Hyundai is soon going to launch a facelifted version of the existing drab looking Verna in the next two days, that’s 23rd of June. The new car, although mechanically unaltered, will feature cosmetic upgrades and more features inside the cabin. Christened Verna Transform, the car was launched in South Korea a few months back, and will try and bump up the sales for Hyundai with its launch in the Indian market.
The new car, in an attempt to achieve turnaround for its sedately selling sibling, will sport new swept back and elongated headlpams, new grille, new tail-lamps, new bumpers (both front and rear) and most likely a pair of exhaust pipes. We think that the price of the face-lifted car will largely be unchanged.
In the Transform version of the car offered in Korea, the centre console has been upgraded for a more modern look, and the music system is compatible with USB / Aux inputs. The new system will also have Bluetooth connectivity. The backlight of the instrument cluster will change from green to blue. Apparently the fuel efficiency will go slightly up as well, owing to some fine tuning to the engine.
Currently there aren’t many alternatives to the diesel powered Swift Dzire which offeres exceptional value. The Verna Transform can really challenge Maruti’s dominance in the segment by offering freshened up looks. The only thing that can possibly stop the car from achieving the feat is it’s engine which works on the philosophy of ‘double or nothing’ wherein there hardly is any power on tap below 2000rpm, after which all hell breaks loose – creating driveability issues within the city. We hope Hyundai have addressed the issue in the new car with a bit of fine tuning of the turbo. Ogle on the pictures as we get on to the job of digging out some more details for you.
We told you a few days back that the Nano is going to be available directly off the shelf without the need for a prior booking. However, the car may not cost the same anymore. This is because Tata Motors seems to be contemplating a price hike for the Nano. If incorporated, the hike will range between Rs. 5000 to Rs. 15,000 depending on the variant. This comes in as no surprise, since Tata, during the launch of the Nano, had hinted towards a probable price hike once they deliver the initial one lakh orders. With the deliveries of these bookings likely to be completed by July end, the Nano may boast of a higher sticker price in order to increase the earnings for the component manufacturers.
The Nano was undoubtedly a challenge for the OE industry which the succeeded in achieving but it barely gives them any margins. As Tata puts it, ‘though the vehicle manufacturer manages its cash flow well, its the supply chain that takes a big hit’. Also add to this the fact that the raw material prices have gone up yet again, forcing most carmakers to hike their pricetags for the fourth time this year! In fact, Maruti Suzuki, Ford Motor India, Toyota Kirloskar and Mahindra & Mahindra are all set to announce a price hike for their vehicles in the coming week.
So you see, the common man’s vegetables like onions and potatoes are not the only ones going through a price hike, its the common man’s car that will face the brunt too. Probably Tata should indeed chop off the Nano’s roof to save metal costs and launch a cheap convertible version of the Nano.
Volkswagen has revealed the details of CrossPolo-a softroader based on the current gen Polo platform. It gets a total of six engine options, and an optional 7-speed DSG too. The CrossPolo looks good and its muscular stance, thanks to the flared wheel arches, roof rails and a pair of good looking alloys is good enough to differentiate it from the hatch. It has a little more ground clearance than its hatchback sibling. A question lingers in my mind-Could this be the third car based on the Polo platform coming to India, after Vento?
Do you remember the time when Fiat had launched Palio Weekend and Adventure? That period wasnt something that could be termed as Fiat India’s golden period. The sales figures were bad and customer satisfaction was even worse. And launching such a product for a market not mature enough then was nothing but a wrong decision. There didnt exist any need for a car, er, estate like that. Then the same happened with Baleno Altura and Opel Corsa Swing and even the Octavia Combi. And the only estate that did good was the Indigo Marina. By ‘good’ here, I mean relatively good.
So if Volkswagen plans to launch one here, the stakes will indeed be high. There are chances the model flops the way Fiat’s did. Or has the Indian market matured enough to accept a product like this?
If it has, then there are chances that CrossPolo does well, goes head to head with the to-be launched smaller variant of Xylo, the 5-seater Xylo, the Uno( if Fiat plans to bring it), Premier Rio and the SX4 hatch(that is if Maruti brings it).
A new segment will be born. A car that can be used as your normal car, can take the shortcut through the forest and carry all the money you robbed from the bank. It surely will prove to be a cool car then, won’t it?
Consider yourself lucky if you are planning to buy the luxo-barge from VW, the 2011 Phaeton that is. And if you belong to the group of mortals who admire high-tech stuff then this one is for you.
The car has a long list of features but there are some which sets it apart from the competition. Take for example the option of downloading images off the google server and integrating them with the in-car GPS. In this way the driver gets to familiarize with the route easily.
And there is a camera fitted on the car’s windscreen which can read the speed limit signs, no passing zones etc. Brilliant!
Then there is another feature called Dynamic Light Assist, which checks whether the surrounding cars are suffering from the glare of the car’s headlights. If yes, then this masks out a certain portion of the car’s headlights in order to reduce the glare on others. Innovative!
All this makes me wonder if we would need to drive in future or the cars will do that too on their own.
The Alto is the only car from the Maruti Suzuki stable that sports a CNG variant. The Alto will not feel lonely anymore as far as the CNG option is concerned. According to a report by Goa on Wheels, Maruti Suzuki will be launching the CNG versions of the Ritz and Estilo soon. With this move, the firm intends to grab a larger share of the CNG vehicle market which will prove beneficial owing to the rising fuel prices.
The launch of the CNG versions of the above mentioned cars would be just like icing over the cake as Maruti Suzuki has already been selling in good numbers and the firm is no doubt the king of the ‘Small Car’ segment. As of now, the firm will reportedly introduce CNG versions of the Ritz and Estilo only. After analyzing the response of their move, the firm may think of adding a CNG variant to more of its cars to start with, Maruti Suzuki Eeco.
However, CNG is not available nationwide which poses to be a problem. But the problem may not be big enough to worry Maruti Suzuki as CNG is available in major places like Mumbai, Delhi and Gujarat and will be available in more major metros across the country in the near future.
The small car that started the ‘Hot Hatch’ concept in India with its 1.6-litre, 100 bhp petrol engine has met with a sad demise. FIAT has decided to pull the plug off the Palio to immediate effect for two primary reasons – lack of demand and the Palio’s incompatibility with the Bharat Stage IV norms. The Palio, since its launch in 1999 has offered a lot of goodies to its customers without making a huge hue and cry about the price. However, lack of a potent aftersales network and the low fuel economy had led to the last generation Palio to its downfall in a market like India. The Palio Stile did revive FIAT India to an extent, but the current success of the Grande Punto had put the Palio on the back-burner.
Until recently the car was only manufactured against order, but FIAT’s sudden decision has axed the hopes of prospective enthusiasts buying the car. One of our members, John Fernandez is one such unfortunate enthusiast who had his booking amount refunded to him by the company showroom after the car-maker’s harsh (yet practical) decision. We are only hoping now that the Palio’s demise will make way for a new car from the FIAT stables in Ranjangoan, that can lift of gauntlet and be a worthy heir to the ‘hot hatch’ concept.
One of our members and a hardcore automotive enthusiast who is well known on the world wide web as ‘Shrivz’, recently caught the Volkswagen Golf MK6 on test in India. Our photographer, Eshan Shetty, too had caught the Golf on test a few months back (and almost got himself killed doing so, thanks to a loyal VW driver flinging a stone at him). That Golf however totally undisguised and in a left hand drive avatar – hence we let the test mules be, thinking that it was one of those export models undergoing some component testing. But when Shrivz sent us the Golf’s photo last month and highlighted the fact that the test car was a right hand drive, we got down to work and getting in touch with the vast network of sources (ahem!) that we have!
Our sources tell us that Volkswagen is indeed testing the Golf MK6 for the Indian market. Apart from the Beetle, the Golf has been one of VW’s signature cars. The German carmaker is hence looking forward to introducing the car in India as well. However, since the car is not manufactured in India (yet), VW is looking at various options to keep the car’s prospective price tag as low as possible. VW is expected to use the same 1.6-litre petrol and diesel engines (probably in a different state of tune), that will be used in the upcoming Volkswagen Vento and the Skoda Felicia sedans. Our sources tell us that the car is expected to boast of a sticker price between the Rs. 10-13 lakhs rupees – making it one of the costliest four door hatchbacks in the country.
Volkswagen is expected the launch the Mk6 Golf by Q2 2011 where it will join the companies ever increasing product portfolio in India. Though the Golf might not be able to gain the same market share as the rest of the of the hatchbacks in the country, VW will have a premium offering slotted between the Vento and the Jetta sedans.
Ford launched the Figo this year hoping it to be game-changer for them. And what a game-changer it has proved to be. Ford has recieved more than 20,000 bookings for the car since the last two and a half months.
The pricing was one of the major factors behind the car's success apart from the brilliant engines and overall package of the car. The car's introductory price was kept as low as 3.5 lakhs for the 1.2L petrol engined version and 4.48 lakhs for its 1.4L diesel engined sibling. But due to increasing costs of components and materials, Ford will have to re-consider the pricing, which means a hike in price soon.
"We can't defy gravity for ever. The general industry cost is rising, steel prices are up, components are costlier and there has also been an increase in transport cost." Ford India Executive Director (Marketing, Sales and Services) Nigel Wark told PTI. The revised price will be effective from June 1st. When asked about the hike, he said ,"We are still fine tuning the price. It will, however, not be a major hike and well below two per cent.”
And came another news along. Ford will be upgrading their plant and boost the production of Figo in order to meet the market demand and thus reduce the 4-week waiting period of the car. At present Ford manages to produce around 6,000 cars a month but with an introduction of 700 new employees and a second shift at their plant in Chennai, expect the numbers to increase soon.
After being the first in the world to catch the Volkswagen Vento in the flesh, we are again one of the first in India to bring to you the official images, specs and details of the much anticipated car. Volkswagen has released the official images of its Polo sedan in Russia. The model displayed will be built in the company’s manufacturing unit in Kaluga near Moscow. The car will make its show debut at the 2010 Moscow Motor Show in August.
The sedan, as we had said earlier, will not just be a boot stuck on to the Polo, but a nicely executed car. The wheelbase of the car, and resultantly the overall size of the car will be much larger than its hatchback version. The new car will be 4.38 meters long, 1.7m wide and 1.46m high with a wheelbase of 2.55m (Polo is 2.456m). This will result in not only better legspace for the back benchers, but also a cavernous boot. The new car’s ground clearance too is increased by 15mm.
Engine options will include a 1.6-litre gasoline engine producing 105PS mated with a 5-speed manual transmission. Height adjustable driver’s seat, trip computer, air bags, power windows etc. will be available as standard equipment or options varying from variant to variant.
In the Indian market, the Vento will also come with A 1.6 liter diesel engine producing 105 bhp. We can expect a DSG gearbox to make an appearance on the car at a later point in time. The price is expected to be in the region of 7 to 8 lakh, depending on the variant. Looking at the pictures, the quality of the interiors appears to be top notch. Feast your eyes on the pictures, covering every single detail of the car. And don’t forget to write your comments on how you like this new machine from the German automaker.
The number 800 was made legendary by the very much famous Maruti 800 from the Maruti Suzuki Stable. Even babies now know that the small-car market in India has been growing at the speed of a meteor just about to hit the earth. As far as the small-car market is concerned, Maruti Suzuki has proved to be the King. However, other car manufacturers are trying their best now to get their share of the small-car market. There have been a lot of speculations which indicate that Hyundai is planning to introduce a small car to its fleet of cars in India.
The car may hit the production lines by next year at the firm’s Chennai plant. According to our friends at Indian Autos Blog, the car will sport an 800cc three cylinder petrol engine which churns out around 50hp of power. The car might very well be christened ‘H800’ which could be similar to Maruti’s legendary Maruti 800 (H may stand for Hyundai). The H800 is expected to be smaller than the Santro. The car might sport a 5-speed transmission system too. According to various sources, a Diesel engine may be added to the menu in the near future after its launch which is expected to take place by March or April, 2011.
Above is image manipulator Samuh Yogetta’s version of the H800. The above illustration has a close resemblance to the i10 and i20. The front-end of the car has been taken from the ix-onic concept. However, no further comments or claims can be made regarding the small car unless and until we get official pictures of the same. So let’s wait and watch whether the car turns out to be similar to the above illustration.