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Audi India sees flat sales in 2018 following duty hike

Audi India expecting a flat sale in the ongoing year due to increase in cess and hike of custom duty

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Audi. Pixabay
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Luxury carmaker Audi India, which had looked at a double-digit growth this year, is now expecting that sales will be flat in 2018, following an increase in cess and hike of customs duty on some imported auto components announced in the Union Budget, an official said here on Friday.

“Initially, we are planning for a double-digit growth in 2018 and now we are expecting a flat year for several reasons. Cess increase in September last year and customs duty hike as announced in the budget were not favourable steps for us though introduction of GST (Goods and Services Tax) was a great move,” said Rahil Ansari, head of Audi India.

“However, we have measures in place to not have a flat year,” he added.

The German carmaker’s 95 per cent volume comes from cars that are assembled in India and it has invested substantially in the past years in the country and will keep on investing as it believes that India remains “a strategic market”, he said.

Audi India sold 7,876 units in 2017, a growth of two per cent over sales of previous year.

Representational image for Audi
Representational image. Pixabay

On duty hike and cess increase, he said: “These were not favourable developments for the luxury segments. The recent changes (hike in cess and customs duty) within such a short span of time are not favourable for long term planning. We need more consistency in terms of policies.”

“We are assembling models like A3, A4, A6 (Sedans) and SUVs models of Q3, Q5 and Q7. These models account 95 per cent of our volume,” Ansari said, adding that the company wants to achieve profitable growth.

According to him, the carmaker has requested the government to implement more favourable policies and has been in touch with them for a relook at the recent customs hike.

“We do expect some revisions,” Ansari said, adding that about a 10 per cent dip in taxation could lead to a 25 per cent sales growth in the luxury car market in India.

Also Read: Electric Cars: The Newest Trend In India

The carmaker is also looking at expanding its portfolio in A and Q range including “the entry level” in India to make luxury cars more affordable, he said.

It may consider introducing the hatchback cars in its portfolio in the next two-three years as customers’ perceptions have been changing, Ansari said.

The carmaker has increased prices of its cars by an average of 3.8 per cent from this month after the customs duty hike, he said.

On electric vehicles (EVs), Ansari said: “We would be in a position to launch electric vehicles in India by latest 2020. Globally, Audi will launch three EVs by 2020. Electric vehicle is the future but we see how the development in terms of infrastructure will happen.”  IANS

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Women In India Turn To Technology To Stay Safe From Harassment

Police in many Indian cities are also encouraging women to use apps to register complaints

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Women, Harassment
Women stand at a crowded place in the southern Indian city of Bangalore, Oct. 9, 2006. Safety is the biggest concern for women using public and private transport, according to a survey Thursday. VOA

New web and phone apps in India are helping women stay safe in public spaces by making it easier for them to report harassment and get help, developers say.

Women are increasingly turning to technology to stay safe in public spaces, which in turn helps the police to map “harassment prone” spots — from dimly lit roads to bus routes and street corners.

Safety is the biggest concern for women using public and private transport, according to a Thomson Reuters Foundation survey released Thursday, as improving city access for women becomes a major focus globally.

“Women always strategize on how to access public spaces, from how to dress to what mode of transport to take, timings and whether they should travel alone or in a group,” said Sameera Khan, columnist and co-author of “Why Loiter? Women And Risk On Mumbai Streets.”

#MeToo, Victim, Harassment
Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) politician M.J. Akbar takes the oath during the swearing-in ceremony of new ministers, July 5, 2017, at the Presidential Palace in New Delhi. The Indian minister and veteran newspaper editor announced his resignation, Oct. 17, 2018, while still insisting that the accusations of sexual harassment are false. VOA

Reported crimes up 80 percent

Indian government data shows reported cases of crime against women rose by more than 80 percent between 2007 and 2016.

The fatal gang rape of a young woman on a bus in New Delhi in 2012 put the spotlight on the dangers women face in India’s public spaces.

The incident spurred Supreet Singh of charity Red Dot Foundation to create the SafeCity app that encourages women across 11 Indian cities to report harassment and flag hotspots.

“We want to bridge the gap between the ground reality of harassment in public spaces and what is actually being reported,” said Singh, a speaker at the Thomson Reuters Foundation’s annual Trust Conference on Thursday.

India, Harassment
Students and teachers of Jawaharlal Nehru University participate in a protest demanding suspension of a professor accused of sexual harassment, in New Delhi. VOA

The aim is to take the spotlight off the victim and focus on the areas where crimes are committed so action can be taken.

Dimly lit lanes, crowded public transport, paths leading to community toilets, basements, parking lots and parks are places where Indian women feel most vulnerable, campaigners say.

Stigma attached to sexual harassment and an insensitive police reporting mechanism result in many cases going unreported, rights campaigners say.

Apps are promising

But apps like SafeCity, My Safetipin and Himmat (courage) promise anonymity to women reporting crimes and share data collected through the app with government agencies such as the police, municipal corporations and the transport department.

Students and teachers of Jawaharlal Nehru University participate in a protest demanding suspension of a professor accused of sexual harassment, in New Delhi
People hold placards at a rally condemning the rapes of two girls, aged 8 and 11, in Ahmedabad, India. VOA

“The data has helped in many small ways,” said Singh of the Red Dot Foundation. “From getting the police to increase patrolling in an area prone to ‘eve-teasing’ to getting authorities to increase street lighting in dark alleys, the app is bringing change.”

Also Read: Women And Girls In Poor Countries Are Using Contraceptives More: Report

Police in many Indian cities, including New Delhi, Gurgaon and Chandigarh, are also encouraging women to use apps to register complaints, promising prompt action.

“Safety apps are another such strategy that could be applied by women but I worry that by giving these apps, everyone else, most importantly the state, should not abdicate its responsibility towards public safety,” Khan said. (VOA)