Technology Bulletin

    • Toyota Opens Up for Autonomous Vehicles
    • Aug 31, 2018
    • Toyota has lapped its peer automotive companies in the race towards autonomous and electric vehicles. The company launched PHEV Toyota Prius in late 2000s and f... View More
      Toyota has lapped its peer automotive companies in the race towards autonomous and electric vehicles. The company launched PHEV Toyota Prius in late 2000s and focused more on fuel cell vehicles since then, with no BEVs in its portfolio. However, from 2017 the company has increased its focus on BEV technology. Unlike other automakers, such as General Motors and Tesla, which are developing in-house autonomous technology, Toyota will be majorly using Uber’s self-driving technology in its Sienna Minivan. Going forward, Toyota should focus on developing in-house self-driving technology, just like General Motors and Tesla. - Aman Madhok (Source: BBC News)
    • Volkswagen Marches to Catch up with the Rivals
    • Aug 31, 2018
    • Volkswagen, one of the world’s largest automakers, is converting itself from a manufacturer of passenger cars to a “device and a software” com... View More
      Volkswagen, one of the world’s largest automakers, is converting itself from a manufacturer of passenger cars to a “device and a software” company. US$4 billion, to be invested in “We” banner of digital services, which will include a host of apps – We Share, We Park and other connected services for users of Volkswagen branded vehicles. For instance, by 2020, a Volkswagen user can transfer the digital key of his vehicle to another user to enable car sharing. Volkswagen is competing with automotive rivals – Daimler and BMW in ride hailing/sharing services. Moreover, with Daimler and BMW combining their services, and other new start-ups venturing into the digital services space, Volkswagen is concerned with losing its leadership position in the new automotive “digital ecosystem” – which consists of electric vehicles, connected cars and mobility providers. With ride-hailing services, Volkswagen will push its electric car sales in key cities. Volkswagen has been partnering with technology companies such as Nvidia and Didi, and with this investment, it could further try to dominate the “digital ecosystem” with partnerships, investments and acquisition. The next logical step for Volkswagen should be standardize its software in its sub-brands such as Audi and Skoda to increase user base and attain economies of scale.  - Aman Madhok (Source: WARC)
    • China to Replace U.S. as Nissan’s Biggest Market
    • Aug 24, 2018
    • China has become a much better prospective market than the US for many automakers, including Nissan. In 2017, many automakers saw declining sales in the US. Dur... View More
      China has become a much better prospective market than the US for many automakers, including Nissan. In 2017, many automakers saw declining sales in the US. During this period, Nissan sales increased by 1.9% (compared to 2016) in the US, and more than 12% in China. In 2010, Nissan planned to corner 10% market share in the US. The company achieved its target but suffered eroded profit margins due to hefty discounts coupled with increased capex for new model launches. The company now has plans to improve its profitability in the US and increase sales in China to drive overall revenues. To grow in China, Nissan plans to focus on the budget segment – which accounts for the majority of passenger car sales in the country. It will also focus on electric vehicles – which is still a nascent market in China with significant growth opportunities. The conventional vehicle market is fairly consolidated, having clear leaders in the form of General Motors and Volkswagen so presents a more challenging prospect for growth.- Aman Madhok (Source: NASDAQ)
    • Price Wars to Intensify in the Nigerian Ride-Haili...
    • Aug 24, 2018
    • When Uber expands in a new country, it unintentionally invites other companies to the same market. Uber entered Nigeria in 2015 and witnessed a fast-paced growt... View More
      When Uber expands in a new country, it unintentionally invites other companies to the same market. Uber entered Nigeria in 2015 and witnessed a fast-paced growth due to strong market drivers such as affordable data services and increasing smartphone penetration. Existing companies such as Afro, Easy Taxi, OgaTaxi and Smartcab made no dent in its market share, and some of these companies died a natural death or exited the market. A typical Nigerian rider is not brand loyal and can easily shift to a lower cost ride hailing service. Low switching costs also aids in making the market cost sensitive. In 2016, Taxify entered Nigeria and captured considerable share from Uber by lowering its commission to 15% (compared to Uber’s 25%). The entry of Taxigo, which is a ride aggregator app, will further intensify the competition as the company is claiming a lower 10-14% commission. Moreover, using this app, users will be able to compare charges from different ride hailing companies and private drivers, further intensifying the competition. - Aman Madhok (Source: This Day)
    • Qualcomm Advances Towards C-V2X Technology
    • Aug 24, 2018
    • Earlier this week, Qualcomm announced the first successful multi-chipset vendor interoperability of C-V2X (3GPP Rel 14), also referred as LTE-V2X. The test was ... View More
      Earlier this week, Qualcomm announced the first successful multi-chipset vendor interoperability of C-V2X (3GPP Rel 14), also referred as LTE-V2X. The test was performed using Qualcomm’s 9150 chipset and Datang’s LTE-V2X module – DMD31. The announcement is expected to boost confidence among major automotive OEMs looking forward to early adoption of the technology. It will further accelerate the commercial readiness of C-V2X technology. However, cities need significant infrastructure upgrades to reap the full benefits of C-V2X technology. This will require a strong policy push from the respective local governments. - Hanish Bhatia (Source: Qualcomm)
    • Global Automotive Stocks Dip After Trump’s New War...
    • Aug 24, 2018
    • Auto related share prices across the globe dipped significantly this week, after US President’s recent comments on the imposition of 25% tariffs on import... View More
      Auto related share prices across the globe dipped significantly this week, after US President’s recent comments on the imposition of 25% tariffs on imported cars to the United States from the EU. Higher tariffs are likely to put OEMs under pressure as automotive sales growth has remained flat across North America and Europe. Further, Tier I automotive OEMs have cut their revenue outlook citing weak car sales, higher raw material costs, warranty claims and anticipated tariffs. Germany-based automotive supplier Continental was worst hit, as its stock plunged nearly 13% in a single day taking it 28% below its value at the start of the year. Shares of other European auto parts suppliers such as Valeo, Michelin and Faurecia also declined nearly 4% midweek. Higher tariffs on automotive and automotive raw material (such as steel & aluminum) has been a major cause of scuffles with EU and China, as the Trump administration looks to bring more manufacturing jobs back to the US. - Hanish Bhatia (Source: CNBC)
    • Baidu – The New Android of Autonomous Vehicles?
    • Aug 24, 2018
    • Baidu is becoming the new “dark horse” of autonomous vehicles. In 2017, Baidu launched project Apollo, an open data platform for the developers to c... View More
      Baidu is becoming the new “dark horse” of autonomous vehicles. In 2017, Baidu launched project Apollo, an open data platform for the developers to create software for autonomous vehicles. Since then, the company has gathered more than 100 partners including leading automakers (Daimler, Ford), suppliers (Bosch, Continental) among others. Baidu is co-operating with China Speech Valley developers for the development of AI. Baidu wants to be the brain behind autonomous vehicles and leave hardware to be handled by automakers and OEMs. Just as Google passes some of its proprietary apps to Android, Baidu is also reserving some of its proprietary services such as mapping and machine learning in Apollo. - Aman Madhok (Source: Gasgoo)
    • Why is Softbank not Investing in Tesla?
    • Aug 17, 2018
    • Tesla CEO, Elon Musk met Softbank CEO Masayoshi Son in 2017 to talk about the possibility of funding, and potentially making Tesla a private company. Softbank h... View More
      Tesla CEO, Elon Musk met Softbank CEO Masayoshi Son in 2017 to talk about the possibility of funding, and potentially making Tesla a private company. Softbank has ended all investment speculations by announcing that it would not invest in Tesla. This was expected as Softbank has already invested $2.25 billion in rival company GM for its Cruise project aimed at developing autonomous vehicles. Softbank could also have faced restrictions from the Committee on Foreign Investment in the US (Cfius), given Softbank’s close associations with China. Moreover, Tesla stock is now clearly overpriced given the increasing competition (with the likes of Chevrolet Bolt) and upcoming Chinese start-ups similar to Tesla, such as Nio and Byton - Aman Madhok (Source: The Big Scope)
    • Hyundai Prepares to Lead in the Indian EV Market
    • Aug 17, 2018
    • India is the fourth largest automotive market in the world, but ranks far below its peers in the EV space with only 2,000 EVs sold in 2017, according to Counter... View More
      India is the fourth largest automotive market in the world, but ranks far below its peers in the EV space with only 2,000 EVs sold in 2017, according to Counterpoint’s EV Sales Tracker. Even though the government has plans for an all-electric fleet by 2030, most automakers are still hesitant to mass produce EVs, given the lack of clear government strategy, subsidies and charging infrastructure. Despite this, leading players such as Maruti Suzuki and Hyundai do not want to lose the first mover advantage and lose their dominance in the fast evolving EV market. Automakers have started to plan and conduct market studies to mass produce EVs after 2020 based on market conditions. Energy Efficiency Services Limited (EESL) floated its second tender to purchase 10,000 EVs to be used as government vehicles and this has further renewed automakers' interest in EVs. However, as seen in other markets, support for charging infrastructure and subsidies (especially in cost-sensitive markets like India), which are paramount in the initial stages of market development, are still not adequate in India - Aman Madhok (Source: Economic Times)
    • German Automotive Battery Cells - Long Way to Go
    • Aug 17, 2018
    • The automotive industry is very important for the German economy, with leading companies such as Volkswagen and Daimler based in the country. Although, the EV e... View More
      The automotive industry is very important for the German economy, with leading companies such as Volkswagen and Daimler based in the country. Although, the EV era has already started for the automotive industry, German OEMs are far from developing their own battery technology and depend on key Asian players such as BYD and CATL for the supply of battery cells. Even though the German government is pushing for developing local industry for battery cells, it will take considerable time and investment to achieve technological expertise and economies that can compete with their Asian counterparts - Parv Sharma (Source: The Verge)

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