Key Takeaways on Growth & Profitability of Vehicle After Sales Service | 8th IVASS

Key Takeaways on Growth & Profitability of Vehicle After Sales Service | 8th IVASS

by WAF Think Tank 

World Auto Forum organised the 8th IVASS- India Vehicle After Sales Summit 2022, to discuss Best Practices for Profitability and Growth on 17 December 2022, at Radisson Blu Plaza, Delhi Airport. The conference and exhibition was powered by Syncron, a Swedish Software solutions provider with a global presence.

Continue reading “Key Takeaways on Growth & Profitability of Vehicle After Sales Service | 8th IVASS”

9th WAF Awards held | Check out the WAF Stars | Stellar Media Coverage Yet again

9th WAF Awards held | Check out the WAF Stars | Stellar Media Coverage Yet again

New Delhi, Delhi, India

  • WAF awards reward & recognise the Best People behind Best Cos & Products
  • Powered by the 7 Steps Selection Process only at WAF!
  • Backed by months of research by IIT Delhi
  • WAF Awards Coverage goes Viral in Media. Check out the links at the bottom of this post


World Auto Forum (WAF) Awards 2022 were held virtually recently. WAF Awards, over the years have become synonymous with platinum performances across the Automotive & Mobility segment. One of the most coveted awards, they follow a 7 – steps process, setting high benchmarks in the industry. WAF Stars, as the 154 WAF award winners are known in the industry, for the last 9 years, have all gained great recognition, and moved on to bigger, better roles and opportunities.

Continue reading “9th WAF Awards held | Check out the WAF Stars | Stellar Media Coverage Yet again”

MG Motor partners IIT Delhi for research in electric, autonomous technologies

  • MG, which has introduced electric SUV – the ZS EV and the first autonomous Level 1 premium SUV – Gloster, aims to use the research for developing its future autonomous vehicles.

MG Motor India on Monday said it has joined hands with IIT Delhi’s Centre for Automotive Research and Tribology (CART) for research in the field of electric and autonomous vehicles.

The partnership through Foundation for Innovation and Technology Transfer (FITT), IIT Delhi aims at furthering the automaker’s focus on CASE mobility (Connected Autonomous Shared Electric); through enabling supporting research for deployment of electric and autonomous vehicles in the urban landscape in the country, MG Motor India said in a statement.

Continue reading “MG Motor partners IIT Delhi for research in electric, autonomous technologies”

Kia Motors India appoints Hardeep Singh Brar as National Head Sales & Marketing

Kia Motors India appoints Hardeep Singh Brar as National Head Sales & Marketing

by WAF Editorial Team 

Kia Motors India has appointed the Industry Veteran Hardeep Singh Brar as National Head, Sales & Marketing. The company has created great euphoria and tasted initial success with products like Seltos and Sonet.

Mr Brar would fill in the shoes of Mr Manohar Bhat, who conceived and executed the debut of Kia brand and company at India. The expectations would surely be sky high!

Mr Brar is an Industry Veteran. He has worked with Maruti Suzuki in several functions like Sales & Dealer Development. His last profile there was GM- Corporate and Rural sales

He has headed Network & Dealer Management at Volkswagen India. He also headed Vehicle Sales, Service & Marketing at General Motors till it announced to wrap its India Operations. After General Motors he had joined Nissan India with his last profile there as Director – Commercial and Board Member.

Continue reading “Kia Motors India appoints Hardeep Singh Brar as National Head Sales & Marketing”

VW India elevates its Future Leader – Vishal Bhat

VW India elevates its Future Leader – Vishal Bhat

by WAF Editorial Team 


•Volkswagen India is gearing up for its Mega Launch in 2021

•Renewed Focus on Customer Experience, Value Proposition and Peace of Mind

•Elevates in-house talent, Vishal Bhat, to lead the After Sales Service function and spearhead the Change


Volkswagen India has planned a power packed 2021

They are getting ready with their arsenal of products, marketing strategy, Renewed Focus on Processes & Customer Experience. The arsenal gets powered by the right people!

VW India has elevated Vishal Bhat to head their after sales service function with effect from Jan 1, 2021.

Mr Bhat is currently heading Pan India Corporate Sales and Das Welt Auto – VW’s Certified Pre Owned Car Brand at VW India.

With over 17 years of extensive experience in automotive industry, Bhat brings in diverse expertise to the position. In a period of last five years, he has undertaken various roles and responsibilities across functions –Aftersales, Customer Care, Corporate and Das WeltAuto sales operations and has been successfully leading them.

Continue reading “VW India elevates its Future Leader – Vishal Bhat”

WAF creates History by getting together Top Global After Sales Experts for Best Practices Sharing

WAF creates History by getting together Top Global After Sales Experts for Best Practices Sharing

Press Release

Teus, 15 Dec 2020 5:45 PM IST

IVASS 2020 brings together the Global After Sales Experts to share Industry Best Practices amidst the Pandemic



  • Every year, World Auto Forum celebrates National Vehicle After Sales Day on Second Sat of Dec with IVASS- India Vehicle After Sales Summit & Exhibition
  • In its 6th year, IVASS went global this time and in a pioneering act got together the Top After Sales Experts from Asia, Africa, Middle East, Europe and Australia
  • The virtual exhibition at IVASS 2020 was also the highlight of the event and was a roaring success
  • The most important reason for the global best practices sharing was that the entire industry worldwide moves a notch up in threshold and the most critical facet of the value chain benefits that is the Consumer!



15th December 2020 | New Delhi & Detroit |


India Vehicle After Sales Summit, a program organized on Saturday, 12th December 2020 by World Auto Forum in association with ASDC – Automotive Skilling Development Council, set the path for innovations in the Vehicle After Sales & Auto aftermarket ecosystem. 

Top Experts from Auto Suppliers, OEMs, Dealership network, Service companies, Parts Makers & Distributors graced the Panel Discussions and Keynote sessions. The theme this year was ‘Surviving and thriving through Innovation, Skilling & Teamwork’. Each session deliberated on various aspects of the post Covid needs and adaptability required to cope with the changing dynamics of consumer behaviour and governmental policies.

Anuj Guglani, CEO, World Auto Forum set the ball rolling by sharing with the audience, the global outreach of IVASS this year, with speakers brought in from across the globe to broaden the horizons of learning and sharing of best practices. He also elucidated the common global challenges faced by the Industry and the pivotal role Innovation plays in overcoming them. 

Continue reading “WAF creates History by getting together Top Global After Sales Experts for Best Practices Sharing”

Gallops Autohaus, India’s leading Dealer Group to Represent BMW in Rajkot

Gallops Autohaus, India’s leading Dealer Group to Represent BMW in Rajkot

  • State-of-the-art BMW Facility NEXT offers enriched digital experience.
  • Customer service powered by new age technologies – BMW Contactless, BMW Smart Video and BMW Smart Repair services.
  • BMW Premium Selection for best deals on used cars with right history.
  • Latest BMW Lifestyle and Accessories for all auto enthusiasts.

BMW India today announced the launch of its ultramodern BMW Facility NEXT in Rajkot. Gallops Autohaus now represents BMW with a fully-fledged integrated retail and service facility. Based on the latest BMW Facility NEXT concept, the new facility showcases the exclusive range of both new and pre-owned BMW cars. It is located at Gondal Road, Survey No.390. Plot No. 611, Rajkot, Gujarat 360004.

The facility is headed by Mr. Tanuj Pugalia, Dealer Principal, Gallops Autohaus. Gallops Autohaus represents BMW India with sales and service touchpoints in Ahmedabad.

Continue reading “Gallops Autohaus, India’s leading Dealer Group to Represent BMW in Rajkot”

Tesla’s Musk hints of battery capacity jump ahead of industry event

Tesla’s Musk hints of battery capacity jump ahead of industry event

SEOUL (Reuters) – Tesla Inc (TSLA.O) CEO Elon Musk has suggested the U.S. electric carmaker may be able to mass produce batteries with 50% more energy density in three to four years, which could even enable electric airplanes.

His comments came as speculation is growing about announcements at Tesla’s anticipated “Battery Day” event where it is expected to reveal how it has improved its battery performance.

“400 Wh/kg *with* high cycle life, produced in volume (not just a lab) is not far. Probably 3 to 4 years,” Musk tweeted on Monday in response to a Twitter thread by Sam Korus, an analyst at ARK Investment Management LLC, about why Musk keeps hinting at a Tesla electric plane.

Researchers have said the energy density of Panasonic’s (6752.T) “2170” batteries used in Tesla’s Model 3 is around 260 Wh/kg, meaning a 50% jump from the current energy density which is key to achieving a longer driving range.

Continue reading “Tesla’s Musk hints of battery capacity jump ahead of industry event”

China’s EV maker Nio launches battery leasing service

China’s EV maker Nio launches battery leasing service

BEIJING/SHANGHAI (Reuters) – Chinese electric vehicle (EV) maker Nio Inc has launched a battery leasing service that will allow drivers to buy an EV without owning the battery pack – one of the most expensive EV components – thereby lowering the starting price of its cars.

The service, called “battery as a service” (BaaS), entails drivers paying a monthly rental fee for use of the batteries.

The cheapest Nio car after subsidies is now an ES6 sport-utility vehicle (SUV) priced 273,600 yuan ($39,553) without ownership of the battery pack, versus 343,600 yuan including the pack.

“We believe with BaaS, more customers of gasoline cars will consider electric vehicles,” Nio’s chief executive William Li told reporters.

Nio operates 143 battery-swapping stations around China, where drivers can swap spent battery packs for fully charged replacements. Li said Nio was building a new battery-swapping station in China every week and planned to build 300 new stations next year.

Continue reading “China’s EV maker Nio launches battery leasing service”

Volkswagen sees Amazon-built ‘industrial cloud’ as future B2B marketplace

Volkswagen sees Amazon-built ‘industrial cloud’ as future B2B marketplace

(Reuters) – Volkswagen AG (VOWG_p.DE), Europe’s largest automaker, is expanding its cloud-based software and data portal, aiming to develop it into an industry-wide marketplace where business customers can buy and sell industrial applications, the company said on Thursday.

VW’s “industrial cloud” was designed in partnership with Amazon Web Services and eventually will link more than 120 VW factories around the world to the automaker’s 1,500 suppliers and their 30,000 plants.

The portal is intended as a place to exchange data and software to help accelerate the digitalization of factory processes from stamping to painting to machinery maintenance, according to Nihar Patel, VW’s executive vice president for strategic core projects.

 VW has opened the portal to the first group of supplier partners, led by Siemens AG. Those partners are expected to contribute software applications to be shared with VW and among themselves, in what the automaker described as “an App Store approach.”

Continue reading “Volkswagen sees Amazon-built ‘industrial cloud’ as future B2B marketplace”

Bajaj Auto focuses on exports as India battles pandemic

Bajaj Auto focuses on exports as India battles pandemic

NEW DELHI (Reuters) – Bajaj Auto (BAJA.NS) is betting that an early recovery from the ravages of COVID-19 in motorcycle sales in its export markets will help it offset pandemic-related disruption at home, its chief financial officer said.

The Indian company, which also sells rickshaws and small commercial vehicles, is already the largest exporter of motorcycles from its domestic market, where sales have been slow to pick up due to local lockdowns.

“All our export markets were also affected but recovery has been better (there) than in India,” Soumen Ray told Reuters in an interview late on Wednesday. “We will continue to remain aggressive on exports.”

Bajaj plans to open an assembly plant in Brazil within 18 months, as well as a design office in Thailand to handle sales for the ASEAN region, and another design office in Europe, Ray said.

Exports make up 40%-45% of group motorcycle sales, Ray said.

This year, however, they have predominated. Between January and June, it exported 664,000 motorcycles while selling 589,000 in India, company data showed.

Continue reading “Bajaj Auto focuses on exports as India battles pandemic”

Tesla’s Musk approaches a $1.8 billion bonanza

Tesla’s Musk approaches a $1.8 billion bonanza

(Reuters) – Tesla Inc’s blistering stock rally is putting Chief Executive Elon Musk in reach of a payday potentially worth $1.8 billion, his second jackpot from the electric car maker in about two months.

 Fueled by stronger-than-expected car deliveries, shares of Tesla have surged over 40% in the past seven sessions, elevating the company’s market capitalization to $259 billion. More important for Musk’s personal finances, Tesla’s six-month average market capitalization has reached a record $138 billion.Hitting a six-month average market capitalization of $150 billion would trigger the vesting of the second of 12 tranches of options granted to the billionaire to buy Tesla stock as part of his 2018 pay package. In early May, Musk’s first tranche vested after Tesla’s six-month average stock market value reached $100 billion.

Musk has already achieved targets related to Tesla’s financial growth that are also required in order to vest the approaching options tranche.

Each tranche gives Musk the option to buy 1.69 million Tesla shares at $350.02 each. At Tesla’s current stock price of $1,397, Musk would theoretically be able to sell the shares related to the tranche that vested in May and the upcoming tranche for a combined profit of over $3.5 billion, or $1.8 billion per tranche.

Musk’s first tranche was worth about $700 million in May, when it vested, but its value has since increased along with Tesla’s stock price.

Tesla has surged 500% over the past year as the company increased sales of its Model 3 sedan.

Tesla last week reported higher-than-expected second-quarter vehicle deliveries, defying plummeting sales in the wider auto industry as the coronavirus pandemic slammed the global economy.

The solid delivery numbers heightened expectations of a profitable second quarter, which would mark four consecutive profitable quarters, a first for Tesla, and a key hurdle to be added to the S&P 500 index.

Musk, who is also the majority owner and CEO of the SpaceX rocket maker, receives no salary, only the options in his pay package. A full payoff of all tranches would surpass anything previously granted to U.S. executives.

When Tesla unveiled Musk’s pay package, it said he could theoretically reap as much as $55.8 billion if no new shares were issued. However, Tesla has since issued shares to compensate employees, and also sold shares in secondary offers, including a $2 billion stock sale in February.

Reporting by Noel Randewich; Editing by Alden Bentley and David Gregorio

Uber widens taxi app to Japan’s Tokyo but ride-sharing still barred

Uber widens taxi app to Japan’s Tokyo but ride-sharing still barred

TOKYO (Reuters) – Uber Technologies (UBER.N) launched a ride-hailing smartphone application in Tokyo on Friday in partnership with three domestic taxi firms, even as strict regulations block its popular ride-sharing service in Japan.

The taxi-hailing app, already introduced in smaller cities, connects app users to taxis run by Hinomaru Limousine, Tokyo MK Corp and Ecosystem in the Japanese capital.

Uber is not allowed to run its own ride-sharing fleet in Japan as it does in the United States and elsewhere since local regulations ban non-professional drivers from ferrying paying customers.

Eager to build a customer base in the world’s third-biggest economy, Uber has focused on expanding its Uber Eats food delivery service, which has proven popular, particularly amid the coronavirus pandemic.

Didi Mobility Japan, a joint venture of China’s Didi Chuxing and SoftBank Corp, has also introduced a service in Japan to connect customers with taxis.

Reporting by Ritsuko Ando; Editing by Clarence Fernandez

Coronavirus raises stakes as auto unions ready for a fight

Coronavirus raises stakes as auto unions ready for a fight

PARIS/FRANKFURT (Reuters) – The coronavirus crisis has forced carmakers to speed up layoffs that must be matched with hefty payouts and deft negotiation to retain the support of powerful trade unions vital if Europe’s auto industry is to manage a shift to low-emission vehicles.

Because of the COVID-19 pandemic and a broader economic slowdown, demand for light vehicles is expected to shrink by 36 million globally by the end of 2022, consultants AlixPartners found.

For this year alone, this is equivalent to a market the size of Europe disappearing, AlixPartners said.

The contraction increases an existing threat to jobs from electric cars, which are quicker and easier to build than those with combustion engines and which have German and French government backing as the countries strive for a green recovery.

“Once the consensus between labour leaders and management has broken down, it is extremely difficult to implement restructuring in Europe,” Stefan Bratzel, a professor at the Centre of Automotive Management in Bergisch Gladbach, Germany, said.

Continue reading “Coronavirus raises stakes as auto unions ready for a fight”

Germany will require all petrol stations to provide electric car charging

Germany will require all petrol stations to provide electric car charging

The move could provide a significant boost to electric vehicle demand along with the broader stimulus plan which included taxes to penalise ownership of large polluting combustion-engined sports utility vehicles and a 6,000 euro subsidy towards the cost of an electric vehicle.

Germany’s announcement follows a French plan to boost electric car sales announced last week by President Macron.

“It’s a very clear commitment to battery-powered vehicles and establishes electric mobility as a technology of the future,” energy storage specialist The Mobility House, whose investors include Daimler (DAIGn.DE) and the Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi alliance, said.

“Internationally this puts Germany in the leading group of battery electric vehicle support.”

Continue reading “Germany will require all petrol stations to provide electric car charging”

‘Enough is enough’: South African opposition leads protests outside U.S. missions

‘Enough is enough’: South African opposition leads protests outside U.S. missions

PRETORIA/JOHANNESBURG (Reuters) – Demonstrators gathered outside U.S. missions in South African cities on Monday to condemn the killing of George Floyd, the black man whose death in police custody has set off a wave of protests worldwide and ignited a debate about race and justice.

Protesters led by opposition party the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) carried placards saying “Black Lives Matter” and “Black people are not slaves” outside the U.S. Embassy in Pretoria and consulates in Johannesburg and Cape Town.

The leader of the ultra-left EFF, Julius Malema, told a crowd of several hundred protesters outside the embassy that it was important for South Africans to stand in solidarity with African Americans.

Continue reading “‘Enough is enough’: South African opposition leads protests outside U.S. missions”

Ford re-evaluates office space in coronavirus world

Ford re-evaluates office space in coronavirus world

DETROIT (Reuters) – Ford Motor Co (F.N) is re-evaluating how much office space it needs for white-collar workers as restrictions put in place during the coronavirus pandemic are eased and employees return to workplaces.

In March, Ford, General Motors Co (GM.N) and Fiat Chrysler Automobiles NV (FCA) (FCHA.MI)(FCAU.N) told salaried employees to work from home to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

Ford brought back 12,000 salaried employees last month, and others have been told they can work from home until September, spokeswoman Marisa Bradley said. Given potential workplace changes caused by the outbreak, a facility consolidation the No. 2 U.S. automaker had already launched could accelerate.

“If we know we are going to have a smaller population that’s going to come back to work, we could look at maybe shrinking our footprint,” Bradley said.

U.S. companies are wrestling with who can work from home and how much office space is necessary.

Continue reading “Ford re-evaluates office space in coronavirus world”

Nissan warns UK plant ‘unsustainable’ without EU trade deal: BBC

Nissan warns UK plant ‘unsustainable’ without EU trade deal: BBC

LONDON (Reuters) – Nissan’s (7201.T) car manufacturing plant in Sunderland, northern England, which employs 7,000, is “unsustainable” if Britain leaves the European Union without a trade deal, it said on Wednesday.

Ashwani Gupta, the Japanese company’s global chief operating head, told the BBC its commitment to the car plant, the United Kingdom’s largest, could not be maintained if there was no tariff-free access to the bloc.

The EU is the biggest market for the factory, which made just under 350,000 vehicles last year and builds the Qashqai, Juke and Leaf models.

 “You know we are the number one carmaker in the UK and we want to continue. We are committed. Having said that, if we are not getting the current tariffs, it’s not our intention but the business will not be sustainable. That’s what everybody has to understand,” Gupta told the BBC.

The United Kingdom left the EU on Jan. 31 but the main terms of its membership remain in place during a transition period until the end of this year, allowing it time to negotiate a new free trade deal with the bloc. However, the talks are at an impasse.

Continue reading “Nissan warns UK plant ‘unsustainable’ without EU trade deal: BBC”

German auto stimulus to boost VW’s electric push

German auto stimulus to boost VW’s electric push

BERLIN/FRANKFURT (Reuters) – Germany unveiled sweeping incentives for cheap electric cars, providing a boost to Volkswagen’s (VOWG_p.DE) electric push while penalising heavy sports utility vehicles (SUVs) with new staggered taxes for polluting combustion-engined cars.

Buyer incentives for passenger cars, including a lowering of value added tax (VAT) to 16% from 19% were included as part of a 130 billion euro ($145.74 billion) stimulus but analysts said it would not be enough to significantly boost car demand.

“The lowering of VAT will hardly provide an impetus,” said Peter Fuss, a partner at EY, adding that electric cars are still too much of a niche product to lift the overall market.

Germany included a 6,000 euro incentive for battery electric cars costing below 40,000 euros, bringing consumer incentives for electric cars to 9,000 euros once a 3,000 euro manufacturer stipend is included. [nL8N2DH2E8]

Continue reading “German auto stimulus to boost VW’s electric push”

Renault finalises 5 billion euro state-backed loan

Renault finalises 5 billion euro state-backed loan

PARIS (Reuters) – Renault (RENA.PA) finalised on Wednesday a 5 billion euro ($5.60 billion) loan from with the French government, strengthening the carmaker’s finances in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic which has ravaged the auto industry.

Renault said that the credit facility carried a guarantee from the French state – which owns a 15% stake in Renault – of up to 90% of the total amount borrowed.

 Banks BNP Paribas (BNPP.PA), Credit Agricole (CAGR.PA), HSBC France (HSBA.L), Natixis (CNAT.PA) and SocGen (SOGN.PA) were involved in the credit deal.

Renault also said in a statement that the loan would help finance the company’s liquidity requirements.

 The carmaker announced last week plans to cut about 15,000 jobs worldwide, including 4,600 in France, where the company will seek voluntary departures and use retirement schemes.

The announcement sparked weekend protests at some factories, including at Maubeuge in northern France, although Renault’s chairman Jean-Dominique Senard has pledged the site will not be closed.

($1 = 0.8925 euros)

Reporting by Sudip Kar-Gupta and Matthieu Protard; Editing by Keith Weir and Louise Heavens

Heads of U.S. automakers, other Michigan companies condemn racism, injustice

Heads of U.S. automakers, other Michigan companies condemn racism, injustice

DETROIT, June 3 (Reuters) – Top executives of the Detroit Three automakers and other major Michigan employers on Wednesday condemned racism and injustice in the United States following the death last week of an unarmed black man at the hands of Minneapolis police, carefully joining a charged national debate.

General Motors Co Chief Executive Mary Barra, Ford Motor Co Executive Chairman Bill Ford, and Fiat Chrysler Automobiles NV (FCA) North America Chief Operating Officer Mark Stewart were among the nine executives who called for independent prosecution of those involved in Floyd’s death, and agreed to invest in programs and policies to help transform communities with racial disparities.

“We unequivocally condemn intolerance,” Barra said at the event at Detroit’s municipal office which was livestreamed. “When hatred exists in our house, we will root it out.”

Barra said inclusion would be GM’s guiding principle, and called on GM employees to speak up and tell her what needs to be done. “We want to be part of meaningful, deliberate change,” she said. “We will act.” Barra said earlier this week she will form a new “inclusion advisory board” to advise the company’s top executives.

Continue reading “Heads of U.S. automakers, other Michigan companies condemn racism, injustice”

Volkswagen India


VOLKSWAGEN, a BRAND that is synonymous to German Engineering, Build Quality and Safety & Fun to drive experiences.

Consistently among Top 3 GLOBAL Auto Manufacturers since more than a decade, having more than 120 production facilities, serving more than 150 countries is just a brief introduction of the Germany base Auto Giant which has more than 300 plus models within the group on sale as on date & produces more than 44000 vehicles every single day GLOBALLY.

Continue reading “Volkswagen India”
Empty trains, clogged roads: Americans get behind the wheel to avoid transit

Empty trains, clogged roads: Americans get behind the wheel to avoid transit

Several opinion polls show Americans plan to avoid trains and buses as stay-at-home orders ease, with some city dwellers buying a car for the first time. A potential boon to coronavirus-battered automakers, the shift poses a challenge to city planners end environmental goals.

Continue reading “Empty trains, clogged roads: Americans get behind the wheel to avoid transit”

Ford shuts two U.S. assembly plants due to COVID-19 infections

Ford shuts two U.S. assembly plants due to COVID-19 infections

1 Min Read

DETROIT (Reuters) – Ford Motor Co on Wednesday closed two U.S. assembly plants as the coronavirus pandemic wreaked early havoc with the No. 2 U.S. automaker’s plan to restart North American production and begin making its most profitable vehicles again.

Ford closed its Dearborn, Michigan, plant due to a positive COVID-19 test by one worker, while its Chicago assembly plant was closed due to a parts shortage, Ford spokeswoman Kelli Felker said.

Ford declined to say which supplier had the issue, but a person familiar with the matter told Reuters that Lear Corp had closed a plant in Hammond, Indiana. Lear later confirmed in an email that it had closed the plant due to a positive test.

Continue reading “Ford shuts two U.S. assembly plants due to COVID-19 infections”

U.S. auto industry workers return to jobs amid concerns of second virus wave

U.S. auto industry workers return to jobs amid concerns of second virus wave

DETROIT (Reuters) – Factory workers began returning to assembly lines in Michigan on Monday, paving the way to reopen the U.S. auto sector but stoking fears of a second wave of coronavirus infections as strict lockdowns are eased across the country.

With millions of Americans out of work and much of the economy at a virtual standstill, a growing number of states are relaxing tough restrictions on commerce and social life put in place to slow the outbreak.

Some auto suppliers in Michigan, a Midwest industrial powerhouse hard hit by the pandemic and its economic fallout, reopened plants on Monday with skeleton crews to get ready for a resumption of vehicle production next week.

Skilled-trades workers and salaried employees also began returning to auto assembly plants to prepare for the wider restart.

Continue reading “U.S. auto industry workers return to jobs amid concerns of second virus wave”

UK to place all incoming travellers under 14-day quarantine: The Times

UK to place all incoming travellers under 14-day quarantine: The Times

(Reuters) – British Prime Minister Boris Johnson will announce on Sunday that all travellers coming to the United Kingdom will be quarantined for a fortnight, The Times reported

“Passengers arriving at airports and ports including Britons returning from abroad, will have to self-isolate for 14 days,” the newspaper said, adding that travellers will have to provide the address sat which they will self-isolate on arrival.

Travellers from Ireland, the Channel Islands and the Isle of Man will be exempt, as will lorry drivers bringing crucial supplies, the report added.

The authorities will carry out spot checks and those found to be breaking the rules are to face fines of up to 1,000 pounds or even deportation, the report added.

According to The Times, travellers will have to fill in a digital form with details of where they plan to self-isolate themselves for the duration of the quarantine.

The measures will help reduce the “transmission of the virus as we move into the next phase of our response,” the report said, citing a government source

The measures are expected to come into force in early June.

Johnson will announce a very limited easing of Britain’s coronavirus lockdown next week, adopting a cautious approach to try to ensure there is no second peak of infections.

Reporting by Aishwarya Nair in Bengaluru; Editing by Shailesh Kuber

How Deere, Caterpillar kept plants running during the coronavirus outbreak

How Deere, Caterpillar kept plants running during the coronavirus outbreak

CHICAGO (Reuters) – While Detroit automakers’ unionized auto factories have been idled by the coronavirus pandemic, farm and construction equipment makers Deere (DE.N) and Caterpillar (CAT.N) have won the support of the United Auto Workers and other unions to run their facilities during the pandemic.

As U.S. states begin to lift lockdown orders and companies gear up to restart production, the policies put in place by the two heavy equipment makers offer a template for returning workers to idled factories in other sectors.

Giving employees sick time without penalty, temperature screenings, staggered shifts and hiring a hygiene-auditing firm are some of the measures the two companies have taken to reassure employees to stay on production lines when many union and non-union workers balk at reporting for jobs that could expose them to the novel coronavirus that causes COVID-19.

Continue reading “How Deere, Caterpillar kept plants running during the coronavirus outbreak”

Japan tightens rules on foreign stakes in 518 firms, citing national security

Japan tightens rules on foreign stakes in 518 firms, citing national security

TOKYO (Reuters) – Japan announced on Friday a list of its firms subject to tighter foreign ownership rules, including majors such as Toyota Motor Corp (7203.T) and Sony Corp (6758.T), as the United States and Europe step up scrutiny of industries key to national security.

Japan identified 518 of its roughly 3,800 listed firms as having operations core to national security, making them targets for stringent regulations, a list released by the Ministry of Finance (MOF) showed.

The tighter rules covering foreign investment in a dozen sectors crucial to national security, such as oil, railways, utilities, arms, space, nuclear power, aviation, telecoms and cyber security, take effect from Friday.

Foreign investors buying a stake of 1% or more in Japanese firms in the 12 areas now face pre-screening in principle, compared with the previous threshold of 10%.

Continue reading “Japan tightens rules on foreign stakes in 518 firms, citing national security”

Nissan to extend production halt for most U.S. plants

Nissan to extend production halt for most U.S. plants

(Reuters) – Nissan Motor Co said Thursday it is extending a production halt for most U.S. manufacturing plants in the face of the coronavirus pandemic.

Nissan, which began gradually resuming production operations at its Infiniti powertrain plant in Decherd, Tennessee last week, said it would assess current market demand and supplier readiness before setting a restart date for the remaining plants. Many automakers hope to resume U.S. production starting May 18 after halting operations in late March.

Reporting by David Shepardson, Editing by Franklin Paul

Abbey Thomas, the Seasoned CMO!
Bhimsen Gulabani, Head – Customer Care, Renault India to continue to build Renault’s Customer Focused Journey in India

Bhimsen Gulabani, Head – Customer Care, Renault India to continue to build Renault’s Customer Focused Journey in India

Renault, the number one European brand in India, has a clear objective to grow its presence in India and Renault India continues to be an important part of Groupe Renault’s global expansion plans. With a developing product portfolio, Renault has more than 6 lakh customers in India. Renault has also expanded its network reach to more than 370 sales and 450 service touchpoints.

Continue reading “Bhimsen Gulabani, Head – Customer Care, Renault India to continue to build Renault’s Customer Focused Journey in India”

FADA successfully concluded the 11th edition of Auto Summit 2020
World Auto Forum Networking Mobile App
Investors build war chests to buy bonds of distressed European companies

Investors build war chests to buy bonds of distressed European companies

LONDON (Reuters) – Years into a bond market bull-run, investors are banking on a brighter future for funds that buy the debt of financially troubled European companies whose bonds are offering meatier returns because they are more risky

With European economic growth expected to be subdued in 2020, and default rates tipped to rise, investors expect an increase in the number of companies that will struggle to service their debt.

That creates an opportunity: to buy the bonds of a troubled company at a deeply discounted price, and make big profits if the company manages to turn itself around and the bond price recovers.

Private equity groups and asset managers are creating so-called special situation funds to identify suitable targets for these high-risk – and potentially high-reward – bets.

“We have seen a significant increase in the number of stressed and distressed European corporates being screened during our team’s discussions,” said Mark Brown, co-head of special situations in Europe at private equity firm KKR.

“We do think we are late-cycle and, as the fund is focused on deploying capital in a cyclical downturn, having capital ready to go makes sense,” he said.

The appeal of distressed debt is enhanced by the fact that a large chunk of the European bond market is offering yields close to or below zero.

KKR last year started fundraising for a third special situation fund and is seeking $1.5 billion.

Elsewhere, JP Morgan Asset Management launched its first ever special situations fund in November, raising just over $1 billion, while private equity firm CVC raised $1.4 billion for a global special situations fund in June.

PIMCO is also fundraising for a special situations fund, said a person familiar with the matter.

Bond prices show markets beginning to price in increased concern that the most troubled European companies will struggle to fund their debt obligations, providing an opportunity for those who specialize in dealing with such situations.

The ratio of European high-yield bonds trading at a spread of more than 1,000 basis points over their respective government benchmarks— one measure of distressed debt — hit 7% at end-2019 compared to 1.4% a year earlier, JP Morgan data showed.


In a slowing economy, most investors will have to look at challenging situations if they want to perform, said Amundi high-yield portfolio manager Marina Cohen.

“There are clearly going to be some opportunities in those types of (distressed) situations in the mid-term.”

Recent examples of such plays include Israel’s Teva Pharmaceutical (TEVA.TA), Britain’s Jaguar Land Rover and French supermarket chain Casino (CASP.PA), all of which found themselves in difficult situations earlier last year before rebounding and raising fresh debt.

Recent performance for distressed debt funds has lagged another favored debt play – lending money to help finance mergers and acquisitions via leveraged buyout funds (LBFs).

LBFs generated an internal rate of return of nearly 14% in the second quarter of 2019, according to the latest data available from the investment software provider eFront, compared to 8.5% for distressed debt funds.

But the volume of money flowing into distressed debt suggests investors see improving prospects there.

Assets under management in European distressed debt — which combine unrealized funds from existing investments and “dry powder” for future investments — hit a record $48.5 billion in June, Preqin data showed.

“They (special funds) have been waiting and watching for a few years now, and we may finally be moving towards an environment where this trade becomes viable,” said White & Case European leveraged finance lawyer Jeremy Duffy.

In one recent example, investors rushed into Jaguar Land Rover’s five-year bond offer in November, with demand so strong that the company had to print another seven-year tranche, raising 800 million euros in total. Jaguar – owned by India’s Tata Motors (TAMO.NS) – offered a yield of 5.875% and 6.875% on the tranches, respectively.

Earlier in 2019, the British carmaker was hit by a $4 billion writedown, a slump in China sales and Brexit worries that forced it to look for alternative funding from bond markets.

Adding to the appeal of distressed debt, European Central Bank stimulus has compressed yields across the European bond market to such an extent that volatility is likely to be quite high in a downturn.

“Wobbles within individual companies are triggering some quite severe selloffs,” said Laura Frost at M&G Investments.

“That presents an opportunity for people like us”.

(GRAPHIC – Bond ‘tourists’ added to Aston Martin’s summer travails: here)

U.S. regulator to review recommendation on Fiat Chrysler’s Jeep complaint against Mahindra

U.S. regulator to review recommendation on Fiat Chrysler’s Jeep complaint against Mahindra

DETROIT (Reuters) – A U.S. regulator said it will review part of a recommendation made last fall that India’s Mahindra and Mahindra Ltd infringed upon the intellectual property rights of Fiat Chrysler Automobiles’ Jeep SUV design.

The International Trade Commission (ITC) on Wednesday said it would review an administrative law judge’s initial determination last November that Mahindra’s Roxor off-road utility vehicle infringed on the “trade dress” of FCA’s Jeep. The judge recommended the commission bar entry of Mahindra vehicles or parts that infringe and issue a cease-and-desist order.

Trade dress consists of the unique characteristics that make a product stand apart and is generally accepted as identified with that product by the public. For example, FCA sees Jeep’s grille and round headlights as distinct to the brand.

The commission, which in September 2018 initially opened its investigation, said on Wednesday it is targeting completion of the inquiry by March 20.

If the ITC recommends a form of remedy, the U.S. Trade Representative would have 60 days to approve, disapprove or take no action on that determination.

Mahindra, which previously has called FCA’s claims without merit, on Thursday welcomed the commission’s review.

“We are optimistic that the ITC will in its review conclude that FCA did not establish previously unclaimed U.S. rights in trade dress and that there was no infringement of either trade dress or registered trademarks,” the company said in an emailed statement.

Mahindra said it has launched its model year 2020 Roxor with what it described as “significant styling changes” and said it would make additional changes if the ITC required it.

FCA was unconcerned the commission will overturn the judge’s initial recommendation.

“Review is a part of the commission process,” the Italian-American automaker said in an emailed statement on Thursday. “Based on the facts and law, FCA US remains confident the administrative law judge’s initial determination of violation by Mahindra will be adopted by the commission.”

The Roxor is assembled in Auburn Hills, north of Detroit, by Mahindra’s North American subsidiary.

Reporting by Ben Klayman in Detroit; editing by Jonathan Oatis

Unedited Newswire of Reuters

Fiat Chrysler asks U.S. court to toss out GM racketeering claims: filing

Fiat Chrysler asks U.S. court to toss out GM racketeering claims: filing

Fiat Chrysler’s motion to dismiss GM’s civil racketeering lawsuit was expected. The company has said GM’s lawsuit is baseless and aimed at disrupting the Italian-American automaker’s proposed merger with France’s Peugeot SA (PEUP.PA).

GM general counsel Craig Glidden told reporters in November the FCA-PSA merger had nothing to do with GM’s legal action.

Fiat Chrysler’s arguments were filed on Friday evening in U.S. District Court in Detroit.

In response, GM said it remained confident in the legal underpinnings of its case and will respond in court.

“We are confident in the legal and factual underpinnings of our case, which have already been documented in part through the guilty pleas and admissions of FCA executives made in connection with the government’s ongoing criminal investigation”, GM said in a statement.

GM sued Fiat Chrysler in November charging its rival with bribing officials of the United Auto Workers union in order to gain advantages in 2009 and 2015 labor contracts and have the UAW withhold those terms from GM. Fiat Chrysler’s now deceased Chief Executive Sergio Marchionne sat “at the center” of the schemes, GM charged in its lawsuit.

In its response Friday, Fiat Chrysler rejected GM’s claim that Marchionne tried to force a merger between GM and FCA by agreeing to labor contracts that favored the UAW.

GM failed to show “why Mr. Marchionne would want to saddle FCA and GM with unfavorable CBAs (collective bargaining agreements) if his ultimate goal was to run the merged company (presumably on a profitable basis).”

GM’s accusations relied in part on revelations from an active federal criminal investigation of corruption within the UAW. That investigation began at Fiat Chrysler but has since spread to past and present UAW officials at GM.

In its motion on Friday, Fiat Chrysler said GM’s lawsuit was “fatally flawed” for several reasons.

The lawsuit was filed after a four-year statute of limitations had expired, Fiat Chrysler argued. GM is not a direct victim of wrongdoing by FCA executives or UAW officials related to labor contracts, and so cannot bring a RICO action, FCA argued in its motion.

The UAW is such a large organization, “the notion that FCA seized control of the UAW by virtue of the alleged prohibited payments is implausible on its face,” the FCA brief stated.

Further, Fiat Chrysler argued that GM’s allegations about corrupt contract negotiations should be heard by the National Labor Relations Board, not by a federal court.

Reporting by Joe White; additional reporting by Kanishka Singh; Editing by Sandra Maler, Diane Craft and Grant McCool

Unedited  Newswire by Reuters
Bloomberg plan would make all new U.S. cars electric by 2035

Bloomberg plan would make all new U.S. cars electric by 2035

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Democratic U.S. presidential hopeful Michael Bloomberg unveiled a plan on Friday to slash greenhouse gas emissions from transportation by making electric vehicles accessible to even low-income families and improving access to public transit.

Bloomberg, a media billionaire and former mayor of New York City, has long fought to curb emissions, serving recently as a special envoy to the United Nations on climate action.

Other Democratic candidates have included transportation in their climate plans. Bloomberg, who is putting out a suite of climate plans, is the first to issue a specific strategy on transportation, the top U.S. source of greenhouse gases.

 Bloomberg’s plan calls for all new U.S. cars to be electric by 2035, reductions of diesel pollution with electric trucks and buses, improved access to public transit, and the building of high-speed rail.

He wants to offer low and moderate-income communities a “Clean Cars for All” program with rebates for trading in old cars for electric ones.

“We’re looking to turn over the polluting stock faster,” a campaign aide said on condition of anonymity ahead of the plan’s unveiling. The aide said Bloomberg wants to help taxi and ride-share programs to electrify their fleets before 2035.

His plan does not specify where rare earth minerals would come from for the new vehicles.

Bloomberg aims to slash U.S. emissions linked to climate change by 50% by 2030 if he wins the November vote. Cutting emissions from the power sector and buildings are the other major planks of his clean economy plan.

This week Bloomberg, a late entrant into the race, introduced plans to prevent forest fires, directed in part at winning over voters in California, the most populous state, and one of 14 states holding primaries on Super Tuesday, March 3.

While California has struggled to build high-speed rail, another aide said an initial advanced rail project could be less ambitious than the state’s plan, yet still show Americans what many travelers have in other countries. “It might actually be a shorter course,” than current plans in California, he said.

Bloomberg, like other candidates, wants to reverse the policies of Republican President Donald Trump who is slashing rules on environment regulation while boosting output of fossil fuels.

But he is not putting a dollar figure on his climate plans because of the complexity of the issues, a difference from most of the other candidates.

This is an unaltered Newswire from Reuters

“You’re stealing our water”: Germans protest against Tesla gigafactory

“You’re stealing our water”: Germans protest against Tesla gigafactory

BERLIN (Reuters) – Around 250 Germans on Saturday protested in the outskirts of Berlin where electric car startup Tesla is planning to build a gigafactory, saying its construction will endanger water supply and wildlife in the area.

The U.S. carmaker announced plans last November to build its first European car factory in Gruenheide, in the eastern state ofBernd Kutz, a Gruenheide local.

Politicians, unions and industry groups have welcomed the move, saying it will bring jobs to the region, but environmental concerns drove hundreds of locals to the streets on Saturday.

“We are here, we are loud, because Tesla is stealing our water,” protesters called.

Saturday’s protest came after a Brandenburg water association on Thursday warned against “extensive and serious problems with the drinking water supply and wastewater disposal” for the proposed factory.

Anne Bach, a 27-year-old environmental activist, said Tesla’s plans published earlier this month showed it would need more than 300 cubic meters of water per hour which would drain the area’s declining reserves.

“I am not against Tesla … But it’s about the site; in a forest area that is a protected wildlife zone. Is this necessary?” Bach said.

“In such an ecological system like the one here and with the background that climate is changing, I cannot understand why another location was not selected from the beginning,” said Frank Gersdorf, a member of “Citizens’ Initiative Gruenheide against Gigafactory”, a local group that organized Saturday’s protest.

Environmentalist protests in Germany have previously halted and delayed major companies’ plans such RWE’s lignite mining at the Hambach forest, near Cologne, which has become a symbol of the anti-coal protests.

Saturday’s protest, which Gersdorf and Bach said developed spontaneously from a 50-people forest walk demonstration, highlighted the deforestation of around 300 hectares to build the factory and its impact on wildlife, including birds, insects and bats.

People were also protesting against an expected “enormous” increase in traffic on a nearby highway and through the villages.

Next to the protest, on the other side of the street, around 20 people carried banners welcoming Tesla in their village, with children chanting, “We are here, we are loud, because Tesla is building our future.”

Bernd Kutz, a Gruenheide local, said Tesla would bring improvement to the area, create jobs and give chances to young people.

“I am here because I don’t understand those demonstrators who shout and show us the finger,” Kutz said. “Why has it always to be negative?”

Reporting by Riham Alkousaa; editing by Christina Fincher

This is an Unaltered Newswire of Reuters