Force Motors to launch hybrid version of 'Traveller'

Force Motors is setting up a new facility at Pithampur for this MPV with a capacity of 24,000 units per annum, to be attained in two equal phases.

Force Motors said it will launch a hybrid variant of its commercial vehicle 'Traveller' by the end of 2012 after unveiling to the public at the upcoming Auto Expo next month. The company will also launch a nine-seater multi-purpose vehicle, being developed under a license from German auto giant Daimler, by 2013 with price ranging around of Rs 12 lakh-15 lakh.

"We are showcasing a hybrid concept of the Traveller at the Delhi Auto Expo in January. It will be a parallel hybrid that utilises solar energy as well as has regenerative exhaust systems," Force Motors managing director Prasan Firodia said.

The company is developing the technology in association with a firm from the UK, he added. "We will commercially launch the vehicle within a year from now. This will be manufactured at our Pithampur plant in Madhya Pradesh," Firodia said. Beside, the company will also showcase a CNG version of the Traveller during the auto show at the National Capital from January 5-11.

Talking about its association with Daimler, Firodia said: "We have tied up with the German firm to produce a nine-seater van under a licence agreement. We will launch the vehicle in Indian market in 2013."

In July this year, the domestic firm had tied up with Daimler for comprehensive supply of product technology for the proposed multi-purpose vehicle (MPV). Asked about the price of the new vehicle, he said: "This will be a completely new category. Although we have decided yet, it will be in the range of Rs 12 lakh-Rs 15 lakh."

Force Motors currently uses a 2.2 litre common rail engine, the OM 611, in Traveller range of vehicles. Variants of this engine will be adapted for installation in the MPV, the company had earlier said.

The company is setting up a new facility at Pithampur for this MPV with a capacity of 24,000 units per annum, to be attained in two equal phases.

Elaborating on the agreement, Firodia said: "We have bought a complete vehicle under licence. Though we cannot export it to Europe, but we can still sell it in neighbouring nations like Sri Lanka, Nepal and Bangladesh." Force Motors will, however, be supplying parts of the MPV such as sheet metals to Europe, he added.

In the late afternoon, Force Motors was trading at around Rs425 per share on the Bombay Stock Exchange, 1.72% up from the previous close.

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Indian employees may get 12% salary hike in 2012

The increments have been promising not only at junior or middle level but also at senior management level where 11-12% salary rise is expected.

Amid economic sluggishness, employees in the country have a reason to smile as a survey has predicted up to 12% pay hikes in the New Year.

"India has witnessed actual average salary increase of 11% in 2011 and is optimistic to see a double-digit growth yet another year in 2012 at an average of 12% across levels," global management consultancy Hay Group said. The increments have been promising not only at junior or middle level but also at senior management level where 11-12% salary rise is expected. Hay Group noted that Indian companies have shown better stability and stronger values during recession as compared to foreign entities. Functions such as engineering, sales and marketing are seeing pick up in recruitment activities, Hay said in a statement.

The forecast for next year is based on survey of over 300 organisations in the country that analysed salary data for more than 3,20,000 employees.

"...Research this year finds that employees in India received an average 11% pay rise over the last 12 months though this varies according to location and sector or seniority within an organisation," Hay Group India's managing consultant and rewards practice leader, Sridhar Ganesan said. He pointed out that companies have been aggressive in variable pay not only for senior management but also at junior levels.

"The target bonus percentage ranges between 8-44% of base salary at junior management, 11-63% of base salary at middle management and 15-75% of base salary at senior management. Organisations have designed variable pay to induce performance driven culture," Ganesan said.

As per the survey, 79% of the participating organisations paid some form of bonus in the last 12 months. Graduate salaries are also picking up with monthly salaries touching Rs 40,000 in job families like engineering, sales, marketing and even in support functions like finance and human resources, the statement said.

"In a short span of last 5 years, Indian employment market has witnessed a range of behaviours with employers on a hiring spree and also in right sizing mode. The market is now stabilising and maturing to next level of employer and employee relationships," Ganesan said.

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Itz Cash Card, DCB Bank and Visa launches Freedom Prepaid Card

The Freedom Prepaid Card is a multi-purpose card that can be issued to under-banked and unbanked individuals.

Itz Cash Card Limited - India’s leading prepaid card company, Development Credit Bank Limited - India’s leading emerging private sector bank and Visa - the leading payments technology company launched the Freedom Prepaid Card, India’s first multi-purpose Prepaid Card.
 
The Freedom Prepaid Card is a multi-purpose card that can be issued to under-banked and unbanked individuals. The Freedom Prepaid Card can be purchased at any Itz Cash World outlet, after completing a one-time registration.

Cardholders can then use the Freedom Prepaid Card to make purchases in store, pay bills and book tickets online, as well as withdraw cash at any ATM that accepts Visa. The Freedom Prepaid Card provides unrivalled convenience, security, and enables cardholders to better manage their cash.
 
Expressing delight on the launch of Freedom Prepaid Card, Naveen Surya, managing director, Itz Cash Card Ltd. said, “We are proud to present a unique “first co-branded open loop prepaid card.”

Speaking on this occasion, Murali M. Natrajan, managing director & CEO of DCB Bank said, “We are excited about this partnership and delivery platform as DCB Bank has a strong commitment to financial inclusion and we believe the DCB ItzCash Freedom Prepaid Card is a very innovative and powerful step towards empowering the urban unbanked segment.”
 
Uttam Nayak, group country manager - India and South Asia, Visa, said, “We are pleased to be an integral part of this first of its kind multi-purpose prepaid card in India. Freedom Prepaid Card is extremely versatile and provides the cardholder with an easy-to-use, extremely secure and widely accepted product. Innovative products like the Freedom Prepaid Card can play a crucial role in driving inclusive growth across the country, by enabling many Indians to enter the formal financial system and benefit from the convenience and security of electronic payments, while driving more transparency and efficiency within the payments system.”
 
The key attributes of Freedom Prepaid Card include:
Convenience  - simple to use and easy to pay for purchase of goods and services at over 5 lakh merchant outlets in India, including online, point of sale terminals and ATMs that accept Visa.

Security - enables cardholders to load the card and carry their cash in a safe manner rather than carry or store cash at homes. Furthermore, cardholders can avail of all security features provided by Visa on their prepaid products.
Control - helps better cash management and controlling spends with clear track on the budget.

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