Autocar Professional’s July 15 issue: EVs, Budget blues for ICE, Tech Days, Industry 4.0 and more   

by Autocar Pro News Desk , 15 Jul 2019


The buzz about electric vehicles is getting louder in the Indian market and the Union Budget 2019 too has given a new charge to electric mobility in the form of incentives to EV buyers as well as companies keen to invest in mega lithium-ion battery plants, among other things.

Barely four days after the Budget, Hyundai Motor India launched the Kona, India’s first long-range electric SUV with a 452km travel range and priced at Rs 25.3 lakh (ex-showroom). While Hyundai is working on developing a retail and EV charging infrastructure for the Kona, the big news that we bring is of the Korean carmaker’s Indian and Korean R&D centres  developing an India-specific ‘small EV’ as part of the Group’s plan for 25 new EVs by 2025. Our cover story reveals all.

The EV industry is understandably jubilant about the Union Budget 2019, what with having GST cut from 12 percent to 5 percent and other growth-driving incentives. In comparison, the conventional IC engine industry, which is experiencing a downturn like never before and is down for nine months in a row, saw its hopes for a GST reduction and a vehicle scrappage policy dashed. Find out what top stakeholders of India Auto Inc have to say about this year’s Budget.

Be it the IC industry, EV manufacturing or production of automotive components, companies the world over are looking at new ways and methodologies to optimise production. Autocar Professional’s Smart Manufacturing Conclave, held on June 28 in Chennai, drew a large number of representatives from OEMs and Tier 1 suppliers. As the day-long event unfolded, leading experts in the field made detailed presentations and also engaged in lively debate in multiple panel sessions on the state of domestic manufacturing, how digitalisation can enable speedy transformation, products and processes. This detailed eight-pager is a must-read for all industry stakeholders.

As OEMs and suppliers tackle new megatrends of connectivity, safety, autonomous vehicles and electrification, the driving forces are technology companies. The first week of July saw two global majors – Continental and ZF – hold their Technology Day in Hanover and Dresden respectively. We have first-hand reports on both and given their expansive range of innovative products and technologies showcases, the future looks hugely exciting.

The exclusive Interview of the Fortnight is with Kristin Trecker, Senior Vice-President and Chief Human Resources Officer, Visteon. She speaks on the challenges involved in spotting the right talent, motivating and providing a platform for employees for self-development, and India’s fast-growing role in Visteon’s global scheme of things.

What was not so exciting to report on was the continued poor performance of Indian automakers. India Auto Inc’s Q1 FY2020 (April-June 2019) numbers are depressing and in the absence of a growth catalyst from the government, the automobile industry will continue to drive in the slow lane for many more months. Our data-filled four-page Q1 sales analysis is a commentary on what looks to be a tough road ahead.  

A very newsy fortnight
The first half of July was packed with news-making events. Soon after Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman wrapped up her first Union Budget, a bullish-on-EVs Dr Pawan Goenka, MD, Mahindra & Mahindra, revealed that the company would be open to a partnership with global major to set up a lithium-ion cell mega plant in India.

There was also the rollout of the Scania India’s new BS VI truck, followed a few days later by Daimler India CV’s announcement of its BharatBenz 5528TT heavy-duty truck receiving BS VI certification from ARAI.

The breaking news of the fortnight was of TVS Motor Co launching India’s first ethanol-powered motorcycle – the Apache RTR 200 Fi E100.   

Where to buy?
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