Fiat India bets on hatchback segment, target sales for 2010 up by 50%

The automobile company Fiat India is very positive about its sales performance in the country in 2010. Rajeev Kapoor, the company’s, President and CEO revealed its latest sales predictions for the year and as per these predictions the auto major is expecting to sell 50,000 units in the country in 2010.

Last year, the company had total sales of 24,000 units. Clearly, the predicted sales for 2010 are 50% higher than the units sold in 2009. This announcement was made at the launch of Fiat’s two new models in the small car segment
– the Punto Fire Dynamic and Punto Emotion. Punto Fire Dynamic comes at a price of Rs. 4.57 lakh and Punto Fire Emotion comes at a price of Rs. 4.87 Lakhs.

Fiat is betting big on the high growth in the India’s small car segment. Kapoor said to the media, “In India, the small car category has grown by 50% last year. Not just that, this category accounted for 60% of all car sales in 2009.” Currently, Fiat India has 5.5 per cent market share in this segment. In the month February 2010, the automaker has sold 2335 units in February 2010 which is 78.38% higher compared to last years’ February sales.

Investors put $425 million in Asian Genco

Singapore-based, Asian Genco Pte Ltd is about get an infusion of $425 million by a group of foreign investors. This includes Morgan Stanley’s infrastructure arm, Goldman Sachs and General Atlantic.

There are other firms also who are aiming to grab a share in the company. These include Norwest Venture Partners, Everstone Capital and PTC India Financial Services.

The news was revealed by General Atlantic.

The private equity firms are aiming to grab a share in the Indian power sector through this investment.

Asian Genco holds big assets in India and is looking forward to build a portfolio of 10,000 megawatts (MW) of power generation assets by 2012.

Gautam Bhandari, MD, Morgan Stanley Infrastructure, India said that the company is trying to raise funds through these investment options for the purpose of making this portfolio and to be able to fund its ongoing projects. He was talking to a private news agency, Reuters.

Currently, it has 3,900 MW under itself.

He also did not reject the option of coming up with a public issue. But, Bhandari believes that this is not the right time for that and they need to wait for some more time.

Qualcomm applies for BWA spectrum

One of the main players in the field of advanced wireless sector, Qualcomm Incorporated has applied its bid for the Broadband Wireless Access (BWA) spectrum.

It has submitted its application with the government and expects to get an answer very soon.

The leading provider of services, technologies and products in its area of business, Qualcomm has taken this step so that it is able to make Indian partners after the bidding is over.

This is in compliance with the requirements of the Indian Foreign Direct Investment regulations, which ask for an Indian partner with a foreign company, whenever it is looking for investing directly within the country.

The other reason behind this step is that Qualcomm wants to show its capacities in the field of TD-LTE technology. It is looking for partners who can compliment it in this filed, so that it can use the upcoming 3G technology to the fullest of its advantage.

Qualcomm is certain that it would find a partner just in time before the 3G technology is launched in India. With that it will be able to provide its users the best possible experience in the segment.

Guidelines on banking licenses to be out soon

The guidelines on new banking licenses may be made available in the next three months, said the RBI on Thursday.

Talking on the sidelines of a conference, Deputy Governor of RBI, K C Chakrabarty said that the new framework may take three months to prepare. All depends on the complexities and the kind of situations that develop. But, he said that the RBI is trying very hard to get the guidelines very soon.

This comes a month after the Finance Minister Pranab Mukerjee said in his budget speech that the RBI can now give banking license to private NBFCs. This is being done so that the number of banks is increased.

While on one hand, it would help in better distribution of money, on the other it would allow the interested private players to enter into the banking sector.

As part of this, even the biggest insurer, LIC could get the license. LIC is already operating in the mutual fund and housing loan segment.

But Chakrabarty informed that all depends on the companies meeting the criterion set by the apex bank.

BMW to improve Chennai plant capacity

German vehicle manufacturer BMW has announced to improve its production capacity at its Chennai plant. BMW India President Peter Kronschnabl has said that Indian auto market is developing remarkably by these years.

For the year 2010, the company is eying to get a double digit growth figure with a minimum sales volume of 4,000 vehicles. Therefore the company is planning to manufacture more from its Chennai plant so that the supply can catch the demand in the market.

Now the BMW Chennai plant has a capacity of 3,000 units per annum. Last year BMW has sold 3,619 units of luxury cars as compared to 3,247 units of its major rival Mercedes.

Kronschnabl has also informed that BMW is having an excellent market share of 41% in the premium segment of cars in India. It was around 9% in 2006. In between these three and half years the firm has performed reasonably good to capture such a commanding market share.

Moreover, he has said that BMW is going to invest more on its plants and working to enhance the capacity and soon there will be an official announcement on this issue.

Renault-Nissan may form a tie-up with Ashok Leyland

Renault-Nissan has hinted that it may go in for a partnership with the Indian firm, Ashok Leyland.

Both the companies are already engaged in talks with the management of Ashok Leyland for the purpose of this agreement.

The companies have anticipated that such a partnership will help both the parties to produce and sell an all new passenger car.

Renault-Nissan has targeted to position the product in between its ultra-low-cost car project and the V-platform car, ‘Micra.’

However, both the companies haven’t confirmed the alliance but it is expected that soon they may end up with an-almost-certain partnership deal.

The Chairman of Renault-Nissan, Carlos Ghosn has informed that his company is all set to work with Ashok Leyland to produce some common projects. He has also denied that there will be no tie-ups between Renault-Nissan and Bajaj.

Ghosn made these statements during the launch of Renault-Nissan’s first ever green-field car plant in Chennai.

According to Ghosn, the new project, that both the companies are looking forward to, will be designed for the Indian market as well as some of the emerging markets across the globe.

Inflation may touch double digit, says FM

Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee has informed that there could be a double-digit inflation this March.

Mukherjee said this while taking part in the discussion on the General Budget for the Financial Year 2010-11 at the Rajya Sabha.

However, he believes that the current rise in food prices will go down very soon. The government is taking all the necessary steps to tackle the food inflation, said the minister.

But at the same time, he has also expressed his concerns over the possible double digit rate of inflation in the current month. Hence, it is going to be a hectic and troublesome financial year end for the Indian consumers.

In the month of February, the country’s annual rate of inflation had risen to 9.89 per cent. This figure was the highest in the last 16 months. In January, this was reported to be 8.56 per cent.

Rise in food price is undoubtedly pushing the rate up. On the contrary, the annual food inflation has also ended with as high as 17.81 per cent for the last week of February.

While India shows good growth rate figures, this inflation could be a major roadblock.

INQ comes up with big plans for India

INQ, the social networking handset maker of UK has said that it has tied up with Aircel.

The UK firm has officially arrived in India and is going to start its operations soon.

INQ provides the most popular Facebook phone which has become the latest trend with the “Gen-X”.

Facebook has become the most widely used social networking site all over the world. Users from all age group and segments are using the applications of the site enthusiastically. Moreover, India has become the next target for these social sites as Facebook is becoming more and more popular amongst Indian users along with Orkut and Twitter.

Hence, INQ has decided to enter into this market with its heavily loaded Mini 3G and Chat 3G handsets.

Besides, INQ is also eyeing India’s enormous low-cost handset market. As per the company officials, Indian market is vast and has tremendous potential. After entering to this huge market, INQ may further plan to introduce some of the low-cost phones in the country according to the demands of the consumers.