This week in auto: Mahindra opens plant in US; Gadkari nixes battery swapping plan
There were no significant product launches this week, but plenty of other developments dominated the headlines. Here’s a complete wrap:
Nitin Gadkari not in favour of battery swapping
Minister for Road Transport and Highways Nitin Gadkari shot down Niti Aayog’s proposal for battery swapping, terming it unviable. The policy think-tank had been in favour of the method used to promote the concept of electric mobility in many overseas markets.
The minister said that adopting battery swapping will be a very complicated method to follow in India. Instead, Gadkari said that the government is working on a charging system that can reduce charging time to just 15-20 minutes, which would thus reduce the need to remove and insert a new battery.
Mahindra opens plant in US
Detroit got its first automotive plant in 25 years following the inauguration of an off-road vehicle manufacturing plant by Mahindra & Mahindra, the leader in tractors. The vehicles, which are high on utility, will cater to personal use but are not meant for highways.
The Mumbai-headquartered company has created 250 new jobs at the plant, which will have the capacity to produce 10,000 units of the Roxor, an off-highway vehicle. Mahindra will invest another USD 600 million in the facility by 2020, adding another 400 jobs.
Maruti launches Swift limited edition
Maruti Suzuki, the country’s largest car maker has launched a limited edition version of the Swift in both petrol and diesel versions. The petrol variant is priced at Rs 5.45 lakh while the diesel version is priced at Rs 6.39 lakh (ex-showroom, Delhi).
While the engines remain the same, the premium hatchback now gets an infotainment system which supports Android Auto and Apple Car Play. In addition, the car gets extra bass, floor mats and alloy wheels. This is the last upgrade for the bestseller before it undergoes a complete revamp expected to be launched in 2018.
New Hyundai car spied
A new partially masked hatchback made by Hyundai was spotted in testing this week indicating that the Korean car brand could be readying its launch in less than a year. While the company has refused to say anything, speculation is rife about the car being the all-new Santro.
Photographs of the vehicle suggest it will feature a tall-boy design, something which Hyundai started with in India with the Santro in 1998. The company, however, has promised to launch a hatchback in 2018 targeted at ‘families’.
Toyota Etios Liva secures 4-star rating at NCAP
Global NCAP and AA South Africa crash-tested two Indian cars – Toyota Etios Liva and Datsun GO+. The Toyota hatchback, which is sold as the Etios Sprint in South Africa, landed a four-star safety rating for adult occupancy.
The Datsun multi-utility vehicle meanwhile got a 1-star rating for adult occupancy as it had only one driver-side airbag. Both cars were crashed at 64 km/hr.