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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.


rom drawing board to Singur and to Sanand before hitting the showrooms, it has been quite a journey for Tata Motors’ Nano, the world’s cheapest car. Here’s how the Rs one lakh car was born.

March 2003 : Ratan Tata discloses plans to launch the world’s cheapest car at Rs 1 lakh at Geneva Motor Show.

May 2006: Tata Motors announces setting up Nano manufacturing unit at Singur in West Bengal with initial investment of Rs 1000 crore spread over 700 acres; scaled up to 1,000 acres with total investment of Rs 1,500 crore.

Oct 2006 : Trinamool Congress opposes Tata Motors’ plans to set up factory at Singur, calls 12-hour state-wide bandh alleging forcible acquisition of farmers’ land.

Dec 2006: Violence mars Singur, five hurt in rubber- bullet firing. Mamata Banerjee goes on indefinite hunger strike, which was called off after 25 days following appeals from the Prime Minister and the President.

Jan 2007: Land puja offered at Singur car project site

Feb 2007: Police-mob clash at Singur.

Mar 2007: WBIDC signs a 90-year agreement with Tata Motors for Nano plant; farmer commits suicide; mob attacks proposed site; bomb explosion damages fencing

May 2007: Peace talks between state government and Trinamool Congress fail; one more farmer commits suicide

June 2007: CPI(M) patriarch Jyoti Basu echoes Mamata Banerjee’s demand that only 600 acres is required for the Singur project instead of 1,000 acres, but state government rules out returning Singur project land to farmers

Nov 2007 : Central forces deployed at Singur after fresh protests

Jan 2008: Ratan Tata unveils Nano at Auto Expo in Delhi; Calcutta High Court orders Singur land acquisition legal

Mar 2008: Nano showcased at Geneva Motor Show

May 2008 : Supreme Court refuses to stay Nano roll-out from Singur

June 2008: Singur protesters break factory gate

Aug 2008: Talks between West Bengal Chief Minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee and Mamata Banerjee, who demanded return of 400 acres to farmers, fail. Subsequently, Ratan Tata threatens to exit from Singur. It was followed by Trinamool Congress’ indefinite dharna. Factory workers stay away from work after assault.

Sep 2008: WB Governor Gopal Krishna Gandhi intervenes. Agreement signed between state government and Trinamool Congress but it is shortlived. Mamata Banerjee holds rally demanding return of 300 acres of land. Security guards at Singur factory attacked.

Oct 2008: Ratan Tata formally announces pulling out of Nano plant from Singur and days later declares Sanand at Gujarat as the new manufacturing location for Nano at an investment of Rs 2,000 crore

Feb 2009: Tata Motors announces launch date of Nano to be March 23.

Mar 2009: Ratan Tata unveils European version of Nano with added features and complying with Euro V emission norms at the Geneva Motor Show; Nano makes commercial debut.


Tata Motors will on Monday launch the “People’s Car”, the Nano, which it unveiled in January 2008 as the world’s cheapest car with a dealer price
of 100,000 rupees ($1,900).

Following are some details of the 4-door car, available in standard and deluxe versions:

Length: 3.1 metres

Height: 1.6 metres

Width: 1.5 metres

Engine: Rear-wheel drive, 2-cylinder, 623 cc, multi-point fuel-injection petrol engine, rear mounted. Tata said it is the first time a 2-cylinder gasoline engine is used in a car with single balancer shaft.

Safety: Has an all sheet-metal body, with crumple zones, intrusion-resistant doors, seat-belts, and rear tailgate glass bonded to the body. Tyres are tubeless.

Environment: Tailpipe emission performance beats current regulatory requirements, and the Nano has a lower overall pollution level than two-wheelers made in India, Tata has said. A high fuel efficiency (20 km/litre) ensures low carbon dioxide emissions.

The Team: In 2003, a four-member team at Tata’s Engineering Research Centre in Pune city started work on a “very low cost transportation with four wheels” and a price of 100,000 rupees. Helped by the Institute of Development in Automotive Engineering in Italy, the team grew to 500, headed by Girish Wagh.

Nano Europa: Will launch in some European markets by 2011:

Length: 3.29 metres; Width: 1.58 metres; Wheelbase: 2.28 metres. Engine: 3-cylinder, all-aluminium MPFI engine with 5-speed automatic transmission and electric power steering. Plus, advanced restraint systems, ABS, ESP and airbags.


Auto major Mahindra and Mahindra today said it could develop a vehicle on the lines of US President Barack Obama’s official car nicknamed ‘The Devil’ for the country’s political leadership if the necessary facilities existed here.

“I saw the diagram (of the car) and it had complete details of President Obama’s Cadillac limousine. If this facility exists then we would be proud to make such vehicle not just for the Prime Minister but for any VIP,” Mahindra Group Vice Chairman and Managing Director Anand Mahindra told reporters after inaugurating the Special Military Vehicles (SMV) plant in Faridabad near here.

Mahindra Defence Systems Chief Executive Brigadier (retd) Khutub Hai said the company had manufactured armoured Scorpios for VVIPs.

“Eight Chief Ministers in this country travel in armoured Scorpios. These armoured Scorpios are vehicles of choice as far as VVIPs are concerned,” Hai said.

He added that the company has exported five armoured Scorpios to Sri Lanka as part of the Presidential fleet there.

On the possibility of opening similar facilities in friendly neighbouring countries, Hai said: “We are reaching out to friendly neighbours. We will be looking at them. In 8-10 years, we can set up similar facilities there.”

“We are already looking at setting up similar facilities in some parts of Africa,” he added.


Ford India said troubles with its parent in US will not affect its planned $500 million investments for India, and added that the company’s small car would hit the market by early 2010 with localisation as high as 85% to keep the price competitive.

Michael Boneham, MD and president of Ford India, told TOI that the company’s expansion plans were going ahead “as scheduled”. The US auto major that posted a record $14.7 billion net loss in 2008 globally had announced the half-a-billion dollar investment for India last year to double annual production capacity to 2 lakh units and make 2.5 lakh petrol and diesel engines.

“The last six months have been tough for the auto industry… and we maintain a cautious outlook for the rest of 2009,” Boneham said, adding that he expected a turnaround only by 2010. “And this will be the time when we bring in our small car. Thus, we are confident it will get a good response,” he added.

The company is making efforts to ensure that its new small car, that is being designed and engineered for the Indian market, is attractively priced considering it faces tough competition from players like Maruti Suzuki, Hyundai and Tata. “It will the first offering from Ford in the mass-market segment and we are making efforts to keep it cost-competitive while making it a great value proposition,” he said.


Carmaker Honda Siel Cars India on Thursday launched an advanced version of its premium sedan Accord with a 3.5 litre i-VTEC engine, priced between Rs 24.8 lakh and Rs 25.35 lakh (ex-showroom, Delhi).

The new car would be available in two variants — Accord V6 3.5 and Accord V6 3.5 Inspire — and comply with Euro IV emission norms.

The company, however, expects that the demand for the old Accord would be higher than the new one.

“We expect the sales of earlier version of Accord with 2.4 litre engine in higher numbers than this new Accord,” Honda Siel Cars India (HSCI) Vice-President (Marketing) Jnaneswar Sen told reporters here.

The existing Accord comes with a 2.4 litre engine that generates 180 horsepower. The price of the car starts at Rs 16.72 lakh (ex-showroom, Delhi).

The company, which is present in India through a joint venture with the Siel Group, claimed that the new Accord would give a mileage of 10 km per litre as per Automotive Research Association of India conditions.



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