The Royal Commission for AlUla signs a train design agreement with the French company SYSTRA

India Focus – Chinese Great Wall Motor Halts Billion-Dollar Indian Projects; Ban on single-use plastic; Toyota unveils a hybrid car

MUMBAI (Reuters) – China’s Great Wall Motor has suspended plans to invest $1 billion in India and laid off all employees at its operations there after it failed to secure regulatory approvals, three sources said on Friday. directly aware of the case.

Without commenting directly on the release, a Great Wall statement said the company “would like to thank all members of the Indian team for their contribution,” adding that it would continue to study the Indian market and look for opportunities in the future.

Great Wall’s India entry plan was announced to much fanfare at the country’s biennial auto show in January 2020. India was a key market for the Chinese SUV maker’s global expansion plans and the company had envisioned a factory that would be its largest outside of China.

Months later, after Great Motor began hiring staff in India, New Delhi stepped up investment monitoring of countries it shares a land border with to deter opportunistic takeovers during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The crackdown escalated after an India-China border clash later that year that has since withheld billions of dollars in capital inflows into the auto and tech sectors, among others.

The sources, who declined to be named, said Great Wall fired a dozen employees from its Indian business on Friday after telling them it had failed to secure foreign direct investment clearance. government to buy a former General Motors plant in the country. .

India bans single-use plastics

India on Friday imposed a ban on single-use plastics on items ranging from straws to cigarette packs to tackle worsening pollution in the country whose streets are littered with trash.

In announcing the ban, the government rejected requests from food, drink and consumer goods companies to suspend the restriction to avoid disruption.

Plastic waste has become a major source of pollution in India, the second most populous country in the world.

Rapid economic growth has fueled demand for goods that come with single-use plastic products, such as straws and disposable cutlery.

But India, which uses around 14 million tons of plastic a year, lacks an organized system for managing plastic waste, leading to widespread waste.

India’s ban on single-use plastic items includes straws, cutlery, headphones, wrappers, plastic sticks for balloons, candy and ice cream and cigarette packs, among other products, Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government said in a statement.

PepsiCo., Coca-Cola Co., Parle Agro in India, Dabur and Amul had been pushing for straws to be exempted from the ban.

Toyota unveils first mainstream hybrid car

Toyota Motor Corp. on Friday unveiled its first mainstream hybrid car for India, a sports utility vehicle, charting a new path for the Japanese automaker in one of the world’s fastest growing auto markets.

The Urban Cruiser Hyryder SUV, the first car built by Toyota under a global alliance with Suzuki Motor Corp., will compete with Hyundai Motor Co. and Kia Motor Corp. in a segment that accounts for a large portion of automobile sales in India.

The new model will be an “ultimate game-changer” for the company in the Indian electrified automotive space, said Vikram Kirloskar, Vice President of Toyota Kirloskar Motor Local Unit, at a launch event in New Delhi. .

It also reinforces Toyota’s decision to go the hybrid route in developing markets like India, where it says the infrastructure is not ready for battery electric vehicles and much of the electricity is generated from coal or other fossil fuels.

The new SUV is expected to be 40 to 50 percent more fuel efficient than a comparable gasoline-powered car and cut carbon emissions by 30 percent, Toyota said.

Around 90% of the car’s parts are sourced from local suppliers, a move that will help him price the car competitively when it goes on sale later this year.

(With contributions from Reuters)