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Swift to Altroz, upcoming CNG cars as viable alternatives

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Prices for petrol and diesel is skyrocketing across the country every day, Compressed Natural Gas (CNG) vehicles are a viable alternative considering the fact that the EV infrastructure in India is still in its initial stages. Moreover, CNG cars are affordable, and cheaper to maintain as compared to ICE cars, and a range of new cars are now offered with a factory-fitted CNG kit. Initially, CNG was offered to public transport vehicles like auto-rickshaws, but now the gas has moved onto regular cars as well.Here, we have listed the top five upcoming CNG-powered cars that are set to launch in India. Maruti Suzuki recently launched the updated Baleno for the Indian market at a starting price of Rs 6.35 lakh (ex-showroom).

The car is offered with a sole 1.2-litre naturally aspirated petrol engine which has a claimed fuel efficiency of 22.35 kmpl for manual and 22.94 kmpl for automatic. However, Maruti Suzuki aims to make it even more efficient with the introduction of a CNG variant soon.The Baleno CNG will be the first CNG-powered car offered through the company’s premium Nexa outlets, while other cars like XL6 and Ignis could follow suit too. Powering the Baleno CNG will be the same 1.2 L NA Petrol engine which produces 89 PS of max power and 113 Nm of peak torque. However, the power and torque output will likely drop down to 77 PS and 98.5 Nm in CNG mode.

While the 2022 Baleno is offered with both manual and automatic transmissions, the CNG variant is likely to be equipped with a manual transmission option only. The efficiency of the new Baleno CNG is expected to be around 30km/kg. As of now, the 2022 Maruti Suzuki Baleno is priced from R6.35 lakh to R9.49 lakh. However, the CNG variants of the hatchback could be priced from around Rs 8.4 lakh (all prices, exshowroom) onwards. Maruti Swift CNG The Maruti Suzuki Swift has been the highest-selling hatchback in the country since its inception in the Indian market. The Maruti Suzuki Swift was initially available with both petrol and diesel engine options, but due to BS6 norms kicking in now it’s available only with a petrol engine option.

Similar to the Dzire CNG, the Maruti Suzuki Swift CNG will come with the 1.2L Dualjet K12C petrol engine with a f a c t o r y – f i t t e d C N G k i t . I n C N G g u i s e t h i s engine produces 76 bhp of power and 96 Nm of torque. Transmission options include a 5-speed manual only. Vitara Brezza CNG The Maruti Suzuki Vitara Brezza has been one of the highest-selling car in its segment. The Vitara Brezza was initially available with a Fiat-sourced 1.3-litre Multi-jet diesel engine, but with the advent of the facelift, the diesel motor made way for a petrol engine. However, soon, with the facelift, the company could launch a CNG variant

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India’s Auto exports fall 5.5% in FY24 amid monetary crisis

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Automobile exports from India declined 5.5 per cent in FY24 due to the monetary crisis in various overseas markets.

In the fiscal year 2024, automobile exports from India saw a 5.5% decline, attributed to monetary crises in several international markets, as per recent data released by industry association SIAM. Total exports amounted to 4,500,492 units, down from 4,761,299 units in FY23. SIAM President Vinod Aggarwal remarked on the challenges, noting ongoing volatility in global markets.

“Some of the countries, where we are very strong with commercial vehicle and two-wheeler exports, have been facing foreign exchange-related issues,” he noted. The last fiscal saw a sizeable drop in commercial vehicle, two-wheeler, and three-wheeler shipments, although passenger vehicles grew marginally.

However, in the January-March quarter this year, we have seen good recovery, especially for two-wheelers, indicating better potential for the rest of the year, he said. “We are very hopeful that going forward, the situation will improve,” Aggarwal added. In the passenger vehicle segment, exports increased 1.4 per cent to 6,72,105 units in FY24 from 6,62,703 units in FY23.

Maruti Suzuki led the segment with the shipment of 2,80,712 units against 2,55,439 units in 2022-23. Hyundai Motor India exported 1,63,155 units last fiscal. It had shipped 1,53,019 units in FY23. Kia Motors exported 52,105 units, while Volkswagen India shipped out 44,180 units last fiscal. Nissan Motor India and Honda Cars chipped in with shipments of 42,989 and 37,589 units, respectively, in the 2023-24 fiscal.

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PVs keep auto sector firing in FY24 post 12.5% growth, sales of 42 lakh units

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On the backdrop of a robust economic growth of 7.6 per cent the Indian automobile industry posted a satisfactory growth of 12.5 per cent during financial year 2023- 24, with passenger vehicle segment leading the growth with overall sales touching almost 5 million units even as the industry remains optimistic amidst positive macroeconomic outlook.

The PV dispatches growth includes a growth of 8.4 per cent in the India market taking the sales to 4.2 million and 0.7 million exports, the Society of Indian Automobile Manufacturers (SIAM) said on Friday, releasing the auto industry sales performance of the last month, the fourth quarter ended March and financial year 2023-24.

Passenger Vehicle registered growth of 12 per cent in Q4. Nomura Ratings in its outlook for the sector in FY25F, expects rebalancing of growth where high-growth segments like PV/MHCV will see a slowdown while mass segments like 2Ws will see some recovery. “The PV industry inventory levels remain elevated, and we expect growth to moderate to 4 per cent yoy in FY25 from 8 per cent yoy in FY24. In 2Ws, rural recovery should support demand and drive 10 per cent growth in FY25,” say Nomura auto analysts Kapil Singh and Siddhartha Bera.

The industry wrapped up FY24 with domestic sales of PVs at 42,18,746 units, sales of CVs at 9,67,878 units, three-wheelers at 6,91,749 units and two-wheeler at 1,79,74,365 units. The total production of passenger vehicles, CV, three wheelers, two wheelers and quadricycle in FY24 was 2,84,34,742 units. In FY24, two-wheeler segment continued the recovery path with a handsome growth of over 13 per cent in domestic sales to almost 18 million units, even though still lower than the earlier peak of 21 million units in FY19.

Domestic commercial vehicle industry had a marginal growth to 9.7 million units. “All in all, it has been a satisfactory performance for the Indian automobile industry,” said Vinod Aggarwal, President, SIAM who marks FY2024 as the year which also demonstrated the sustainability commitments of the auto industry as it commenced producing vehicles which are material compliant to 20 per cent ethanol and witnessed growth of 90 per cent in electric PVs and 30 per cent in electric 2W. “Coupled with good monsoon outlook, we are expecting continued growth for the industry this year as well,” says Aggarwal.

In the month of March 2024, domestic sales of PVs were 3,68,086 units, sales of three-wheeler sales were 56,723 units and sales of two-wheeler were 14,87,579 units. In March 2024, the total production of passenger vehicles, three wheelers, two wheelers and quadricycle was 23,25,959 units. In the January-March (Q4) quarter of FY2024, the performance in terms of domestic sales continued to be robust across categories.

The domestic sales of PVs were 11,35,501 units in the quarter under review, sales of CVs were 2,68,294 units, three-wheeler sales were 1,64,844 units and two-wheeler sales were 45,03,523 units. The total production of PVs, CVs, three wheelers, two wheelers and quadricycle in Q4 was 73,94,417 units.

Rajesh Menon, Director General, SIAM informed that 2 wheelers posted sales of 4.5 mn units with a significant growth of 25 per cent compared to Q4 of FY 2022-23 and PVs registered growth of 12 per cent and posted sales of more than 1.1 mn units. Three wheelers posted sales of 1.65 lakh units with a growth of 7 per cent, CVs registered degrowth of (-) 4 per cent by posting sales of more than 2.68 lakh units.

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Tesla eyes India market as Elon Musk makes bold AI prediction

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In a recent X Spaces session with Nicolai Tangen, CEO of Norges Bank Investment Management, Tesla CEO Elon Musk emphasized the importance of electric vehicles (EVs) in India, stating that it’s a natural progression for every country to embrace them. Musk highlighted India’s status as the most populous country globally and stressed that electric cars should be accessible to Indian consumers like they are in other parts of the world.

Musk’s comments coincide with Tesla’s intensified efforts to expand its presence in the Indian market. Sources reveal that the state governments of Maharashtra and Gujarat have extended enticing land offers to Tesla for the establishment of a cutting-edge EV manufacturing plant. The proposed investment for this venture ranges between USD 2 billion to USD 3 billion, demonstrating Tesla’s commitment to both domestic and international markets.

This move aligns with India’s new EV policy, which aims to attract investments from global EV manufacturers and promote the adoption of advanced EV technology among Indian consumers. The policy emphasizes the importance of domestic value addition (DVA) and sets specific localization targets for manufacturers establishing operations in India.

To incentivize investment, the government has introduced measures such as customs duty exemptions and import quotas for EVs based on the level of investment made by manufacturers. These initiatives aim to position India as a preferred destination for EV manufacturing and contribute to the country’s Make in India initiative.

In anticipation of these developments, Tesla plans to dispatch a team of experts to explore suitable locations across India for the proposed manufacturing facility. Musk’s previous statement about visiting India in 2024 further underscores the company’s eagerness to enter the Indian market and collaborate with local stakeholders.

Tesla’s expansion into India represents a significant step forward in the global EV landscape and underscores the company’s commitment to sustainable transportation solutions. With India poised to become a key market for electric vehicles, Tesla’s entry is expected to drive innovation and accelerate the adoption of EVs in the country.

As the electric vehicle market continues to evolve, Tesla’s entry into India holds the potential to reshape the automotive industry and contribute to India’s transition towards a greener and more sustainable future.

Tesla’s entry into the Indian market not only signifies a pivotal moment for the country’s automotive industry but also presents an opportunity for Tesla to capitalize on India’s growing demand for electric vehicles. With the Indian government’s focus on promoting clean energy initiatives and reducing carbon emissions, Tesla’s electric vehicles align perfectly with India’s sustainable development goals.

Moreover, Tesla’s presence in India is expected to stimulate job creation and economic growth, particularly in the manufacturing sector. The establishment of a state-of-the-art manufacturing plant will not only provide employment opportunities for local residents but also foster the development of ancillary industries and supply chains.

In addition to manufacturing, Tesla’s entry into India is poised to catalyze advancements in EV infrastructure and technology. As Tesla vehicles become more accessible to Indian consumers, there will be a corresponding need for charging infrastructure and support services. This presents opportunities for collaboration with local businesses and government agencies to build a robust EV ecosystem.

Furthermore, Tesla’s entry into India could spur competition and innovation in the domestic automotive market, encouraging other manufacturers to invest in electric vehicle technology. This competition could lead to advancements in battery technology, vehicle performance, and affordability, ultimately benefiting consumers.

Overall, Tesla’s decision to establish a manufacturing presence in India reflects the country’s growing importance in the global automotive industry and underscores India’s potential as a key market for electric vehicles. As Tesla’s footprint expands across the country, its impact on India’s economy, environment, and technological landscape is expected to be profound.

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EU, India to jointly promote start-ups in battery recycling technologies for EVs

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As part of a broader effort to promote sustainable agenda, foster innovation and forge stronger economic relations between the European Union and India, the EU and India on Tuesday launched an expression of interest (EoI) for start-ups working in the area of battery recycling technologies for electric vehicles (EVs). The collaboration aims to enhance the cooperation between European and Indian small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) and startups in the clean and green technologies sector.

The intended exchange of knowledge and expertise will be instrumental in advancing the circularity of rare materials and transitioning towards carbon-neutrality in both India and the EU. This initiative takes place under the India-EU Trade & Technology Council (TTC) announced by Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Ursula von der Leyen, President of the European Commission, at their meeting in New Delhi on April 2022.

The initiative provides a platform for Indian and EU startups in the field of EV battery recycling technologies to pitch their innovative solutions and engage with Indian/European venture capitalists and solution adopters. Twelve startups, six each from India and the EU will be selected and get a pitching opportunity during the matchmaking event, scheduled during June 2024. Six finalists (three from the EU and three from India) will be selected following their pitching presentations and awarded the possibility to visit India and the EU, respectively.

The objective is to identify, support and promote startups dedicated to advancing the field of battery recycling technologies for EV and facilitate cooperation, potential trade avenues and, customer relations and exploring investment avenues for the shortlisted startups. This will, under India-EU TTC Working Group 2, offer Indian startups/SMEs an exclusive platform to demonstrate their expertise in battery recycling technologies. It provides a chance for Indian innovators to establish strategic alliances with their counterparts in the EU, accelerating the development of advanced battery recycling techniques focused on waste minimization and resource sustainability.

It will also harmonise efforts with EU innovators to jointly develop battery recycling solutions that drive industry expansion. The TTC was first announced by European Commission President, Ursula von der Leyen, and Modi in April 2022 and established on 6 February 2023, allowing both sides to tackle challenges at the nexus of trade, trusted technology, security and deepen cooperation in these fields. Establishing India-EU TTC is a key step towards a strengthened strategic partnership for the benefit of all people in India and the EU.

The TTC is a key forum to deepen the strategic partnership on trade and technology between the two partners. The TTC will help increase EU-India bilateral trade, which is at historical highs, with €120 billion worth of goods traded in 2022. In 2022, €17 billion of digital products and services were traded.

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Hyundai Motor & Kia Forge Strategic P’ship with Exide Energy for EV Battery Production in India

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Exide Industries surged 13% to hit a record high of INR 363.35 after South Korean auto giants. Hyundai Motor Company and Kia Corporation announced a partnership with Exide Energy Solutions Ltd, a subsidiary of Exide Industries for electric vehicle battery localisation in India.

Hyundai Motor Company (Hyundai Motor) and Kia Corporation (Kia) have inked a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Exide Energy Solutions Ltd (Exide Energy), a prominent Indian battery firm, as a strategic collaboration in line with their electric vehicle (EV) expansion strategies. The signing event occurred at Hyundai Motor Group’s Namyang Research and Development Center in South Korea.

With the expansion of their EV plans for the Indian market, Hyundai Motor and Kia aim to localize their EV battery production, specifically focusing on lithium-iron-phosphate (LFP) cells.

As per a release, this strategic move will position them as the pioneers in applying domestically produced batteries in their upcoming EV models in the Indian market.

“India is a key market for vehicle electrification due in part to the government’s carbon neutrality goals, which makes securing cost competitiveness through localized battery production crucial,” said Heui Won Yang, President and Head of Hyundai Motor and Kia’s R&D Division. “Through this global partnership with Exide Energy Solutions Ltd., we will gain a competitive advantage by equipping Hyundai Motor and Kia’s future EV models in the Indian market with locally produced batteries.”

Kolkata-based Exide Industries Ltd, a leading lead-acid battery supplier in India, has over 75 years of experience and market leadership in lead-acid batteries.

Exide Energy Solutions Ltd is a wholly owned subsidiary company of Exide Industries Ltd, which was established in 2022 to foray into the business of manufacturing Lithium-Ion cells, modules, and packs incorporating a portfolio of multiple chemistries and form factors.

This strategic cooperation with Exide Energy marks the beginning of Hyundai Motor and Kia’s efforts to expand its exclusive battery development, production, supply, and partnerships in the Indian market. India is recognized as a highly promising automotive market worldwide, and the country is rapidly emerging as a critical player in the production and sales of EVs.

Realizing the strategic importance of the Indian market, Hyundai Motor and Kia are taking the lead in the Indian market by introducing their EV models to establish themselves as the frontrunners in the Indian automotive industry.

As per data released by the auto dealers association on Monday, for the entire 2023-24, retail auto sales in India achieved a notable 10 percent year-on-year growth, with the 2W, 3W, passenger vehicle, tractor, and commercial vehicle segments registering growth rates of 9 percent, 49 percent, 8.45 percent, 8 percent, and 5 percent respectively, setting record highs in the 3W, passenger vehicle, and tractor categories.

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Modest growth of 3.14 % in retail sales, PVs dip 6 %, 2W & 3Wsoar: FADA

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In FY24, auto retail sales saw sector-wide growth, leading to a 10 per cent yoy growth, with the 2W segment registering growth rate of 9 per cent, 3W segment growing by 49 per cent, PVs by 8.45 per cent, tractors by 8 per cent and commercial vehicles by 5 per cent respectively.

Despite election uncertainties, economic concerns and intense competition, the two wheeler and 3W segments showcased positive sentiment in March retail sales, especially in the premium and EV segments even as the Indian auto retail sector posted a modest growth of 3.14 per cent yoy in March 2024, with passenger vehicles sales showing a decline of 6 per cent, tractors showing a decline of 3 per cent and commercial vehicles facing a slump of 6 per cent respectively. However, in FY24, auto retail sales saw sector-wide growth, leading to a 10 per cent yoy growth, with the 2W segment registering growth rate of 9 per cent, 3W segment growing by 49 per cent, PVs by 8.45 per cent, tractors by 8 per cent and commercial vehicles by 5 per cent respectively, the Federation of Automobile Dealers Associations (FADA) said on Monday.

Heading into FY’25, FADA projects growth amidst a mix of optimism and challenges. The vehicle retail data of FADA for March’24 and FY’24 shows a surge in electric vehicle sales amidst expiration of the FAME 2 subsidy on 31 March with the 2W electric vehicles share jumping to 9.12 per cent for the first time. There was positive sentiment in 3W segment which demonstrated growth driven by the increasing acceptance of EVs, showing an optimistic trend despite potential challenges from election uncertainties and policy changes. Manish Raj Singhania, notes that the 2W segment demonstrated resilience and adaptability, with EV sales surging due to the expiration of the FAME 2 subsidy on March 31st. “This led to a notable boost in the 2W-EV market share to 9.12 per cent. “Positive market sentiment was supported by seasonal events, improved vehicle supply, and financial incentives. Despite facing market volatility and intense competition, the industry is strategically evolving, particularly in the premium and EV categories, signalling a bright future.” said Singhania.

In FY24, auto retail sales saw sector-wide growth, leading to a 10 per cent yoy growth, with the 2W segment registering growth rate of 9 per cent, 3W segment growing by 49 per cent, PVs by 8.45 per cent, tractors by 8 per cent and commercial vehicles by 5 per cent respectively. The 2W segment benefited by enhanced model availability, the introduction of new products and a positive market sentiment, alongside the burgeoning EV market and strategic premium segment launches. The growth in the 3W segment was driven by the introduction of cost-effective CNG fuel options, new EV models, expanding city landscapes, demand in last mile mobility in urban centres resulting in strong demand, marking a new industry benchmark. The PV segment’s growth was propelled by improved vehicle availability, a compelling model mix and significant contributions from the SUV segment, which now claims 50 per cent market share.

The auto is projecting an optimistic outlook in FY’25, focusing on new product launches, especially in EVs and leveraging economic growth, favourable government policies and expectation of good monsoon to fuel demand, despite facing challenges like competition and the need for strategic market engagement. The 3W segment showed an encouraging sales trend hitting an all-time high retail, driven by the growing acceptance of EVs. The introduction of EV autos and loaders positively impacted the retail environment. Although faced with election-related uncertainties and concerns over policy changes, such as free bus travel for women, the overall outlook for the sector remains upbeat, supported by the quality of vehicles and strong market demand.

The PV sector encountered challenges, with a m-o-m decrease of 2 per cent and a yoy fall of 6 per cent The downturn was influenced by heavy discounting and selective financing further affected by economic worries and the electoral climate. Nonetheless, positives such as improved vehicle availability, increased stock levels and new model launches did stimulate demand in certain areas. The impact of election activities and changes in festival dates also played a role in sales dynamics. The near-term outlook of FADA notes concern over decline in consumer sentiment among urban Indians and warns that the automotive sector faces a nuanced challenge. Given the continued inflationary trend without any relief in finance rates, these prospective buyers may continue to hesitate. Heading into FY’25, the auto industry is poised for growth amidst a mix of optimism and challenges.

The excitement around new product launches, particularly electric vehicles, sets a forward-looking tone. Manufacturers are gearing up with better supply chains and an array of models to meet diverse consumer demands. Economic growth, favourable government policies and an anticipated good monsoon are expected to fuel demand, especially in rural areas and the commercial vehicle sector, which is closely linked to infrastructure projects and economic activity.

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