Transportation System

BMW has the last laugh; Enjoys market leadership for second consecutive year

Since the time it began selling locally made 3 and 5 Series cars in India from its Chennai plant, BMW India has tasted increasing levels of success. In 2009 it managed to take over as the market leader in the luxury segment from Mercedes Benz, which was the indisputable leader for almost fifteen years. Last year, despite playing second fiddle to Mercedes  Benz for several months, BMW had the last laugh.

Even the models BMW planned to sell in limited numbers, ended up exceeding expectations. The Gran Turismo brought into India as a CBU  (Completely Built Unit) was projected to sell about 100 units. They ended up selling 150.

BMW’s 5 Series sedan was one of the key growth drivers last year.  The latest generation 5 Series arrived only in the month of June at dealerships, and the hot-selling entry-level 520d model wasn’t  introduced till November. In six months, BMW sold 2,403 numbers of the new 5 Series compared to 1,509 old 5 Series models for the whole of  2009, marking a 59% growth YoY.

The same phenomenon is observed with the smaller 3 Series Sedan which clocked 2432 units last year, a 110% growth to the measly 1155  units in 2009. Credit has to go to the affordable Corporate Edition models, which were stripped-down variants of the entry-level models.

Overall growth for BMW India in 2010 compared to 2009 was an astounding 73%.

Mercedes  Benz India, despite losing the crown of being India’s most preferred premium brand, has upped its game. The company recorded improvements in the important segment. It sold 80% more cars in 2010 than it did in 2009. In terms of growth percentages, the battle clearly is won by Mercedes  Benz.

The company’s best-selling model was the E-Class, which clocked  2,490 units, compared to 1,024 in 2009. Mercedes Benz launched the new  E-Class in the second half of 2009, and it has performed strongly throughout 2010. The

C-Class, propelled by the introduction of the new CGI engines and less expensive variants, did 2070 units (2009 = 1579 units) while the best performance was in the SUV category where Mercedes Benz did 523  units (2009 = 140units) and clocked a massive 273% growth. The recent additions GL, R and the steadily running M-Class are reasons for this huge leap.

There is a catch, however. Mercedes Benz India’s numbers are purely wholesale (number of cars dispatched to dealers). On the other hand, BMW  India only publishes retail numbers (number of cars delivered to customers). It’s very difficult to determine how many cars left Mercedes  Benz dealerships, but whatever that number is, it still isn’t enough to hold a candle to what the giant from Munich has achieved in just three years since it landed in India.

Shrawan Raja

BOT road project are frauds: Transporters chief

Challenging the union government to come clean on its policy on Build-Operate-Transfer (BOT) basis, All India Motor Transport Congress’ president, said the government policy of private participation on roads projects is full of frauds.

Every year transporters contribute more than Rs 3.20 lakh crore about 25 per cent of country’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) which is more than Rs 11 lakh crore.

“Our concern is that in India in the next few years 777 toll plazas under the BOT are going to start and already 186 is in operation out of which 32 toll stations are those which have recovered the money, but still they are collecting the toll taxes, we are not oppose for paying for maintenance or other charges,” he adds.

“We have written to National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) to show how much they earn every day, month and year, but still we have not got any reply from their end, it is high time that government clean this mess and listen to our grievances as we the people on the receiving, Sunil Kale, General Secretary, Bombay Goods Transporters Association said.

The $ 362 million Mumbai-Pune expressway has already recovered the capital amount within six years. But still we have to pay the toll, as the government has signed a contract of 24 years with the private contractors. Collection on the expressway is about Rs 1.2 crore as per day, but the government figure shows half of it, Kale said.

Asking from where they are quoting the figures and information, the chief said, they have got all the information’s from the Right to Information Act (RTI).

Documents given by the association says, the stretches between Panipat and Jalandar where three barriers fall at Karnal, Shambu, Ladwal (Ludhiana), toll rates have increased from Rs 175 to Rs 441, Rs 105 to rs 264 and Rs 160 to Rs 461 for 10 wheel vehicles within 14 months, about two to three folds rise, after NHAI gave the road to M/s Soma-Isolux NH One Tollway, Tolling-Panipat-Jalandar BOT to convert from 4 lanes to 6 lanes.

In the eastern India, more than 29 illegal weighbridge and illegal check gates are located with the distance of 75 kms, the government is not paying heed to any of our complaints, the paper adds.

Toll collection is on between 23 km Panvel to Dronagiri route called NH 4B, which connect JN Port since 2006. The toll is collected by Mumbai JNPT Road Company, a private contractor, and the tolling agreement is renewed every year. The daily collection of the toll is about Rs 20 lakh per day which amounts to Rs 65-70 crore per year. On Satara-Kagal route the toll is highest in the country; there has been an increase of 15 percent to 20 percent every year, Maharashtra Truck owners Association representative stressed.

Take Kshipra-Indore on NH 3, Rau-Dhamnaod route, Chennai-Bangaluru up to Krishnagiri, Dehu Road-Shendra project, Anewadi Toll Plaza, Pune-Satara route and many other routes the overcharging is going on.

The transporters allege that government agencies even give completion letter to private developers before the work is started and start collecting tolls on the basis of the completed project.

The government has also included Wholesale Price Index (WPI) in the new 2008 rule that is applicable even after the projects are completed. The WPI can only be calculated on the incomplete projects because once the project is granted the WPI is taken into consideration.

Every year, close to 1.5 lakh people die and about 4 lakh people are injured on the roads all over India. According to an estimate, due to multiple checkpoints on road more than $2.5 billion of fuel is wasted by unnecessary formalities.

Jagdish Nehul

Hyundai Motors India opens its 300th Dealership

Hyundai Motor India Limited (HMIL) opened its 300th dealership in Karur, Tamil Nadu.  HMIL has set a target to increase the dealership network to 320 by the end of 2010. In addition to its 300 dealerships, HMIL has an additional network of 112 sales outlets along with 130 Hyundai Advantage dealers which is the company’s pre-owned car business.

via Hyundai Motors India opens its 300th Dealership » CarWale News.

Biofuels not Sustainable as Fuels for Automobiles in India: Ramesh

While biofuels are being considered as the alternative fuel for the vehicles in a number of countries, they are not the sustainable option as the fuel for automobiles in India, said Jairam Ramesh, Environment Minister of Indian Union cabinet. As per the Minister in a country like India, food security is the prime concern for the large population of the country.

Along the sidelines of the automobiles conference, Ramesh said, “We should take a cautious approach towards it (bio-fuel) as its production would require land and crops. It will be difficult as there are other needs like food security in the country.”

The biofuels are produced from the remains of crops, plants, and trees and they are cleaner to burn since they cause much lesser pollution than the fossil fuels. The main problem for using the biofuels is getting the raw material from which the fuel can be extracted. In fact, the technology for using these fuels in automobiles is also not that developed in India.

The Environment Minister said that there is a lot of difference between the other countries like Brazil that use produce biofuels and India. As per him, India has a large population and there is a scarcity of land to develop the product exclusively for the biofuels.

He said, “We are a country of a billion people adding ten million every year, and we have serious food security issues. Diverting land or crops for biofuels cannot be a sustainable option.”

A few years back in 2007, the government had permitted adding of 5% of biofuel (ethanol) to diesel, but not beyond that. The government fears that in the more use of biofuel is allowed in the country, the business-oriented people would utilize most of their crops to produce expensive and profitable biofuels leading shortage of the food in India and rising of the prices.

Jairam Ramesh is of the opinion that CNG is a more viable option in the country like India. As per him the policies in the automobile sector should be changed to encourage more use of CNG. He further said that the prices of diesel should be deregulated like petrol to reduce the misuse of diesel and increase the use of cleaner fuels like CNG.

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