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Long road for Tesla in India with infrastructure, supply chain woes

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Long road for Tesla in India with infrastructure, supply chain woes 1

By Aditi Shah and Aditya Kalra

NEW DELHI (Reuters) – Tesla Inc is gearing up for an India launch but the U.S. electric carmaker is likely to remain a niche player for years, catering only to the rich and affluent in the world’s second-most populous nation.

India’s fledgling electric vehicle (EV) market accounted for only 5,000 out of a total 2.4 million cars sold in the country last year. A lack of local production of components and batteries, negligible charging infrastructure and the high cost of EVs mean there have been few takers in the price-conscious market.

It’s also difficult to see how Tesla’s sought-after and expensive autonomous driving features will work on India’s congested roads.

Ammar Master, a forecaster at consultancy LMC Automotive, said he expects Tesla to annually sell only 50-100 of its Model 3 electric sedans in India, at least in the first five years.

“As a country, India is still not so environmentally conscious to pay that much of a premium,” Master said.

“It always comes down to the price point. There will be some high net-worth individuals like movie stars and top business executives who will look at it for the brand value. But then, how many buyers are there?”

The world’s most valuable automobile manufacturer registered a local company in India earlier this month, a step towards its entry in the country, expected to be as early as mid-2021.

Tesla plans to import and sell the Model 3 in India for around $65,000-$75,000 – roughly double the price in the U.S. market, sources familiar with the plans said.

This means it will compete in India’s even smaller luxury EV segment that has recently started seeing interest from the likes of Jaguar Land Rover (JLR) and Daimler’s Mercedes Benz.

The Mercedes Benz EQC, India’s first luxury EV launched in October for $136,000, and has since sold 31 units, according to auto researcher JATO Dynamics. British luxury carmarker JLR, owned by India’s Tata Motors, plans to launch its I-PACE EV before March. It sells in the United States for around $70,000.

Although India’s road infrastructure has improved in recent years, traffic discipline – like lane driving – is still rudimentary. Auto analysts say that means many of Tesla’s features like the automatic lane changing function will be tough to deploy on crowded Indian streets.

Stray animals, including cattle, and potholes on the road are a further problem.

“Most of Tesla’s high technology features will be redundant and users will not get the bang for the buck despite paying premium prices”, said Ravi Bhatia, president for India at JATO Dynamics.

LOCAL PRODUCTION

Rohan Patel, a senior public policy executive at Tesla in the United States, is among those leading efforts around its India launch, the sources familiar with the plans said. The EV giant is looking to hire 15-20 people mainly for sales and marketing, one source said.

Tesla and Patel did not respond to a request for comment.

India has some of the world’s most polluted cities and wants more clean cars on its roads, but the federal government still does not have a comprehensive policy like China which mandates carmakers to invest in the segment.

One reason is that auto manufacturers have pushed back saying there is no demand for EVs in India as costs of components like batteries remain high, and push up prices.

And Tesla CEO Elon Musk has himself expressed concern about India’s high import taxes on cars.

In contrast to India, China sold 1.25 million new energy passenger vehicles, including EVs, in 2020 out of total sales of 20 million.

Tesla is a major player in China, which last year accounted for more than a third of the carmaker’s global sales, according to JATO Dynamics, and where it also has a factory.

Daniel Ives of U.S.-based Wedbush Securities said however that within 7-8 years, India could account for 5% of Tesla’s total sales. The key to success, however, will be local manufacturing, he said.

“It is a matter of when, not if, they build out a factory in India,” said Ives, adding that building out a local supply chain will be a multi-year effort.

“India is a potential sweet spot and Tesla does not want to be late to the game.”

(Reporting by Aditi Shah and Aditya Kalra; Editing by Raju Gopalakrishnan)

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Northern Irish Brexit issue is two-way street, says EU’s Sefcovic

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Northern Irish Brexit issue is two-way street, says EU's Sefcovic 2

BRUSSELS (Reuters) – Britain must show it is fully using the avenues available under the Brexit divorce deal to minimise trade disruption in Northern Ireland before seeking concessions, a senior EU official said on Tuesday.

Britain’s exit from the EU’s trading orbit in January has created trade barriers between Northern Ireland – which remains in the EU’s single market for goods – and the rest of the United Kingdom.

Maros Sefcovic, a vice president of the European Commission, said he hoped to learn of British efforts during an online meeting on Wednesday .

“I was also reminding my British partners that this must be a two-way street,” he told a news conference.

Sefcovic said real-time access to the IT systems of customs could smooth customs processes and a trusted trader scheme could ensure Northern Irish supermarkets were properly supplied.

“I hope that tomorrow… we will get feedback from our UK partners on how all these flexibilities and grace periods are being used because it’s clearly a pre-requisite for the EU, the Commission and the member states to assess any further requests,” Sefcovic said.

The EU’s insistence on Britain honouring its withdrawal treaty has left the British province of Northern Ireland within the EU’s single market and put a customs border in the Irish Sea dividing the province from mainland Britain.

Sefcovic said that there were inevitable consequences of Brexit so not everything could be resolved.

Members of Northern Ireland’s two largest pro-British parties have said they are set take part in legal action challenging part of Britain’s divorce deal.

However, Sefcovic said companies there might over time see the divorce arrangements as an advantage.

“Being in the single market and at the same time the internal market of the UK is actually a great business opportunity. And I hope that our joint work will amplify this possibility,” he said.

(Reporting by Philip Blenkinsop. Editing by Mark Potter)

 

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Calabrio charts record year-on-year UK growth as demand for cloud technology soars during lockdown

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How cloud technology can help you keep on top of your business finances

Digital transformation acceleration drives cloud contact centre adoption of Calabrio workforce engagement management technology

Calabrio, the workforce engagement management (WEM) company, has seen a strong growth trajectory in the UK during the last 12 months, despite the global pandemic. Achieving 30% year-on-year sales growth, Calabrio International has welcomed more than 150 new customers, with the UK adding a third of those from a wide range of industries including many online challenger businesses. In addition, Calabrio has made strategic new appointments to build its customer support network.

Calabrio charts record year-on-year UK growth as demand for cloud technology soars during lockdown 3

Kris Mckenzie

Kris McKenzie, SVP, Sales, International at Calabrio commented, “Our focus on cloud-first solutions has resonated well with our customers’ need to accelerate their digital transformation and move their contact centres to the cloud in order to maintain business continuity. At a time of uncertainty when consumers need robust support more than ever before, we are witnessing first-hand the cloud transformation of customer services by organisations looking to deliver the next level in customer experience. Modern businesses and contact centres using Calabrio are able to provide exceptional service to their customers through disrupted times.

“Coupled with businesses operating solely online, we have also seen strong demand across the board from more traditional sectors such as finance, insurance, retail, consumer goods, local and central government departments. These organisations require an innovative yet reliable solution to help them manage unprecedented levels in demand.”

When Calabrio surveyed its customers recently[i] 72% of organisations stated they are either moving to the cloud, are already there or plan to increase their investment in cloud technology in 2021. In order to support forward-thinking organisations looking to optimise their investment in cloud contact centre solutions, Calabrio has made two significant appointments.

Niall Gallacher has joined Calabrio as Business Intelligence (BI) strategic consultant and will be instrumental in the design of services that drive value from data and analytics, helping Calabrio customers to solve complex business problems. Before joining Calabrio, Niall spent 6 years with Qlik as Industry Solutions Director. He has 25 years of experience in data, analytics and BI, 15 of which have been with contact centres for leading companies in telecommunications, energy and high-tech industries.

Graeme Gabriel joins as a presales engineer, supporting Calabrio’s workforce engagement suite. He will work with customers to ensure that they achieve maximum benefit from their use of Calabrio solutions, no matter the remote, on-site or hybrid environment. Graeme has international experience encompassing telephony, contact centre, WFM, analytics and customer experience (CX) across a range of sectors, and has held consultancy, advocacy and planning positions at companies including Injixo, Vluent, QPC and AVIOS.

McKenzie concluded, “We welcome both Niall and Graeme to Calabrio, during what has been an incredible year of growth for Calabrio as we supported our customers through these challenging times. This is an exciting and dynamic time for Calabrio as we continue to deliver the value of our all-in-one cloud contact centre suite, including call recording, quality management (QM), WFM, speech analytics and business intelligence suitable for organisations of all shapes and sizes.”

[i] TechValidate survey of 192 users of Calabrio.  Published 29 December 2020.

 

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Thomson Reuters fourth-quarter revenue, adjusted earnings rise

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Thomson Reuters fourth-quarter revenue, adjusted earnings rise 4

NEW YORK (Reuters) – Thomson Reuters Corp reported higher fourth-quarter revenue on Tuesday and said it would start a two-year program that will change it from a holding company to an operating company.

The news and information company, which owns Reuters News, said revenues rose 2% to $1.62 billion, while its operating profit jumped more than 300% to $956 million, reflecting the sale of an investment, a gain from an amendment to pension plan and lower costs.

Its three main divisions, Legal Professionals, Tax & Accounting Professionals and Corporates, all showed higher organic quarterly sales and adjusted profit.

It was not immediately clear if adjusted earnings per share of 54 cents were directly comparable to the 46 cents expected.

Thomson Reuters’ markets are healthy and evolving, making this a good time to transition the company from a content provider to a “content-driven technology company,” Chief Executive Steve Hasker said in a statement.

Workplaces have been transformed by the COVID-19 pandemic and artificial intelligence has a larger role in professional markets, he said.

(Writing by Nick Zieminski in New York, editing by Louise Heavens and Jane Merriman)

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