The Week In Reverse: Venue of Hyundai Venue reveal is a cruise ship, Mahindra-Ford plot midsize SUV for India, Revolt e-bike does 156km, why Pininfarina is working with Chinese start-ups

by Ajit Dalvi 19 Apr 2019


Which soon-to-be-launched compact SUV has a name that sounds like a location? Which two carmakers are leveraging each other's strengths with SUV written all over it? Why is Pininfarina working with Chinese start-ups? Which global automaker has grabbed the opportunity to appoint a global COO, who left Nissan as a result of the Carlos Ghosn scandal? Who was the big winner at the 2019 World Car Awards? The answers to these queries and more were some of the many news-making events in the third week of April. This month has already seen plenty of news in the world of wheels in Week 2 and Week 1

On Friday, April 19, 3,669 days after it opened its India plant in Chakan, Pune with the rollout of its first car, a Skoda Fabia, Volkswagen rolled out its millionth car, an Ameo sedan. Over a decade, the plant, initially set up to cater to the Indian market, also began exporting made-in-India cars.

The same day saw Tata Technologies ink a strategic partnership agreement with China's FutureMove Automotive to develop comprehensive and unique connected mobility solutions for the automotive industry. It's a smart move to make gains in the world's largest automotive market.

L-R: John Wang, founder and chairman, FutureMove Automotive with Warren Harris, CEO and managing director, Tata Technologies.

As Warren Harris, CEO and MD, said, “Tata Technologies is committed to building an ecosystem of partners. These strategic partnerships will be underpinned by a commitment to complementary positioning and mutual success. The relationship with FutureMove will combine Tata Technologies’ market-leading connected car service offerings with the platform and technology of FutureMove to provide a suite of services to the Chinese automotive industry. We are extremely excited about the opportunity to accelerate the value that we deliver to this dynamic and constantly evolving market.”

Mahindra and Ford deepened the scope of their partnership by announcing the co-development of a midsize C-segment SUV for which M&M will provide the platform and powertrain. The new SUV will be based on the platform underpinning the next-generation Mahindra XUV500 (codename: W601). Though Ford will share the mechanicals and powertrain, it will not be a mere badge-engineering exercise.

The Ford C-SUV will have an all-new exterior, a new interior, a slightly improved chassis and its ride and handling will be true to Ford's DNA. The Ford SUV will be built on the same line as the next-gen XUV500 in Mahindra’s Chakan plant. Powering the W601 will be Mahindra's new-generation, state-of-the-art, 2.0-litre diesel that’s expected to develop up to a whopping 180hp. This BS-VI-compliant engine will be shared with Ford's C-SUV as well.

Revolt Intellicorp’s upcoming electric motorcycle has been certified by ARAI for a 156km range on a single battery charge.

Revolt Intellicorp got ARAI certification for its soon-to-be-launched AI-enabled electric motorcycle. The eco-friendly motorcycle can travel 156km on a single charge. Earlier in the week, Autocar Professional had revealed that the company is planning 3 EVs for India and with its high localisation levels will benefit from FAME II subsidies.

Last week also saw the opening of the Shanghai Motor Show. China, which saw sales of 1,160,000 electric vehicles comprising passenger cars and LCVs, is the world's largest EV market. The Volkswagen Group, which is aggressively implementing an electrification programme, plans to have its Chinese JVs produce over 50 percent of the Group's targeted 22 million battery electric vehicles (BEVs) by 2028.

Bajaj Auto launched its petrol-engine Qute quadricycle in Maharashtra for Rs 248,000. What seems to be a midway mobility provider between a three-wheeler and a car, the Qute aims to provide a safer alternative. It can only be registered as a commercial vehicle but Bajaj is looking for personal vehicle clearance. We've also got a video of a first drive impression of the Bajaj Qute. Come along for the drive.

Automakers worldwide are always scouting for talent. So it was not surprising that Hyundai Motor Corp grabbed the opportunity to appoint Jose Munoz, the top Nissan executive who left the Japanese carmaker in the wake of the Carlos Ghosn scandal in mid-January, as its global Chief Operating Officer. In his 15-year Nissan innings Munoz led significant growth and record sales in the regions he managed. That's what Hyundai wants Munoz, who has also been named president and CEO of both Hyundai Motor North America and Hyundai Motor America, to replicate.

The 2019 Shanghai Motor Show wowed with local cars and its global connect. Some of the biggest manufacturers you’ve never heard displayed their newest models alongside familiar Western brands keen to crack the world’s most lucrative automotive market.

Long gone are the days when Shanghai was an exhibition of the most blatant copycat cars, and the impressive quality of new Chinese creations is beginning to pose a very real threat to more established manufacturers. The 2019 edition is especially significant, with an increasing number of Chinese models being prepared for European launches and global manufacturers such as Volkswagen adding to their range of models adapted specifically for sale in China. 

Chinese cars were the stars at Shanghai and the motor show revealed proof that the world's fastest growing car industry is also the fastest to mature.

Pininfarina designed two dramatic concept cars for the Shanghai Motor Show. In days gone by, that would have been front page news, because it would have likely meant a new Ferrari and the other perhaps an established car maker looking to get out of a design rut by turning to the iconic design house for a nudge in the right direction.

But in Shanghai, it meant a concept car for electrified vehicle maker Karma that, while striking, is never likely to reach production. It also meant a new hydrogen fuel cell vehicle maker called Grove. Upcoming EV makers are now where opportunity lies for design houses, and China has plenty. “Now there is a revolution on connected, shared, electrified, autonomous vehicles," says company chairman Paolo Pininfarina. "New systems, new mobility, new interfaces and human-machine interface. There is a lot of space for Pininfarina.”

Top-deck venue for launch of the Hyundai Venue

Firmly tethered to the deck of the 'Angriya' cruise ship, the new Hyundai Venue compact SUV gets the 'rolling chassis' treatment of a different kind.

April 17 was a day reserved for the big reveal of Hyundai's all-new compact SUV, simultaneously at the New York Motor Show and in India, not on land but on the big blue Arabian Sea. Called the Venue, the venue for the India reveal was a cruise ship called the 'Angriya' which sailed from Mumbai to Goa, with close to 100 captive auto journalists on board.

Considering the Angriya cruise ship is named after the first admiral of the Maratha Navy, Kanhoji Angre, popularly known as the 'Shivaji of the Indian Ocean', it looks like Hyundai wants to swamp the competition with the Venue. It is targeting sales of over 65,000 units in the remaining 8 months of 2019 and over 90,000 units in 2020. The Hyundai Venue will take on the likes of the Maruti Suzuki Vitara Brezza, Tata Nexon, Mahindra XUV300 and the Ford EcoSport. Now all that remains is the new SUVs pricing, which we will know on May 21. Is the competition worried?

Late in the evening of April 17 came news that the Jaguar I-Pace, the European Car of the Year was the big winner of the 2019 World Car Awards. Not one, two but all of three – ‘2019 World Car of the Year’, ‘World Car Design of the Year’ and ‘World Green Car’.

Meanwhile, the Suzuki Jimny drove away with the 2019 World Urban Car award and the Audi A7 Sportback was  declared the 2019 World Luxury Car. This is the second consecutive World Luxury Car win for Audi as the A8 was last year’s winner in this category.

In a move that shows how evolved the thinking is in Europe about road safety, European automakers are looking to further to raise awareness of safety technologies to further reduce road deaths. As the decline in road deaths tapered off last year, the European Automobile Manufacturers’ Association (ACEA) is making a push to raise drivers’ awareness of existing and future vehicle safety technologies. Data issued by the European Commission earlier this month shows that there were 25,100 fatalities on European roads in 2018, a figure which has fallen by one-fifth since 2010. Although EU roads are still by far the safest worldwide, progress over recent years has been stabilising. Last year’s figures were down just 1 percent compared to 2017.

Road and vehicular safety is a subject close to Autocar Professional's heart. Even as you are reading this, someone somewhere in India has got injured or died in a road crash.  India has the highest road fatalities in the world. Road accidents in India have claimed 147,913 lives in 2017 and left 470,975 injured. Globally, there are over 1.35 million road traffic deaths every year -- every 24 seconds someone dies on the road.

A little over two weeks from now, Autocar Professional will host its fifth annual Safety Webinar on the theme of 'Towards Safer Mobility Regulations & Technologies'. To be held on Monday, May 6 (from 2:30pm to 5:00pm India time), the webinar will also kick off the fifth UN Global Road Safety Week (May 6-12, 2019). As in the four earlier automotive safety webinars, this year too will see a panel of international and domestic industry experts representing the OEM and component supplier industries, government agencies and global organisations discuss, debate and share knowledge on new and future regulations, technologies and consumer trends that impact road safety, how road crashes, fatalities and injuries can be reduced.  Registrations for the Safety Webinar have opened. Click https://bit.ly/2Ip4grB to register your attendance and also share the link in your personal and professional network.

The opening of the third week of the month saw the release of Autocar Professional's 'Automotive Safety Special' revealing the latest advances domestic industry across the value chain is taking on the safety front. We also have exclusive columns by Global NCAP's CEO David Ward and Ramashankar Pandey, MD, Hella India Lighting,

Stay updated on this month in reverse: April Week 2 , April Week 1