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Surface Transport industry (Automotive, Marine, Rail) - latest news


INDIA: Tata Motors sells 51,184 units in March

Tata Motors' total sales (including exports) of Tata commercial and passenger vehicles in March were 51,184 vehicles, with domestic sales totalling 45,996 units. Cumulative sales (including exports) for the company for the fiscal were 566,695 units. Sales of commercial vehicles in March in the domestic market were 33,356 units, LCV sales were 20,938 units, while M&HCV sales were 12,418 units. Cumulative sales of commercial vehicles in the domestic market for the fiscal year were 378,348 units. Cumulative LCV sales were 268,117 units, while M&HCV sales were 110,231 units. Sales of passenger vehicles for March were 12,640 units. Sales of the Nano/Indica/Indigo range in March were 9,761 units. The Sumo/Safari/Aria/Venture range sales were 2,879 units. Cumulative sales of passenger vehicles were 138,455 units. Cumulative sales of the Nano/Indica/Indigo range were at 107,187 units. Cumulative sales of the Sumo/Safari/Aria/Venture range were 31,268 units. The company's sales from exports were 5,188 units in March. Cumulative sales from exports for the fiscal year were 49,892 units. (Item contains no further information.)

www.just-auto.com. 3 Apr. 2014.

INDIA: Ford sales up 57% to 11,805 vehicles in March

Ford India sold 11,805 vehicles in combined domestic wholesales and exports in March, up 57% from 7,499 vehicles in the same period of 2013. Domestic sales in March stood at 6,356 units, up from 5,271 units in the corresponding period of 2013. Reflecting Ford's continued efforts to enhance India's position as a centre of manufacturing excellence, Ford India exports continued to be strong, at 5,449 vehicles in March, up from 2,228 units in 2013. Vinay Piparsania, executive director of marketing, sales and service at Ford India, said 'Cautious is how we should define the first quarter of 2014. The excise duty reduction has definitely been a positive step. As India gets set to vote, we look forward to such industry-friendly initiatives being sustained to support the important automotive sector'.

www.just-auto.com. 2 Apr. 2014.

COMMENT: Chinese OEMs make their move on North Africa

China's Shanghai GM Wuling, and BYD, have caused a surprise with world premieres at Algeria's national motor show, posing a threat to Renault and PSA in this strategic regional market. BYD has chosen to launch a facelift for its (first generation) Toyota Aygo lookalike, the F0, at this event rather than the Beijing show. This is the first time that the company has had a vehicle world premiere at a show outside its home market. General Motors' world premiere at the show is the Chevrolet Optra, a small sedan powered by 1.5-litre four-cylinder engine. This is a modified version of the Baojun 630 which SGMW manufactures at its Liuzhou plant in Guangxi province. Various other Chinese brands are exhibiting at the show, including JAC and DFM (Dongfeng Motor). Algeria's new car market - modestly sized with 424,972 sales in 2013 - has traditionally been controlled by Renault and Peugeot. These brands battled for the number one spot in 2013, with Peugeot's 74,350 registrations beating Renault but by fewer than 300 cars. The addition of numbers for Dacia (37,290) gave Renault Group the lead, with Dacia also overtaking Hyundai. A new Renault plant is set to open in November. The company hopes that this should underline both its control of the local market and give it a bridgehead from which to begin exports to other countries in North Africa, and eventually, Europe. (Item contains no further information.)

www.just-auto.com. 28 Mar. 2014.

UK: Car market soars to 17.7% growth in March

The growth figure of 17.7% was surprisingly strong for March, traditionally one of the year's largest in Britain due to a registration plate change. Private retail sales were the market driver as overall car sales grew to 464,824 units. That took quarterly new car registrations to 688,122 units, 13.7% ahead of the same period last year. March was also the biggest-ever month in the UK for alternatively-fuelled vehicles as volumes reached 8,713 units, growth of 63.8% on 2013. Toyota noted that strong sales of its Yaris hybrid helped to take the Yaris into the Top Ten models list. Phil Harrold, automotive partner, PwC, said that future growth may be more modest, especially if interest rates rise.

www.just-auto.com. 4 Apr. 2014.

UK: Deal inked to boost hydrogen vehicles

Reports on a pioneering £31M deal to make hydrogen vehicles a viable and environmentally friendly choice for motorists across Europe. Leading motor manufacturers, hydrogen fuel suppliers, the mayor of London’s office and energy consultancies from around the globe have signed up to the HyFive project, the largest of its kind in Europe. Five different manufacturers have agreed to deploy 110 hydrogen fuel cell vehicles at several European locations (Bolzano, Copenhagen, Innsbruck, London, Munich, Stuttgart) and develop new clusters of hydrogen refuelling stations. Locations are being sought for three new hydrogen refuelling stations in London, one in Aarhus and in Odense (Denmark) and one in Innsbruck (Austria). They are expected to be operational by 2015, by which time some of the manufacturers in the partnership will have started to put hydrogen fuelled cars on sale in some European markets. The mayor of London’s office is coordinating the multi million pound project which has been signed up to by BMW, Daimler, Honda, Hyundai, Toyota and hydrogen fuel companies including Air Products, Copenhagen Hydrogen Network, ITM Power, Linde, OMV. Other signatories include Element Energy, PE International, the Institute for Innovative Technology and the European Fuel Cell and Hydrogen Joint Undertaking.

www.just-auto.com. 3 Apr. 2014.

All-new, British luxury sports car is launched in London

Speedback, an all-new, British luxury car that promises to refresh the classic British sports car for the 21st Century, has been launched at an event in London. It will be shown publicly for the first time at the Top Marques show, which runs at the Grimaldi Forum in Monaco from 17th to 20th April. The car is the result of 18 months of hard work by the David Brown Automotive team, including chief designer, Alan Mobberley. It has been engineered and handcrafted in Coventry and uses traditional British materials and craftsmanship. Speedback promises exceptional performance and handling from the latest Jaguar 5 litre supercharged engine and customers can request any level of tuning or engine enhancements they desire.


Volvo puts UK developed KERS technology to the test

Volvo Car Group and Flybrid Automotive, part of the Torotrak Group, have been conducting UK tests of lightweight Flybrid flywheel KERS technology. The four-year partnership, using real-world driving data from tests on public roads and test tracks in both Sweden and the UK, has shown that the flywheel-based hybrid technology can deliver an 80hp performance boost, together with fuel savings of up to 25%. The research forms part of Volvo’s continued Drive-E Powertrain research and development programme. The Flybrid KERS (Kinetic Energy Recovery System) is fitted to the rear axle of a Volvo S60 powered by a 254hp five-cylinder T5 petrol engine. Under braking, kinetic energy, which would otherwise be lost as heat, is transferred from the wheels to the KERS, and is used to spin a 6kg carbon fibre flywheel at up to 60,000rpm. When the car starts moving off again, energy stored in the spinning flywheel is transferred back to the rear wheels via a specially designed transmission, and can either boost power or reduce load on the engine. The combustion engine that drives the front wheels is switched off as soon as braking begins. The energy in the flywheel can then be used to accelerate the vehicle when it is time to move off again or to power the vehicle once it reaches cruising speed.


2014 Outlook of Global Commercial Truck Industry

Details a new publication from Frost & Sullivan which says that the global market for medium-heavy commercial trucks is expected to show marginal growth despite weakness in the global economy. Key-volume markets such as China, North America and Brazil are expected to continue recovery in trucks sales in 2014. The market demand in India and Russia is expected to remain subdued despite the possibility of Russia having post-marginal gains. It is estimated that Next 11 and African markets will offer the most attractive growth opportunities for global OEMs in the commercial truck market in 2014.


THAILAND: Tata to expand vehicle range

Tata Motors is increasing its expansion into the Thai automotive market this year with the launch of new passenger cars and commercial vehicles sourced from South Korea and India. In June, Tata Thailand will launch a range of heavy trucks imported from its South Korea subsidiary, Tata-Daewoo Commercial Vehicles, with the aim of selling 500 units in the current financial year ending in March 2015. The company currently sells the Xenon pickup truck in Thailand which it assembles in partnership with Thonburi Automotive Assembly Plant in Samut Prakan, just outside Bangkok. About 3,500 units of these trucks were sold in the fiscal year just ended – 24% fewer than in the previous year. The Samut Prakan plant has the capacity to assemble 15,000 vehicles per year. Tata’s Ace mini-truck range will go into production at the plant in the fourth quarter of 2014. Passenger car models such as the Nano minicar, which will be fitted with a one-litre engine and automatic transmission, the Aria cross-over model and Tata trucks will also go on sale in Thailand towards the end of the year, all sourced from India. (Item contains no further information.)

www.just-auto.com. 7 Apr. 2014.

Elio Motors and the three wheeled car - a moonshot project

Reports how US company Elio Motors developed a three-wheeled car. The company says that the vehicle will cost $6800, achieve an 84 miles per gallon fuel economy, and they anticipate a five star NHTSA safety rating. The eight gallon tank will theoretically allow a driver to go 672 miles on a tank of gas. Top speed of the Elio is said to be over 100 miles per hour. Elios come with standard equipment - a reinforced roll cage and airbags for safety, radio, air conditioning and power windows for comfort. Most of the components of the Elio are already in production, allowing the vehicle to keep a low cost and hopefully low insurance premiums. Because most of the components can be purchased at a corner auto parts store the carmaker is expecting low maintenance costs. The small front mounted engine in the Elio is 70 horsepower, 1.0 litre, three cylinder device that resembles a Geo Metro more than a standard Chevrolet or Ford offering. Two seats are available in tandem configuration, or the driver can go solo and stow gear on the fold-down second seat. However, even with heavy funding in place, a location secured to build the product, and suppliers on board for production there is a heavy question in the air of whether or not the Elio can become a fully realised product.


ANALYSIS: Europe inches out of recession

Data released by LMC Automotive shows that the West European car market was up 7.4% for the first quarter of the year. The Seasonally Adjusted Annualised Rate of sales for March was 11.8M units a year (in February it was estimated at 11.9M units). There were also signs in March of a further thawing in southern Europe's frozen car markets with both the Italian and Spanish markets turning in positive growth. The French car market was up 8.9% year-on-year in March, although it remains weak. The broader economic picture for the region has also looked brighter lately with Europe's economy returning to growth again (even if it is only around 1% a year) and long-term interest rates much lower. However, significant worries remain over the condition of Europe's economy and the legacy of the economic problems of recent years. High unemployment will act as a constraint to economic growth and keep wages and prices down. LMC forecasts that the West European car market in 2014 will rise by around 3.5% to almost 12M units, still way under the 14M-plus markets of pre-recessionary times.

www.just-auto.com. 8 Apr. 2014.

Rolls-Royce buys out Daimler stake

Rolls Royce has agreed to pay €2.43bn (£2bn) to Daimler for the German company's 50% stake in their joint venture, Rolls-Royce Power Systems. In a joint statement the companies said the deal would complete in five months, subject to regulatory approval, and the price reflected the stake's fair market value. Last month Rolls announced that it would take full ownership of RRPS after Daimler decided to exercise a 'put' option that had been agreed when the companies bought the business in 2011 as a joint venture. At that time they agreed to jointly purchase the German industrial-engine producer Tognum for €3.4bn and renamed it RRPS. RRPS, which is headquartered in Southern Germany and employs roughly 11,000 people worldwide, manufactures high-speed diesel engines for the marine, energy and defence industries. Despite selling their stake, Wolfgang Bernhard, Daimler's board member for trucks and buses, said that irrespective of the ownership structure, the company would 'keep connections to RRPS 'based on our existing supplier relationship'.

The Daily Telegraph, 17th April 2014, p.B3


Wave-piercing vessel contract for Rolls-Royce

Rolls-Royce, the global power systems company, signed an £11M contract with Spanish shipyard Gondan for a wave-piercing offshore vessel to be delivered to Simon Møkster Shipping in Norway. The vessel is designed to pierce through the waves under harsh weather conditions, making it possible to keep a more constant speed, reduce the use of fuel and increase on-board safety. The vessel is developed specifically for missions in the arctic region and will be equipped to undertake oil spill recovery and fire-fighting duties. The vessel, type UT 776 WP, will also feature the Rolls-Royce Unified Bridge, making the command centre of the vessel one of the most modern that exists today. This is the second vessel of this design ordered by Simon Møkster Shipping in Norway; the first is scheduled for delivery from Gondan in August 2014. The delivery from Rolls-Royce includes an extensive range of advanced in board equipment, such as Azipull propellers, thrusters, DP2 dynamic positioning system, the latest generation of automation and control systems including the Unified Bridge, Automated Sea Fastening System (ASFA) to secure deck cargo and a dry bulk system. The vessel is expected to be delivered in 2016.

Stainless Steel World Weekly News Update, 15th April 2014.

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