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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.

Source: Pricewale.com

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Celebrating its centenary year, German luxury carmaker Audi will launch over seven models, including hybrid and ‘zero-emission’ diesel vehicles, in the next two years, some of which could hit the Indian roads in future.

“This year is very particular for us as we have become 100 years old. Audi will double its worldwide product range to over 40 by 2015. And to start with, we will launch zero-emission SUV (sports utility vehicle) Q7 and sedan A4 this year in the US and Europe, respectively,” Audi Corporate Strategist Josef Schoen told PTI here.

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Global auto major, Toyota, on Monday said that it is planning to come out with its small car for the Indian market by end of 2010.

The car will be manufactured in its hi-tech facility at Bidadi, Toyota-Kirlosakar, Managing Director Hiroshi Nakagawa, said today during the 18th International Engineering and Technology Fair being held here.

The company currently did not have any plans on coming out with a zero emission hybrid system car for the Indian market, he said, adding it would decide on releasing the Pirus in the Indian market after examining the tax structure and market conditions. Pirus is the world’s first mass-produced gasoline/electric hybrid passenger vehicle.

Currently, he said the tax structure was high in India and company officials were holding talks to bring down the tax if the company was to bring Pirus to the Indian consumers.

Admitting that the meltdown had impacted car sales in the country, he said the company was hopeful that it would meet its sale target of 50,000 cars in the next fiscal.

Source: Pricewale.com

It is not the case of the abominable snowman but Czech car maker Skoda — part of the VW Group — is getting ready to pump up its presence in the Indian car market.Dr Thomas Kuehl, member of the board in charge of sales and marketing, informed that his company would be launching an all new small-sized SUV in the country in early 2010.

It is an established fact that Skoda has been mandated within the VW Group (which includes the other mass market brands like VW and Audi which are also in India) to tap all newer markets in the developing world as the group’s entry level marque. The Yeti is a butch little vehicle (based on the design concept of the same name which was shown in 2005) which has been designed for both urban and leisure driving and has the capability of all wheel drive.

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