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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.


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.


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.


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.


Ford India will increase the price of its entry-level sedan Ikon by up to 1.5 per cent from April as it looks to offset rising component import bills due to rupee depreciation.

“There will be an increase in the prices of Ikon by up to 1.5 per cent from the price we announced last November while launching a new version of the car,” Ford India Executive Director (Marketing, Sales and Service) Nigel Wark told.

He said the price hike to be effective from April has been necessitated due rupee depreciation. In the last three months the rupee has been losing against the dollar and yesterday it had closed at Rs 50.70 for a dollar.

“Due to this exchange rate fluctuation our import bills for components have increased and hence we thought it was a logical step to tinker the price upwards a bit to offset the impact,” Wark said.

Ford had introduced the new version of the Ikon last November priced at Rs 5.19 lakh (ex-showroom Delhi) for the diesel variant and Rs 4.59 lakh for the petrol variant.

He, however, said the price hike would be restricted only to the Ikon as other models have already seen an increase.

With the demand of the petrol version slowly picking up, Wark said the company will be increasing its production of petrol versions of both Ikon and mid-end sedan Fiesta.


If you pursue something, you will certainly get there. Nothing is impossible,” said Ratan Tata unveiling the much-awaited Tata Nano at a glittering ceremony in Mumbai. The city’s iconic Marine Drive and its gentle breeze formed the perfect backdrop for the occasion and there was not a soul who was not moved by the significance of the event.

The event was not just about what Tata Motors had achieved by offering a car at Rs 1 lakh (ex-factory) but was more a statement on what India had achieved. In Mr Tata’s words, his company had succeeded in giving the country an affordable car. “In some way, this is dedicated to the youth of India,” he said to a tumultuous applause. Appropriately, there were three Nanos that kept him company on stage.
If the appreciation from the audience was unabated, it was most palpable when the car’s price tag was announced. “We made a promise a couple of months ago and I am glad to say that we have kept that promise today,” said Mr Tata. At Rs 1 lakh for the base model, the Indian middle class’ dream of owning a four-wheeler had come true.

For Tata Motors, it had been an arduous journey for six years, with naysayers not giving the company too much of a chance to offer the consumer a car at a price as cheap as that. Mr Tata modestly said this product would “rewrite the evolution of transport”.

The audience comprised not just the head honchos from Bombay House, the Tatas’ headquarters, but dealers and suppliers were there as well. Some of the best names from advertising and the world of finance were also present.

Indian Hotels’ MD Raymond Bickson spoke fondly of how the Nano reminded him of his Fiat. “That was my first car and I used to drive it around as a student.

To my mind, the Nano is the result of the vision of the chairman who saw it through so many challenges.” There was probably a sense of deja vu for those who had seen the Maruti hit the Indian roads in the early ’80s. The Maruti 800 at that stage, according to Naina Lal Kidwai of HSBC, succeeded in transforming demand for cars in India.



April 2020

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