Toyota launches new Prius at Rs27.39 lakh

"The introduction of the new Prius is our sincere effort to bring in advanced hybrid technology to India to develop such a market here" Toyota Kirlosakar Motor said

Japanese car maker Toyota on Saturday launched a new version of its hybrid sedan Prius in India that is priced between Rs27.39 lakh and Rs29.41 lakh (ex-showroom, Delhi).

The company, which is present in India through a joint venture with the Kirloskar Group, had first introduced the world’s best selling hybrid car in 2010.

“The introduction of the new Prius is our sincere effort to bring in advanced hybrid technology to India to develop such a market here,” Toyota Kirlosakar Motor (TKM) deputy managing director (commercial) Shekar Viswanathan told reporters at the 11th Auto Expo.

The new Prius will have solar ventilation system in addition to the existing battery technology, he added.

“We hope to see more Prius customers and contribute to the growth of the Indian hybrid market and thereby contribute to a greener tomorrow,” Mr Viswanathan said.

The company has so far sold 150 units of this car since its launch in India in 2010, he said. Mr Viswanathan, however, declined to share any sales target for the new Prius in India.

Japanese auto giant had first introduced the vehicle in 1997 and has already sold 24 lakh units across the world. Besides the new Prius, TKM on Saturday launched a specially designed seat for Corolla Altis for passengers having leg and knee problems.

The product, Easy Seat, will be available as a retro-fitted accessory and is priced at Rs29,979.

“The Easy Seat has a mechanism that enables the seat to swivel and slide. It can be slid and turned with ease, allowing easy entry and exit for those with special mobility needs," TKM general manager (marketing division) R K Ramesh said.

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Srei Infra plans retail taxable bonds next year

Srei Infra had hit the retail bond market with its Rs300-crore tax-free infrastructure bonds that will remain open till 31 January 2012

Buoyant about the infrastructure sector, Srei Infrastructure Finance (Srei) is evaluating to tap the retail market with taxable infrastructure bonds next year.

“We are planning to broad-base our resource mobilising options. We will definitely evaluate to tap the retail market with taxable infrastructure bonds in the next financial year,” the company CFO, Sanjeev K. Sancheti, said.

The company is also planning to foray into mutual funds through its first infrastructure debt fund and is likely to enter the same in 2012-13, Srei Infra joint managing director, SI Siddique, said.

The company had hit the retail bond market with its Rs300 crore tax-free infrastructure bonds that will remain open till 31 January 2012.

Mr Siddique said despite some slowdown in the infrastructure sector, the company is optimistic in its long-term prospects and thus it would continue to raise resources.

Srei Infra has a total market borrowing of Rs13,000 crore as of September 2011. Around $100 million is in foreign currency, of which one-fourth which will face maturity has not been hedged. However, Mr Siddique said that this is not going to impact the company much.

About overseas fund raising, Mr Sancheti said the company will soon raise around $15 million (around Rs75 crore) through the ECB route from Austrian Development Bank.

The company is expecting 25%-30% growth in disbursement in the current fiscal against Rs14,400 crore last fiscal.

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Pvt power cos ask oil ministry to re-allocate non-core sector gas

In a letter to minister of petroleum and natural gas Jaipal Reddy, Association of Power Producers director general Ashok Khurana requested the government to “consider discontinuing gas to non-core sectors and use the same for core sectors, namely power and fertiliser”

New Delhi: Private power producers are lobbying hard with the petroleum ministry for re-allocation of natural gas currently supplied to non-core users like refineries and steel plants to their units, reports PTI.

In a letter to minister of petroleum and natural gas Jaipal Reddy, Association of Power Producers (APP) director general Ashok Khurana requested the government to “consider discontinuing gas to non-core sectors and use the same for core sectors, namely power and fertiliser”.

Currently, over 18 million metric standard cubic metres per day (mmscmd) of natural gas is being supplied to non-priority/core sectors, the head of the body representing private electricity generators said in the letter.

Gas-based power projects with a generation capacity of about 4,000MW are ready to commence power generation before 31 March 2012, and are awaiting gas allocation by the Empowered Group of Ministers (EGOM), he said.

Public money in the form of debt provided by various Indian banks and financial institutions is at a grave risk unless these projects start commercial operation by 31 March 2012, he added.

Total gas-based power capacity in India amounts to 16,600MW and these plants currently consume 66 mmscmd of gas. The average capacity utilisation of these plants is around 70%.

The body also suggested that, “If the capacity utilisation of all these power plants is rationalised at 60% or so, about 80 mmscmd of gas will get released, which can be allocated to upcoming projects.”

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