Autocar Professional’s first edition of 2021 packs a punch

by Ajit Dalvi 03 Jan 2021


The new year has dawned and brought along with it Autocar Professional’s first issue of 2021.  Even as 2020 trudged to a close, there continued to be plenty of action on the automotive front and it’s all there in the latest edition which packs the latest news, plenty of industry analyses, interviews and lots more.

The big news of the past fortnight was Honda Cars India officially pulling the plug on its Greater Noida plant as well as stopping production of the Civic sedan and CR-V SUV. With operations now focused on its Tapukara plant in Rajasthan, the Japanese automaker will have its work cut out in reshaping its India innings. It will also be keen to send the right message to the market in a challenging road ahead. Honda’s decision to streamline its car operations in India was only expected and perhaps even long overdue.

The Tapukara facility has an installed capacity of 180,000 units and the company will have its work cut out in optimising it in the coming months. There is reason to feel upbeat about the City and Amaze which can account for 100,000 units while the challenge lies in getting more buyers for the Jazz and WR-V. 

Mahindra SsangYong script goes awry; wait gets longer for GWM
What began as an acquisition which promised the moon has turned out to be bad news. For all practical purposes, it is the end of the Mahindra SsangYong journey. The Korean automaker has filed for bankruptcy and it is now only a matter of time before the curtains come down. Whether there will be a knight in shining armour to bail out the company remains to be seen – and Mahindra & Mahindra is believed to be close to one –  the more important detail is that Mahindra & Mahindra will no longer support SsangYong.

Meanwhile, General Motors finally closed its troublesome India chapter by shutting down its Talegaon plant near Pune in the last week of 2020. But the new resident, Great Wall Motors has no choice but to wait till tensions between India and China cease. Clearly, it’s an uncertain road ahead

The Covid-19 pandemic has hit the luxury car market hard but Volvo is looking to rev up India’s premium luxury sedan market with its new S60. The BMW 3 Series and Mercedes-Benz C-Class rival is set to be introduced in the Q1 of 2021 with a single top-end variant. Autocar Professional’s Mayank Dhingra has a close look and a first drive too.

Vehicle inspection has for long been based on human expertise or expensive tech. Now a Bangalore-based start-up CamCom is deploying artificial intelligence at an economical cost to assist automakers, fleet operators and insurance companies automate the task. We bring you all the details.

EV-olution of mobility, growing industry-academia connect
Yulu, a shared e-mobility service provider, looks to take a big leap in 2021, equipped with three years of business experience, tons of data gathered by its fleet, and the support of Bajaj Auto. We reveal what lies ahead for the dynamic start-up.

India is seeing a growing number of industry players forging strong ties with academic institutions to drive change and innovate. We bring you an exclusive report on how a 64-member student group –  Team REV Mechanics from VIT, Vellore – is set to showcase Indian engineering at a global level. This team of budding engineers is building an advanced electric race bike for this year’s MotoStudent International Competition. Helping them get there is strong support from Auto Inc.

Smart battery systems supplier Forsee Power has entered India and is targeting the electric two- and three-wheeler and bus markets. Founder, chairman and CEO Christophe Gurtner reveals the plan to set up 70-megawatt production capacity in partnership with a Pune-based company

BorgWarner is betting on the technical centres of recently acquired Delphi Technologies in Bangalore and Chennai to boost their position in India, especially for EVs and aftermarket. Christopher J Lanker, BorgWarner’s VP and General Manager, Emissions, Thermal And Turbo Systems, Asia Pacific, speaks to Sricharan R.

Though the transport sector in India is the third-largest energy consumer, it is mostly fossil fuel based. Pulitzer Prize winner and Vice-Chairman of IHS Markit, Daniel Yergin who released his book, The New Map: Energy, Climate, and the Clash of Nations last September, considers this as an area of concern. We have an exclusive interview

Component suppliers prep up for 2021, Dana’ to open EV parts plant in Pune 
ACMA’s industry performance review for the first-half of FY2021 reveals supply to OEMs slid by 42 percent while exports shrank by 33 percent due to the Covid-induced global slump in demand. But component suppliers in India have battled 2020 with grit and gumption and remain upbeat, strategising new ways to capture growth.

Global supplier Dana's new facility in Pune that will produce low- to high-voltage electric motors, inverters, and vehicle control units for a variety of electrified applications, including buses and trucks, is slated to open soon. We have all the details.

Our guest columnist for this edition is Rajeev Chaba, president and MD MG Motor India, who rwrites on 'The changing scenario in the passenger vehicle industry'.

The start-up innovation factory
The Indian start-up space is now fast accelerating to develop India-specific solutions for the world, despite the challenging conditions. We cover nine entrepreneurs who have stepped up their game to compete, add and deliver the goods for the automotive industry. 

The January 1-2021 issue also contains plenty of news, both from India and overseas. Rest assured, it makes for a good opening read for the new year.

Where to buy?
Autocar Professional magazine is available through all good newsagents and for download from Magzster. You can also buy one-off copies of Autocar Professional magazine – contact Ganesh at ganesh@haymarketsac.com. Alternatively, never miss an issue – subscribe to Autocar Professional magazine today