As 2016 draws to a close, it’s time to take stock of the automotive journey through the year. It goes without saying that the year 2016 was a highly eventful year with surprises and disappointments across all fields – be it industry, politics, economics, sports, arts, films, wars, technology, social media and nearly everything else. The twists and turns around the world were reflected in India, which in turn echoed on the country’s automotive industry.
From dealing with the diesel ban to demonetisation and the government’s decision to leapfrog an emission level to BS VI in 2020, or the fall of Mitsubishi’s fortunes and consequent rise by its merger with Renault-Nissan, to the fast-changing passenger vehicle/ two-wheeler landscape in India, there was a constant flow of news throughout 2016.
Autocar Professional brings you the top 16 trending stories in 2016 – 16 in ’16. Yes, these are the Top 16 stories on our website.
Most readers are keen to know the best-selling vehicles are in a particular segment. Our exclusive and comprehensive analysis of the Top 10 two-wheelers in the country are much looked-forward to every month and often used as reference material by equity analysts and their ilk.
Top 10 Two-wheelers in June | Top 10 Scooters in May | Top 10 Motorcycles in February
Our comprehensive analysis of monthly vehicle sales, across segments, in India, always draws a good number of netizens. And they are growing by the day.
India Sales Analysis: January | March | October
The Pune-based motorcycle manufacturer’s Bajaj V grabbed centre-stage with the news of the use of INS Vikrant’s metal in the making of the bike. This was the first big-ticket two-wheeler launch in the build up to Auto Expo 2016.
Autocar Professional was the first media in India to break the news of the global automotive safety watchdog testing five high-selling Indian cars comprising the Renault Kwid, Maruti Suzuki Celerio, Maruti Suzuki Eeco, Mahindra Scorpio and Hyundai Eon, which resulted in zero star ratings for all the five cars.
This was yet another exclusive story on the Bajaj-KTM alliance creating an all-new platform in the midsize motorcycle category to take on the Royal Enfield’s Himalayan adventure motorcycle. The story created ripples across social media platforms with motorcycle enthusiasts contemplating the new model.
Labelled as the first smart truck in the country, Mahindra staked a lot of hopes on the modern range of trucks to enable the company gain market share in the M&HCV segment dominated for long by Tata Motors and Ashok Leyland.
Giving a further fillip to the government’s FAME (Faster Adoption and Manufacturing of Electric and Hybrid vehicles) scheme, Kinetic Green’s launch of the Safer e-rickshaw was our most-read electric story of the year. The fact that the company bagged a Rs 400 crore order from the Uttar Pradesh government was further testament to the importance of green mobility.
The Bajaj brand has always managed to create a buzz before any product launch. It was the same when news came out of the imminent launch of the Dominar 400, Bajaj’s most powerful motorcycle till date.
When Maruti Suzuki launches a new product, India sits up and takes notice. That is what happened after the introduction of the company’s compact SUV – the Vitara Brezza. As buyers flocked showrooms, the waiting period for Maruti’s yet another successful car soared.
Time stood still when the first production bike to blast past 300kph came to life at Suzuki Motorcycle India’s Gurgaon plant. This photo-feature gives you an inside view of the metalmorphosis.
In the 3.5- to 6-tonne payload segment, Tata Motors with its hugely popular 407 has been a long-time market leader with no competition. As the competition heated up with Eicher Trucks looking to carve out a niche in the sub-5 tonne segment, so did the popularity of the story.
Less than a year since its launch, Maruti Suzuki India’s premium hatchback, the Baleno drove past the 100,000 unit sales landmark in the domestic market. What’s more, the Baleno was also one of the most searched cars online.
As more start-ups look to make electric transportation cool, practical and as affordable as conventional ones, the news of India’s first electric motorcycle by Pune-based Tork Motorcycles made the industry sit up and take notice of the disruption aimed at the two-wheeler market.
Any news from India’s largest selling two-wheeler company is sure to generate plenty of buzz. So when Hero MotoCorp revealed a quartet of new two-wheelers at the Auto Expo – the Splendor iSmart 110, Extreme 200 S, XF3R and the Duet-e scooter – motorcycle enthusiasts showed ample signs of interest in them.
The big news from FY2016 analysis of the CV sector was Ashok Leyland eating into Tata Motors’ share of M&HCVs, particularly benefiting in the higher-tonnage segment (25T, 31T, 35T and 37T).The popularity of Ashok Leyland was mainly due to the rising demand from infrastructure spend across the country, partial lifting of the ban on mining and fleet operators’ focus on renewing their fleets.
With John Deere India focusing on the 41-50hp tractor segment, managing director Satish Nadiger spoke on the company’s growth plan, consolidation in markets less explored, evolving farmers' tractor requirements, shrinking crop cycles and the locally developed advanced JDLink technology, which directly impacts a farmer’s income.
Recommended: 2016 Flashback - Capturing the Automotive Moments in India
This feature was first published in Autocar Professional's 12th Anniversary issue. Subscribe to our magazine to get exclusive news, features and analysis.