Mercedes clocks production of 1 lakh cars in India
New Delhi, May 27: German luxury car maker Mercedes-Benz today reached cumulative production of one lakh cars in India with the rolling out of an E-Class sedan from its Chakan plant near Pune. The company, which began its journey in India 24 years ago said the next production milestone will be achieved sooner considering the growth that the Indian automotive market has witnessed over the past few years.
The company said in a statement that the roll out of the 1,00,000th Mercedes-Benz vehicle in India is a strong testimony of the customer trust and brand equity that it enjoys in this dynamic country.
Mercedes-Benz India Managing Director and CEO Roland Folger said the achievement also reiterates the company's "commitment and we strongly believe in the India story and its potential. We will further deepen our strong connect with the Indian customers and keep continuing to fascinate them with our products and customer service".
Folger further said that a "spiralling aspiration among young successful Indians, our extensive and expanding local portfolio...we are positive that the next production milestone will be attained even earlier."
In 2014, the company had rolled out 50,000th Mercedes-Benz car from the assembly lines in Chakan. Mercedes-Benz was the first luxury automotive brand to enter the Indian market in 1994.
The W124 E-Class was the first luxury car in India's modern era which rolled out of the assembly plant of Mercedes-Benz India in Pimpri, Pune.
The company has now moved the facility to Chakan near Pune with an investment of over Rs 1,000 crore. Spread over 100 acres, the plant is a part of Mercedes-Benz' global production network.
1,200 units of Jeep Compass recalled over faulty airbags
NEW DELHI, Nov 23: Fiat Chrysler Automobiles on Thursday decided to recall 1,200 units of the sports utility vehicle Jeep Compass that were sold in India to replace faulty airbags.
“A supplier has advised FCA that, during its airbag module assembly process, loose fasteners may have inadvertently found their way undetected into a small number of modules. The number of affected Jeep Compass SUVs is expected to be less than one percent (1%) of the total recall population,” the company said in a statement issued on Thursday.
The company though is unaware of any related injuries, accidents, warranty claims or complaints. However, customers whose vehicles are in the affected range have been advised to refrain from using the front passenger seat until the situation is resolved.
“FCA India will replace the passenger airbag on an estimated 1,200 Jeep Compass SUVs to eliminate this concern. In the coming week, FCA India and their authorised dealers will directly contact customers whose Jeep Compass SUVs require a front passenger air bag replacement, and confirm appointments at authorised workshops” the statement further said.
The manufacturer would ensure that customers would not have to pay for resolving the problem.
Fiat Chrysler launched the Jeep Compass in India in July and the vehicle, despite being on the higher end of the price chart, has generated a strong response from customers.
It was considered as a product that could revive the ailing business of the company in India.
Before the launch of the vehicle, Fiat received bookings for 10,000 units, which is much higher than the volumes of some of the existing offerings of the company in India. After starting its deliveries at the beginning of August, the company sold 7561 units of the vehicle in the domestic market. In October the volumes stood at 2455 units.
Fiat Chrysler assembles the Jeep compass in the Ranjangaon plant of the company. The new SUV has managed to infuse some life in the domestic operations of the company and it may start an extra shift in its manufacturing capacity to keep up with the demand. Last year Japanese car maker Honda also had to recall vehicles across the world as a result of faulty airbags supplied by Takata a component supplier.
New Toyota Camry to have open-source Automotive Grade Linux for infotainment system
MAY 31: Toyota Motor Corp on Wednesday said the infotainment system of its revamped Camry sedan to be sold in the United States will run on a Linux-based, open-source technology platform as it tries to keep up with tech firms in developing software for cars.
With the Automotive Grade Linux (AGL) system in a mainstay model, Toyota aims to have the flexibility to customise its software, while it would also keep user data that could otherwise be captured by CarPlay from Apple Inc or Android Auto from Alphabet Inc’s Google - applications which enable users to access smartphone data through vehicle infotainment systems.
Toyota is among 10 global automakers working with suppliers and technology companies to jointly build AGL, a basic, open-source platform for vehicle applications which automakers can customise, eliminating the need to code systems from the ground up for each vehicle model.
Developing the platform in collaboration with Mazda Motor Corp, Suzuki Motor Corp, Daimler AG and others will reduce development time and costs, Toyota said, and create an industry standard platform to operate in-vehicle features including music and navigation applications.
The platform can also be used to support future advanced technologies, including self-driving functions and connected car services.
“It’s very necessary to reduce the overhead of duplication work among our suppliers so they can spend more time to create new things rather than maintaining fragmentary codes,” said Kenichi Murata, group manager of connected strategy and planning at Toyota.
Cars typically require over 100 million lines of computer code as automakers pack as much technology as possible to attract buyers.
So much so that coding has become an increasingly cumbersome part of vehicle development, which takes years, compared with the mere months it takes for tech firms to develop apps.
In addition, the process requires constant updating to keep up with technology developments and which results in disparate interfaces between automaker’s products.
The latest Camry sedan to be launched in coming months will use AGL to operate its suite of in-vehicle apps, and the Japanese automaker said it planned to expand the platform to other Toyota and Lexus vehicles in North America and elsewhere.
Roughly 70% of the operating platform for the latest system consists of largely generic coding, while the remaining 30% was customised for the Camry, Murata said.
At the moment, automakers make vehicles compatible with CarPlay and Android Auto. While this enables users to connect smartphones to cars, Dan Cauchy, general manager of automotive at the Linux Foundation, said it makes it difficult for automakers to have control over customising their platforms.
“It comes down to an automaker wanting to customise their operating platform to their liking and not having a third party dictating what the applications are going to be for the vehicle,” he said.
“A lot of automakers want that control.”