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This week in Auto: Mahindra promises to launch XUV300 in Feb, Hybrids divide industry down to the middle

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Here are all the highlights of all the major developments in the auto space

Earlier this week, the top brass of India’s largest carmaker spoke heavily in favour of promoting hybrids in India. This comes on the back of an equally vibrant opposition from another section of the industry. Should the government subsidize hybrid vehicles? We take a look at that question in today’s weekly wrap along with highlights of all major developments in the auto space.

Tata Motors to supply 500 electric cars to Zoomcar

Home-grown auto major Tata Motors joined hands with self-drive rental car firm Zoomcar to offer the electric version of its compact sedan Tigor in Pune city as part of the shared mobility plans.

Under this partnership, Zoomcar expects to deploy 500 electric vehicles in over 20 cities with Tata Motors over the next one year, a release said.

Mahindra to launch XUV 300 in February

Auto major Mahindra & Mahindra on Wednesday said its upcoming compact SUV named XUV300 will be launched in February next year.

Built on the X-100 platform, which has produced SsnagYong Tivoli, the sub 4-meter SUV will be launched in both the petrol and diesel variants by mid-February next year. The mini SUV will take on the Maruti Suzuki Brezza.

Hyundai to hike prices

Hyundai Motor India on Thursday said it will increase vehicle prices by up to Rs 30,000 from next month in order to partially offset the impact of rising input costs. The new prices will be effective from January across all models, Hyundai Motor India said in a statement.

Hyundai sells a range of models, from Santro hatchback to SUV Tuscon priced between Rs 3.89 lakh and Rs 26.84 lakh (all prices ex-showroom Delhi). Last week, Tata Motors, Ford India and Nissan India had announced plans to hike prices of their passenger vehicles.

Maruti to stop producing BS-IV cars after December

The country’s largest car maker Maruti Suzuki on December 19 said a large portion of its product range will be moved to the next emission standard Bharat Stage VI by December 2019, much ahead of the sales deadline set by the government.

Top executives of the Delhi-based company said a major chunk of the product range will be migrated to BS-VI, three months before April 1, 2020 date set by the government.

Issue of hybrids divides the auto industry

At a recent press meet top executives of Maruti Suzuki, the country’s largest car maker, promoted the proposal of the government to make hybrids a more viable transport option for the future.

The government is believed to be contemplating cutting duties on hybrids and bring them closer to electric vehicles to increase their mass appeal and spruce up volumes. A subsequent increase in duties post introduction of GST had put hybrids in the same tax bracket as large diesel powered sports utility vehicles.

“For saving on fuel bill import bills hybrids is the best solution for the time being. This is the next best solution before moving to fully electric in the long term”, said a top executive of Maruti Suzuki.

Maruti is banking on fellow Japanese auto giant Toyota to gain hybrid technology to make up for the gap it has. Progressively Maruti plans to introduce a number of strong hybrid variants in the coming years to make up for the expected drop in demand for diesel models owing to their high acquisition costs.

Tata Motors and Mahindra & Mahindra, two of India’s top four passenger vehicle makers, who had ruled out work on hybrids have expressed disappointment.

Speaking to Moneycontrol Tata Motors managing director Guenter Butschek said recently said that after giving clear signs of moving to electric vehicles an about turn in policy on hybrids is equivalent to taking three steps backwards.

Both the Indian companies do not have strong hybrids in their line-up but both have developed fully electric vehicles which are supplied as per order from a state-owned company. Mahindra has engineered mild hybrid versions of their existing models such as for Scorpio.

Maruti and Toyota do not have any battery powered cars in their line-up presently and it will take Maruti at least 12 months to launch an electric vehicle in India.

Maruti further states that hybrid technology will help the industry meet the Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFÉ) norms. These norms will make it mandatory for car makers to increase fuel efficiency by at least 30 percent compared to today.

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