Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Nissan announces commencement of Micra

Nissan is in the headlines these days as it tries to increase its foothold in India. Be it the BMW Z4 and Porsche Boxster rivalling 370z or the to be launched Micra, Nissan seems to have going in the right direction.

They had a few announcements to be made regarding their to-be launched Micra. The most important was that they have started commercial production of the car here in India.

The car in question will be displayed in showrooms on May 25th and pre-order bookings will start the same day at a nominal amount of Rs.50,000. Micra ( codename – W02A) will be produced in Oragadam, Chennai at the Renault-Nissan plant. The 640 acre big plant is worth of 45 billion Rupees. 1900 workers are on duty now, which will be increased to 3000 in the next two years. The plant can produce 4,00,000 cars at its full capacity, while the initial production will be of 2,00,000 cars only.

The pricing is yet to be done, though expect this Nissan to be priced competetively. The sales will begin in July this year.

Being built on Nissan's V-platform opens up possibility of other models making it to the Indian market.

Nissan will use their Chennai facility to produce Micra for the international market too. As we reported earlier, they sent a batch of cars for testing in the international market too. The export will begin this September.

Source: Motoroids

Hyundai Plans to Regain Market Share

Small car maket is witnessing a lot of heat this year. Ford Figo is giving nightmares to all other players in the market. And Hyundai is no exception. Hyundai's consistent efforts and products have made sure that the brand attained its niche in the market. But now as the competetion speeds up Hyundai seems to have lost its sleep.

And if Economic Times is to be believed, Hyundai will launch a diesel version of their i10 car soon in order to show the competetors what Hyundai is worth of. After all Hyundai once gave nightmares to every brand from Maruti to Mercedes, here in India. Hyundai Motor India (HMI) MD H W Park said that he wasnt worried because of the to-be launched Nissan Micra but because of the Ford Figo and the new Wagon-R. He hinted at Hyundai's plans of launching a diesel i10 but he didn t comment on the when the car is going to be launched.

If i10 diesel is launched then Hyundai will be able to snatch some customers from both Figo and Ritz diesel. This will increase i10's sales as well as Hyundai's foot hold in the market.

He also said that there still exists demand for their once best selling car, Santro, which manages to sell around 8000 units a month and they dont plan to phase it out anytime soon. “Development of the sub-Santro model is at evaluation stage at Namyang (its R&D centre). We are on schedule as far as the development stage work is concerned,” he said about their sub-Santro category car. “We will launch one new model every year, one face-lifted version and a model year model,” he said regarding their plans. So expect some surprises from the Korean manufacturer soon.

For the i10 diesel we will have to wait until some concrete announcement is made. Once that happens, Hyundai will be able to regain its lost market share.

Alto might get a K-series

Take a small car and fit a bigger engine to it and see what difference it makes. All of a sudden your everyday car gets a much needed soul and it becomes a lot more desirable. But then bigger engines mean lesser fuel efficiency, which in turns makes small cars with big engines impractical. Seriously?

Well, not exactly. The engines made these days are actually more efficient than the ones made some ten years back. So when NDTV's sources suggest that Maruti plans to give its bread and butter car, Alto a heart transplant, we should be happy. And by now some of us might have thought of buying the car. Alto has proved itself in the market. It is a proper successor to the legend, the 800. Though Alto had a 1.1L engine in the past, but it was thirsty. So they discontinued it and the car was available with just one engine option. But as emission norms get stricter with each passing day, Maruti had to upgrade the 800cc engine to BS-IV. But replacing the engine to an already BS-IV engine makes more sense. The only engine they have in their line-up suitable for this small car is the 1L K-series (K10B)engine doing the duty in Alto's European namesake, the A-star. So fitting a 1L K-series engine solves a lot of problems. Maruti-Suzuki can produce a total of 2.5 lakh K-series engines annually, which will have to be upgraded once they start producing the new Alto.

Maruti Suzuki India Chairman R C Bhargava said, "Alto needs a face-lift. It has been there for quite a while." No comment was made on how the car be like, an upgrade or an entirely new one. Sources suggest that if this plan of Maruti's materialises, then Alto's price will go up by a small margin.

Alto has been doing good in the market with around 20,000 units selling per month. The new car is worth a wait. Lets see how Maruti plans to upgrade the Alto.

Source: Motoroids

2011 Volkswagen Passat – a technological marvel!

Germany’s highly regarded magazine Auto Bild has come up with the first leaked image of VW’s much awaited 2011 Passat. The new car (in case it really is what it’s said to be) is the most honest representative of the VW’s new design language.

The new design stresses on highlighting the width of the car and is reminiscent of the recently updated Phaeton limousine as well as the Touareg. The front and back of the new car have been accentuated with a heavy dose of chrome. The new Passat has a flat shoulder line and with the subtle, yet strong lines of its reasonably big size, it presents itself as a transportation tool of choice for well-to-do executives. The new Passat is expected to hit the international market by the end of this year and it should be first previewed at the Paris Motor Show.

The new Passat is expected to take the game higher for VW, and the company expects the new machine to be comparable to the 3-series, C-class and the A4 in terms of brand perception. While that may sound a little too optimistic to a lot of people, it’s not difficult to understand why VW are so positive. The new Passat will host an array of technologies which have yet been unheard of. Some of these wondrous technologies will include airless tyres and a wiper-less windscreen cleaning system. A magical electronic stability system is also expected which will automatically offer counter-steering assistance in adverse driving conditions.

Engines for the new car will include a 300bhp power plant with a displacement of 3.0L. The new engine will also be using direct injection for enhanced power and fuel efficiency. The rest of the engine lineup is expected to benefit from some form of forced induction as well. Other models will include a new hybrid as well as a high-performance diesel with AWD.

Source: Motoroids

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Fiat to launch a sportier Punto

Fiat Punto is undeniably the most beautiful car in its segment.The car looks elegant and it seriously turns more heads than a higher D-segment car too. It has a nice chassis too, which means good handling. And as now Fiat's service department is also managed by Tata, service shouldn't be an issue as it used to be. This means Punto should be a hit in India, like it is elsewhere.

But the sales figures tell a different story. Only 900 odd units were sold in the month of April this year. The irony of the situation is that the same car saved Fiat from bankruptcy in the International market. So what is stopping its prospective buyers and making them think over their decision again.

During a small survey carried out by a fellow Motorep it was found that the first sentence people say after driving the car is, “It is sluggish”.

Fiat also realised this and if guys at Autoholiks are to be believed, Fiat will be launching a new and sportier variant of the car called 'Punto Sports'. The car will be powered by the 1.3L Multijet engine that powers the Linea. The same engine, albeit in a more powerful avatar will produce 90bhp and around 205 Nm of torque.

The car will be given some visual treatment too. Remember they displayed an Abarth-Punto replica at the Auto-expo, Delhi earlier this year. Thats how the Punto Sport is going to look. Fatter tyres, better looking alloys, smoked headlamps and special leathers too and they might put a sunroof too is all the Sports is going to get. The Punto Sports will be dearer than the normal Punto. If Fiat prices it right, then they can easily get a good market share with this wonderful product of theirs. This might be not be as sporty as a petrol engined car would have been,nevertheless we will love to have this car in the market. Won't we? With this car they might be able to continue selling this car before they plan to launch the Punto-evo here, if they want to. The Sports will be launched in June this year as Punto completes 1 year in the market.

Aveo CNG unveiled

GM was hit bad during the slump and most of you know what happened afterwards. But the brand shined in the developing markets like India, China etc. And now these 'key' markets require more attention and obviously GM is taking all the right steps.

They launched the LPG version of their Chevrolet Aveo sedan on 13th of this month. This important step was taken keeping the market trend and the competetion in mind. CNG is a cleaner fuel and is more economical than petrol. The same old 4-pot 1399 powerplant produces 94ps when run on petrol but a small drop in performance is expected. Mind it, as this is a factory CNG kit, the drop will be negligible. The CNG unit is computer controlled which means low wastage. The engine gets anodized pistons while the body and suspension are reinforced to welcome the introduction of CNG.

The car is priced at Rs. 6,26,645 (ex-showroom Ahmedabad), which is quite reasonable for a car that is greener and lighter on the pocket too.

Mercedes-Benz brings CGI technology to India

“Effortless performance with excellent fuel economy,” is just what the CGI technology from Mercedes-Benz has to offer. The firm has launched this technology just recently in India. Riding a brand new car with an age old technology does not fit into the scenario of a luxury car manufacturer. Thus, the firm has unveiled its plan for gasoline engine technology in India.

During the launch, Prof. Dr.-Ing. Bharat Balasubramanian, Vice President Product Innovations & Process Technologies, Group Research & Advanced Engineering, Daimler AG stated, “The CGI technology heralds a new era in gasoline engines with improved output, optimized consumption and even more impressive emission statistics.”

This new technology CGI engine is the first one-of-its-kind in the world to use sophisticated petrol direct-injection engine with spray guided combustion process. CGI engines use sophisticated piezo-injectors (also seen on the F700 DiesOtto concept). Mercedes-Benz has replaced the previous 4-in-line petrol engine with the world's first spray-guided direct petrol injection and chosen to move over to direct-injection technology for its petrol engines. The powerful, efficient and clean engine has four catalysers and a series of in-engine measures mean that as well as meeting all current legislation.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Toyota bags in profit worth $1.2 billion during recall!

Toyota -
The past few months have been raining ‘recalls’, out of which, Toyota had the largest ever global recall. What most of the common men must have thought is that Toyota is going to have a time of its life with a huge loss ever recorded owing to the massive recall. The firm had announced the recall due to a faulty gas pedal. However, in reality the story has proved to be something totally different. Toyota reported a profit of about $1.2 billion from January to March, this year which was the crucial time of its recall.

What amuses us most is the fact that the firm has managed the profit in spite of the expenditures incurred due to the recall which amounted to a little more than a billion dollars (100 billion Yen). To add to the pressure, Toyota also reported a fall in profits as compared to last year owing to the unprecedented spate of incentives to keep sales rolling.

The firm’s head Akio Toyoda, mentioned that they would continue to boost profits by offering high quality, reasonably priced vehicles. However, we hope the high quality part does not repeat with another world wide recall. The firm may not be this lucky next time.

Source: Motoroids

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Mahindra goes to U.S.

International requires a lot of courage especially in times like these. Though the auto industry seems to be recovering from the epidemic 'recession' , taking a big step now isnt considered great and playing safe is the only key to success. But if one gets success now too, then it should be considered a stepping stone for that brand.

Mahindra has done something similar. It is one of the few Indian companies to have made it to the international market and succesfully made themselves recoginzable among thousands of brands worldwide. Mahindra's latest venture is to introduce their Scorpio Getaway based 'Pik-Up' to the States. While the trucks are all set to go, there seems to be some delay with the issuance of emission certificate by the authorities there.

According to John Perez, CEO of Global Vehicles USA, Mahindra's distributor in U.S, the emissions tests have been carried on the trucks and the report is being submitted to the EPA for final approval. Approval will take another 30 days and then the import will take another 30. More than 300 dealers have been appointed and they will start functioning as soon as Mahindra gets a green signal.

There will be two versions of the pick up trucks- two door TR20 and four door crew cab TR40.

There will only be one engine option available, a slightly uptuned version of the 2.2L mHawk engine, which currently powers the Scorpio, Xylo and the Getaway here in India. Fuel economy is said to be around 30 mpg on the highway while they have a 1.3 ton load lugging capacity. Prices will start at around $22k.

With domestic players venturing out in global market and international players coming in India to set up their manufacturing plants, India will surely be able to stand neck to neck with other major players.

Monday, May 10, 2010

Mitsubishi launches new 2010 Outlander

Mitsubishi has been a topic in the Auto Industry since a little time now ever since the speculations of the firm launching the Lancer Evo X. After that, there were rumors indicating that the firm would launch a small car in the country. In the midst of all this, Mitsubishi has launched the new 2010 Outlander in India. The launch took place at Delhi alongside a fashion show which displayed Rohit Bal’s designs.

The new car features a front design similar to the Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution X. The car also features HID headlamps with adaptive front lighting. The car is powered by a 2.4-litre MIVEC engine that is BS IV compliant and churns out 170PS of power and 226Nm of torque. The car also features various innovative features like drive mode selector, alloy brakes, new door and dash trim, a split-folding tailgate, remote-folding rear seats and the 9-speaker 650W Rockford-Fosgate audio system.

The car comes with an introductory offer price tag of Rs 19.95 lakh (ex-showroom) all over India. The car comes with new color schemes including Silver, Red, Black, Purple, Green, etc.

Source: Motoroids

Friday, May 7, 2010

Buried under a BMW M3

Are you a true fan of a particular car brand? Yes you may be! But not more than Steve Marsh who was a hardcore BMW fan. He was so much in love with BMW that he could not resist leaving the world without one. That’s true, as after his death he lies with a BMW M3 convertible replica above his grave. Steve was 51 when he died.

Strangely, Marsh was an engineer at Ford even though he had this high magnitude liking for BMW. The BMW M3 convertible was in the top of the list of his favorite BMWs. His wife and children believed that it would not be a problem to get a headstone designed in the exact shape of his favorite car. The replica is an exact copy of the car both in looks as well as dimensions and is carved out of a single block of granite.

The M3 convertible replica costs more than $75,000 and was shipped from China. The replica weighs a ton and took the aid of a crane and 20 operators to put it in place at the Manor Park Cemetery in East London. “You have to admit it's totally different to everything else around it. It's definitely not my taste. I think some people will say it's tacky and it could end up as a target to be vandalized. It could open the floodgates for anything to be built in a cemetery. When I walked past it the other day, though, I have to admit it did make me smile,” said a local resident Rene Dryden.

Ferrari World Abu Dhabi opening in October

A few months ago, we had brought to you the news about the world’s first Ferrari Theme Park which was under the progress of its development at Abu Dhabi. This theme park is all set to be inaugurated on the 28th of October, 2010 which is three weeks ahead of the city’s Formula 1 Grand Prix.

The shape of the entire building is inspired by shape of a Ferrari car and it also bears the largest prancing horse Ferrari logo ever built. The theme park is situated next to the Yas Marina Circuit and covers a total area of about 200 square kilometers. Along with a wide range of indoor games and rides, the theme park will also boast of the world’s fastest roller coaster called Formula Rosso.

The Formula Rosso is designed to replicate the thrill of driving a F1 car with an acceleration of standstill to 100 kmph in just 2 seconds. The rollercoaster will boast of a top speed of 240 kmph and will be 2.07km long pulling up to 1.7G. Passengers of the roller coaster will have to mandatorily wear protective gear including eyewear to shield the eyes from the heavy winds created at the high speeds propelled by the 20,800bhp propulsion system.

The theme park will also have other rides including a flume ride through a Ferrari 599 engine, a G-force experience that takes passengers up to a height of about 62 meters and an aerial voyage through Italy following a Ferrari. The theme park will also feature two restaurants offering a range of Italian delicacies.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Toyota may launch Diesel Corolla Altis!

Toyota Kirloskar Motors have managed to sell more than 40,000 units of its Corolla since the last five years. Looking at this success, the firm has considered launching a diesel powered Corolla Altis in the near future. Owing to the improved power, performance and efficiency, the Japanese Marquee has observed that diesel powered luxury sedans are gaining popularity in the Indian market.

The diesel Corolla Altis may bear a 1.4-litre turbo diesel engine that currently powers the Yaris hatchback in other countries. Various sources claim that according to Automotive Research Association of India (ARAI), the car will deliver a mileage of 21.42 km per litre. However, the company has not yet confirmed these facts.

“As India is an emerging market for Toyota, it will keep on rolling out new models as well as variants. The company is exploring various options and diesel-powered Corolla Altis is definitely on the cards. As a company policy, details like fuel efficiency and other specifications cannot be shared right now. But yes, we are launching it by either July-end or during early August. All the details would be shared at that point of time,” said a senior company official.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Fiesta reaches 1 Lakh Milestone

Ford has been doing quite good since the recent times in the Indian market. The Ford Figo which has been launched lately has been selling in good numbers. We also reported to you that, looking at the good sales of the Figo, Ford might just roll out another small car in India. It has been 4 years since India has got the Ford Fiesta. In these four years, the Fiesta has finally reached the level of 1,00,000th unit to be produced. The Fiesta is manufactured from Ford India’s Chennai manufacturing plant.

The 1,00,000th Fiesta was driven out by Ford India's president and managing director Michael Boneham in the presence of executive director, Marketing, Sales and Service, Nigel Wark; Sandip Sanyal, executive director of Operations. Hundreds of Ford India employees were also present at the final assembly to relish the moment of pride.

Michael Boneham, president and managing director of Ford India said, ''After a terrific sales record in March and April, the rolling out of the 100,000th Ford Fiesta is a truly special moment for Ford India. The event marks a new milestone for us.'' ''Ford Fiesta continues to make us feel proud and is a significant product in our portfolio. The popularity of the Fiesta testifies that more and more customers have been reassured by its quality, features and performance. The sale of the 100,000th Fiesta is testimony to our strong customer appreciation for the Fiesta,'' he added.

The Ford Fiesta is well known for its mind boggling fuel efficiency. The car is powered by a 1.6-litre TDCi common rail engine.

Hyundai scraps plans for i10 diesel

The i10 from the Hyundai stable is a car that is in the good books of a majority. The firm had plans to introduce a diesel variant for the same which would probably give one more reason for the car to be a favorite. The firm had plans of introducing a 1.1-litre CRDI engine powered variant. However, our friends at Autocar have revealed that Hyundai has scrapped this plan as the diesel engine will have to be manufactured across the national borders, thus making the price of the car soar high.

With the diesel engine being manufactured out of India, the car would cost about Rs 6 lakh which would be utterly meaningless when the i20 diesel variant is available at the same price. However, according to various sources, there might be a diesel engine powered variant in the next generation i10 which is scheduled to be rolled out by 2013. Most probably, the engine should be manufactured in India itself to keep the prices down.

VW Vento sketches revealed (polo sedan)

We earlier brought to you the world exclusive scoop of the Polo Sedan, which Volkswagen believed would have fooled us to think of the car as a Ford. Later our friends at Autocar revealed that VW will launch the Polo Sedan by the name 'Vento'. However, here are a few sketches of the VW Vento that have been leaked:

The Vento will sport a longer wheel base by about 50mm as compared to the Polo hatchback. the extra length will help provide for better leg room as well as head room for the rear.

The Vento is expected to hit the streets by July, 2010.

Sunday, May 2, 2010

New Ford Fiesta in 2010-11

 The all new Ford Fiesta was recently displayed at the Bangkok International Auto Show. Amongst this was a four-door version of the car too. There are speculations that these cars will make their way to the Indian market later by 2010-11. The sedan is also expected to run on the Chinese streets by the same time. The car will compete with the Honda City, Maruti Suzuki SX4 and many more of its platform and will very well be available in the Petrol/Diesel variants. After the success of the Figo, Ford reported the development of another small car and also revealed its intentions to revamp its fleet of cars in India. 

The firm is also working on a small car based on the Fiesta hatchback. The new Fiesta will sport a 1.6-liter vvt (variable valve timing) engine. The car will be technology pack and will also include the Ford Sync which is a factory specific in-car communication/entertainment system developed by Ford and Microsoft. The new Fiesta will feature a more aero-dynamic shape and design. The Ford Fiesta already boasts of its best in class fuel efficiency and it is time we get ready for more with the all new Fiesta. The new Fiesta will feature not only better efficiency but also high refinement and safety.

Mitsubishi small car in India?

Mitsubishi has been in the Indian market since more than a decade now. However, its operations in India seem to have been fading away with time. However, there were recent speculations about Mitsubishi bringing the Lancer Evo X sedan to India which suggested that Mitsubishi might just spring back into action. The small car segment in India is a fire filled segment which is running at a marvelous pace. Most manufacturers are trying their best to venture into this segment and establish their strong foothold so that they can benefit the most out of it. Has Mitsubishi decided to be one of these firms too? According to various sources, Mitsubishi is planning to roll out a small car in India soon.

Japans fourth largest car manufacturer, Mitsubishi has already ventured into the premium Sports Utility Vehicle (SUV) and mid-sized sedan segment. However, according to the recent speculations, it is evident that the firm may be trying to play its role in the small car segment too. The firm may introduce the eco car project which it is presently developing for the Thai market, in India too. The firm would most probably roll out the small car in Thailand by the year 2012. The small car marks an entirely new platform and is powered by a 1.3-litre petrol engine. However, if this car has to make its way to the Indian streets, the engine might have to be tuned and tweaked to suit the Indian conditions. In India, cars which are not longer than 4 meters and with the capacity of not more than 1.2-litre petrol or 1.5-litre diesel are subject to the least tax treatments. However, Mitsubishi refrained from revealing any further details.

According to various sources, the firm had plans similar to the speculated ones in the past. However, due to financial tensions, the firm was compelled to withdraw from its plans. The plans also included the development Mitsubishi’s Chennai manufacturing plant to produce 1,00,000 units yearly as compared to its present 12,000 annual units.