Last week I asked which helicopter factory became one of the
most significant makes in motorcycle racing. Clue: it was owned by an Italian
Count. It was the MV Augusta.
So to this week. What is the name of the Chevrolet Spark
“clone” and sold in Thailand?
For the Automania FREE beer this week, be the first correct
answer to email [email protected]
India starts to flex its
India’s Mahindra & Mahindra has made a fresh move to expand
its stable beyond SUVs and utilitarian vehicles, buying a majority stake in the
Reva Electric Car Company and announcing its intention to become a “strong
global player in the electric vehicle space”.
Mahindra electric Reva
The Reva purchase, under which Mahindra takes a 55.2 percent
stake in Reva (to be renamed as the Mahindra Reva Electric Vehicle Co), comes as
the Indian auto manufacturer this week also confirmed its intent to bid for the
troubled SsangYong Motor (and if successful will hopefully burn down the
SsanYong sstyling department).
Mahindra has joined seven companies worldwide in preparing an
offer for SsangYong, including Nissan and Renault (with South Korean partner
Samsung), and will now do due diligence over the next six weeks to determine if
it will submit a binding bid before the July 20 deadline.
SsangYong has been under court-ordered bankruptcy protection
since early 2009, with a preferred bidder for the company to be announced in
Mahindra has declined to put a dollar figure on a potential
deal with SsangYong - said to be worth around $3 to $5 billion - and likewise
has not disclosed the value of the deal with Reva, although in a statement it
said that its majority stake in the Bangalore-based EV firm came from purchasing
equity from the promoters and providing 450 million rupees ($A11.4m) in fresh
Mahindra said it would adapt Reva’s EV technology for a range
of its vehicles, including an electric version of its Maxximo mini-truck already
It is unclear whether its first foray into passenger cars,
the Renault-sourced Mahindra Logan, will also gain an electric powertrain.
Under its ‘sustainable mobility’ program, Mahindra says it
has been working on green technologies for the past 10 years. It has developed a
diesel-electric hybrid version of its Scorpio SUV and an electric three-wheeler,
and has introduced Bosch-developed “micro hybrid” (idle-stop) technology on a
range of vehicles in India.
Reva was formed in 1994 as a joint venture between India’s
Miani Group and US firm AEV and has become a leading player in low-cost EVs,
with more than 3500 EVs on the road across 24 countries including Europe, the UK,
Asia and South America.
Under the new Mahindra Reva organisation, the Miani Group
will hold a 31 percent share and AEV will hold 11 percent.
Reva has also been working with General Motors to develop a
plug-in version of its Chevrolet Spark mini-car. However, GM, which unveiled the
Reva-powered Chevrolet e-Spark at the Delhi motor show in January, is believed
to have since pulled out of the partnership following Reva’s deal with Mahindra.
Mahindra Reva’s chief of technology and strategy, Chetan
Maini, said that as a result of Mahindra’s investment, Reva will be now able to
“scale, innovate and accelerate and so to deliver better products to more
customers in more places”.
“The EV market is poised to grow significantly and we
concluded that in order to seize the opportunity we needed the resources and
experience of a major automotive manufacturer,” he said.
“In Mahindra we have found a company that not only shares our
vision of principled and sustainable growth but one that also has a reputation
for good corporate governance.”
Mahindra president (automotive) and newly elected chairman of
Mahindra Reva, Pawan Goenka, described the deal was a “key strategic acquisition
for Mahindra in its march towards sustainable mobility”.
“Mahindra and Reva bring together complementary strengths,”
he said. “With Mahindra’s vehicle engineering expertise, global distribution
network, sourcing clout and financing support, Reva’s vehicles have the
potential to significantly gain in market penetration. Mahindra will also
benefit from Reva’s EV technology for its own products.”
Dr Goenka told journalists at the announcement that he
expected India to produce 80,000 to 100,000 EVs by the year 2020, with global
sales projected at 1.5 to two million cars.
The message is clear. The two most populous countries, China
and India, are the coming forces in the automotive market.
Valencia Grand Prix this
A return venue this weekend, with the ‘round the houses’ of
Valencia for the European Grand Prix. This was a new circuit a couple of years
ago for the F1 circus and it has been universally boring every time. Monaco
without the boat harbor. Or the mystique. Yet, here it is still on the calendar.
Money has been paid under the table? (Or was that pesetas?) Surely not, in the
clean and pure environment of Formula 1.
After one boring race in Valencia, our Editor at Large, John
Weinthal even suggested there must have been a street sign saying “Welcome to
Valencia - please drive carefully - no overtaking!”
I have the sinking feeling that we will all be annoyed at the
lack of racing, but, ever the optimist, I will be watching.
The Qualifying is at 7 p.m. on Saturday 26 and the race is 7 p.m. on Sunday
Valencia, racing around the docks