Tata Motors has launched the country’s first Bio-CNG (bio-methane) bus at the recently concluded Bio-energy programme – ‘Urja Utsav’. Designed and developed by Tata Motors, the bio-methane engines (5.7 SGI & 3.8 SGI) for LCV, ICV and MCV buses were displayed at the event. Alongside the engines, the company showcased the Tata LPO 1613 with 5.7 SGI NA BS-IV, IOBD-II compliant bus. The Tata LPO 1613 is already in operation by Pune Mahanagar Parivahan Mahamandal Limited (PMPML). Organised by the Ministry of Petroleum & Natural Gas, the launch took place in the presence of Minister of Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Gas, Dharmendra Pradhan and Minister of State with Independent Charge for Power, Coal, New and Renewable Energy and Mines, Piyush Goyal. Averred Girish Wagh, Head, Commercial Vehicles Business, Tata Motors, “Tata Motors has been at the fore front in pioneering latest technologies and providing smart city solutions in the commercial vehicle industry. We are delighted to present yet another product with innovation in alternate fuel technologies, to cater to the need for a greener country.” “The use of Bio-CNG will contribute in a positive manner to the Smart Cities proposition of keeping them clean and is a good option for wet garbage management,” he opined. Speaking on the Bio-methane bus development, Rajendra Petkar, Head- Power System, Engineering, Tata Motors said, “The showcase of the Bio-Methane bus is a step towards developing environment friendly vehicles. This gas, which gets produced out of natural degradation process, escapes into the atmosphere unused. However, if this is trapped and used in engines, it reduces the net impact on environment and at the same time produces useful power.” Having pioneered the introduction of natural gas vehicles (CNG) in the country, for close to two decades, other initiatives related to CNG engines include the likes of sequential gas injection technology, skip fire, plug type coils, long life spark plugs and longer oil drain intervals.
The Society of Indian Automobile Manufacturers (SIAM) has elected Rajan Wadhera as Vice President with effect from June 27, 2017. Rajan Wadhera, President – Automotive Sector and member of Group Executive Board, Mahindra & Mahindra Limited will take over as the Vice-President of SIAM from Ravi Pisharody who recently announced his resignation from Tata Motors Limited. Speaking on the occasion, Rajan Wadhera, Vice-President, SIAM said, “At SIAM, we are confident that the Indian Auto Industry will continue to be a strong pillar of the Indian economy and will partner the society at large, for delivery of sustainable mobility solutions.” “Personally, I am honoured to be given this opportunity, and look forward to working with the industry, Government and all other stakeholders for the growth of the industry,” he averred.
Piaggio Vehicles Pvt Ltd (PVPL), announced the launch of the new Porter 700. Targeting the last mile transportation segment in the sub one-tonne category, at the recently held launch event at Mumbai, it was announced that the new Porter 700 replaces the Porter 600. The Porter 700 carry forward’s Piaggio’s signature standards of style, design, performance and technology keeping in line with Piaggio’s international legacy. Explaining the Company’s new initiative, Ravi Chopra, Chairman of Piaggio Vehicles Pvt. Ltd. said “Piaggio would continue to provide technological solutions in the last mile transportation market and would focus on further strengthening and dominating this category particularly the last mile transportation cargo market.” “The three-wheelers and four-wheelers will continue to co-exist,” he added. Claimed to be the only vehicle with twin headlamps that adds to the Porters’ superior looks, it is complemented by functionality too. The Porter 700 has a rated payload capacity of 700 kg, and long cargo deck (30 sq. ft.) to ensure superior load carrying capability. It is also claimed to have the highest ground clearance (218 mm) in its category. The Porter 700 offers superior grade-ability of 21 per cent to negotiate steep gradients. The Porter 700 is powered by a Direct Injection, 14.75 hp, 652 cc, single cylinder, BSIV diesel engine. The engine produces a peak torque of 40 Nm at 1600-1800 rpm. The engine is mated to a five-speed floor mounted Synchromesh gear box. Diego Graffi, the new CEO of Piaggio Vehicles Private Limited said , “Anticipating our new age customer’s needs, Porter 700 has been conceived as a modern, stylish vehicle with many new features and yet delivering its core values of exceptional reliability, fuel efficiency and earn ability”, for Piaggio to continue its dominance in the last mile transportation cargo segment. “The new Porter 700 comes with a two years or 75000 kms extended warranty. Today, the company is confident the Porter 700 will outclass others in the four-wheeler sub 1 ton cargo segment and will help it consolidate its position in the last mile transportation industry,” he mentioned. In Maharashtra, the Porter 700 is priced at Rs.3.18 lakh.
After investing Rs.400 crore in India, Scania, after building a manufacturing plant at Bangalore for trucks and buses, is looking at India as a global sourcing hub for components. The Swedish CV maker is said to employ a two pronged strategy where it will conduct components sourcing for its global operations, and increase the local content on the CVs it makes in India. Industry sources claimed that Scania will soon apply thrust on prime movers. This would be in-line with the GST regime, which is expected to make long-haul, higher-tonnage trucks favourable. To compete with homegrown players, and other multi-national players, that are looking at the emerging mid-premium market positions, mentioned an industry expert, it would serve Scania to invest in local content. Not only would this help to respond quickly to market changes, it will also help the premium CV maker to make inroads into the more populous, mass market segments that are profitable though not as much as the premium segments, and seek a better balance between volume and earnings. he said. The prime movers and tippers than Scania currently offers in India are premium, and with considerably higher acquisition cost than mid-premium or mass volume offerings. Claimed an industry source that the team at Scania is analysing if the same strategy, which lead to Scania buses acquiring a local content of up to 90 per cent, work in the case of trucks.
The GST Council has finalised a rate structure of 28 per cent for truck and buses. It is the same as cars, motorcycles, mopeds, personal aircraft and luxury yachts claimed an industry expert. According to an industry source, that smaller buses and vans with a capacity to seat 10 to 13 people will attract 15 per cent cess besides 28 per cent tax. Opining that GST for CVs will be neutral, the source drew attention to three wheelers, which are expected to witness a marginal increase in prices due to the additional National Calamity Contingent Duty (NCCD) levied. Against the current 27.5 per cent (Excise Duty and VAT) tax structure, that the tyres attract under GST they will attract 28 per cent duty, an increase of 0.5 per cent. ICRA in its report has mentioned that the overall tax incidence for the industry will remain neutral. Said Subrata Ray, Senior Group Vice President, ICRA, that the total tax incidence relating to inputs is estimated to increase since GST rate for input components is fixed at 28 per cent, higher than the current taxation structure. However, the manufacturer can claim input at credit. The fixation of GST rate of 12 per cent on tractors would allow OEMs to take credit of the cumulative input duties and taxes. Total tax incidence would thus remain at similar levels, and its implementation for the tractor industry would be neutral. Feared an industry expert that any benefit that the GST may offer will be lost to countervaling duties levied by respective state governments in their pursuit for revenue. He cited the example of Maharashtra, which has levied, not once but twice, countervaling duties on petrol. Countervaling duties may never be reduced or abolished he said, and instead increased over time in one form or the other.
In what is looked upon as an interesting development, Volvo Cars and the Volvo Group are said to have entered into an arrangement to assemble Volvo cars in India at Volvo Group’s CV plant at Hosakote, Bangalore. The arrangement will enable the Swedish luxury car maker to avail of lower duties. The first car, the XC90 SUV, is expected to roll out of the Hosakote plant at the end of this year. Volvo cars are currently imported as CBUs, and attract high duty of approximately 120 per cent. This puts them at a cost disadvantage when compared to their competitors, which have invested in a plant locally. Volvo Group’s plant at Bangalore assembles the FM and FMX range of Volvo trucks. The new generation heavy-duty Eicher Pro 8000 series trucks are also made at this plant. The bus plant, separated by a wall, produces inter-city, city buses under the Volvo brand for local consumption and exports. The Group also makes UD city buses for local consumption.
Shriram Automall India Limited (SAMIL) has inaugurated its 68th facility at Hosur. Spread over four acres of land, the facility will cater to commercial vehicle sellers and buyers in the region. To hold live bidding events, the Hosur facility is sixth such establishment in Tamil Nadu by SAMIL. On the first day of operation, 150 vehicles and construction equipment were put up on display. A free health checkup camp was also organised for customers. Scholarship cheques were distributed to 20 deserving students, and a quarterly newsletter, ‘Connect’, which informs customers of the latest development, inaugurations, awards and policies, was launched.