Large cars are set to get more expensive with the Cabinet paving way for hiking cess on them. Meanwhile, some key changes in the top management of a couple of firms made headlines during the week.
Here is the list of all the key developments in the automotive space this week.
Cabinet approved cess hike
The government refused to pay any heed to repeated pleas from automakers to rethink on the proposed hike in cess by the GST Council. Thus, with the approval of hike in cess on large cars to a maximum of 25 percent such vehicles are set to get expensive by a minimum of Rs 80,000 if there is a direct 10 percent hike in cess.
All vehicles which are bigger than four meters such as mid-size sedans, mid-size sports utility vehicles, large sedan, premium SUVs and luxury cars will see an upward revision in prices. While the actual date of implementation of the cess is not yet announced market watchers say that this could be done in the next two weeks.
Mahindra renames Gujarat JV, launches Trakstar
Mahindra & Mahindra (M&M), the world’s largest tractor manufacturer, has renamed Mahindra Gujarat Tractors as Gromax Agri Equipment as it lays greater emphasis to grow the business with the launch of a new brand of tractors.
Mahindra Gujarat Tractors is a joint venture between the Mumbai-based M&M (60 percent stake) and the Gujarat government (40 percent stake). The company also announced formation of a new brand Trakstar which will focus on value seeking farmers and enable them to enhance their prosperity. The Trakstar range will be present across 30-50 hp category. The range will be launched in a phased manner across key markets.
Maruti Suzuki set to revamp dealerships to Arena
Maruti Suzuki, the country’s largest carmaker, will progressively overhaul its retail network over the next five years and make digital integration a pivotal point in front-end sales.
This transformation is the fourth important pillar of the company’s journey to achieve its targeted 2 million sales by 2020. Nexa, True Value and the Commercial Vehicle business are the other pillars.
MRF to set up plant in Gujarat at Rs 4,000cr
Chennai-based, India’s largest tyre maker, MRF will invest Rs 4,000 crore till 2020 in setting up a green field plant in Gujarat. While the company intends to invest Rs 1000 crore every year Phase-I of the Gujarat plant will see an investment of Rs 2,000 crore.
The company also announced the launch of Perfinza, a premium brand of tyres. The company claimed to be the first Indian company to be approved by a global luxury car maker. The new brand will be sold in India first and will be exported later.
Harley Davidson India names Peter MacKenzie as new MD
Former head of Chrysler’s South East Asia operation Peter MacKenzie has been appointed as the managing director of the Harley Davidson. He will be replacing Vikram Pawah who has joined BMW Motorrad as President, India operations.
MacKenzie has assumed this role in addition to his current role as Managing Director of Harley-Davidson, China. He will continue to be based in Shanghai and will travel to India as required. He will be supported by Manish Agarwal, Country Manager, Harley-Davidson India, who will oversee day-to-day operations.
Volvo Auto India MD Tom von Bonsdorff quits
Just two years after taking over India operations Tom von Bonsdorff, the head of Volvo Auto India has stepped down from his role and will be heading back to Sweden.
Though no one has been appointed to replace Bonsdorff yet the company did state that current director sales and marketing, Jyoti Malhotra will be the acting managing director in the interim. Bonsdorff took over as the head of Volvo Auto India on in mid 2015 and has been responsible for bolstering the brand’s image and presence in India.
Auto sales surge on festive cheer, cess hike fears
Sales of cars and SUVs surged 14 percent last month as dealers began to stock inventory ahead of the festive season which has already begun in southern and western states. Fears of an imminent hike in cess by as much as 10 percent also added to greater off-take at the retail level.
The industry clocked more than 2.8 lakh vehicles in August as Maharashtra, Gujarat, Karnataka, Goa and Andra Pradesh celebrated Ganesh Chaturthi. Sales are expected to be slightly lower in September with the onset of Shradh period.