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Car Reviews

Toyota Announces Measures To Aid Customers Amid Coronavirus Lockdown

Looking at the current lockdown scenario and the problems customers might face once this phase gets over, Toyota Kirloskar Motor (TKM) has announced a series of measures that will give it some relief in these troubled times. Among a host of service packages announced by the company include Free Maintenance Service, Roadside Assistance and extension of warranty on their vehicles. This includes both vehicles which have been purchased new or have been bought from company’s used car arm, Toyota U-Trust. Apart from that the major has also announced a reprieve on extended warranty as well as their Pre-Paid maintenance package called SMILES for up to two months.
Naveen Soni, Senior Vice President, Sales & Service, Toyota Kirloskar Motor, said, “To avoid any inconvenience to customers, we are trying our best to ensure seamless communication and hassle-free processes. Our ‘Customer Connect’ program is a step to build confidence, and show our commitment to our valued customers and our dealer partners, in these times of distress.”

Both the drivers of sales for Toyota in March have been the Innova Crysta and the  Fortuner

In a unique gesture free emergency support will also be given to customers who do not have the coverage till 15 days post the lockdown. Toyota says along with its dealerships it is actively addressing customer queries over phone and ensuring they are helped and guided in an effective manner. The dealerships are also providing doorstep facilities as essential services, with full cooperation from local authorities, in case of emergencies. Looking at the prolonged parking of the vehicles due to the lockdown various maintenance tips have also been given to the customers.

Additionally, TKM is offering an extension for the customers whose respective programs or products may have expired during this lockdown period. This extension will be valid till until 31st May, 2020. To ensure the vehicles remain in the best of the conditions, vehicle inspection, car cabin care and tyre & battery care will be provided once the dealerships are operational, albeit at a price.

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Bikes

2021 Honda ADV150 To Be Launched In The US

The Honda ADV150 is a mixture of an adventure motorcycle and a scooter, something which Honda describes as a “City Adventure” scooter. The Honda ADV150 isn’t an all-new model, and it’s been available in Indonesia and some other Asian markets, as a 2019 model. The ADV150 certainly looks rad and does seem to have all that it takes to make it extremely popular and fun, even here in India, if Honda does decide to launch it! It certainly looks like a blast, and the styling certainly is reminiscent of the Honda Africa Twin, more than being a scooter in the true sense.

The Honda ADV150 gets a SOHC, 2-valve 149 cc engine with 14.4 bhp power

The ADV150 is powered by a 149 cc, single-cylinder, SOHC, 2-valve engine which puts out 14.4 bhp of power at 8,500 rpm, and peak torque of 13.8 Nm at 5,000 rpm. On the features front, the ADV150 gets LED lights on the front, rear and even the turn signals, along with daytime running lights (DRLs) which add to the “adventure” styling inspired by the Africa Twin.

A back-lit, full-digital instrument panel is reminiscent of the Honda Africa Twin

A two-position adjustable windshield is standard, along with 27 litres of weather-resistant underseat storage, a two-litre front storage compartment with 12V charging point, and Smart Key system with theft deterrence. And the instrument console is also inspired by the Africa Twin, a full digital, blue backlit screen.

Twin Showa shocks look up for the job of tackling rough terrain when tarmac ends

Owing to its “city adventure” genes, the Honda ADV150 gets twin Showa remote reservoir rear shocks with triple-rate springs which provide nearly 120 mm of travel, to take on rough terrain. Up front, a 31 mm Showa fork offers 130 mm of travel. The 14-inch front wheel gets a 240 mm disc brake with ABS, while the 13-inch rear wheel gets a 130 mm drum brake.

Weather-resistant 27-litre underseat storage space with 10 litres of front storage space

The Honda ADV150 will be offered in the US as a 2021 model, and currently the ADV150 is sold in Indonesia as well, apart from being offered in markets like Vietnam and the Philippines. So far, there’s now word on Honda Motorcycle and Scooter India (HMSI) introducing the ADV150 in India. But if it is considered for India, HMSI will need to completely manufacture it in India, to keep prices competitive, and to play on its strengths of volumes. Whether a premium “City Adventure” like the ADV150 will work in India, or not, is open to discussion, but it certainly looks like a fun thing on two-wheels, and we’ll bet it will have some takers, even in India, if priced right.

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Coronavirus Pandemic: PSA Groupe Secures Further 3 Billion Euros Of Loans

Peugeot-owner PSA said on Monday it had secured a further 3 billion euros ($3.3 billion) of loans, strengthening its financial position in the wake of the hit to the global automotive industry from the coronavirus crisis.

Carmakers worldwide have been badly affected by the health crisis, first as production stalled in China, where the virus originated, and now as it spreads in Europe, where some governments have ordered unprecedented lockdowns to contain it.

Last month agency Moody’s placed the credit ratings of seven European auto makers including PSA and rival Renault on review for downgrade, citing the coronavirus crisis.

The latest syndicated loans come on top of an existing 3 billion euros worth of undrawn credit lines. They have an initial maturity of 12 months, with two optional three-month extensions, the French group added. It did not say which banks were involved.

“This operation reinforces our ability to face up to this exceptional situation and prepare the future,” said PSA Chief Financial Officer Philippe de Rovira. “It also proves the confidence of our partner banks in the financial strength and recognized resilience of Groupe PSA.”

By 0910 GMT, PSA shares were up 8.3 percent amid a broader global equity market rally.

Last month the French government told PSA and Renault they were entitled to help such as guarantees on loans and leeway on bills as it seeks to help companies cope with the fallout from the health crisis. PSA did not say if its latest loans had attracted any state support.

PSA, which also makes the Citroen marque, has suspended output in all its European plants until March 27 and has not given a target date for restarting production.

PSA, which is in the midst of merging with Fiat Chrysler, has also postponed its annual shareholders’ meeting to June 25 from May 14.

Separately, shares in Renault rose more than 8% after top executives from the Renault/Nissan alliance told the Wall Street Journal they intend to announce their programme for the next three years in mid-May and that billions of dollars in savings are planned.

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Bikes

Harley-Davidson Low Rider Prices Begin At &#8377 13.75 Lakh

Harley-Davidson India has updated its official website with prices for the 2020 Harley-Davidson Low Rider, as well as the 2020 Harley-Davidson Low Rider S, with different engine options. The H-D Low Rider is priced at ₹ 13.75 lakh (Ex-showroom), while the H-D Low Rider S has been priced at ₹ 14.69 lakh (Ex-showroom). The 2020 Low Rider retains similar styling to its predecessor, with 1970s inspired throwback cruiser design, complete with tank-mounted, dual instrument gauges, headlight visor, old-school inspired body graphics and chrome exhausts.

The Harley-Davidson Low Rider is powered by the 1,745 cc, v-twin Milwaukee 107 engine which puts out 144 Nm of peak torque at 3,000 rpm. Transmission duties are handled by a six-speed gearbox. The frame retains the classic Softail lines, but its lightweight design is said to offer a responsive ride, and the high performance, cartridge fork offers linear damping characteristics, together with an easily adjustable high performance mono-shock rear suspension. Braking is provided by four-piston fixed caliper on the front disc and a two-piston floating caliper on the rear single disc.

The Harley-Davidson Low Rider S has a Milwaukee-Eight 114 engine with slightly more grunt, and has the blacked out look

The Harley-Davidson Low Rider S is the blacked-out version of what Harley-Davidson calls a “performance cruiser” with a reduced frame rake, inverted front suspension, slightly raised handlebar, and cast aluminium. The Low Rider S comes with the Milwaukee-Eight 114, 1,745 cc, v-twin engine with more punch, more torque, putting out 145 Nm at 3,000 rpm, and 87 bhp at 5,020 rpm. The Low Rider S has a kerb weight of 287 kg, and is priced at ₹ 14.69 lakh (Ex-showroom).

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Bikes

Top Scooters For Riding Enthusiasts

The resurgence of scooters in India started with the Honda Activa, way back in 2001. And since then, we have come a fair way ahead in terms of scooter offerings. Sure, the market hasn’t matured quite yet for high capacity moto-scooters but we are getting there, at least in terms of design. The first ever ‘performance’ scooter to be launched in India was the Kinetic Blaze. But that was a long time ago. Our story tells you about the top scooters to buy if you like a bit of fun to go with your daily commute. Here’s our pick!

Aprilia SR 160

The Aprilia SR 160 replaced the SR 150 last year. It now gets a 160 cc single-cylinder engine that is now fuel-injected in order to meet stringent BS6 emission norms. The prices for the BS6 Aprilia SR 160 start at ₹ 1.04 lakh for the SR 160 and go up to ₹ 1.14 lakh for the SR 160 Carbon variant. While we haven’t ridden the Aprilia SR 160, we have spent considerable time with the SR 150 and if it is anything to go by, then the AR 160 will not disappoint you in terms of fun! It gets a 160 cc 3-valve engine which makes 10.8 bhp and is paired to CVT gearbox. The scooter does look good and offers a bucketful of performance but it is short in terms of features, even with a price point of over ₹ 1 lakh.

TVS NTorq 125

(The TVS NTorq 125 gets a new LED headlamp along with a new DRL)

The TVS NTorq125 may not be a 150 cc scooter but it is no less fun to ride! Its 125 cc engine makes 9.1 bhp at 7,000 rpm and the peak torque output is 10.5 Nm at 5,500 rpm. The scooter is light, agile and zippy. It is incredibly easy to manoeuvre this scooter in traffic. Plus, if ridden hard, the scooter can do triple digit speeds. With the new headlamp, the scooter looks good and has a good presence as well. The drum brake version of the NTorq 125 is ₹ 65,975 and the disc brake version is priced at ₹ 69,975. The NTorq 125 Race Edition is priced at ₹ 69,975 (all prices are ex-showroom, Delhi). The NTorq’s biggest draw is its ‘Smart Connect’ system, which allows the rider to use the TVS NTorq app and connect his/her smartphone to the scooter. This allows you to get access to all sorts of information such as call alerts, SMS alerts, navigation assist and also access to three trip meters, lap timer, 0-60 kmph timer, navigation assist, service reminder and the list goes on. So yes, when you have a 0-160 kmph timer on your scooter, you know you can have some fun with it!

Suzuki Burgman Street

(Suzuki Burgman Street 125 BS6)

The Suzuki Burgman Street’s biggest USP is the way it looks. It is the first ever 125 cc maxi-scooter in India and the first since the Kinetic Blaze was launched eons ago. The TVS NTorq and the Suzuki Burgman Street are more or less evenly matched when it comes to engine specifications. The Ntorq makes 0.72 bhp and 0.3 Nm more than the Burgman Street. The Suzuki scooter makes 8.58 bhp at 7,000 rpm while the peak torque output is 10.2 Nm at 5,000 rpm. The interesting thing to note here is that the NTorq is 8 kg heavier than the Burgman Street. The Burgman Street 125 may appear to be bulky, but it is nimble and can filter through traffic in a very agile manner. For an enthusiast, this scooter definitely fits the bill.

Special Mentions

Honda Forza 300

(The Honda Forza 300 scooter will be officially launched in India in the upcoming financial year)

The Honda Forza 300 is the first maxi-scooter from Honda in India. While it may not have been officially launched in India, but Honda has already delivered four units of the scooter to customers. The company says it will officially launch the scooter in India in FY21. And we are so excited to ride the scooter too. The Forza 300 is powered by a 279cc, liquid-cooled engine. The fuel-injected SOHC motor is a four-valve four-stroke unit that is tuned to churn out 24.8 bhp at 7000 rpm and 27.2 Nm at 5,750 rpm. The Forza 300 comes with CVT automatic transmission with an automatic centrifugal clutch and a V-Belt. It also comes with Honda Selectable Torque Control (HSTC) which helps in regaining rear-wheel traction by detecting the difference between the front and rear wheel speeds, calculating the slip ratio and further controlling engine torque via the fuel injection. This means the Forza 300 should be on your shopping list too, in case you want to get a peppy scooter.

Aprilia SXR 160

(Piaggio India CEO & MD Diego Graffi with the Aprilia SXR 160 at Auto Expo 2020)

One of the two-wheeler highlights at the 2020 Auto Expo was the Aprilia SXR 160. The Aprilia SXR 160 is a new moto-scooter with an interesting ‘CrossMax’ and it will be launched in India in the third quarter of 2020. The Aprilia team spent two years in designing and developing the SXR moto-scooter in Italy and it has been made especially for the Indian market. Aprilia hopes to launch a new category of scooters in the coming years. The bookings for the Aprilia SXR 160 will begin in August 2020. It gets the same 160 cc 3-valve engine from the Aprilia SR 160 which makes 10.8 bhp and is paired to CVT gearbox. Buyers can also choose from a wide range of specially designed accessories like connectivity, mobile docking system and merchandise like Aprilia helmets and apparel.

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Car Reviews

KTM Pulls Out of Intermot, EICMA Motorcycle Shows

After BMW Motorrad, Austrian motorcycle brand KTM has also announced that it will not be participating in the industry’s largest motorcycles shows due to the coronavirus pandemic. The Intermot motorcycle show is scheduled to be held from October 7-11, 2020, in Cologne, Germany. The EICMA 2020 show is slated to be held in Milan, Italy, from November 5-8, 2020. While both these shows are still months away, there’s still a lot of global uncertainty, and more so around the motorcycle industry, as well as the situation in Europe, to properly plan for the trade shows.

Last month, KTM shut down its Mattighofen factory over the COVID-19 pandemic outbreak

According to KTM, “the proper planning of such events is currently at risk due to the uncertainty surrounding public gathering restrictions in most countries. The annual success of these indoor shows also sees hundreds of thousands of visitors gathering in enclosed spaces for a period lasting days and even weeks. For these reasons, KTM AG have identified their exclusion as a way to contribute towards a a safe and strong return to normal activity.”

In fact, KTM even goes on to suggest that this year’s EICMA show be cancelled altogether, considering the current worldwide recommendations about social distancing, and growing concerns about public health.

“Trade shows are key business milestones for the entire motorcycle industry but given the situation, public health and the welfare of our staff are higher priorities over the coming months. We have taken this course of action with a great deal of thought and, as a company, KTM AG would be pleased and interested if show promoters, EICMA in particular, would simply consider moving dates to 2021, where we hope and expect the situation to be settled and back to normal,” KTM’s Chief Marketing Officer, Hubert Trunkenpolz is quoted as saying.

KTM now becomes the second big motorcycle brand to pull out of this autumn’s scheduled motorcycle shows, and now the question that remains is whether other brands are also considering their options, and if the motorcycle shows should be held at all. With the cancellation of the Osaka and Tokyo motorcycle shows, Suzuki has already held the firm’s own online virtual show, showcasing refreshed models. Intemot 2020 is already preparing for a strong online presence this year. With more manufacturers expected to withdraw from the shows and hold their own presentations, the world’s biggest motorcycle shows this year may end up being rescheduled or cancelled after all.

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Car Reviews

190-Year-Old Amrutanjan Bridge On Mumbai-Pune Expressway Demolished

The 190-year-old Reversing Bridge, or more commonly known as the Amrutanjan Bridge, on the Mumbai-Pune Expressway was recently demolished. Built during the early British Era, the bridge was removed with a planned explosion on Sunday, March 5, because it was causing traffic snarls and several accidents on the route. According to the Maharashtra State Road Development Corporation (MSRDC), the bridge itself was not in use since a long time but its pillars were coming in the way of vehicular traffic, which will now become much smoother. 

The bridge was removed with a planned explosion because it was causing traffic snarls and several accidents on the route

Built in 1930, the bridge was designed to connect the two hills near Lonawala, while the Britishers were laying railway lines between Bombay and Poona, as the two cities were known back then. Trains coming from Pune (Poona) would halt on the bridge and the engine would be taken to the other end of the train and then it will go down to Karjat reversing its direction, and the same process was followed when the train came from Mumbai (Bombay). And that is how it got the name ‘Reversing Bridge’. However, much later, after Independence, the makers of Amrutanjan, the pain relief balm, put up a big hoarding on the side of the bridge, to promote its product which soon became a landmark, giving it the unofficial, yet more popular name – the Amrutanjan Bridge.

The Mumbai Pune Expressway is around 100 km long and one of the busiest highways in the country

The Mumbai Pune Expressway is around 100 km long, and for the most part of it, is a six-lane highway, except for near the Amrutanjan bridge, where due to its wide pillars, it becomes a four-lane road. This not only slowed down the traffic but also caused accidents due to the blind spots. The authorities wanted to demolish the bridge a long time ago, but many wanted it to be preserved as a heritage site. After several legal battles, ultimately, it was decided to demolish it.

The coronavirus outbreak has caused a drastic drop traffic on the Expressway, allowing the authorities to carry out the demolition work

However, the expressway is one of the busiest highways in the country and demolishing the bridge would mean traffic would have to be stopped for a few days. But the coronavirus outbreak has caused a drastic reduction of traffic on the Expressway, working in the favour of the authorities. MSRDC was to carry the demolition work between 4 to 14 April 2020.

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Car Reviews

Coronavirus Pandemic: Beijing Motor Show Rescheduled

The coronavirus pandemic certainly caught everyone by surprise and from then on all events have been cancelled. In fact, motor shows have been hit as well and the Geneva Motor Show was the first to announced a cancellation. This announcement was followed by the Detroit, New York Motor Shows getting cancelled as well. Now, the organisers of the Beijing Auto Show have announce the postponement of the show which was scheduled to take place from April 21 to April 30.

The organisers said in a statement, ” In light of the serious challenges posted by the COVID-19 pandemic, after close consultation with the relevant parties, we, on behalf of the Organizing Committee of the 2020 (16th) Beijing International Automobile Exhibition (AUTO CHINA 2020), have decided to postpone the auto show which was initially planned at the new and old venues of China International Exhibition Center (CIEC) in April this year so as to effectively protect the health and safety of exhibitors and spectators. The AUTO CHINA 2020 is rescheduled to the following date – September 26 to October 5, 2020.”

As said in the statement, the Beijing Auto Show is now postponed to Septemeber 26 – October 5, 2020. The Coronavirus pandemic has certainly had a massive effect on the auto industry globally, with plants shutting down and production coming to a halt. The auto companies have shifted their focus from making cars to producing the current need of nations – face shields, face masks and ventilators. A host of companies have already started making these and the distribution to the home market too has started.

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Car Reviews

Oil Prices Drop Over $1 After Top Producers Delay Meeting To Discuss Output Cuts

Oil prices slipped more than $1 a barrel on Monday, after the world’s top producers delayed a meeting to discuss output cuts that could partly alleviate oversupply in global markets as the coronavirus pandemic pummels demand.

Brent crude slipped close to $30 a barrel in early trade and was at $32.82 by 0203 GMT, down $1.29, or 3.8%. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude fell $1.66, or 5.9%, to $26.68 a barrel, after earlier touching a low of $25.28.

Late last week, prices surged, with U.S. and Brent contracts posting their largest ever weekly percentage gains due to hopes that OPEC and its allies would strike a deal to cut crude supply worldwide by at least 10 million barrels per day (bpd).

Prices on both sides of the Atlantic marked their worst month on record in March as the coronavirus pandemic crippled demand while a price war between Saudi Arabia and Russia left the market awash in supplies.

The producers were initially set to meet on Monday, but that has now been pushed to April 9, after they blamed each other for the collapse of talks in March.

It “just took a delay in the meeting between Saudi and Russia to knock the wind out of that rally”, said Michael McCarthy, chief strategist at CMC Global Markets in Sydney.

U.S. President Donald Trump said he would impose tariffs on crude imports if necessary to support U.S. oil sector.

The head of the International Energy Agency has said oil inventories would still rise by 15 million bpd in the second quarter even with output cuts of 10 million bpd.

He urged the world’s richest economies to discuss broader ways to stabilise oil markets.

Still, a move by Saudi Arabia to delay the release of its crude official selling prices indicates it is not eager to flood the market with low-priced supplies before a potential agreement, said Robert McNally, president of Rapidan Energy Group in Bethesda, Maryland.

“That’s a pretty clear sign that they are open to cutting production in May,” he said.

The kingdom delayed the release until Friday to wait for the outcome of the meeting between OPEC and its allies regarding possible output cuts, a Saudi source told Reuters.

Oil prices could also firm as decades-low prices have already forced producers to cut output, CMC’s McCarthy said.

Prices on both sides of the Atlantic marked their worst month on record in March as the coronavirus pandemic crippled demand

“There’s a lot of talk about potential bankruptcies particularly in U.S. shale producers and that deals with a lot of supply issues that’s plaguing the market,” McCarthy said.

“In the short term the low prices are very painful, but if it does lead to a lot of those players leaving the industry, the supply side of the equation will balance out.”

Rig counts in the United States fell by 62 last week, energy services firm Baker Hughes Co said on Friday, marking the biggest weekly drop in five years, as U.S. energy companies slashed spending on new drilling due to a coronavirus-related slump in economic activity and fuel demand.

Brazil’s Petrobras has also doubled its oil output cuts to 200,000 bpd, or 6% of its total production.

(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)

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Car Reviews

Honda Extends North American Auto Plant Shutdowns

Honda Motor Co has said that it will extend a shutdown of all U.S. and Canadian auto plant production through April 10 and at its plant in Celaya, central Mexico, until April 13, because of the ongoing coronavirus outbreak.

Honda’s plant in El Salto in the western Mexican state of Jalisco, will also suspend production operations between April 4 and April 13, Honda’s Mexican unit said.

A growing number of automakers have said they will not restart U.S. production until at least mid-April as demand sharply falls off for auto sales. Honda began its auto production halt on March 23.

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