India Archives – My Blog

We’ve already told you all there is to about brand Lexus coming to India. In fact we gave you an exclusive story too, telling you about the cars that are making their way here as also the strategy the company will adopt as regards India. We’ve already told you about the RX450 and the ES coming to India and we’ve even spotted the cars out on the roads, registered and ready for delivery in fact.

There are about 50 to 60 cars that have made their way to India but all will be used to garner interest within dealer principals first, which means that potential customers are now being tapped and test drives for the cars have begun.
The Lexus RX450h was spotted by us on the streets of Mumbai

Lexus will launch the both the RX450 and the ES300h in March 2017. So the first two cars that will launch will be hybrids. March will also see the launch of Lexus dealerships in India. There will be four showrooms to begin with – 1 in Mumbai, 1 in Bengaluru and two in Delhi. The preferred dealership partners for Lexus are the ones who currently have Toyota dealerships and yes, there are going to be separate dealerships as we’ve said earlier. Lexus and Toyota will however, share the same service network, although there will be a separate bay altogether for servicing the Lexus cars.

The Lexus RX and ES will launch in March 2017 There will be an onslaught of cars by the end of 2017 as we’ll see the LX450 diesel, LX 570 petrol and the NX make their way to India. The RC F sports car will not be coming to India. The RX450h will be priced more than ₹ 90 lakh (ex-showroom price) while the ES 300h will cost close to ₹ 60 lakh (ex-showroom). The cars will be direct imports to India and hence will attract import duties. Lexus also plans to bring the LS600h by January 2018.

Bookings for the cars have been opened at a dealer level and we can’t wait for the cars to be launched in India. We’ll keep you updated on the latest, so stay tuned!

The Jeep brand finally launched in India this year and we couldn’t be happier. It’s taken a long time to enter the market and when it did the prices at which the cars were launched were, to put it in simple terms, unexpected.

But it was at the launch itself that the company promised that it would be bringing a made-in-India SUV by mid-2017. From the looks of it though, the company has already started testing the car and we can’t wait to hear the launch announcement soon.

The all-new Jeep Compass will be locally manufactured at FCA’s Ranjangaon facility near Pune and this is big news for India. For those who were a bit disappointed with the price tag the other Jeep SUVs came with, the Compass might just renew their hopes.

Jeep Compass Front

The all-new model replaces the outgoing Compass and Patriot SUVs completely and is an extremely important product for India. We say this time and again, because this will be the first car that FCA will make for export markets as well in India.

The 2017 Jeep Compass is positioned between the entry-level Renegade and Cherokee SUV in the automaker’s line-up, and is based on the stretched version of the Small Wide 4×4 architecture. In terms of design, the new Compass replicates the design language of the Grand Cherokee. The square wheel arches, the muscular looks and the tail lamps, all bring the design element together and we love how it looks.

Jeep Compass Cabin

The cabin too takes inspiration from the Grand Cherokee instead of the Renegade and gets a neat looking cabin finished in black and grey. Talking about the mechanicals, the all-new Compass will get front-wheel drive as standard, while All-Wheel Drive will be available as optional right from the start.

Power is expected to come from 2.0-litre petrol and diesel engine options, while a 2.4-litre naturally aspirated motor will also be available in developed markets like the US. Transmission options will include a 9-speed automatic, while a manual is also likely to be offered. Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (FCA) have said that globally there will be 17 powertrain options available on the new Jeep Compass, so definitely there won’t be a dearth for choices.

 
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The country’s leading utility vehicle manufacturer Mahindra and Mahindra has announced that it will be increasing priced across its model range in India from January 2017. The home-grown auto major plans to hike prices of its vehicles by up to Rs 26,500 as the company looks to partially offset rising input costs.

Announcing the price hike Pravin Shah the Chief Executive Officer Auto Division, Mahindra and Mahindra, said, “We plan to increase prices of our passenger and commercial vehicles in the range of 0.5 to 1.1 per cent from next month. Prices of passenger vehicles would go up in the range of Rs 3,000 to Rs 26,500 depending upon the model.”

The ex-showroom prices of its small commercial vehicles (up to 3.5 tonnes) would also increase in the range of ₹ 1,500 to ₹ 6,000 from January, he added. Justifying the reasons for the price hike, he said that input costs have been soaring due to the escalation of prices of various materials including precious metals. “Besides, the cost of fuel has also gone up leading to the increase in freight costs. Also, there has been an impact of changing regulatory requirements,” Shah added. ssangyong rexton The Ssangyong Rexton

Currently, Mahindra and Mahindra sells a wide range of passenger vehicles ranging from its entry-level compact car – the KUV100 to the premium SUV XUV500. The carmaker also sells the Rexton SUV, retailed by its subsidiary Ssangyong. All the models, including the Ssangyong Rexton, are priced between ₹ 4.58 lakh to around ₹ 24.86 lakh (ex-showroom Delhi). It also markets a range of small commercial vehicles, including three-wheelers and LCVs like Alfa and Imperio priced between ₹ 1.76 lakh and Rs 7.35 lakh (ex-showroom Mumbai).

As you might already know, Mahindra and Mahindra is not the first carmaker in India to announce a price hike this month. In fact, other car manufacturers have already announced hikes in prices from January to offset higher input costs and the adverse impact of foreign exchange fluctuations. Tata Motors announced its plan to increase car prices from ₹ 5,000 up to ₹ 25,000, while Nissan will hike prices by up to ₹ 30,000. Fellow Japanese auto major, Toyota and German auto giant Volkswagen both will increase prices of their model range by up to 3 per cent, whereas, Hyundai India will increase car prices by up to ₹ 1 Lakh. Rival Honda Cars India will also increase car prices 3 percent, while GM’s Chevrolet India has announced a price hike of approximately ₹ 30,000. Luxury car market leader Mercedes-Benz will increase car prices by up to 2 per cent. Among Two-wheeler manufacturers, Bajaj Auto has also announced a hike in prices of its bikes by up to ₹ 1,500 from next month.

 
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Samsung launched the Pink Gold variant of its smartphone Galaxy S7 Edge in April earlier this year. Prior to this launch, the phone was already available in colour variants Black Onyx, Gold Platinum, White Pearl (not in India), and Silver Titanium. Now, the South Korean company has finally brought this colour variant to India. The pricing of the phone has been kept unchanged at Rs. 50,900.

Users can further pay Rs. 2,980 and get the Gear VR headset as well as a screen replacement offer from the company. Notably, a Blue Coral colour variant of the Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge was also made available in India earlier this month. A Black Pearl colour variant was separately launch in South Korea in the same time-frame, however, the company did not make that colour variant available in India. This means the Galaxy S7 Edge is now available in Black Onyx, Blue Coral, Gold Platinum, Pink Gold, and Silver Titanium colour variants in the country.

When the colour variant was first launched, the company said, “Pink Gold was chosen as it, like the other colours available for the Galaxy S7 and S7 edge, is a natural colour that provides a sense of comfort. These hues glitter and shimmer as if illuminated from inside their glass surfaces,” in its blog post. In terms of specifications, the Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge features a 5.5-inch Super Amoled display with QHD (1440×2560 pixels) resolution. The phone is powered by an octa-core Exynos 8890 SoC coupled with 4GB of RAM.

The always-on display on the Galaxy S7 Edge allows users to check notifications, time, and date without waking up the device. The phone features a 12-megapixel ‘Dual Pixel’ rear camera with an f/1.7 aperture and smart OIS feature, as well as a 5-megapixel front camera with f/1.7 aperture.

The phone has an IP68 rating for dust and water resistance. The Galaxy S7 Edge houses a 3600mAh battery. The phone comes with a hybrid dual-SIM card slot, which allows users to either expand the storage via microSD card (up to 200GB) or use it as a second SIM slot.

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LeEco on Wednesday said it has revised its business strategy for the coming year, based on the “overall volatility and uncertainty that is forecast for the global economy.” Recently, the company admitted expanding too fast too soon, and has since been scrutinising plans. This overhaul will imply several changes across the markets in which it operates, including India, where the company has confirmed layoffs are planned.

To recall, LeEco entered the Indian market in January this year, and the company has enjoyed some time in the limelight since. The company entered the offline market in the country in June by bringing the Le 1s to brick-and-mortar stores, and then expanded its retail partnerships the next month.
Now, LeEco in a statement to Gadgets 360 reacting to recent reports about its planned slowdown in the country, said that it was downsizing its operations in India. This “right sizing exercise” applies to “all its offices in various geographies” the company specified, with India just one of these markets. It added that India is one of the top three markets for the company globally, but mentioned that it is also a “fledgling operation”.

The company said that the decision to downsize operations in India was not “led by performance or competence parameters but entirely guided by business imperatives.” The statement further explained the reasons behind the move, “As we transit to a more strategic phase of our operations in India, it is the appropriate time to assess and take steps to ensure the sustainability and profitability of our business.”

Speaking about the layoffs in India, LeEco said it is doing what it can to alleviate struggles of “affected employees.” It said it is “open to offering outplacement services to affected employees who specifically seek assistance”
Referring to reports that it was exiting the offline sales market it had entered under six months ago, LeEco didn’t confirm its actual exit – however, it did say it was now focused on its online channels. LeEco said that it was at its core an Internet company, and that it “intends to concentrate on and bolster its online business.” The company said its “proven O2O model” will be vital to its business in India, but how this applies to actual offline sales isn’t clear yet.

The statement also shed some light on the company’s roadmap for India, pointing specifically to improving online channels with a “more consumer-centric” LeMall marketplace. LeEco also said it has a “robust product pipeline in the offing.”

In August, LeEco set up a manufacturing unit in Greater Noida, with an initial production capacity of 60,000 smartphones a month anticipated to ramp up to 200,000 units a month by the end of the year. At the same time, it announced it had managed to sell 1 million smartphones in the country since launch.

While LeEco is silent on if there’s a rethink on its Make in India plans, the company says it “will adopt a laser-sharp focus on overall organisational efficiency, capacity-building and talent nurturing while remaining unwaveringly committed to maintaining a sustainable and profitable business model.”

 
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Samsung’s Galaxy S7 and Galaxy S7 Edge are receiving December security updates. The update is being rolled out in India as well. The size of the update varies depending upon your current version and it brings the Android December security update as well as other stability improvements and bug fixes.

The Samsung Galaxy S7 is receiving software version G930XXU1BPL2 while the Galaxy S7 Edge is getting version G935XXU1BPL2. Galaxy S7 and Galaxy S7 Edge users can manually check to see if the update has arrived by going to Settings > About Device > Download updates manually.

The update also suggests some new features, but it is unknown at the moment as to exactly what those features might be.

Google earlier in December began rolling out the Android 7.1.1 Nougat update, which includes the December security patch, to Pixel, Nexus, and Android One users.

Samsung last month rolled out its ‘Galaxy Beta Program’ for Galaxy S7 and Galaxy S7 Edge users to test Android 7.0 Nougat on their devices. However, Samsung recently confirmed in a response to a user query that it will skip the Android 7.0 Nougat roll out for the devices altogether and jump directly to Android 7.1.1 Nougat.

 
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Apple Inc is in talks with India’s government to explore making products locally, the Wall Street Journal reported on Tuesday, as the US firm aims to make deeper inroads in the world’s second-largest mobile phone market by users.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi is trying to boost technology manufacturing in the country through his ‘Make in India’ initiative. His government in June exempted foreign retailers for three years from a requirement to locally source 30 percent of goods sold in their stores.

The Journal said Apple, in a letter to the federal government in November, outlined manufacturing plans and asked for financial incentives.

(Also see: Apple CEO Tim Cook Discusses India Manufacturing, Retail Plans With PM Modi)

Government representatives were not available to comment while an Apple spokesman in India did not immediately respond to an email from Reuters seeking comment.

Local manufacturing would help Apple open retail stores in the country where its iPhones account for less than 2 percent of Indian smartphones sales.

Taiwan’s Hon Hai Precision Industry Co Ltd (Foxconn), which makes Apple devices such as iPhones and iPads, has a manufacturing facility in southern India.

 
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Xiaomi has announced that it will offer discounts on products such as the Mi 5 smartphone, Mi Power Banks, and Mi In-Ear Headphones Pro Gold as part of the Mi Christmas sale. The discount offers on these Xiaomi products will be available on the company’s online store, Mi.com/in, from December 19 to December 21.

Under the Mi Christmas offer, interested consumers can buy the flagship Xiaomi Mi 5 smartphone at Rs. 19,999 after a flat discount of Rs. 3,000. Similarly, the Xiaomi 20000mAh Mi Power Bank will be available at Rs. 1,899 with a flat discount of Rs. 600, 10000mAh Mi Power Bank will be available at Rs. 999 with a flat discount of Rs. 300, and Mi In-Ear Headphones Pro Gold will be available at Rs. 1,599 with a flat discount of Rs. 200.

Xiaomi is also offering discounts on the purchase of accessories for Redmi 3S Prime and Redmi Note 3 – Redmi 3S Flip Case Blue will be available at Rs. 199 (flat discount of Rs. 400), and Redmi Note 3 Flip Case White available at Rs. 99 (flat discount of Rs. 300).

Along with these, Xiaomi is providing a free one-year Hungama Music membership alongside a free three-month Hungama Play membership exclusively for 1 million Mi users. Xiaomi smartphones that are eligible to get the free Hungama membership which include Redmi 3S (and Redmi 3S Prime), Redmi Note 3, Mi Max, and Mi 5.

Under Mi Christmas, Xiaomi is also kicking off the sale of its new Mi VR Play virtual reality headset, which will be available at Rs. 999.

Additionally, Xiaomi is offering discount on the purchase of the old Mi Band which will be available at Rs. 799 with a flat discount of Rs. 1,200, Mi USB Fan available at Rs. 149 (flat discount of Rs. 100), and Mi LED Light available at Rs. 199 (flat discount of Rs. 50).

 
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Christmas is just a few days away, and Amazon India is now offering Moto G4, Moto G4 Plus, and Moto G4 Play smartphones at discounted prices. The e-commerce website is offering flat discounts, cashback offers, as well as exchange offers for the phones.

After the flat-out discounts of Rs. 2,000, Rs. 1,000, and Rs. 500, the Moto G4, Moto G4 Plus, and Moto G4 Play smartphones are currently available at Amazon India for Rs. 10,499, Rs. 12,499, and Rs. 8,499 respectively.

Apart from the discounted prices and offers for the Moto G4 Play mentioned above, the website is also offering Amazon Gift Cards worth Rs. 1,000 on purchases made through net-banking, credit cards, or debit cards. These gift cards can be used to purchase any item from the website.

Users with Standard Chartered Bank’s credit cards and debit cards will get an additional discount of 10 percent while those with cards from HDFC Bank will get an additional 5 percent off, as part of the offer. The cashback offer is valid for purchases made between December 20 and January 20 (both days inclusive).

Users can further avail more discounts on the Moto G4 smartphones with the help of the exchange offer but the offer is only available in select regions and the discount depends on the model and brand of the users’ phone. In our testing, we found that addresses in Delhi and Mumbai were not eligible for the offer while an address in Bengaluru was eligible.

Notably, all three Moto G4 phones are 4G VoLTE capable and come with access to the Jio Welcome Offer that was recently extended to March 31, 2017.

 
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Asus has announced availability of its ZenFone 3 Max (ZC553KL) model in India. Priced at Rs. 17,999, the Asus ZenFone 3 Max (ZC553KL) will now be available via the company’s preferred partner’s retail outlets as well as e-commerce websites. It will be available in Titanium Gary, Glacier Silver, and Sand Gold colours.

To recall, the Asus ZenFone 3 Max (ZC553KL) was announced last month alongside the 5.2-inch display version with model name ZC520TL. The ZenFone 3 Max (ZC520TL) is already available in the Indian market priced at Rs. 12,999. The Asus ZenFone 3 Max (ZC520TL) and Asus ZenFone 3 Max (ZC553KL) (Review) apart from sharing a similar design also bear a few common specifications, such as the large 4100mAh battery, hybrid dual-SIM (Micro+Nano) support, a fingerprint sensor on the rear panel, and Android 6.0.1 Marshmallow with the company’s ZenUI 3.0 skin on top. The ZenFone 3 Max (ZC553KL) features a 5.5-inch full-HD (1080×1920 pixels) display, and is powered by a 1.4GHz octa-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 430 SoC coupled with 3GB of LPDDR3 RAM. It comes with a 16-megapixel rear camera with an f/2.0 aperture and dual-LED flash, apart from an 8-megapixel front camera with an f/2.2 aperture and an 84-degree wide-angle lens.

The 32GB of inbuilt storage on the ZenFone 3 Max (ZC553KL) can be expanded via microSD card (up to 128GB). The smartphone weighs 175 grams, and measures 151.4×76.24×8.3mm. Connectivity options include 4G LTE, Wi-Fi 802.11 b/g/n, GPS, Bluetooth v4.1, Micro-USB, and FM radio. Sensors on the phone include accelerometer, ambient light sensor, gyroscope, magnetometer, and proximity sensor.

As we mentioned, the highlight of the ZenFone 3 Max is its large 4100mAh battery, which also helps the smartphone double up as a power bank. On the 5.5-inch variant, the battery is rated to deliver up to 38 days of 4G standby time, and up to 17 hours of 3G talk time, while the 5.2-inch variant will see the same battery deliver up to 30 days of 4G standby time, and 20 hours of 3G talk time.

 
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