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In conversation with Steve Zanlunghi, Head of Jeep (APAC region)

We speak with Jeep’s Head of Asia-Pacific region and discuss the success of the Compass, their future products and more.

Renuka Kirpalani: We've just experienced the Rubicon Trail in the new Wrangler, but is that solid off-roading capability always going to be the Jeep DNA, or do you feel compelled that because of how markets are changing, you might need to move towards a soft-roader at some point of time?

Steve Zanlunghi: Yes, absolutely. The Jeep brand was born and raised off-road; it is the brand's DNA. Every Jeep that we build will have our functional pillars – freedom, passion, adventure and authenticity. I think the Rubicon Trail absolutely magnifies what the DNA is, which is that authenticity of being off-road. So yes, we'll have the Jeep Wrangler, which will always be our icon, but then we'll also have other variants in the Jeep line-up that may not be the full four-wheel-drive, go-across-the-Rubicon-Trail type, because we do cater to a growing SUV market, and we understand people might not always want that capability. The Jeep Wrangler, however, will always have that capability and functionality.

Q: For decades, Jeep has been a very strong American brand. What is your strategy to make the brand more global?

SZ: If you look back to 2014, we were only building vehicles and industrialising in one country and that was the US; now, we've expanded to building in six different countries where we have assembly plants. So, what we're doing is we're getting into localisation. Obviously, now we're expanding from just building in the US to building Jeeps in Italy, Brazil, China, Mexico, and also obviously in India.

Q: Jeep has previously maintained that the Wrangler will only be assembled in the US but do you think that will change over a period of time because, to expand your footprint, you would need to localise, especially in markets like ours.

SZ: Yeah absolutely, you need to localise, but the Jeep Wrangler in particular will always be built in the US because that is our icon. And for certain markets where you have high duties, like in India, the Wrangler becomes an icon or a halo vehicle. We obviously did the research and the Jeep Compass has been very well received in the Indian market, and we do have an assembly plant there, and we are looking at and studying other projects too.

Q: What is your strategy to keep the Compass moving in India?

SZ: When we launched the Compass in India, it blew away all our expectations with how popular it was. And what we were doing – and it's part of the strategy – was a long-term strategy and not a short-term one, because we know we're building the brand in India. We weren't there two years ago, and I believe the Jeep brand there has big equity, so what we're doing is to keep the Compass fresh and alive, we're going to bring different variants; within the next six months, you will see a few other variants of the Compass that we've been working on for a while.

Q:  There's also been talk of a B-SUV, that it has been delayed or it may not come to India at all – what can you tell us about that?

SZ: We're not going to comment on future products. We are studying two additional vehicles for the Indian market – nothing's been confirmed but we are studying all the different options that we have that would be specific and would fit the Indian market. We also use the Indian market not just for local production but also as an export hub to right-hand-drive markets such as Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, UK, so we're very proud and happy to have that localised production for the Indian market as well as for export markets.

Q: When you're building future products, do you intend to build and assemble them in India and then use them for export as well?

SZ: It just depends on the type of product. If the product does fit other markets that are right-hand-drive, then we can export.

Courtesy:- AUTOCAR

Aug 18, 2018
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Japanese vehicle makers apologise for improper testing data

Suzuki, Mazda and Yamaha state incorrect emissions data reported was unintentional; assure preventive measures.

As we had reported earlier, Suzuki Motor Corp, Mazda Motor and Yamaha Motor were pulled up by the Japanese ministry of transport for reporting incorrect data for fuel economy and emissions tests on their vehicles. The vehicle manufacturers have now apologised in a press conference held in Tokyo, Japan, and claimed that the improper calculations were unintentional, according to Japanese newswire Kyodo.

Toshihiro Suzuki, president Suzuki Motor Corp, said "There were no data alterations but it's a big problem that we have dealt with such a large number of vehicles wrongfully. I take it very seriously." He said that he will spearhead the compilation of preventive measures. According to the newswire, for Suzuki, data on almost half of its nearly 13,000 units manufactured between June 2012 and last month at its three plants in Shizuoka Prefecture in central Japan were improper. This is the second setback for the small car manufacturer, which, in 2016, admitted to using fuel-economy testing methods that did not conform to Japanese regulations.

According to the report, Suzuki said that insufficient training of the staff and the absence of onsite supervision by senior workers led to the lax inspection.

Katsuaki Watanabe, executive vice-president, Yamaha Motor said that the motorcycle manufacturer's management and the inspection staff were unaware that the levels of deviation from the speed requirements in its fuel efficiency tests required retests. "We had no notion that we were doing something wrong," Watanabe said at a press conference while apologising for failing to implement procedures required by law.

The transport ministry made the results public, based on reports by 20 vehicle makers collected as of Wednesday. According to Kyodo, the Japanese transport minister, Keiichi Ishii, in a released statement, said, "It is extremely regrettable. The ministry will strictly instruct the (manufacturers) to make sure thorough preventive measures are taken."

The report says that, of the 1,875 Mazda cars subjected to sampling inspection, improper inspections were found in nearly 4 percent since November 2014. For Yamaha Motor, around 2 percent of 335 units chosen for sampling inspection did not go through appropriate testing since January 2016, according to the ministry.

Suzuki, Mazda and Yamaha have said they will take preventive steps, such as changing inspection devices so that staff cannot rewrite data. The transport ministry said it will instruct vehicle makers to save records of inspections and implement measures to detect or prevent data falsifications.

Courtesy : - AUTOCAR

Aug 11, 2018
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2018 Indian Chieftain Elite to launch on August 12

The top-spec Chieftain will feature a bespoke paintjob and be limited to 350 units worldwide.

ndian Motorcycle is about to launch its limited-edition, top-of-the-line Chieftain model on August 12. Called the Chieftain Elite, the bike features a bespoke paint-job that the company claim takes 25 hours to complete. The bike also gets additional equipment like a premium sound system, custom leather seats and more.

To begin with, the new paint on the bike is called Black Hills Silver and features marble accenting. The company claims that no two Chieftain Elites will look the same, thanks to the unique marbling process that goes into this paint. Aside from this unique paint scheme, the bike also features Indian’s Ride Command infotainment system set up with Bluetooth, navigation, and 200W premium audio (the standard Chieftain gets ‘just’ 100W). Other additional equipment includes leather seats with custom stitching and aluminium floorboards.

The Elite also features what the company calls an ‘open fender’. It has a large 19-inch wheel up front – a size seen on every other 2018 Chieftain variant, except the Classic; and has a wheel design similar only to the Chieftain Limited. The Chieftain Elite is powered by the same 1,811cc Thunderstroke 111 V-twin engine seen on many other Indian offerings, but it puts out 161.6Nm at 3,000rpm – 11.6Nm over any other Chieftain model. For braking, the bike uses the same twin 300mm discs at the front and a single 300mm disc at the rear. The suspension and chassis are also the same as other Chieftain variants. This limited model weighs-in with a kerb weight of a massive 388kg.

We believe this model will be considerably more expensive than the standard Chieftain (Rs 32.01 lakh, all prices ex-showroom, India). However, the difference will not be as huge as the Rs 8 lakh gap between the standard Roadmaster (Rs 39.99 lakh) and Roadmaster Elite (Rs 48 lakh) – which is due to the Roadmaster Elite's even more special gold-flake paintjob.

Courtesy : - AUTOCAR

Aug 11, 2018
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BMW recalls 430,000 diesel cars after 27 of them catch fire

Following a spate of car fires in South Korea, BMW has issued an apology and recalled diesel cars in the country due to defects in the exhaust gas recirculation system. According to a media report the German company has also issued a recall for 324,000 diesel cars in Europe for the same reason.

South Korean authorities estimate that 27 BMW cars caught fire between January and July 2018. This prompted the German carmaker to issue a public apology and a recall for 106,000 diesel cars beginning August 20, 2018. Meanwhile, apartment complexes and parking lots have issued bans against BMW cars due to the fire hazard. It was also revealed that BMW had known about this issue back in 2016, but the root cause of the problem was only identified last month.

Out of the 324,000 cars that are recalled in the EU, 96,300 are from Germany. As of now, BMW has not announced a recall for the same issue in India.

Courtesy : - TEAM-BHP

Aug 11, 2018
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Thank you for the 43 Ford EcoSports!

In less than 24 hours of this thread being posted, 43 generous owners of 2018 model EcoSports have stepped forward, offering their new steeds to Team-BHP for an Official Review. It takes a lot to lend your beloved possession to someone else for a test & photoshoot - thank you! We are incredibly grateful. Your love & support for Team-BHP always leaves us overwhelmed.

Of these 43 cars, 14 are 'EcoSport S' variants, the EXACT variant that we have been waiting for since May. What Ford couldn't do in 3 months, EcoSport customers have done in 1 day.

And what Ford couldn't do with 10,000+ EcoSports produced, EcoSport owners did with just one (each). They went to great extents too = A gentleman wrote in offering his EcoSport S that is currently in the workshop for some minor accident damage, while another offered to drive down from Chennai to Mumbai!! There were a few who even offered a car belonging to their relatives (sibling, in-laws etc.)….after taking the necessary permissions, of course. 3 Team-BHP fans wrote in presenting their EcoSport S cars which are booked, but yet to be delivered! And then there were Sreesh & Abhinash who spoke to local Ford dealers about making their demo vehicles available for a Team-BHP Official Review.

This weekend, Team-BHP will be driving an EcoSport S EcoBoost variant that has been generously made available to us by BHPian Justchells.

A huge shoutout to the following Team-BHP fans & well-wishers for offering us their EcoSports (or those of their relatives). Thank you!

Justchells from Bangalore
Fiat_Tarun from Pune
Vkumar from NCR
Sunrock from Chennai
BHPian from North India (prefers anonymity)
Spectre13 from Mumbai
Anumod from Hyderabad
Kanishka88 from Mumbai
W.A.G.7 from Pune
Udayjani from Chennai
Prakritij from Assam
Sumanth Ramuni from Bangalore
Keerthan Kumar from Coimbatore
Raghav Sood from Delhi
Shree Ransubhe
Harpreet from the Andaman Islands!
Ankur Goel from Delhi
Manoj
Kamptan Paul from Tripura
Suhrid Sarkar from Kolkata
Varix
Manish Naik
Nilesh Vyas from Indore
Vineet Sharma from Ludhiana
Shishant Paliwal
Aditya Dhiman
Kunal Gupta from Bangalore
Rahul Singh
Dr. Arora from Udaipur
….the rest preferred to stay anonymous!

And of course

BHPian GRAND23 for requesting an S owner from his office
Selfdrive for asking an EcoSport-owning pal

If I missed someone, my sincere apologies. Please email me on g t o @team-bhp .com and I will have your name added. But again, THANK YOU! Super, super grateful for the trust & generosity.

Courtesy : - TEAM-BHP

Aug 11, 2018
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