Monday, November 30, 2009

Hybrid Nano on the anvil

Tata Motors had earlier revealed plans of introducing a diesel engine option for prospective buyer's of the world's cheapest car. It has now emerged that the manufacturer is also planning to develop a hybrid engine for the Nano! The highest official of the Tata Group gave a quote to the Maeil Business (a South Korean newspaper).

According to Ratan Tata, Chairman of Tata Group, the automobile arm of the group is planning to produce a hybrid version of the the Nano to join in the environment friendly trend. He also said that low priced goods would create stronger demand than high end products in India, and the so called low price revolution would continue across the world.

When it comes to doing something good for the environment, we understand the need to have a herd mentality which is on the positive side. We sincerely hope that Tata sorts out its internal automobile quality issues first before launching another technology under the Nano brand. Well, a hybrid Nano going up in flames at a traffic stop owing to faulty (read poor quality) parts wont do the environment much good!

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Car Breakdown Recovery

Have you ever experienced a car breakdown situation in a highway, ghat road or in the middle of the night, or during a rainy season. Ofcourse yes, many of us have, and we know how hard it is to get help. Those of us who have managed to get help have been very lucky. But TVS group now have the MyTVS 24x7 breakdown service which provides roadside assistance anywhere across India.

The service is available starting at Rs 555 per year. Ofcourse, you only get the basic service free on this package, however there are other offers available currently via the online registration scheme. If you want to know more about this service and how it benefits you, please visit the below link.

Friday, November 27, 2009

Fight for "The Cheapest"

EcoCa, a little know company in London, has its eye set upon snatching the 'Cheapest Car' title from Tata Nano, by churning out a 340cc two-seater petrol car for little less than a lakh! Even at this price tag, the company says, it will ensure healthy profit margins for the car makers.

The company is scouting for a joint- venture partner in India to build this car under the same brand name. EcoCa percieves India as a lucrative market to achieve the lowest possible price tag and yet be able to earn profit margins. Some Indian carmakers have positively shown keen interest in the company and the car, which seems, will directly compete with the Tata Nano. The prototype of the car has already been invited by the car makers, to evaluate the car's performance, fuel efficiency and safety standards. EcoCa's top choice is believed to be Mahindra & Mahindra. Top officials from M&M, however have refused to confirm any such development.

The small car in question is said to infuse an investment of 8 million pounds, whose design will be inline with the VW Beetle. The car will don a convertible roof and automatic gearbox. EcoKa will weigh less than 330kg and will boast a fuel efficiency of 27- 28 km/litre of petrol. Optional front bags will also be available.

India's best car portal, buy or sell cars, compare, research, find on road price, car valuation and car reviews.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Chevy Spark tops the 2009 JD Power quality award in its category

Chevrolet Spark has won the top award for quality for the third consecutive year in the India Automotive Initial Quality Study announced by J.D Power Asia Pacific 2009. Despite stiff competition, the Chevrolet Spark was ranked the highest in the compact car segment in this year’s JD Power study, which is the industry benchmark for new vehicle quality.
The Chevrolet Spark was ranked first and won the top award in the Compact Car Segment, with a score of 116 PP100. This is the third year in a row that the Spark has bagged this prestigious award. The Chevrolet Tavera has bagged the second position in the MUV / MPV category while the Aveo U-VA was ranked third in the Premium Compact Segment.

The JD Power India IQS study, which serves as the industry benchmark for new-vehicle quality, is measured at two to six months of ownership. The IQS examines more than 200 problem symptoms covering eight vehicle categories. Overall quality performance is based on both design quality and production quality problems per 100 vehicles (PP100), with lower scores indicating a lower rate of problem incidence and higher vehicle quality. The 2008 India Initial Quality Study, now in its twelfth year, is based on evaluations from more than 6,600 owners who purchased a new vehicle between November 2008 and July 2009. It included 50 vehicle models covering 13 makes and was fielded from May to September 2009 in 20 cities across India.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Ford India is vying for larger market share

Ford Motor India intends to become a mainstream player in the hatchback segment. The manufacturer has announced that it will be launching a new car model every year for the next five years. It is also aiming to triple its car sales by the end of 2010. As we have revealed earlier first up will be its new Figo hatchback.

According to Micheal Boneham, President and Managing Director, Ford Motor India, if one wants to be in the game in India, then one has to be in that segment otherwise one will be an interesting niche player not a mainstream player.

The B segment car sales constitute around 70% of the total car sales in the country. Ford Moor India currently holds only 2% of the car market in terms of sales figures. The American auto major currently sells iis sedans Ikon, Fiesta, Fusion along with its SUV Endeavour in India.

Production of Nano to commence at Sanand in fourth quarter

The upcoming Nano factory in Gujarat will begin the trial production in the fourth quarter of this financial year, Tata Motors announced on Tuesday.

The company had decided to move its factory site for the Nano at Sanand near Ahemdabad, following the Singur fiasco in West Bengal last year, where protests over land acquisition emerged super headed by Mamata Banerjee's Trinamool Congress. Mr. PM Teland, India MD for Tata Motors said that the full scale production at Sanand could begin in six to eight months. The company plans to set up an initial production capacity of around 2.5 lakh units, which can be further infused to 5 lakh units. He further mentioned that the current production site for the Nano at Pantnagar in Uttarakhand, was producing around 3000- 4000 units per month.

The company had moved to Sanand in October last year where it will set up a mother plant for the small car, apart from vendor park, on an area of about 1100 acres.

Toyota Kirloskar Motor planning to localize production

Toyota Kirloskar Motor is setting up its second car assembly unit plant in Bengaluru. The company is also planning to set up a engine and transmission plant in India. This move is being considered because it will bring down the prices of its cars as vehicle components can be manufactured here rather than being imported.

According to Hiroshi Nakagawa, Managing Director, Toyota Kirloskar Motor, the company is keen to set up a transmission and engine unit in the future in order to localize production. Speaking about the company’s upcoming second plant he revealed that the initial production will be 70,000 units and depending on the demand it can be ramped up to 2 lakh units.

Toyota Kirloskar Motor currently sells the Corolla, Camry, Innova and Fortuner in India. The Camry lands in India as a CBU (Completely Built-up Unit) while the engine and transmission of the Corolla and Innova are imported from its plant in Japan. The company is aiming to launch its small car in the country in 2011 and the new factory once set up will serve as a production aid.

Mercedes F1 sign on Nico Rosberg

The reigning F1 world champions Mercedes (previously known as Brawn GP) have signed on the German ‘Britney’ a.k.a Nico Rosberg as one of their title contenders for 2010.
Williams Chief executive Nick Fry admitted that Nico’s Brawn switch had happened long ago and had been kept under wraps until the end of the season.

However the second Mercedes seat is still up for grabs. Rumors suggest that Nick Heidfeld is the most likely candidate for the seat making it an all-German party, but some other big names have been linked to the seat as well. Michael Schumacher might even make a comeback to F1 just to thank Norbert Haug and Mercedes for supporting him all through his pre F1 struggle. It could also be the incredibly talented Pole, Robert Kubica if Renault decides to quit of F1. But it could also be Kimi Raikkonen re-united with a ‘Silver Arrows’. Hope it somehow works out that way.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Tatas Omni Challenge : Ace Van

For the past two and a half decades, Maruti's little van, the Omni has been the only 'really cheap' mode of transporting 6-7 people around in our country. Rivals have come and gone, but thanks to their optimistic price-tags, none of them have been able to make a dent into the popularity of the 'lil Omni.

Even though the demand for the other Maruti, the 800 has dropped from 20,000 units (per month) to just 2500 these days, the Omni remains popular as ever with steady sales of 8,000+ examples.

Tata wants a piece of this pie, and have it, it will with its Super hit, Ace-based Van that you see here in the pics. The re-worked grille and tail-light do give it an upmarket air compared to the utilitarian Ace. Interiors too seem to be more than a match for the Omni. The chassis and power train will be carried over from the Ace albeit with modifications, as it will no longer be expected to haul its usual 1 tonne legal + 1 tonne illegal cargo. So modification to the suspension to improve its ride quality and to the gearing for improving the drivability must have been on the cards.

Expected launch: March 2010.
Expected Price: Rs. 3.25 Lakh (on-Road).

Tata Motors developing electric powered Indica

Tata Motors has annouced that it is currently working on developing an electric powered Indica along with a Norweigan firm. The electric Indica will be first launched in the European market around 2011. Tata Motors have not confirmed if its electric powered B segment car will be launched in India when its ready. The manufacturer has revealed that it will be conducting a feasibility study before launching its electric Indica in the country. One must not forget that price is an important deciding factor in car buying decisions for majority of Indians.

According to Prakash Telang, Managing Director for India operations, Tata Motors, the company has not started the feasability study for India and will do so at a time when its product is close to being ready. He said that the company will have to look into the cost equation and market demand in India as it will be an expensive vehicle.

The electric Indica was first showcased in 2008 at the then Society of Indian Automobile Manufacturers convocation. It was also displayed at this year's Geneva Auto show.

Volvo's new car line-up for India

Volvo has decided to enrich its existing product portfolio for India. The Scandanavian manufacturer will be launching the latest variant of its luxury sedan S80, premium utility vehicle XC60 and the S60 sedan in the country. The new S80 will be powered by a twin turbo, Euro V compliant, diesel engine. Volvo Auto India has not revealed the pricing of its soon to be launched cars but said it will be announced closer to their launch early next year.

According to Paud de Vojis, Managing Director, Volvo, the first batch of containers carrying the new S80 sedans is on its way to India and should be here around the time of the Delhi Auto Show. He further said that Swedish manufacturer will be focusing its resources towards the new car launches planned for 2010 and are working towards expanding their product portfolio in India with the proposed launch of Volvo XC60 in the first half of 2010. He also commented that the XC60 and the S60 are good products for the Indian market.

Paud de Vojis further stated that the luxury car market in India, comprising of cars priced above Rs.24-25 lakh has grown at 11% this year while Volvo Auto India has grown at 16%. He revealed that Volvo Auto India sold 900 cars last year and expects to beat the 10% increase it had earlier projected this year. Speaking on behalf of Volvo cars he said that the manufacturer has decided internally to not participate at the upcomming Delhi Auto Show.

Monday, November 23, 2009

New BMW 5-Series Unveiled

The oldest surviving mainstream BMW, the 5 Series is up for replacement. (has been around since the 3rd season of TopGear, you know!). Here are some leaked pictures released on the internet ahead of its release tomorrow. Thanks to Adrian Van Hooydonk’s (BMW’s design head) de-Bangling of all BMWs, the new 5 series looks much more conservative than its predecessor.

It is based on the recently-launched 5 series GT’s platform, which itself is based on a shortened 7-Series’ platform.

What will be music for the enthusiast’s ears is the fact that the M division has already started work on the next M5, which will get the X5M’s force-inducted heart, a clean departure from its naturally aspirated lineage. And for the benefit of the geeks, BMW has gone all out and progressed one character further in their nomenclature calling it the F10 (there will be separate codes for the estate/touring – F11, F10M for the M5 and F7 for the GT).

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Hyundai Verna to get some nip-tuck

After the Ford Fiesta and the Maruti-Suzuki SX4, now it is the Hyundai Verna’s turn to go under the surgeon’s knife. Just like the ‘A-Star’ is actually the current Alto and the Laura, is actually the current Octavia, the Verna is actually the current Hyundai Accent for the rest of the world. But, it has been renamed as ‘Verna’ so that Hyundai can keep selling the old Accent in India as well. Thanks to some new competition in the form of the Linea and the recent botox shot filled rivals, Verna’s market share has diminished. To regain the lost numbers, it will soon get a mostly external makeover. The major changes will be the grille, the headlights and the front bumper as well as some tit-bits like the turn indicators housed on the RVMs. The mechanicals will be carried over unchanged.

We have never really been big fans of the Verna’s looks any ways and in our honest opinion, the face-lift just makes it look ‘different’ but not really any better.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Merc Baby SLS on the Anvil

Now that you have just recovered from the one-sided love affair with the Mercedes SLS, behold another mantrap from the same family. What you see here is the second installment of pure automotive bliss from AMG. Just like the bigger (and costlier) SLS which is the first car to be developed, grounds up by AMG, the baby SLS will give some serious competition to biggies like the 911, Audi R8, Ferrari California and Aston Martin V8 Vantage.

It is rumored that the baby SLS will revive the SSK tag from 1928. It will use a lightweight aluminum space-frame chassis and a double wishbone suspension, at all four corners. It will sport an all-new 500bhp twin-turbocharged 5.4-litre V8 engine that is being developed for the upcoming CLS55 AMG mated to a seven-speed double-clutch transaxle and locking diffs from the SLS.

However, the best part of the news is that the SSK will be around £70,000 cheaper than the SLS which means that it will retail for £85,000 (Rs. 66 lakh, excluding taxes). So whenever Merc decide to get their baby to India, which will be around mid-2013, expect it to retail for a cool 1.5 Crore Rs.

*** Image courtesy***

FIAT's city car confirmed for 2011

A few days back, we revealed Honda’s plans of launching a small car specifically for India powered with a 1.1-litre petrol engine. Close on the heels of this news, we learn that even FIAT is readying a small car that will be designed and developed specially for India. With the design finalized, we hear that a clay prototype of the car is ready with the Italian’s firm design studio in Turin. A fully functional set of prototypes are expected to reach the firm’s Ranjangoan factory by early 2010 where the rigorous testing will commence.

If pointers given by FIAT are to be believed, then expect the new car to employ a wide array of engines ranging from a frugal 600cc to a competitive 1.1-litre mill. The car will be powered by petrol initially, while a small turbo-diesel engine might be in the pipeline. Designed specifically for India and its traffic conditions, the car will be placed between the A and B segments in terms and pricing and features – where it will take on the likes of the i10 and A-star. Similar to Hyundai and Suzuki, FIAT too will make India a production hub for the city car and will export it to the European markets to begin with. The car may well be christened the ‘Topolino’ – an old classic like the 500, which FIAT has hinted at reviving since early last year.

Expected: Q2 2011

Price bracket: Rs. 2.5-lakh to 5-lakh
Engines: 600cc & 1.1-litre petrol

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Mercedes SLS AMG rolled out in Germany

Mercedes’ news supercar, the SLS AMG is now available across all AMG showrooms in its homeland, Germany. The SLS retails for a whopping price tag of 177,310 Euros, which translates to 1.22 Crore rupees without taxes. And if Mercedes were to get a couple of them for their favorite Indian clients it would cost them Rs. 3.08 Crore (On-Road). If however, these lucky folk decide to tick some of the ‘optional extras’ boxes, then they would have to shell out some more, for example, 11,305 Euros (Rs 7.81 lakh) for the carbon ceramic brakes and 1200 Euros (Rs. 83,000) for the AMG performance suspension.

Thankfully though, with the SLS’ ballistic performance and the fact that it’s the purest handling Mercedes so far, the price tag seems like a bargain. Its predecessor, the SLR McLaren was almost twice as expensive and not even half as good!

6.2 - litre V8
563 bhp, 650 Nm
1620 kg

Honda is developing small car for India

Honda will be launching its small car for the Indian market by mid 2012. The research and development department of the company is currently working on its small car codenamed 2CV. Honda's small car will be manufactured at its factory in Rajasthan and powered by a 1.1 liter engine. The Japanese auto major has officially revealed that all plans of the new small car are going as per schedule. The company is aiming for an affordable price range of around Rs. 4.5 lakh for the 2CV.

According to Takanobu Ito, President and CEO, Honda Motor Corporation, the company had to prioritise the market as selling cars has become very difficult the world over.He revealed that the company's top priority is India and China where it would like to grow as much as possible. He further said that India is a market with great potential though the company does not have any plans for an ultra low-cost car but it believes that it can develop a product to be sold across various customer segment.

Takanobu declined to comment on a likely date for the formal launch of this product. He said that they are currently researching on a small car for India which has to be packaged to meet the requirement of Indian customers. He revealed that this car would be smaller than Honda's Jazz.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Tata Nano to be tweaked further!

The Tata Nano has very rightfully earned its title as the world’s most cheapest/affordable car. But however, after certain feedback received by Tata Motors, the firm has announced its plans to further tune or tweak the Nano. The tuning will be done within six months with an intention to improve the performance offered by the car.

Presently, the car has a rev limit up to 5000rpm which will be raised to 6000rpm to facilitate better acceleration, especially in the first two gears. The car may also feature a new five-speed gearbox. But however, this feature will not be introduced in India. The reason behind this is that Tata Motors does not want to increase the electronically limited top speed of 105kmph. The company has cited safety reasons for the move. A Tata Motors engineer stated, “With a top speed of 105kph, five gear ratios are unnecessary and could result in excessive gear changing for the driver.”

The car will feature a modified outside rear view mirror (ORVM) assembly. The assembly is ready to be introduced but needs ARAI approval. The car presently features an ORVM which has to be adjusted by the movement of the entire unit. The new design will make the job easier. The new ORVM can be adjusted from within the housing itself (only mirror movements). The new design will be further upgraded to feature electrically powered mirrors. The car will also feature a check-strap to limit the door opening.

The Tata Nano presently lacks a tail-gate that can be opened. Due to this, the luggage area can only be accessed only from within the car by folding the rear seat. The car will soon feature a new tail-gate that will not have visible hinges. This will keep up the smoothness of the shape of the Nano.

Friday, November 13, 2009

New Lotus Esprit

Ever since Lotus discontinued its iconic supercar after a 28 year long run in 2004, the company has been missing a true flagship product. Ever since the Esprit faded out, the Lotus brand became synonymous with perfect-handling, but tiny, track-day sportscars like the Elise and the Exige. Recently the Evora shook things up and demonstrated to the world that Lotus hasn’t lost its touch. To regain the brand’s lost fame as a serious supercar manufacturer, the bosses at Lotus have given a green signal to the development of an all new Esprit.

Lotus’ CEO Danny Bahr expressed it as the “Ultimate expression of the brand”. Given that it’s a Lotus, awesome handling is a given. But this wont be a Toyota engined sportscar. The Lotus V8 will most likely make a comeback. Lotus is targeting a power to weight ratio of 275 to 325 bhp per tonne, which will put it squarely against the likes of the Audi R8 V10.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Schumachers F1 Winning Car For Sale in E-Bay

Coming across various car models in an online market like that of the eBay is not a big deal. But however, when the car is Michael Schumacher’s 1994 Formula One car, it is something unusual. The title-winning Benetton Formula One car has been registered for sale on eBay.

The seller based in Toronto, has advertised the car on the German eBay site. Along with the car are being sold several spare parts. These include two extra sets of wheels and tyres and a data laptop which is responsible for the monitoring of the fluid levels and temperatures.The car has been described as “in racing condition” on the website. It was this Ford Cosworth powered car that drove the German to his first of seven world titles.The bodywork and livery are similar to that seen during the 1994 season and has been left unchanged. However, the damage the car had to face in the 1994 season finale has been repaired.

In the 1994 season finale, Schumacher had made a controversial victory after crashing into Damon Hill in Adelaide after suffering a problem. As a result of the collision, Damon had to let go off the title by allowing Schumacher to take advantage and drive to his first world championship.

With about 184 bids, the car has reached more than 2.6 million Euros (£2.3m). The winning bidder will however have to shell out an additional 10,000 Euros (£9000) as shipping expenses. Monday is scheduled to be the final day of the auction.

Image Source:

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Autonomous Audi TTS to attempt Peaks Hill Climb

Audi will be taking part in the legendary Pikes hill climb event next year. The German automotive marquee will be attempting the course in an autonomous TTS rally car.

The TTS rally car will have fly-by-wire controls enabling it to be driven without an on-board driver while conforming to the driving style and speeds of professional drivers over a variety of road surfaces. A safety system which will shut down the car upon detecting an accident threat or loss of control situation is also under development. The car has been christened ‘Shelly’ which is the nickname of Michelle Mounton-the first woman driver to win the Pikes Peak event. She had won the event back in 1985 driving an Audi Sport Quattro and is the most successful woman rally car driver till date.

The TTS rally car has been jointly developed by Volkswagen’s electronic research lab, Stanford University and Sun Microsystems. It currently holds the unofficial record for the fastest autonomous car at 130mph! At the Pikes hill climb event, rally drivers attempt to cover a distance of 12.4 miles which includes 156 turns in the fastest time possible.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Volkswagen becomes World No.1

According to the latest production numbers from analysts ‘Global Insight’, Volkswagen has overtaken Toyota to become the largest automobile manufacturer.

According to the latest reports, following were the top passenger car producers in the first three quarters of 2009:

1.Volkswagen 4.4 Million

2.Toyota 4 Million

3.Ford 3.7 Million

4.General Motors 3.6 Million

The credit of the VW group’s massive success is attributed to the new Golf and Polo hatches and the Fabia and Octavia models from its sister brand - Skoda.

Monday, November 9, 2009

200 Nano's to get DC touch!

The name Dilip Chhabria is well known among all self-respecting automobile enthusiasts in the country. To the uninitiated, he is the man behind DC Design Private Limited.

In a career spanning for over 16 years Dilip Chhabria has modified a variety of cars across all segments starting from the humble Maruti 800, Tata Indica, Mahindra Scorpio, Honda Accord Mercedes S class and beyond. He has also designed his version of the good old Amby with a Rollys-Royce rivaling interior features costing around Rs.4 crores. Lately the world’s cheapest car has caught his fancy!

Dilip Chhabria will be redesigning the exteriors of only 200 Nano’s for interested owners. He said that a brand name for the vehicle is yet to be finalized. He revealed that a waiting list of prospective clients has already piled up. Getting their Nano re-designed by DC will cost owners around Rs.80,000. The interiors of the car will remain untouched.

Saturday, November 7, 2009

GM India to launch Chinese cars?

General Motors (GM) is currently in an advanced stage of talks with its partners in China regarding a plan to launch their cars in India. In fact, GM had initiated talks with its China based partners Shanghai Automotive Industry Corp (SAIC) and Wuling around eight months earlier. The above mentioned companies have a three-way tie-up with GM in China called as SAIC-GM-Wuling Automobile Co.

According to Karl Slym, President and Managing Director, GM India, now the company knows what can work in India and what cannot. He further added that they are currently at a point from where they will be able to make a decision very soon.

SAIC-GM-Wuling Automobile Co currently sells passenger vehicles, commercial vehicles, small trucks and the Chevrolet Spark small car. Karl Slym also said that they also would be very successful if GM can adapt them through their engineering centre into India.

Special Edition Ford Fiesta

Ford India has launched a 'special edition' Fiesta. The mid-size sedan car has been priced at Rs.6.44 lakh (ex-showroom New Delhi). Ford’s special edition Fiesta will be available only in its 1.6 litre petrol engine variant.

According to Nigel Wark, Executive Director of Marketing, Sales and Service, Ford India, the Fiesta continues to be one of the company’s best selling products and registered impressive sales during the festive season. He said that Ford is building on the success and offering customers with a special edition of the 1.6 ZXI Duratec Variant.

The special edition Ford Fiesta features electronic brake distribution, leather interiors, and metallic finish on trims. Some of the standard features include ABS, keyless entry, driver seat height adjust, rear defogger and electronically adjustable mirrors.

Force India caught in legal net

Formula One team Force India has been taken to court by Aerolab. The Italy based wind tunnel operators has filed charges of serious and persistent breach in contract against Force India.

Initially it was being reported Force India was worried that features of their 2009 car had been revealed to Louts by Fondtech which is the parent company of Aerolab. Fondtech and ex-Force India technical chief Mike Gascoyne are currently developing a car for Lotus which is making a return to Formula One next year. The ground reality is that Aerolab had abruptly ended its three-year long collaboration with Force India in September this year.

According to Jean Claude Migeot, Managing Director, Aerolab, the lotus rumors were designed with the intention of damaging the company’s reputation and professionalism along with diverting attention away from the facts. He said the truth is that Aerolab is suing Force India for not fulfilling its obligations. He further said that it is unusual for the company to comment on negative matters but it had been left with no choice other than making the facts public after recent press reports had said that Aerolab passed on information to parent company Fondtech which enjoys a close technical relationship with Lotus F1 Racing.

Force India has not issued any statement so far regarding the allegations.

Friday, November 6, 2009

More Horses to pull Linea

Fiat India’s comeback car, the Linea is arguably one of the best mid-size salons on sale today. However, one of its very few shortcomings has been the lack of horses, for the petrol as well as the diesel engined variants. Having identified this problem, Fiat India is ready to remedy the situation by launching not one, but two new engines for the Linea. We already told you about the 1.6 litre Multijet Diesel that is on its way. But before that Fiat is all set to introduce a powerful 118bhp T-JET petrol engine, at the upcoming 2010 Auto Expo. The Honda City will have its work cut-out against the Linea, thanks to the Linea’s excellent handling and ride quality, superior torque (30% more than the City) and a wide power-band (courtesy of the force feeding), comprehensive kit, and a price tag that is almost a lakh lower than the Honda

The new engines were slated for a simultaneous launch, but our sources say that the diesel engine has been shelved until December 2010. The problem being that the gearbox mated with that engine is an outdated GM sourced unit. Fiat is in the process of designing a brand new gearbox for that particular engine.
A fire-breathing Linea is all well and good, but more than that, Fiat should really focus on getting their latest small capacity ‘Multiair’ series engine into the country. It may not be high on horsepower with only 77bhp to boot, but it is fantastically drivable, eerily refined and best of all remarkably fuel efficient (remember the iDSi Honda City?). A 0-100kph time of 13 seconds for the Punto Evo powered by this engine doesn’t sound too bad either. This engine will send chills down the spine of even the best of its competitors, say the Ritz, the i20, the Fabia and even the Jazz. It will do a lot of god to Fiat as well as Tata's Portfolio in the country.
Engine Specifications:

Petrol (l4) 1.4L 16V Turbo JET (T-JET)
Displacement: 1368cc
Max. Power: 117.8bhp@5000rpm
Peak Torque: 206Nm@2500rpm
Fuel Injection: Timed, Sequential Electronic Multi-Point Fuel Injection
Top Speed: 195 kph
Acceleration: 0 - 100 kph: 9.5sec

Toyota returns to profit with a bang!

Just a day after Toyota announced its plans to withdraw from Formula 1, the company has unexpectedly returned to profits. This has happened for the first time in nine months.

Toyota had withdrawn from Formula One just a day before. The company had blamed its poor financial situation for the move. CEO Akio Toyoda mentioned that the company is no longer fit to commit the necessary funding to be able to compete in the motorsport. He also stated that the company has decided to focus more on developing exciting road cars instead.

A 21.8 billion yen (£145 million) profit has been registered by the Japanese firm for the second quarter of the current financial year. However, the firm had posted only losses for the previous three consecutive quarters.

The worst financial loss in the Toyota History had been recorded in the last financial year. For this year, the firm had forecasted a whooping 450bn yen ((£3bn) loss which has now dropped to almost 200bn yen (£1.3bn) after posting its current quarter results.

The new car sales target has also been revised by the Japanese company this year by 6.5 percent, to 7.03m units.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

New Santro to be launched within a month

From our Media Partners: MOTOROIDS

Hyundai’s ideal ‘first car’ for masses is about get completely refreshed to cope not only with the intensifying competition but to also gel with the stylish ‘i’-range of Hyundai cars. Yes, we are talking about the Santro – an entry level city car that has been giving the market leaders, Maruti Suzuki a run for their money!

Hyundai was all set to launch the new car during the festive season in India; however with labor unions going of a strike and related problems cropping up, the Korean carmaker had to hold the car back. However, Hyundai is now all set to launch the refreshed Santro and there are some interesting bits on offer. It goes without saying that the car will find a spot below the i10 on the portfolio and will replace the current model completely.

The exteriors will boast of new headlights which will follow a swept-back design flow to gel with the likes of the i10 and i20. The taillights on the other hand, will follow a similar ‘stacked-up’ format much similar to the current Santro Xing. While the entry level car will continue to use matte black bumpers, mirrors, radiator grille, door handles and scratch guards, the higher end variants will get body coloured units along with other equipment like fog lamps, roof spoiler and mud-flaps. The interiors on the other hand will remain similar to recently refreshed trim in the outgoing model.

Inside in the engine bay will be the 1.1-litre Epsilon petrol engine which will also spawn CNG and LPG variants. We are however speculating that the new Santro might also introduce the 1.1-litre CRDi diesel powerplant before it finds its way into the i10 as well. The inclusion of a frugal diesel engine in the entry level city car segment will mean a major blow to Maruti Suzuki – precisely what Hyundai to want to do at this stage.

Hyundai will stick to the ‘ideal first car’ image of the Santro and will price in competitively to increase its market share. But at the same time it will leave enough room for the upcoming 800cc city car to positioned competitively. We are expecting the new Santro to be launched by the end of this month, unless the Chennai-based headquarters decide to post pone it for an illustrious launch at the 2010 Auto Expo. Stay tuned!

Monday, November 2, 2009

Ford makes $1 billion profit

In a big turnaround from making losses over the past few years, and during a time when the worlds auto majors are declaring bankruptcy, Ford has declared nearly $1 billion in profits.

The company has been involved in major cost cutting efforts and also sold Land Rover and Jaguar to Tata.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Skoda sales up

Skoda reported almost 100% increase in sales compared with the same time last year.

Formula1: Vettel wins in Abu Dhabi

Sebastian Vettel from Red Bull racing won in the brand new racing track at Abu Dhabi. Everyone who commented on the new race track said it was amazing and it is said that over 1 billion dollars has been spent in building the race track.

Formula1 is set to come to India by 2011, and we will have to wait and see how far India goes to build a race track to international standards.