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wo-wheeler maker Bajaj today said it has received a patent for a new technology, which has been a bone of contention with rival TVS Motor Co.

“The Indian Patent Office granted Bajaj Auto a patent for its ‘ExhausTEC’ invention vide Patent No 231498 dated March 5, 2009. This grant was published in Patent Gazette, dated March 27, 2009,” Bajaj Auto Ltd (BAL) Vice-President (Business Development) S Ravikumar said in a statement.

Bajaj Auto claimed that ExhausTEC significantly improves low- and mid-range torque (tendency of a force to rotate an object about an axis) in a single cylinder four stroke engine, employing a chamber of predetermined volume attached to the exhaust pipe.

“Bajaj has employed this innovation on its motorcycles since August 2004 in various models,” Ravikumar said.

Earlier, BAL had applied for patent of this technology in 2004. Later, TVS unveiled a series of new products, which Bajaj alleged of patent infringement of its ExhausTEC technology and served notice to the Chennai-based firm in December, 2007.

Source: Pricewale.com

Maruti Suzuki has decided to stop selling its 800 model, that changed the face of the Indian car market, from 11 cities, including the four metros, from 2010 due to tighter emission norms. Maruti chairman RC Bhargava said the company will also stop selling Omni van in cities where stricter Bharat Stage IV (BSIV) norms will be implemented from next year.

“We will not be selling the M800 and Omni vans in the 11 major cities where BSIV norms set in from next year. However, this in no way means that we will discontinue or phase out the models, as these would continue to be sold in other cities and towns where BSIII norms would be applicable,” Bhargava said.

The cities where BSIV norms will set in from April 2010 are Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata, Chennai, Bangalore, Hyderabad, Pune, Kanpur, Ahmedabad, Surat and Agra. Other cities will come under BSIII norms, making it possible for the company to sell the cars. However, these would also come under BSIV norms by around 2015-16, that would finally mean phase-out of the two models.

Bhargava said Maruti had no plans to further invest in engine modernisation for the M800 or the Omni, the longest-standing models for the company. “We are not looking at this option. To continue the models in BSIV cities, we have to not only make changes to the engine but also take care of other issues. We do not want to do this. Anyway, they are old cars,” he said.

M800, that once used to be the bread-and-butter model for the company, has sold over 27 lakh units since its launch in 1983. However, with the cut in prices of Alto, the demand for the car had gone down, though it still averages 4000-5000 units monthly.

But the absence of the models from 11 major cities, just when Tata would strengthen and boost the numbers of the Nano, is expected to make things tough for Maruti. The company is believed to be working on a new strategy to tackle the Nano phenomenon, though officially it has refrained to admit so.

Bhargava, however, said the exit from the cities would not be a big dampener for the company. “The demand for these models here is not that big anyway. So the impact will only be marginal,” he said.

Source: Pricewale.com

Passenger car market leader Maruti Suzuki will launch its sixth global car, Ritz, in May. The mass market car will be launched in the popular small car segment with a 1.2 litre KB series petrol and 1.3 litre multijet diesel engine simultaneously.

The Ritz will be built on Maruti’s successful Splash platform and will be priced between Rs 4 lakh and Rs 5 lakh, which is just below the Swift’s price tag. It will be shorter than the Swift (by 30 mm), but will be spacious due to high roof structure.

The Ritz will be positioned between the A-star and the Swift, and will counter Hyundai’s i10 and i20, Skoda’s Fabia, Ford’s Fusion, Fiat’s Palio and Tata Motors’ Indica Vista. This car is Maruti’s ninth small car that will consolidate its position in the crowded market.

Dubbed as a multi-purpose vehicle, it will cater to small urban families and sport BS-IV engines and a 5-speed manual gearbox.

The Ritz, known as Splash in Europe and other developed markets, will coexist with the ageing WagonR platform, just as the newly-launched A-Star is thriving with the Alto.

A Maruti spokesman confirmed that the car will be launched sometime in the first half of the year. “We have not decided the date, but it will be launched as per schedule,” he said.

According to dealers, the Ritz will be launched prior to Honda’s small car, Jazz, which is slated to hit the roads in June and Fiat’s premium hatchback, Grande Punto. The Ritz has cleared all the homologation tests and has been approved by the International Centre of Automotive Technology (iCAT) at Manesar in Haryana last week for launch in the Indian market.

Source: Pricewale.com

Tata Group firm Titan Industries said it will start distributing booking forms for Tata Nano from its showrooms across the country from April 4.

The Nano booking forms would be available at all ‘World of Titan’ showrooms across the country between April 4 and April 25, Titan Industries said in a statement.

World of Titan network is the wristwatch retail chain of Titan Industries.

Along with the booking form, the prospective buyer would get a gift voucher worth Rs 200 redeemable on purchase of a watch at the Titan outlets and a free membership of the Titan Signet Loyalty Program, which offers several benefits.

“The launch of Nano is a moment of great pride for all of us in the Tata group. Therefore, at Titan, we have specially made available Nano booking forms in all our World of Titan showrooms,” Titan Watches Chief Operating Officer Harish Bhat said.

Titan has over 265 stores in 119 cities across India.

Source: Pricewale.com


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