby: A-Star Is Born

Ever since Volkswagen bought not quite 20 percent of Suzuki a little more than a year ago, industry observers said: “Now what?” To this day, the couple remains childless. Lately, there have been rumors that the impatient German side is pushing for offsprings, whereas the Japanese side stays chaste. Now finally, there might be results – if India’s Economic Times has the correct information.

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Mahindra Distributor Drops US Lawsuit, Defends 30 MPG Claim

Automotive News [sub] reports that Global Vehicles, a firm with a contract to distribute Mahindra pickup trucks in the US, has dropped its lawsuit in US court in an apparent attempt to rescue its distribution deal. The contract between Mahindra and GV called for British arbitration of disputes, and apparently the British arbitration panel required that all claims be handled through it rather than in US courts. The dropped suit would have required Mahindra to press forward with its US launch regardless of pending arbitration. Mahindra, meanwhile, has said it is looking outside of its deal with GV for a US distributor, so it’s not clear if GV’s olive branch will even make a difference.

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How To Lie With Car Statistics

Car sales in India powered ahead in January. India added 184,332 passenger cars to its roads, up 26.3 percent. According to the Hindustan Times, this was “the highest ever in a month eclipsing the previous record set only three months ago.” Allow me to use this opportunity for a small lecture on the use and abuse of auto industry statistics, in Asia, and around the world.

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Booz & Co Predicts: U.S. To Stagnate, EU And Japan To Crash, India #4 in 2015

A study by Booz & Co, that calls itself “one of the leading management consultancies in the world,” predicts that India will be the world’s 4th largest car market by 2015 and will surpass the European Nations by 2015. I don’t doubt that India is a very important market with great growth potential. But Booz & Co must have consumed too much of its namesake.

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Mahindra's 30MPG Fiction

Mahindra’s abortive plans to bring its rugged diesel-powered pickups to the US began back in 2007, just as gas prices were starting to run out of control. Now, after years of delays, steadily-increasing prices and general neglect of the compact pickup market have served only to whet our appetite for efficient little developing world-style trucks. Throughout the the last several years, Mahindra has battled with its US distributor, pulled out of other US efforts and generally failed to deliver… all while dangling the dream of a 30 MPG diesel pickup at hopeful enthusiasts. But, as it turns out, Mahindra’s problems don’t end with distribution: though its diesel engine was approved by the EPA, we hadn’t seen EPA confirmation for the long-held 30 MPG goal. Well, the EPA just released the window sticker for the Mahindra TR40 [via MahindraPlanet], a 4X4 four-door version of its 2.2 liter diesel pickup… and it gets nowhere close to 30 MPG.

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Tata Will Export The Nano, But Not Too Far

Emboldened Tata has announced new plans to export their Nano. To markets such as Thailand, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh. And Tata will do that carefully. “We will go after these markets one after another,” Tata CEO Carl-Peter Forster told Bloomberg at an industry event in Bochum, Germany. Gone are bravado and hype. No more mentions to export the $3,000 car to Europe or god forbid the U.S.A.

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BRICS To Overtake Developed Nations By Car

Scotia Bank in Toronto has an insightful and resourceful car analyst, Carlos Gomes. Whatever he writes is worth reading. He expects car sales to rise and the “United States and the euro zone to climb out of their deep hole.” He also expects that the developed nations are ripe to be plucked and eaten by an upstart, roughhewn crowd:

“In 2011, new car sales in China and the other BRIC nations (Brazil, Russia, India and China) will surpass the combined volumes of Western Europe and Japan, and account for roughly 30 per cent of global car sales.”

Here is his case:

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Mahindra Delay Explained? New Pickup Model Coming
With the second collapse of a Mahindra US-market initiative this year, some might believe that the Indian automaker has abandoned all efforts to make a good…
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Another Mahindra US-Market Effort Collapses

Back in May, when Mahindra took over the Indian EV city car firm REVA, we reckoned that the much-maligned (by Top Gear) G-Whiz would soon be sold from Mahindra’s dealer network, which was being developed by Global Motors. But with Mahindra’s deal to sell its diesel pickups through GV’s US dealer net in tatters, it seems that plans to sell REVAs in the US has hit a stumbling block. Syracuse, New York-based Bannon Automotive had made a $26.5m investment in local REVA production, an investment that was underscored by $7m in state grants and the promise of $52m in federal loans. Now Bannon is suing Mahindra, alleging that the Indian firm has broken its contract for US-based REVA production. Bannon reps tell

This material change in the representations made by Reva and Mahindra signaled the death of Bannon Automotive. Unfortunately, Mahindra/Reva did not deliver as promised. Accordingly, Bannon and its investors have been compelled to take legal action. Bannon will continue to try and follow through with the project as planned. We remain committed to bringing an affordable, U.S. manufactured electric vehicle to the American marketplace

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India: The Next China

As far as total sales go, India is no China. 1.43 million units were sold on the subcontinent last year, a bit more than a tenth the cars the Chinese had consumed in the same year. But India is revving up quickly.

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Is There A Doctor In The House? Tata Tries To Revive Near-Dead Nano Sales

Tata is doing everything possible to revive the shriveled sales of the Nano. Sales of the ultra-lowpriced Nano recently crashed to ultralow levels: In November, only 509 units changed hands, reluctantly. The success of the much hyped diminutive conveyance more and more looks like a flash in the pan, literally. The Nano became infamous for going up on flames. Then, Tata had to raise the ultralow price a few times. On top of that, Nano buyers were seen as bad credit risks by Indian banks and were hit with ultrahigh interest rates. Stir, simmer, and you have a recipe for disaster. Now, Tata has decided to fight back. However, the counter-offensive appears less inspired compared to the enthusiasm when the car was launched.

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Review And Talk With The Head Engineer: Toyota Etios, BRIC Spec

On December 1, a B-sized sedan went on sale in India without a single car in the showroom. It is called the Etios, it is made by Toyota, and sight unseen, it already received 12,000 pre-orders as of today. Production of the Etios will start on December 20 in Toyota’s factory near Bangalore, India. Boring story so far?

While in Toyko for the rest of the year, I had a chance today to talk to Toyota’s lead engineer of the Etios, Yoshinori Noritake. And a much bigger story emerged: Toyota is engineering and building new cars, made for the special demands and targeted at the world’s new growth markets. Developed markets may not apply.

Noritake is a soft-spoken, humble man.

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Is Ford Building A Billion Dollar Plant In India?
Typically when a major automotive manufacturer is preparing to spend a billion bucks on a new manufacturing facility we’ll see multiple reports on the…
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Toyota-Owned Firm Looks To India For Rare-Earth Materials
TTAC has been keeping an eye on China’s near-monopoly on the rare earth compounds required to build hybrid and electric cars for some time now, and we&…
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Sales In India Brisk

Domestic car sales in India rose 21 percent from a year earlier in November. India is no China yet. But as its per capita GDP has crossed the magical $1000, car sales are waking up with a vengeance. This is one rule I learned in this business, and it never fails. China has more than three times the per capita GDP of India, and you know what kind of a run that caused.

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Tata Nano Sales Drop To Nano Levels
Bloomberg reports that the world’s cheapest car, the Tata Nano has seen its sales drop from the point where it had to hold a lottery to choose buyers…
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Suzuki: Indians Not Included

When Volkswagen bought 20 percent (well, 19.9) of Suzuki, everybody assumed it would be one of Volkswagen’s favorite “win-win-win” deals: Volkswagen gets better access to India, where Suzuki owns half the market. Suzuki gets better access to China, where Volkswagen is the largest passenger car brand. Both will work happily together to rule the world by 2018. Now Suzuki Chairman Osamu Suzuki says at least the Indian part is not true.

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Unsurprising News Of The Day: Mahindra Gets Ssangyong

The drawn-out drama of who would get what was left of the busted SAIC-Ssangyong deal has come to an – at least preliminary- end. Oneindia reports that India’s Mahindra & Mahindra bought the pieces of Korean Ssangyong. TTAC readers are not surprised.

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Jaguar/Land Rover To Managers: Get The Bleep Out Of Blighty
Some say the future of the car business is in China… and for certain employees of Jaguar Land Rover, the maxim seems to apply awfully literally. The T…
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Renault-Nissan-Bajaj: A Disjointed Venture?

When you enter into a joint venture with someone, it’s kind of important that you’re both on the same page. For one party to say one thing and the other party to say another could look a touch disorganized. Take Renault-Nissan-Bajaj. Renault-Nissan is adamant that their joint venture with the Indian maker would culminate in an ultra low cost car that would compete with the Tata Nano (which is on fire at the moment). Bajaj, on the other hand, is getting cold feet.

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Mercedes And BMW Drivers Are Criminals? Germany Fights Back

India’s Environmental Minister Jairam Ramesh’s jab at diesel-powered trucks and SUVs is turning into a major diplomatic row. Turns out that he didn’t just call drivers of diesel-powered trucks and SUVs criminals. He also said that said the mere act of driving big-engined luxury models from BMW and Mercedes-Benz in India was “criminal”. Jaguars weren’t mentioned.

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Indian Environmental Minister Calls Diesel SUVs "Criminal"

While Americans wonder if Mahindra will ever bring its diesel-powered trucks and utes to the US market, its main offerings are coming under attack at home. India’s Environmental Minister Jairam Ramesh put diesel-powered SUVs on blast this week, calling the oil-burning utes “criminal” and telling a UN conference that

We are worried about the rate of green house emissions from transport sector. There is need for mandatory fuel efficiency standards. Big vehicles like SUVs should stay off roads

Minister Ramesh’s plan is two-fold: first, he is calling for an end to India’s subsidy of diesel fuel, arguing that diesel contributes disproportionately to India’s greenhouse gas emissions. The second portion of his plan is more controversial, but should sound familiar to American readers: get rid of those nasty SUVs. Ramesh explains

Put a penalty on the type of cars you don’t want to see on the roads, which are diesel-driven cars, SUVs… We cannot ask people to buy or not buy a particular car. But through an effective fiscal policy, we can certainly have an impact

India’s auto industry insists it’s ready for diesel prices to be cut free, but they’re fighting back against Ramesh’s suggestion of a jihad on SUVs.

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Tata + JLR = More Profits For Ford?

Recently, I wrote about how Tata is reaping huge profits thanks to the acquisition of the “toxic” JLR brands. It was a huge gamble to buy them, but it paid off. Literally. Well, it appears that Tata’s growing profits are going to benefit not only Tata, but ironically, Ford, as well.

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Fire In The Nano!

The Tata Nano was seen as the car which will set the Indian car market on fire. Unfortunately, it seems it’ll also roast its owners.

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Tata Will Get By With A Little Help From Their Friends

When Tata bought Jaguar Land Rover (JLR) from Ford in 2008, the general consensus was that Ford was off-loading a massive problem, and that Tata should have their collective heads examined. JLR had been nothing but a cash drain on Ford. Sucking up resources which other divisions (cough-Lincoln-cough) sorely needed. The Jaguar brand was damaged due to the X-Type “fiasco” (note the inverted commas, because I still love my X-Type!) and Land Rover wasn’t really held in much higher regard. Even I, a big Jag-fan, had to concede that I was seeing the final days of JLR. How wrong was I?

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Ford To Export To 48 Countries Around The World. From India

The idea behind the big car bailout supposedly was to keep millions of jobs in, well, North America. Ford didn’t partake, and hence should be free of moral obligations. ( Not that other companies on the government drip seem to be queasy about exporting jobs instead of cars.) Empowered by a clean conscience, Ford moves production to where it makes the most money. To India.

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Who Exiled The Electric Car?

The recently-debuted Chevrolet Volt ads are built around the same basic assumption that drove the design of the Volt’s extended-range electric (EREV) drivetrain: Americans will not tolerate running out of vehicle range. So severe will be America’s Range Anxiety®, GM is guessing, that its electric vehicle (EV) consumers would be happy to lose some electric range and pay a significant price premium compared to the pure-electric competition in order to fill up on gas when they forget to plug in. But while we wait for this psychological insight to prove true across the broader market, recent news seems to show that GM has forgotten about another beloved American freedom: the freedom of choice. For example, the choice to buy a GM-made “pure” EV. To find that kind of freedom you have to go to China…

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Wild Ass Rumor Of The Day: Mahindra US Launch Back On For Spring 2011?

The road to the US market has been a rough one for Mahindra, with lawsuits, delays of EPA certification and more holding up a launch that should have taken place over a year ago. And after the Indian automaker rejected an order this summer from its US distributor, Global Vehicles, we basically gave up hope on seeing the diesel-powered, 4X4 pickups and SUVs in the land of the free. Luckily, Mahindras are used to rough roads, and if an email that just landed in my inbox is anything to go on (please note the Wild Ass Rumor heading on this post), the venture may just be pulling through. Or perhaps it’s just pulling our leg. Hit the jump for a letter from Global Vehicles president John Perez…

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With Car Brands Targeting Scooter Sales, Piaggio Bites Back

The need to expand automotive brands while improving fuel economy is driving automakers to some interesting lengths of late. From GM future concepts that have more in common with a Segway than a Cruze, to Honda’s U-3X and Chrysler’s ill-fated PeaPod, automakers are sending strong hints that the future will be smaller and decidedly less car-like. And MINI and Smart recently took this trend to its logical conclusion, each announcing that they would build (or, more precisely, re-brand) scooters… or as they call them, “alternative mobility concepts.” Which raises the question: what’s a scooter brand to do? Well, Piaggio, maker of the Vespa and other scooter-based “alternative mobility concepts” isn’t going to just drone off into that good night, and it’s fighting back by creating an “alternative” to its core scooter products: a four wheeled car-like “mobility concept.”

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Oktoberfest In India

As Herr Schmitt reported yesterday, it looked like it was going to be a bumper month for the Indian car market. In his article he mentioned that market leader, Maruti Suzuki posted a 39 percent gain, which is impressive considering production constraints is preventing them from selling any more. But let’s have a look at the other players in the Indian motor market.

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  • Teddyc73 A resounding NO. This has "Democrat" "Socialism" "liberalism" "Progressivism" and "Communism" written all over it.
  • Jeffrey An all electric entry level vehicle is needed and as a second car I'm interested. Though I will wait for it to be manufactured in the states with US components eligible for the EV credit.
  • Bob65688581 Small by American standards, this car is just right for Europe, and probably China, although I don't really know, there. Upscale small cars don't exist in the US because Americans associate size and luxury, so it will have a tough time in the States... but again Europe is used to such cars. Audi has been making "small, upscale" since forever. As usual, Americans will miss an opportunity. I'll buy one, though!Contrary to your text, the EX30 has nothing whatsoever to do with the XC40 or C40, being built on a dedicated chassis.
  • Tassos Chinese owned Vollvo-Geely must have the best PR department of all automakers. A TINY maker with only 0.5-0.8% market share in the US, it is in the news every day.I have lost count how many different models Volvo has, and it is shocking how FEW of each miserable one it sells in the US market.Approximately, it sells as many units (TOTAL) as is the total number of loser models it offers.
  • ToolGuy Seems pretty reasonable to me. (Sorry)