India vehicles

It was quite obvious which ‘captain’ drew the crowds at the Ashok Leyland launch in New Delhi on Monday. Not the group’s new series of heavy commercial vehicles, labelled the ‘captain’, but Mahendra Singh Dhoni, brand ambassador and captain of the Indian cricket team.

The Indian commercial vehicle manufacturer owned by the Hinduja brothers has invested some Rs6bn ($96m) in the new products. That’s quite brave at a time when the beleaguered economy is dragging down the automotive industry. But it may well be necessary. Continue reading »

Triumph, the classic British motorcycle marque revived by property millionaire John Bloor more than two decades ago, launched itself into the Indian market on Thursday as part of a drive into increasingly prosperous emerging markets.

“We think the market is bubbling up and this is the right time for Triumph to enter,” Vimal Sumbly, managing director of Triumph Motorcycles in India, said at an event in New Delhi to launch the company’s assembly and sales operation in the country. Continue reading »

India’s Ambassador taxis may have been displaced by models made by Peugeot, Hyundai and Fiat. They may rumble uncomfortably along the country’s roads, their roofs may leak in the monsoon, and it goes without saying that they rarely if ever have four functioning doors. But the Ambassador is as much a part of Indian roadside nostalgia as the palm tree and the pothole.

Now Top Gear, a British television show, has labelled the Ambassador, made by Hindustan Motors, as the world’s best taxi – beating the classic black cabs of London and the iconic yellow cabs of New York. Continue reading »

Without wanting to roll out all the driving puns, India’s auto industry is, well… stalling.

Until now, Indian car sales had been able to withstand slowdown in the wider economy. No longer. Continue reading »

Volvo plans to invest nearly $700m in its Indian operations, in a sign the Swedish company plans to compete in the country’s growing commercial vehicle market. Continue reading »

India’s auto sector can look forward to another rough year – that was the message from the top trade body, which forecast on Wednesday that auto sales would grow between 1 and 3 per cent in the fiscal year ending in March. Continue reading »

Sales of two-wheelers have been a rare bright spot for India’s auto sector, even as the rest of the industry fell off a cliff over the past year. But not any more, it seems. In August, two-wheeler sales fell for the first time in 42 months, by 5 per cent, to 1.07m units.

Hero MotoCorp and Bajaj Auto, the country’s biggest two-wheeler manufacturers, saw sales fall 12 and 14 per cent, respectively. Both companies’ shares were down on Thursday in a rising market. Continue reading »

American automaker General Motors’ latest offering to the Indian market is not – beyond its logo – very American at all. And that may be exactly what the company needs.

This week, GM began production of its Sail compact sedan and hatchback, the company’s first-ever Chinese-designed car, at a plant 100km from Mumbai. The car was designed by SAIC, the Chinese company that is a 50:50 partner in GM’s India’s operations, and marks a big shift in GM’s approach to marketing cars for the Asian market. Continue reading »

Anyone who has driven through the smog-choked streets of New Delhi, or the bumper-to-bumper honking cacophony that passes for driving in much of Mumbai and Bangalore from anywhere between 9am to 9pm knows that India could use both cleaner and quieter cars.

On Wednesday, the government seemed to acknowledge that fact, approving a $4.1bn plan that aims to put 6m green vehicles on India’s streets by 2020. There’s just one problem: power. Continue reading »

Pot holes, erratic drivers – why would anyone spend the best part of $1m on a car in India? Mumbai bureau chief James Crabtree takes a test ride of an Aston Martin, the latest luxury car entrant to the Indian market, to find out.

Indian car sales seem to be picking up after a lackluster 2011, according to February sales data from the country’s biggest car makers.

But while some of the numbers are impressive – with individual company sales rising 80 per cent or more from a year earlier – analysts cautioned that a few more months were needed before the improvement could be called a comeback. Continue reading »

After a dismal 2011 which saw the Indian auto industry slump to a standstill for the fiscal year ending in March 2012 (after growth rates of nearly 30 per cent during the previous two years), the launch of the Delhi Auto Expo on Wednesday was a source of optimism. Whether it is misplaced is another matter.

Gone was the talk of high interest rates and labour unrest and the downward spiral of a once-vibrant industry. Instead, industry insiders could focus on the lights, cameras, and concept cars that defied all logic. And more importantly, a chance to show off brand new shiny models that might save the industry, after November sales figures showed the first growth in five months. Continue reading »

Electric vehicles might have yet to catch on in India but that hasn’t stopped one Indian company from seeing the money-spinning potential of electric motorcycles and scooters.

Hero Eco – owned by the same parent company as India’s largest two-wheeler maker, Hero Motocorp – is hoping to boost its presence in the electric two-wheeler industry with the acquisition of Ultra Motors – a UK-based manufacturer. Continue reading »

Clean and green are not exactly terms normally associated with India or China, with their teeming cities and epic smog. But both countries are attempting to do something about pollution, with each launching ambitious plans to dominate the global alternative vehicle market.

The Indian push for hybrids and electric vehicles, which came in the government’s annual budget announcement earlier this year, aims to provide “clean and green public transportation for the masses”. But analysts doubt whether electric vehicles will catch on. Continue reading »

Indian automakers were hit by the biggest contraction in car sales in more than a decade in October, according to figures released on Wednesday.

That’s a major change of fortune for the country that was the world’s second-fastest-growing car market last year, behind China – where sales for October declined 4.2 per cent compared to last yearContinue reading »