EU attacks Indian import restriction
NEW DELHI - The European Union has accused India of treating foreign car companies unfairly. India has banned imports of certain components by companies which fail to meet minimum export and local content requirements. Meanwhile, the director of foreign trade in India has asked Hyundai to submit proof that it using 70 percent local content for its production on the sub-continent. Hyundai is accused of importing kits from Korea into India - but not paying the full 110 percent duty required on foreign kits. Hyundai insists it is meeting localization rules and says it is only importing from sources which are joint ventures between India and Korea.
Cuts at AvtoVAZ
MOSCOW - AvtoVAZ will produce around 100,000 fewer cars this year due to a slump in demand in Russia. Total output for 1998 is now expected to reach 650,000 units. According to technology director Vladimir Presypkinsky, AvtoVAZ will completely overhaul its Lada range by 2010. It wants more emphasis on larger family vehicles and will drop its Samara models.
Decline in Brazil
SAO PAULO - Brazilian carmakers built 99,776 units in October, the lowest monthly total since January 1995. Production was 52.7 percent below October 1997 levels, and 29.2 percent down from the previous month. Government elections and general nervousness about the economy have been blamed. James Padilla, president of Ford South America, is forecasting a market of 1.45 million units in 1999 - 6.5 per cent lower than 1998, and 25 percent down on 1997.
SAO PAULO - A new Brazilian marque made an unexpected appearance at the Sao Paulo motor show. MegaStar Veiculos showed a four-door luxury sedan called the Emme Lotus 422T. The car has a 16-valve, 2.2-liter turbocharged engine from Lotus and a claimed top speed of 250kph. It will cost $45,800.
Renault raises stake in Karosa
PRAGUE - The Renault VI truck division has increased its stake in Karosa, the Czech bus manufacturer, by 6 percent to 84 percent. Renault has been raising its holding in Karosa progressively since it acquired 34 percent of the company at the end of 1993. Last year Karosa sold 1,001 buses and made a net profit of $5.6 million.
Hungary sales up
BUDAPEST - New car sales in Hungary rose 37 percent in the first nine months to 75,765, compared with the same period last year. Sales of commercial vehicles up to 3.5 tonnes rose 57 percent to 16,537 in the same period, according to the Hungarian vehicle importers' association.