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Shock decline in vehicle sales hit dealers this Diwali

The “negative factors” which slashed sales this year include the fuel prices which were on the upward swing till October-end, and although the petrol-diesel prices started going downwards, the damage was done.

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Mumbai, Nov 23 : An “unexpected de-growth” during the festival season this year has shocked the automobile industry with consumers “postponing” purchase of both two and four-wheelers, a top industry official said here on Friday.

During the festival season Navratri to Diwali, the Federation of Automobile Dealers Association (FADA) recorded a dismal decline in sales of two-wheelers and four-wheelers, barring three-wheelers like commercial vehicles and autorickshaws.

In fact, this is the first time in the past five years or so that FADA has notched a negative growth during the auspicious festival season of around 42 days, when thousands flock to book or purchase vehicles.

“We had not witnessed such a dull festival season… Many negative factors came into play during this season. It’s a matter of deep concern for the dealership community,” FADA President Ashish H. Kale told IANS.

According to Kale, four-wheelers or passengers vehicles recorded a steep decline of 14 per cent in the prime time between September 21-November 20 this year, compared to the same period in 2017.

This came to actual sales of 287,717 passenger vehicles this season, down from last (2017) season’s 333,456, he said.

In the two-wheelers segment, the decline was equally sharp at 13 per cent during the same period, recording 15,83,276 two-wheelers sold compared to 18,11,703 last season, Kale said.

Incidentally, four-wheelers have notched an overall decline of 1.4 per cent from April to November this year, or 16,26,555 passenger vehicles sold compared to 16,49,650 sold during the same period in 2017.

The only silver lining for FADA was the 10 per cent growth in the three-wheelers and commercial vehicles categories.

For three-wheelers, the sales figure this year was 58,801 (53,457 last year) and commercial vehicles it was 119,597 (103,370 last year).

“Dealer inventory in the two and four-wheelers has risen substantially due to this and is a matter of great concern for us,” Kale said, of the FADA’s move to release independent figures for the first time in view of the grim situation.

The “negative factors” which slashed sales this year include the fuel prices which were on the upward swing till October-end, and although the petrol-diesel prices started going downwards, the damage was done.

Adding to the negative sentiments was the ongoing Non-Banking Financial Companies (NBFC) liquidity issue which hit buyers, especially those opting for two-wheelers and commercial vehicles.

Kale hoped that the recent liquidity measures initiated by the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) and the government, the banks and automobile NBFCs would help the automobile industry grow in the days ahead.

“We request the government and RBI to further ease the liquidity for auto NBFCs which operated in a less riskier business environment compared to infrastructure and housing NBFCs due to short repayment cycle and mobility of the assets,” Kale said.

On the positive side, he said that customer enquiries did not fall this festival, but they failed to materialise into transactions on expected lines due to “postponement” of decisions, and is optimistic the trend could reverse in the next four months.

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Emission case: NGT asks Volkswagen to deposit Rs 100 crore by tomorrow

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New Delhi, Jan 17: National Green Tribunal (NGT) on Thursday asked carmaker Volkswagen to deposit Rs 100 crore by 5 PM tomorrow (January 18) in emission case.

If Volkswagen fails to pay the stipulated amount within 24 hours,
the Tribunal warned of punitive action including the arrest of carmaker’s country MD and seizure of all properties across India.

In November last year, the green panel had directed Volkswagen to deposit Rs 100 crore with the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) within a month for causing “serious environmental damage” by using a cheat device that lowered vehicular emissions only during tests.

The German auto major challenged the order in the Supreme Court but the court refused to put a stay on the Tribunal’s directive.

On Tuesday, a four-member committee constituted by the NGT in November, penalised Volkswagen Rs 171.34 crore for causing air pollution in Delhi becuase of excess nitrogen oxide emissions.

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Musk lays foundation of first Tesla plant in China

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Beijing, Jan 7: As the US-China trade talks began, electric car maker Tesla CEO Elon Musk on Monday laid the foundation of a Tesla Gigafactory in Shanghai — the first-ever outside the US — that is expected to produce 500,000 electric vehicles per year and double the production capacity of Tesla.

Musk attended the ground-breaking ceremony of Tesla Gigafactory with Shanghai Mayor Ying Yong.

“Aiming to finish initial construction this summer, start Model 3 production end of year & reach high volume production next year,” Musk tweeted earlier in the day, adding that “Shanghai Giga production of Model 3/Y will serve greater China region”.

“Shanghai Giga will produce affordable versions of 3/Y for greater China. All Model S/X & higher cost versions of Model 3/Y will still be built in US for WW market, incl China,” he further tweeted.

According to reports, the Tesla Gigafactory is the biggest foreign investment in Shanghai.

Tesla’s first Gigafactory in Nevada produces Model 3’s drive units and battery packs. The Shanghai Gigafactory is set to be equipped with production lines for both batteries and electric cars.

According to a report in teslarati.com, by producing its lower-end Model 3 and Model Y in Shanghai, Tesla would be able to price the vehicles very competitively in the country — regardless of the presence of a trade war between the US and China.

Bullish on his Chinese dream, Musk last July said he aims to invest long-term in the country and signed a preliminary agreement with the Shanghai government to build a Tesla Gigafactory.

Musk had earlier said that China’s progress in advanced infrastructure is “more than 100 times faster than the US”.

According to a CNN report on Monday, Tesla is forging ahead in China “at a tricky time for both the company and the country”.

“China’s slowing economy and its trade war with the United States have hit the auto industry hard, with companies including General Motors (GM), Ford, Jaguar Land Rover and Volkswagen all reporting a slide in sales recently”.

“Tesla’s own prices in China have fluctuated wildly, with the company slashing prices several times last year even after China increased tariffs on imported US vehicles,” the report added.

Tesla has also cut its US prices by $2,000 as the federal tax credit granted to its buyers gradually gets reduced and phased out.

IANS

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Tesla asks more employees to test new Autopilot hardware

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San Francisco, Dec 28: Electric car company Tesla is looking for internal participants for its new Autopilot hardware, consisting of a new neural net computer that it claims would be the “world’s most advanced computer for autonomous driving”.

The company’s chief Elon Musk has sent an email to the staffers to find participants within the firm for the system’s beta testing period.

“Tesla needs a few hundred more internal participants in the full self-driving programme, which is about to accelerate significantly with the introduction of the Tesla designed neural net computer (known internally as Hardware 3). This has over 1,000 per cent more capability than HW2!,” the Electrek quoted Musk as saying late on Thursday.

Earlier this year, the Electric Vehicle (EV) maker reportedly sought hundreds of employees to test its full self-driving system and offered free Autopilot upgrades with new purchases.

“If you elect to participate in the programme and provide feedback for improvement to the Autopilot team, the $8,000 cost of FSD will be waived. This is on a first to purchase basis and will close as soon as we have enough participants. this is the last time the offer will be made,” Musk said.

The EV maker is expected to release improved Autopilot features via software updates and Tesla owners with the new hardware can expect more advanced autonomous features.

IANS

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