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Monday, 12 March 2012






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India's highest selling car:

Suzuki Maruti sets new record on sales

India's car market leader Maruti Suzuki India Limited crossed the 10 million cumulative domestic sales mark.

The company which produced its first car in December 1983 took 23 years to sell its first 5 million units, but only six years to double that figure, reaching the 10 million units this February.

The only automobile company in India to cross this milestone, Suzuki Maruti rolled out its 10 millionth unit from the company's Manesar plant in Haryana dispatching the red Swift vxi model car to Coimbatore in Tamil Nadu, India to set a new record as the highest selling brand of motor vehicle in Indian history.

After Maruti 800 and Omni had powered sales for almost two decades, the Suzuki Maruti Alto took up the mantle to become India's best-selling car seven years ago. Recently, the fast selling WagonR and Swift models, among others, has accelerated the Company's progress helping it to reach the 10 million mark in domestic sales.

The brand is equally popular in many countries, including in Sri Lanka, where it continues to better its own record as the highest selling brand year on year.

Dedicating this milestone to customers, Managing Director and CEO, Maruti Suzuki India Limited, Shinzo Nakanishi said, Maruti Suzuki's success story is closely linked with the success story of India in the last two decades. Even as India has grown and transformed, Maruti Suzuki has evolved to meet changing demands. We will continue to drive the growth and evolution of India's car market. I thank employees, dealers and suppliers for their support and commitment.

Mercedes Benz unveils family car with 'bubblegum' grip

Mercedes-Benz unveiled at the motor show here a five-door hatchback for European sale in September, intended to ramp up its A-series from a family hatch-back to a car with sporty flair.

Dieter Zetsche, chairman of Diamler AG, said late on Monday that he expected the car to go on sale in September and that it would be made first in Germany, then Hungary and later in China.

Speaking at an unveiling of the car on the eve of the Geneva Motor Show, he said it was powered in part by engineering by British sports car firm MG and was 18 centimetres (seven inches) closer to the road than its predecessor.

"This car will stick to the street like bubblegum," said Zetsche introducing the car to journalists on the eve of the Geneva Motor Show which runs to 18 March.

Zetsche said that 25,000 cars had been delivered and 100,000 had been ordered in advance and were being built, and that eventual global production was expected to amount to 4.0 million vehicles.

The car, he said, offered safety at a premium and with attractive looks, and within reach of lower budgets.

The new model is the third-generation of the Mercedes A-class.

Car analysts said the car, which is not yet planned for the US market, would compete against the new Audi A3, the BMW 1-series, the Volvo V40 and the perennial Volkswagen Golf.


India's Tata Motors places bid for Saab

India's Tata Motors has placed a $350 million bid to buy bankrupt Swedish car maker Saab Automobile, a newspaper report said Tuesday, citing people it said were aware of the matter.

"Tata's global acquisition team has been in negotiations with Saab and private equity players for a prospective acquisition by its Jaguar-Land Rover unit," the Financial Express newspaper reported, quoting an unnamed source. Tata Motors' spokesman declined to comment when contacted by AFP.

Last month, Saab officials said that at least four companies had placed preliminary bids for a buy-out -- most of them from outside Sweden.

Saab, owned by Dutch company Swedish Automobile, filed for bankruptcy in December after numerous failed deals to keep it afloat.

All of Saab's assets would be for sale, the company has said.

Tata Motors, which also makes the world's cheapest car, the Nano, bought British luxury brands Jaguar and Land Rover from US Ford Motor in 2008 for $2.3 billion as part of its plans to expand beyond Asia.

Tata Motors is likely to face competition from China's Youngman, which has been keen to buy Saab and is reported to have made a preliminary bid of about $300 million.


Global auto output to rise 3.0%, Asia leading

A global auto industry group forecast Wednesday world vehicle production will rise by 3.0 percent this year, in line with 2011, although carmakers warned that European demand would likely remain weak.

Last year, global vehicle production reached a record 80.1 million units, the International Organization of Motor Vehicle Manufacturers said at the Geneva Motor Show.

"After a dramatic fall in 2009 to 61.8 million units due to the crisis in 2008, world car production car has regained its growth rate," said the president of the trade body, Patrick Blain.

Production in Europe was expected to fall in 2012, but Chinese output would rise by 8.0 percent, production in India by 14 percent and output in Japan would also rise.

Last year, vehicle production in Europe grew to a total of 17.7 million units, but this was still less than the volume in 2008 when the financial crisis hit, Blain said.

Production in China, the biggest car maker, slowed to 18.4 million units, after a spurt in 2009 and 2010. North American production totalled 13.5 million vehicles.

Japanese production also fell, owing mainly to the effects of a massive earthquake and tsunami.

Forecasting that overall global car producers would raise output by 3.0 percent in 2012, the organisation said it expected a slowdown "in some countries" but that factories would be opened in countries such as Russia, Morocco and Brazil.

These overall figures were slightly lower than those estimated by the German auto industry, which expects the global car market to grow by 4.0 percent this year.

The auto market in Europe has begun the year on a weak note, largely because of uncertainty arising from the debt crisis.

In February, new car registrations declined in most European countries except for Germany where they were stable.

They fell by 2.5 percent in Britain, 2.1 percent in Spain and plunged 18.94 percent in Italy and 20.2 percent in France.

Ford Europe chief executive Stephen O'Dell told AFP that it is difficult to see when the European car market will recover.


Japanese shares surge 2.01% on weaker yen

Japanese shares jumped 2.01 percent Thursday, following gains in US and European markets, as investors cheered the yen's weakness against the dollar.

The headline Nikkei index at the Tokyo Stock Exchange surged 192.90 points to 9,768.96. The Topix index of all first-section issues rose 1.63 percent or 13.45 points to 836.16.

Sentiment in Tokyo brightened as the yen continued to weaken after Japan posted a record current account deficit in January, at 437.3 billion yen ($5.4 billion).

Its first current account deficit in three years came as a sharp rise in the total value of imports, boosted by the high cost of energy, overwhelmed struggling exports.

The yen stood at 81.30 to the dollar in Tokyo, slipping from 81.03 in New York.

The euro rose to $1.3177 and 107.14 yen, compared with $1.3148 and 106.67 in New York. A lower yen helps Japanese exporters, the nation's main economic engine, by making their products less expensive abroad and by boosting the value of their overseas revenues when repatriated.

"These days, the dollar/yen and the Nikkei show increasingly similar moves," said Kazuhiro Takahashi, general manager of investment strategy and research at Daiwa Securities.

Solid US jobs data and a belief that Greece's creditors are close to agreeing a deal to write down more than half their bond holdings, which would help Athens avoid a default, lifted global sentiment, analysts said.



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