Autocar Professional's January 1, 2019 issue – out now

by Autocar Pro News Desk , 31 Dec 2018

The new year has opened and with it brings a new challenger in India's passenger vehicle market – Kia Motors. Come August 2019 and the production version of the SP Concept SUV that wowed crowds in February 2018 at the Auto Expo 2018.

The Korean carmaker has an ambitious target – to enter the Top 5 carmakers' chart within three years of starting operations at its 300,000 units per annum state-of-the-art plant at Anantapur, Andhra Pradesh. We reveal the Korean carmaker's aggressive game-plan, product and growth strategy that banks on premium positioning and first-in-segment, first-in-market features.

Industry flashback 2018
Last year saw its share of growth, disruptions, new regulations and sales slowing down. We bring you the highlights of the year that was across the passenger vehicle, two-wheeler and commercial vehicle segments. 

The SUV route is another company's new route to growth in India. Nissan is all set to launch its global Kicks SUV albeit tailored for the Indian market. The Japanese major desperately needs a winner in its portfolio and is looking to the Kicks to give it some much-needed acceleration on the sales front. Read our report and a first drive impression.

When a company makes a shift from two and three wheels to four, it makes for news. And when the product is a brand-new vehicle category, it stands out even more. Yes, we're talking about Bajaj Auto's Qute quadricycle, which has recently got the green signal. We have the inside story on the product.

When the wheels extend from four to more, life's all about commercial vehicles. Mahindra Truck & Bus, which is ready to launch the new Furio range of intermediate commercial vehicles and is also gearing up for BS VI compliance, believes its new, high on fuel efficiency Blazo X range of HCVs has what it takes to give it new heft in the market. We speak to CEO Vinod Sahay and also visit the Chakan, Pune plant where the Blazo X and Furio are manufactured.

Lubricant major Shell, which is bullish on India, recently hosted the Shell Eco Marathon in Chennai for the first time. It was also in the news for bringing the Gordon Murray-designed for emerging markets OX flat-pack truck to India. Find out the latest on the company, which is betting big on industry partnerships and future mobility trends to foster new growth in this part of the world.

We have three robust interviews in this issue. P Vijayaraghavan, director of TVS Srichakra, speaks on the growing demand for tubeless tyres in the Indian two-wheeler industry, expanding capacity at its Madurai and Rudrapur plants, catering to the aftermarket and exports.

Can an Indian vehicle maker be a leading global player? David Sanders, Global Automotive & Transportation Advisory Services Leader, EY,  certainly thinks so. In a detailed tete-a-tete, he speaks on the disruptions caused by megatrends, the impact of digitisation and how increased expertise in vehicle design and manufacturing can propel India onto the world stage.

In an era of technological and other disruptions, vehicle manufacturers are grappling with shorter product lifecycles, upcoming BS VI norms, lightweighting and more. Rafiq Somani, ANSYS's Area vice-president, South Asia Pacific and Middle East, details how the company's simulation software can help OEMs optimise IC engine development, improve efficiencies, reduce time to market and also save costs.

Simulation is also a great tool to bring about a lean shopfloor. As Industry 4.0 becomes reality across industry, connected automation will enable faster, more flexible production processes, reduced complexities and downtime. Dassault Systemes' expansive of digital tools promises all that and more.

The host of benefits that digitalisation brings is what has got German carmaker Volkswagen accelerating its moves to digitalise its sales operation in Europe from 2020 onwards. The company's existing dealership business model will be completely overhauled. Together with city showrooms and pop-up stores, three further sales outlets are planned, including traditional dealerships, used car centres and service factories. To know how tomorrow's dealership will function, read this very educative feature.

All this along with very exciting industry news from the last fortnight of 2018, beginning with the new Mahindra XUV300. 

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