A new Scorpio and other launches and the ‘Make in India’ campaign kicks off

A new Scorpio and other launches and the ‘Make in India’ campaign kicks off

By Brian de Souza calendar 26 Sep 2014 Views icon8003 Views Share - Share to Facebook Share to Twitter Share to LinkedIn Share to Whatsapp
A new Scorpio and other launches and the ‘Make in India’ campaign kicks off

What a truly fabulous week it has been, especially if you are an automotive journalist, or a business writer tracking the India story.

Monday:

Had a meeting with Nick Gill, head of CapGemini’s global automotive council who was in Mumbai to meet customers; my meet was slated for 4pm meet. But I turned up four hours ahead, a case of over-punctuality and made a detour to a hall where Lamborghini was launching the Huracan LP 610-4, at the Taj Land’s End. The car costs a cool Rs 3.43 crore. But you would not have got the price on the opening press sheet, you had to scroll down to line 14 on page 2 to find it.

Sebastien Henry, Lambo’s Asia-Pacific chief, was there to do the honours and his clear enunciation of Italian just added to the magic of the moment. Journos left lugging huge Lambo carrybags with their scale models, wondering which which colour they’d got.

Then to the meeting with Gill. Some amazing facts emerged: 50,000 of Capgemini’s 132,000  staff worldwide do work out of India. India is part of every global project, Nick said, and for sure there are many projects going with the India stamp all over.

Tuesday:

Spent the first half transcribing the Gill interview, a chore but a must for every journalist and some more nuggets from the interview. Tata Motors was wise not to use its ‘mid-market mentality’ when it bought JLR and allowed the now  Indian-owned British brand to flourish. Remember the time: 2008, not a good time for world economy but Tata stuck it out. Not exactly a made-in-India story but clearly a well-managed by India story from the venerable Tatas.

Mahindra Two Wheelers has decided to call its new scooter offering, and called a meet at the Cube, its interaction point with journos. The news scooter that we’ll get to see has been christened the Gusto, in keeping with Mahindra’s time-tested tradition of names that end with an ‘0’. The Gusto debuts on Monday 29, and let’s hope it does well in the market with so many launches from Hero and others. In the evening, attended  a lecture by the French political analyst Christophe Jaffrelot, no auto ‘gyan’ there but an interesting way to end a lovely Tuesday.

Wednesday

VW India launches its new Vento, the TDI with a 1.5-litre turbo-mated to a seven-speed gearbox. And the press was there to see Michael Mayer, head of the Volkswagen brand in India, take the covers off a Toffee Brown Vento, one of the new colours on offer. Mayer, who recently look over his role, said he hoped the new Vento will woo more buyers into showrooms as its good value for money.

In Delhi, Renault launched its AWD Duster, in two variants. Launched just over two years ago, Duster sales have crossed the one-lakh mark and that’s good for Renault.

Thursday:

All roads lead to Goregaon for the much- awaited Scorpio launch, its fourth-gen one with an all-new platform. It was shown to the world in a hangar at the Goregaon exhibition stall. It’s all new from the chassis and other tech features, only the engine has been carried over the previous-generation model. Was great to hear Anand Mahindra articulate what the Scorpio meant for M&M, a real iconic brand, comparing it to a baby that grows up and evolves and gets a family of its own, referring to the large customer following here and overseas.

The event brought back memories of the 2002 launch at the Grand Maratha where the music was the uplifting Mozart’s symphony for the flute and harp.

Also making its debut was the Rapid which made a quite debut in the Capital. Skoda has given the refreshed version a few features such as the Skoda Remote application to control the infotainment system (so important for the customer today) as well as new alloys and parking sensors.

And in the capital city, prime minister Modi launched his ‘Make in India’ campaign for 25 sectors with the captains of industry attending: Cyrus Mistry was there, so also Kenichi Ayukawa of Maruti but Anand Mahindra was in Mumbai to launch his very own Scorpio. The government has printed brochures for the 25 different sectors it wants to promote and automobiles and auto components have their own respective brochures and taglines – Fasten your seatbelts  and We have ignition – respectively. A happy coincidence for M&M that launched its new Scorpio on a day that Modi made a pitch for India as the choice for manufacturing destination.

Friday:

Launches finito for now, time to take a back seat and absorb what has happened and the ‘Make in India’ initiative. Truly wonderful to bump into fellow journos every other day, take turns to sit in the new vehicles’ driver and back seats and take those ubiquitous selfies, then tweet them or upload on FB. Looks like we are entering a nice quarter and hopefully the sales numbers will be good when they trickle in the first week of October. 

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