Wonder Women in Indian Motorsports!

It is quite an honour to publish this post. Indian girls have really broken the shackles to turnaround the  stereotype approach of the society. Girls like Mira Erda,Sneha Sharma, Neharika Yadav and Alisha  have broken many records and have proved a benchmark for current generation. Lets have a look at some of the next gen power girls.

Mira Erda

Mira Erda was born and brought up in Gujarat. She started Karting at the age of 8 on a track build by her father. She became an active racer at the tender age of 9 and was the youngest girl in the Indian Motorsport circuit at the national level. She was competing in the LBG formula 4 till last year. She even defeated stronger and bigger boys by winning the rookie champion of the year during the FMSCI awards.

Mira has already participated in about 75 races both at the national and interntional level. She is going to race for JK Euro which features the BMWFB02 thus becoming one of the youngest Indian drivers to race at this level. But her journey was not that easy. The trainer during her karting days was not at all supportive. It was all due to the efforts and the investment of her dad which encouraged her to choose motosports as a career.

Dr.Neharika Yadav

In a sport dominated by men Dr Neharika is the only super bike racer in the country. She balances her twin pursuits of dentistry and being the fastest women on bike. Her journey from books to track was very challenging.She had an accident while pursuing dentistry and and she lost movement on her right hand. She had to consult various experts for rectifying her right hand. Finally a surgery from USA ensured 50 percent movement of the arm.

After her surgery she was determined to follow both her profession and her passion. Years of determined practice and the guidance of senior and pro fellow riders nurtured the bike racer in her. Dr Neharika started her biking journey with Honda CBR 250 and then shifted to KTM 390RC. Finally she got the taste of Ducati 899 Penigale. She has already completed 2000 kilometres of superbiking at the Buddh International circuit. She truly deserved the destiny- Fastest Superbiker Lady in the Country!

Sneha Sharma

Fueled by her passion Sneha Sharma knew exactly what career she wanted to pursue even when she was 16 years old. Today this girl is not only the fastest racer in the country but also a pilot with Indigo airlines.

Sneha Sharma’s  mother took her to a local track in Mumbai when she was 16 years old. In 2010 she graduated to cars from karts and has also competed in the JK tyre national racing championship. She secured second position in her 4 stroke category at the JK tyre national karting championship 2009. Sneha Sharma was also shortlisted for the 2015 Volkswagen  Vento Cup and the Toyota Etios Cup in India. Sneha Sharma also competed in Mercedes Young Star Program and secured top 5 position. She eventually got the title of India’s fastest female racer. Her journey in the racing arena has been a hard struggle. Being a girl and belonging not to so rich background she did not get sponsorship fees and qualified instructors. She learnt basics of braking and cornering from the simple mechanics.

She has to work at various positions on the race track to sustain herself  in the racing competition. Being a commercial pilot at Indigo Airlines she had to giggle between her profession and her passion. The racing is scheduled in such a way that sometimes there are six races in a month. So she has to plan well in advance to pursue her passion. She was also offered racing seats in Germany and Malaysia. Overall she has won 6 race victims and 14 runner up positions.

 Alisha Abdullah

Alisha Abdullah has got the unique distinction  of being the only Indian women super bike racer and the fastest Indian woman car racer and fastest Indian woman car racer. She has also acted in a Tamil movie Irumbu Kuthirai!

Alisha has been fascinated by racing since she was a kid. At the age of 13 she won MRF national go karting championship. Alisha has got huge distinction of becoming the first Indian woman to get a podium finish in an International Motosport Competition,the Toyota Vios Cup  in 2014. Alisha switched from four wheels to two wheels in 2004.

Competing at the various car racing events was becoming an expensive affair for the Alisha’s family and so she shifted towards motorbike racing. Alisha Abdullah has started her own Racing Academy at the outskirts of Chennai.She wants more and more women to represent India on the global platforms in the years to come.

source: wikipedia, huffington post india

(This article is written by  Gourav Saksham, a dentist by profession and a Petrohead by passion. You can connect with him at gouravsaksham@gmail.com)

OEM wise – Market Coverage and Competitiveness (2012 vs 2017)

In coming years it seems that Maruti might be able to have a product portfolio to cater to every Indian customer’s need (in mass market). Right now, with exception of ₹ 12 Lakhs+ segment, Maruti has covered all the bases in mass market segment, to be precise – 89%. Maruti has even started premium showroom concept called NEXA, to be future ready for premium products. ₹ 12 Lakhs+ products would be real test for NEXA showrooms; Ciaz anyways was doing well from regular Maruti showroom. In last 5 years Hyundai and Honda expanded their market coverage by bringing in products to cater newly emerged and fast growing segments (like compact SUV, sedan).

Competitiveness

For apple to apple comparison of competitiveness, let us have a look at the market share of the only segments where the automaker has a presence. For example Mahindra KUV 100 caters to only one of the possible 4 segments of hatchback.

  • It is surprising to see how Mahindra is the one who has lost its competitive edge big time in past 5 years. Scorpio (2002) and XUV 500 (2011) were game changing products but post that nothing is working for them. When other players started newer segment, Mahindra (TUV300 & KUV 100) failed to make a mark. Upcoming products (MUV-Innova rival, 4m monocoque SUV/Crossover-Brezza rival, 4.3m monocoque SUV/Crossover-Creta rival, Ssangyong Rexton) seems promising but competition is really fierce and Mahindra needs to be really good, to be in the game.
  • Due to lackluster legacy products of 2009 and before, Tata has ceded lot of ground during past 5 years. Horizonext strategy (2013) is finally working for Tata now. Future product line seems promising. If they could turnaround Safari Storme just like Aria (to Hexa), they could beat Mahindra in its own game. Remember how Mahindra was caught off guard when Tata won the Government’s electric vehicle contract, fair and square.
  • In last 5 years, Maruti has tightened its competitive grip in each and every segment it has its presence in and it started reflecting in competitor’s number, particularly Hyundai. However, given the Hyundai’s track record, upcoming 4m SUV/Crossover looks very promising and might help in big way to assert its dominance.
  • India focused product development approach (Kwid) has improved the standing of Renault. However, to continue the momentum they need to stay focused. Product planning and positioning debacle, like Captur, has just derailed that momentum.
  • Nothing was working for Nissan then, nor now. Perhaps they need to quickly bring in new Micra body styling, even if they choose older underpinning, as what Renault did for Captur. Given company’s global position it could have done better in India. They may end up like Chevrolet, only, if they wish to.
  • Honda is finally shedding Brio platform which is good for their future. Amaze’s new design language borrowed from City might work well.
  • With exception of Etios and Liva, Toyota has been very competitive in Indian Market, upcoming Yaris will certainly correct their past mistake.
  • VW’s recent move to downsize the naturally aspirated petrol engine in fastest growing premium hatchback segment looks regressive competitive strategy. On paper performance figure is underwhelming. Potential buyers getting their numbers feed from internet, typically rely on paper figures. So, such a move in a segment which is predominantly petrol powered (75%+) is confounding. Japanese and Koreans are much better at making naturally aspirated petrol engine, at least on papers (power+torque+mileage), but on road performance and sales figure (observation : Mileage is directly proportional to sales figure) too corroborate this. If recently reported Skoda’s big Indian plan is pivoted on such engine (strategy) then perhaps in future Maruti, Hyundai and Tata have to wrestle among themselves in one of the fastest growing segment.

(The article is written by Rohan Rishi. You can connect with him at emailrohanrishi@gmail.com)

Is Maruti The Only Vehicle With Low Maintenance Cost?

Buying a car is just one part of the whole story. Owning and maintaining the car forms the second part. Manufacturers highlight features, space, and styling, but are generally silent on maintenance/service cost of their vehicles. In India, the automobile revolution started with the introduction of the Maruti brand in the early 1980s and it is generally believed that Maruti vehicles are cheap to maintain probably because the cars are being manufactured in India, even though in collaboration with the Japanese carmaker Suzuki.

The aim of this post is to compare the maintenance costs of cars of a few other brands with that of specific Maruti models and see if the belief that only Maruti cars are cheap to maintain is really true or a myth. This is because maintenance cost is an important aspect to be considered when buying a new car. The maintenance/service costs under normal running conditions are worked out for comparison purposes.

Let us now compare the maintenance costs of a few brands to understand this aspect a little better.

#1: Maruti vs Toyota

When it comes to the mid-range cars, the two models that can be compared are Maruti Ciaz and Toyota Platinum Etios. Whereas the price of the base model of Ciaz is INR 7.66 lakh, the base model of Toyota Platinum Etios comes to only INR 6.80 lakh. The mileage claimed by the manufacturers for these models are 28.1 kmpl and 23.6 kmpl, respectively. In terms of engine capacity, Maruti Ciaz is powered by a 1,248 cc engine, while Toyota Platinum Etios has a 1,364 cc engine.

When it comes to the maintenance cost, it runs up to INR 23,631 in the case of Maruti Ciaz petrol variant for six years and eight services. For the diesel variant, it is INR 30,377 for the same number of years and services. The regular maintenance cost for Toyota Platinum Etios is less. For six years and seven services, it works out to around INR 18,200 (INR 18,176 for Petrol and INR 18,196 for Diesel) for both petrol and diesel variants. So the diesel variant of Ciaz, the maintenance cost is almost double that of Toyota Platinum Etios.

Now, if you are wondering as to how Maruti Swift and Toyota Etios Liva fare, it is as follows. Both the cars share the almost same specification, price, and mileage. You have to spend about INR 21,103 and INR 28,312 on regular maintenance for eight services over six years for Maruti Swift petrol and diesel variants, respectively. In the case of the petrol and diesel variants of Toyota Etios Liva, it is INR 18,200 (INR 18,176 for Petrol and INR 18,196 for Diesel) for seven services over six years.

#2: Maruti vs Mahindra

Maruti’s Wagon R and Mahindra’s KUV100 are comparable models in terms of price range, mileage, and engine capacity.  The price of the base models of KUV100 and Wagon R is INR 4.51 lakh and INR 4.14 lakh, respectively. While the KUV100 is powered by a 1,198 cc engine, Wagon R’s engine capacity is just 998 cc. The fuel efficiency claimed by Maruti and Mahindra for these models is almost the same.

Now let’s talk about the maintenance cost of both the vehicles. The total estimated maintenance cost of Wagon R (Petrol Variant) for 6 years and 8 services under normal running conditions works out to INR 27,000 and for the CNG variant, it is INR 25,257 for six years and eight services. In the case of KUV100, the total estimated maintenance cost for six years and seven services it is just INR 18,580. Even for the diesel variant of KUV100, the maintenance cost comes to only about INR 19,570 for six years and seven services. So here Mahindra KUV100 won hands down.

The maintenance costs of even Maruti Celerio variants, which can be included in the same category as Wagon R, is also higher than KUV100. Another aspect that is worth mentioning at this point is about the availability of OEM spare parts. Both the customers of Mahindra and Maruti can get the OEM parts from their authorized service centers, but only Mahindra customers can enjoy an additional benefit of online OEM spare part purchase.

#3: Maruti vs Hyundai

Among Hyundai cars, the model that can be compared with Maruti models Celerio, Wagon R, and Swift is the Grand i10. The base model of Hyundai Grand i10 costs about INR 4.70 lakh and has an engine capacity of 1,197 cc. The fuel efficiency claimed by the manufacturer is 24 kmpl for the diesel variant.

When it comes to the cost of servicing Grand i10 petrol, petrol automatic, and diesel variants eight times over six years is INR 14,274, INR 14,522, and INR 20,599.00, respectively. Which means you can get your Hyundai Grand i10 serviced at a half price when compared with Maruti Wagon R.

#4: Maruti vs Tata

Finally, how does the Indian brand Tata Tiago fare against the Maruti models discussed above?. The base model of Tata Tiago fitted with 1,199 cc engine comes with a price tag of INR 3.26 lakh. The manufacturer claims a fuel efficiency of 27.3 kmpl for its diesel variant. Tiago is rich with engine spec, mileage and badged with competitive price while comparing with Maruti’s Wagon R and Swift. Now let’s check with the maintenance cost.

The cost of servicing Tata Tiago seven times over six years works out to INR 21,980 for the petrol variant and INR 23,860 for the diesel variant. It is obvious that the maintenance cost of Tata Tiago is lower compared to Maruti models. One can enjoy good spec and less maintenance cost vehicle with less price if opt Tata Tiago over Maruti equivalent model.

Another important factor needs to be considered is that the price and availability of OEM spare parts. The well-known place to get OEM spare part is the authorized service centers. The availability of parts will be higher if the number of service center is more. Maruti is not the only maker which covers a nationwide service center. Manufacturers like Hyundai, Mahindra and Tata are also delivering a nationwide service support to its customers with a great number of service centers. With the emergence of E commerce platforms now Mahindra customers can get OEM parts through their online platform as well.

It is now very clear from the above that Maruti brands are not the only ones which come with low maintenance cost as is being commonly believed even now. We have now so many Indian and foreign brands delivers less maintenance cost, some even give less service cost than Maruti models. In general, the maintenance cost of Maruti cars was low when the long-gone Maruti 800 model was in vogue. Over the years, a number of Indian and foreign brands have introduced entry, mid-range, and high-end cars. Now some of the models introduced by these brands can definitely be categorized as low maintenance cost cars as is evident from the above discussion.

Maruti v/s Others – The Myth stands broken!

(Elizabeth Mathew is an entrepreneur, digital journalist and a photographer. A life-long generalist, she writes for various blogs covering digital entertainment, social media and tech. She can be followed @raisamathew)

Bajaj Auto unveils the all-new 2018 Avenger Street 180

  •       Bajaj’s only cruiser brand, unveils Avenger Street in 180 cc engine
  •       Avenger Street 180 comes with the new 2018 headlamp, visor and graphics and with LED DRL’s.
  •       Replaces the Avenger Street 150.
Spicy Red – Avenger Street 180cc

Bajaj Auto has launched the Avenger Street in 180cc along with the All New 2018 Street 220 and Cruise 220 range which were launched last month. The New Avenger Street 180 is an upgrade to and shall replace the existing Avenger Street 150.

Bajaj Auto aims at consolidating its position in this classic bike segment by introducing a more powerful engine and feature loaded New Avenger Street 180. The upgraded 180cc engine will enable the rider extra performance for a more enjoyable ride in the city as well as on the highway.

The Avenger Street 180 boasts of an all new roadster design headlamp with LED DRLs, New Graphics with Larger Insignia, Low & long profile, Black Alloy wheels and rubberized rear grab.

Commenting on the launch Mr. Eric Vas, President – Motorcycles Business, Bajaj Auto Ltd, said “As the segment leader, Bajaj Auto believes in evolving and pushing the envelope.  Avenger Street 180 provides contemporary styling with enhanced power whilst retaining its classical roadster design. The discerning customer gets a definite step-up into the world of classic biking.”

Avenger Street 180 comes with DTS-i engine to deliver performance statistics – 15.5 PS power and low to mid-range torque of 13.7 Nm. The rear suspension has been improved with 12% additional travel whilst retaining the tight wheel and fender packaging of the classic style. The styling and feature changes coupled with new body colours, graphics and a larger Avenger badge.

Avenger Street 180, will come in Ebony Black and Spicy Red colors.

The Avenger Street 180 will be priced at Rs. 83,475/- (all Ex-Showroom Maharashtra).

Ebony Black – Avenger Street 180cc

Specifications:

India is a small car market, indeed!

Cars having length of 4m or less has completely cemented their position in Indian passenger vehicle market, with close to 75% of cars sold in last three years are small (4m or less in length). Driver of the change is the tax structure introduced by the Government way back in 2006, to make India a manufacturing hub for small and fuel-efficient cars.

In reality, small vehicle doesn’t solve road congestion problem but an efficient public transport system may. On small cars, James May (earlier with Top Gear-BBC) once said “Length is not an issue, as roads are infinitely long but finitely wide, it is just easy to park.” If you look at the larger picture, cap on engine size (1.2L for Petrol & 1.5L for Diesel) ingrained in tax structure, has promoted vehicles which are emitting relatively less pollutant and consuming less fuel per unit.

Hatchbacks are not the real beneficiary of the tax structure out here. Rather it’s the sedan and SUV body shape which has shown remarkable growth. Reason – it is culmination of buyer’s aspiration to own a Sedan or an SUV, with limited budget and manufacturer’s ability to package the same in such small footprint and passing on the lower tax incidence as benefit to customer.

What made this happen?

Roots of sub 4m length car segment or small car can be traced back in 2006 Budget speech of the then Finance Minister Mr. P. Chidambaram. Government’s idea was “To make India a hub for the manufacture of small and fuel-efficient cars that will drive economic growth and employment.”

Tax is compulsory contribution. It is one of the major source of revenue for Government. At the same time Government can use tax system to alter the market forces of demand and supply, as in the case of small cars. Lower taxes will reduce price and spurt demand. Also it can be used as a tool for redistribution of wealth, for fostering economic equality, thus the idea of higher taxes on luxury items.

2006

“On cars, I propose to reduce the excise duty to 16 per cent from 24 per cent, but only for small cars. A small car, for this purpose, will mean a car of length not exceeding 4,000 mm and with an engine capacity not exceeding 1,500 cc for diesel cars and not exceeding 1,200 cc for petrol cars. I am confident that industry will seize the opportunity to make India a hub for the manufacture of small and fuel-efficient cars.”- Budget speech – Mr. P. Chidambaram (Minister of Finance-Government of India)

2008

“I have looked at specific sectors where growth is flagging. These sectors are important because they are growth and employment drivers. Some of them also have large externalities. Therefore, I propose to reduce the excise duty on small cars from 16 per cent to 12 per cent and on hybrid cars from 24 per cent to the general revised rate of 14 per cent.”- Budget speech – Mr. P. Chidambaram (Minister of Finance-Government of India)

2017

With GST coming into effect from July 2017 and subsequent revision in September 2017, very idea of 2006 tax structure is cemented now, till another new policy framework comes into effect.

Fuel preference

As per 2017 data, small cars are predominantly petrol and as body size increases, buyers opt for diesel engine. Most of the buyers want to keep their SUVs on strict diesel diet, would 2020 BS VI emission norms be able to change that?

Body Type

Below table shows that over the years SUV growth rate actually outpaced the growth rate of other segments by leaps and bounds.

If you consider perfect 4m length, across all the body shape, with every new product launch, you will see that there is lot of jostling for top spot. With more number of 4m SUV lined up by manufacturers (Datsun, Hyundai and Mahindra), SUV will soon be undisputed leader.

Hatchback

Hatchback sold in India has always been less than 4m in length. Only exception was Chevrolet SRV launched in 2006, which was 4.3m long and found very few takers. Overall hatchback growth rate is pretty low in comparison to overall industry growth rate, thus decline in overall market share. So it is difficult to establish direct impact of tax structure in promoting hatchback which were inherently small in first place. Essentially government is incentivizing small cars over larger cars. In below table you can see that smaller hatchbacks are losing market share and buyers are migrating to larger hatchback. A clear sign of rising aspiration level backed by purchasing power.

Sedan

Tata Indigo CS (2008) was the first sedan to take advantage of the tax structure for its diesel version. What Tata essentially did, was to chop-off the boot of Indigo, to make it fit into 4m length and passed on reduced tax incidence as benefit to customer. Major boost came in 2012, when Maruti Suzuki decided to latch smaller boot on Swift to make 4m-Dzire, and despite its odd proportions it was much bigger success than Swift. Now every leading car maker is having at least one product and some did really good work in designing a sedan with such small footprint and carving out generous interior and boot space.

SUV

First sub 4m SUV was launched by Premier Auto, called Rio, in 2009. It is the same company which used to manufacture one of the most popular sedan before 90s, called Padmini, but popularly known as Phiat (that’s how it sounds). Ford Ecosport has actually brought the segment into limelight and Maruti Suzuki Brezza later turbocharged the segment. Segment is poised to expand further with upcoming Hyundai 4m SUV.

MUV

Tax structure hasn’t had any significant impact on MUV segments. MUV are meant to carry large number of passengers or large amount of luggage or both together. Carving out usable 3 rows of seat in such small footprint is not that easy, unless they make it a boxy-van, which again is not very aspirational from buyer’s perspective.

Utility Vehicle (UV) Chassis

With the advent of new breed of urban, pseudo, compact UV, whatever name you prefer to call them by, monocoque construction is the most preferred chassis.

Company Wise

Maruti Suzuki is champion of small cars indeed. Pick up any segment under 4m, and you will find a Maruti Suzuki product standing at top of podium. On the other side of spectrum it is Toyota with its deeply entrenched and high margin products, namely Innova and Fortuner. For others it is just a pipe dream.

(The article is written by Rohan Rishi. You can connect with him at emailrohanrishi@gmail.com)

2018 Auto Expo – India

The Indian Auto Expo is primarily a biennial automotive show (held once in 2 years) and is Asia’s largest and  world’s second-largest motor show! The Auto Expo was conceived in the year 1985 and had its debut showcasing in 1986.

Auto Expo had always been a platform for OEMs to showcase their upcoming product portfolio and create a buzz beforehand. Customers get a preview of the cars that a brand is going to launch in the coming time. Some cars which were showcased in the earlier Auto Shows have seen phenomenal success in the Indian market (For Ex: In 1998 Auto Expo the showcased products were – Tata Indica V1, Hyundai Santro, Ford Fiesta, Honda City, Tata Safari, Mercedes E-Class etc). Nowadays, OEMs are also using Auto Expo as a platform to launch New Models – this time Maruti launched the New Swift & Hyundai launched the New i20. The OEMs also showcase the Concept/Futuristic models to highlight on their technological superiority.

We have collated the list of cars which were either launched at the Expo, along with the Future Lineup, Concept & Electric Vehicles –

Key Highlights –

  • Kia had a grand stall and showcased the highest number of cars (12 Future Models + 3 Electric Concepts). It has given Kia a nation-wide visibility and has helped it gain the initial buzz it would want before launching new models. It also clarified that it’s first launch for the Indian market shall be a SUV and also ran a contest on naming the Concept.
  • BMW had the highest New Model Launch (5 nos) at the Expo! We also saw the longest line at BMW stall during public days (as they were offering free calendars 😉 ). BMW has been pretty aggressive with their participation and 5 New Launches at the Expo highlights the product offensive strategy by the German OEM.
  • Maruti & Hyundai realized the money spent at the Expo on launching the Newer Models of their legendary Swift & i20! They were the showstoppers at their respective stalls and had an instant connect with the audience attending the Expo.
  • Honda & Toyota neatly utilized the Expo in generating buzz for their upcoming launches (Amaze, Civic & CRV for Honda, Yaris for Toyota). The Japanese OEMs had a similar approach and the pre-launch unveil shall definitely help them create enough buzz before the launch.
  • Tata’s Concept Cars (H5X & 45X) were the most talked about concept cars at the Expo. It really gives assurance that the future lineup of Tata Cars will be a big step ahead in terms of design for the Indian major.

We have shortlisted 6 cars which we believe are going to be instrumental to their respective OEMs in terms of gaining significant ‘volumes’ in the Indian market and seemed to be most promising out of the lot in the expo –