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Slowdown plunges August auto sales to lowest since 1997-98

Overall, passenger vehicle sales declined by 31.57 per cent in August to 196,524 units against 287,198 units in the corresponding month a year ago.

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New Delhi, Sep 9 (IANS) The ongoing consumption slowdown that has gripped the Indian economy dragged down the automobile industry’s August sales to the lowest level since 1997-98, leading to the sector seeking even a “bigger stimulus package” to revive growth.

The demand for another stimulus arose after August’s sales data showed that overall sectoral offtake in the domestic market has plunged 23.55 per cent. This level of downturn was witnessed only once earlier, in December 2000, when the de-growth was registered at 21.81 per cent. The available data series commences from 1997-98.

At present, the industry’s sales have been on a downslide since the last 10 months due to a high GST rate and lack of adequate liquidity. It had recorded a slump of 18.71 per cent in July, the highest monthly sales de-growth in the last 19 years.

A million contractual manufacturing jobs are at risk due to the consumption slowdown which has forced value-chain operators across the automobile industry to reduce production levels.

“The data in the month of August only highlights the urgent need for government to come out with some kind of a bigger stimulus package and to stregthen the stimulus that has already been given by giving the industry a reduced GST rate from 28 to 18 per cent,” Society of Indian Automobile Manufacturers (SIAM) Director General Vishnu Mathur said in a video message.

“We do not have much time, in case we miss on this opportunity, the festival season will also probably not be good, so we have to look at the festival season before we take decision now to reduce GST and to announce a scrappage policy which will help the industry in reviving its fortunes.”

Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman had earlier announced several measures to rescue the auto sector including lifting ban on purchase of vehicles by government departments, and allowing additional 15 per cent depreciation on vehicles acquired from now till March 2020.

On Monday, data furnished by the SIAM showed that total sales of the Indian automobile sector declined by 23.55 per cent in August to 1,821,490 units, from 2,382,436 units sold during the corresponding month of the previous year.

Passenger car sales in the month under consideration plunged by 41.09 per cent to 115,957 units, against 196,847 units sold in August 2018.

Utility vehicle sales declined by 2.2 per cent to 71,478, whereas vans’ offtake went down by 47.36 per cent to 9,089 units against that in the same month a year ago.

Overall, passenger vehicle sales declined by 31.57 per cent in August to 196,524 units against 287,198 units in the corresponding month a year ago.

In the commercial vehicle segment, sales were down by 38.71 per cent to 51,897 units.

The sale of three-wheelers in August declined by 6.93 per cent to 58,818 units.

In the case of two-wheelers, which include scooters, motorcycles and mopeds, the sale edged lower by 22.24 per cent to 1,514,196 units.

However, exports across categories were higher by 2.37 per cent at 421,107 units.

The sales decline has also dented production levels, causing job losses. The domestic passenger car production has fallen by 28.63 per cent to 182,495 units from 255,717 units.

Similarly, commercial vehicle production has come down by 42.05 per cent to 54,873 units, and two-wheeler production has edged lower by 17.08 per cent to 1,858,305 units.

“Despite a strong negative growth overall for passenger vehicles, utility vehicles have done reasonably well with minimum negative impact because of new introductions,”
Grant Thornton India LLP Partner Sridhar V. told IANS.

“Impact of measures undertaken to increase liquidity by the government is yet to be felt.”

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Bill Gates Is Driving a Porsche Taycan. Here’s Why He Didn’t Get a Tesla

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San Francisco, Feb 18 : Tesla CEO Elon Musk on Tuesday took a jibe at Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates after the world’s second richest man declared he has bought his first EV — Porsche Taycan.

Gates told a noted YouTube tech reviewer Marques Brownlee in an interview that he purchased his first-ever EV Porsche Taycan, calling the vehicle “very, very cool”.

“My conversations with Gates have been underwhelming tbh (to be honest),” Musk tweeted to a user.

The initial EV Porsche Taycan Turbo S model starts at $185,000 while the entry-level Tesla Model 3 starts from $35,000.

In the interview, Brownlee asked Gates about his thoughts on Tesla’s dominance in the electric vehicle market.

Gates acknowledged that Tesla is the cream of the crop when it comes to electric cars, adding that lots of manufacturers are moving to produce electric vehicles because Tesla’s appeal has been increased over the past few years.

“Tesla, if you had to name one company, that’s helped drive that, it’s them,” said Gates.

You can watch the complete interview here:

Musk has been tweeting his thoughts about tech honchos.

He recently questioned Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg’s understanding of Artificial Intelligence (AI) and called Amazon Founder and CEO Jeff Bezos a “copycat”.

Gates recently commissioned a $644 million hydrogen-powered superyacht. The plans of buying the superyacht were unveiled at the Monaco Yacht Show in December last year.

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Maruti Suzuki India launches Ertiga S-CNG

“Being the first company to introduce factory-fitted CNG cars in the country, today we proudly own the largest portfolio of green vehicles.”

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Maruti Suzuki BS-VI compliant Ertiga S-CNG

New Delhi, Feb 7: Automobile major Maruti Suzuki India on Friday rolled out the BS-VI compliant Ertiga S-CNG, offering a mileage of 26.08 km per kg.

According to the company, the factory-fitted Ertiga BS-VI S-CNG will be available for Rs 8.95 lakh (Ex-showroom, Delhi).

At the launch, Maruti Suzuki India’s Executive Director (Marketing & Sales) Shashank Srivastava said: “Ertiga has been a market leader amongst MPVs, and the introduction of BS6 S-CNG will further help augment its leadership in the segment.”

“Being the first company to introduce factory-fitted CNG cars in the country, today we proudly own the largest portfolio of green vehicles.”

Besides, the company said that the launch of S-CNG vehicle range is aligned to and complements the government’s vision of reducing oil imports and enhancing the share of natural gas in the energy basket of the country from the current 6.2 per cent to 15 per cent by 2030.

At present, the government is working to rapidly increase CNG fuel pumps network in the country.

In addition, the automobile major said that S-CNG vehicles are equipped with dual interdependent ECUs (Electronic Control Units) and intelligent injection system.

“Vehicles are specially tuned and calibrated to deliver optimum performance and enhanced drivability across all kinds of terrains,” the company said in a statement.

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Elon Musk hires AI that ‘reports directly’ to him 24/7

Tesla is using advanced AI for vision and planning, supported by efficient use of inference hardware to achieve a general solution to full self-driving.

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Tesla CEO Elon Musk

San Francisco, Feb 3: Tesla CEO Elon Musk who is a staunch critic of Artificial Intelligence (AI) has now hired the technology, turning AI into a subordinate that “reports directly” to him daily.

Musk, who has crossed swords with Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg and former Alibaba Chairman Jack Ma over the role of AI, is finally giving the technology some space, like in his startup Neuralink which is creating a brain-machine interface.

Tagging Lex Fridman, popular host of the Artificial Intelligence podcast on YouTube, Musk tweeted: “At Tesla, using AI to solve self-driving isn’t just icing on the cake, it the cake” @lexfridman

“Join AI at Tesla! It reports directly to me & we meet/email/text almost every day. My actions, not just words, show how critically I view (benign) AI,” the Tesla CEO added.

For him, AI can only do ‘benign’ tasks and those jobs too are being evaluated critically by him.

Tesla is using advanced AI for vision and planning, supported by efficient use of inference hardware to achieve a general solution to full self-driving.

The company is building silicon chips that power its full self-driving software from the ground up, taking every small architectural and micro-architectural improvement into account while pushing hard to squeeze maximum silicon performance-per-watt.

The company is applying cutting-edge research to train deep neural networks on problems ranging from perception to control.

“Our per-camera networks analyze raw images to perform semantic segmentation, object detection and monocular depth estimation. Our birds-eye-view networks take video from all cameras to output the road layout, static infrastructure and 3D objects directly in the top-down view,” says Tesla.

“Our networks learn from the most complicated and diverse scenarios in the world, iteratively sourced from our fleet of nearly 1 million vehicles in real time. A full build of Autopilot neural networks involves 48 networks that take 70,000 GPU hours to train. Together, they output 1,000 distinct tensors (predictions) at each timestep,” the electric carmaker added.

The company is also developing core algorithms that drive the car by creating a high-fidelity representation of the world and planning trajectories in that space.

During a recent presentation about Neuralink’s brain-machine interface technology, he said: “Even in a benign AI scenario, we will be left behind.

“Hopefully, it is a benign scenario. But I think with a high-bandwidth brain-machine interface we can actually go along for the ride. And we can effectively have the option of merging with AI,” Musk told the gathering.

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