As disruptive technology challenges automakers the world over, their focus on research and development (R&D) only increases further in their quest to drive innovation. Autocar Professional's annual R&D Special typically reveals the latest developments in India. Like Liger Mobility's self-balancing and autonomous scooter. We exclusively reveal the prototype developed by the start-up, founded by IIT graduates Vikas Poddar and Ashutosh Upadhyay, and the plan to bring it to market.
Then there's the Hyderabad-based eTrio, which has made a business case out of retrofitting EV kits on IC-engined vehicles ranging from the Maruti Alto and Wagon R to the Tata Ace small CV. Yet another start-up, Tech.powersquare, aims to be a one-stop shop for product development from concept through to mass production. It is currently working on solutions ranging from next-gen HMI, driver monitoring and autonomous systems.
Meanwhile, Garware Polyester has become the first company in India to develop and launch self-healing, high-gloss paint protection film that keeps scratches, dents and damage to body paint at bay. Find out why S Krishnan, director - Sales, is confident about the new product clicking in India.
With BS VI emission norms barely five months away and the governmental focus on electric vehicles continuing, it's not surprising that traditional component suppliers are making the shift to parts for EVs. German and global major MAHLE is betting big on India and has hiked its stake in its MAHLE Letrika Roots India JV to 90 percent in tandem with its plans to manufacture AC/DC electric motors and control units for e-two- and three-wheelers.
Likewise, National Engineering Industries, the engineering arm of the CK Birla Group, is taking to smart manufacturing and is working on strategy for catering to EV makers in a bid to de-risk its future growth.
One component major which is taking a cautious approach in conserving cash amidst the industry slowdown is the 19-company, well-diversified Anand Group. CEO Deepak Chopra speaks to Autocar Professional.
Chetak gets the electric treatment
The big news of the past fortnight was electric and on two wheels: the Chetak. Having quit scootering over a decade ago to focus solely on making motorcycles, the Pune-based Bajaj Auto has brought back the much-loved Chetak brand in an all-electric avatar. Read our detailed report on the product reveal as well as an exclusive interview with managing director Rajiv Bajaj. To give brand Chetak its due, we go into flashback mode too. Don't miss reading this feature!
But even as EVs seemingly march forward, CNG is not losing favour. In fact, the government, energy majors, OMCs and OEMs are bullish on CNG to drive cleaner mobility in India as seen in our three-page feature.
Bullish on the Indian aftermarket is Italy's UFI Filters, which has set up its first aftermarket-only plant in Haryana and it is diversifying into CNG filters to de-risk itself from the fast-reducing demand for diesel cars in India.
TVS Motor Co, whose Apache brand of bikes is racing track-derived, is aiming to tap the growing demand for premium two-wheelers. Our first-hand report from TVS MotoSoul 2019, held in Goa in mid-October, reveals how TVS is targeting young biking aficionados.
Even as the passenger vehicle industry battles the sales slowdown, some carmakers are taking the export route to keep their assembly lines buzzing. In our four-page PV exports analysis, find out how 20 carmakers have fared in first-half FY2020. Full stats and facts.
Lots of news too
The second half of October was dominated by the Tokyo Motor Show, where Suzuki Motor boss Toshihiro Suzuki admitted that maintaining a 50 percent market share in India will be tough. The fortnight also saw Schaeffler India, which appointed a new president for its Automotive business, rolling out a mobile training van to upskill mechanics across India. And, Italy's Carraro Group confirmed a 20 million euro investment in its Indian operations.
On the new tech front, Hyundai announced development of the world's first AI-based smart cruise control, while SABIC revealed details of its new Zenoy HTX high-heat resin for lightweighting and EVs.
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