India has become one of the emerging markets that carmakers want to get a sizable foothold, and Volkswagen is no exception. Today India gets what the rest of the world has had for almost 30 years, the Jetta. The current generation, now celebrating its fourth year, is available in three trim levels. All available engines produce about 100 horsepower, and the price will stay between $30,000 and $40,000. The mid-size sedan joins the more upscale Phaeton and Touareg that are already on sale in the country.
Continuing the expansion into this market, Volkswagen is also reported to be preparing a small car to be built and marketed specifically for the south Asian country by 2010.
The Tata Nano continues to make headlines both for the right and wrong reasons since its unveiling at the Delhi AutoExpo in January this year. Land acquisition trouble and rising inflation which has past well over 11% in the country has created a new set of problems for Tata, although the manufacturer is hell-bent on retailing the base model at $2,500 and more importantly on the previously decided dead line of anytime between September and October.
The good news is that Tata is working on multiple variants of the Nano. No, not bumper colors or alloy wheels, by variants, we mean powertrain options. Sources say a battery powered Nano might roll out of the Singur plant in West Bengal very shortly along with air-powered and micro-hybrid (start-stop technology) models.
The compressed air technology would be borrowed from French company MDI, which uses compressed air to push the piston. An onboard compressor pressurizes air which is stored in a tank for use, a technology which works pretty well, and is one of the best alternatives to an electric car.
Otherwise, the Tata Nano uses a 2-cylinder 624 cc engine that produces a little over 30 hp. The tailpipe emissions are minimal and is less than what an average motorcycle in India would emit.
Who told you that India is solely a small-car market? Audi, the German manufacturer with a difference, is not planning to stop with its sedans and SUVs in India. With already seven dealerships setup in the Nano-country, Audi has plans to expand that network further.
Within a few months, those dealerships, among the A8, Q7 SUV and other models will sell the R8 supercar. Sister company Lamborghini has also been operating successfully in India for sometime now, and Ferrari too, has announced its interest in trading in the country.
Although the R8 wasn’t present at the Delhi AutoExpo earlier this year, the R10 race car along with the entire line-up of cars sold presently in India were on display proving to be the sweetest of eye candies.
“India is an important market for Audi, and there has been a tremendous interest in the Audi R8 up to pre-orders by our exclusive customers in India, so it was inevitable that we launch the Audi R8 here,” Audi India Managing Director Benoit Tiers said in a statement.
With Porsche, Lamborghini, Audi and Ferrari in the future, the only thing that is missing is an Indian supercar. Those established names dominate the supercar game globally, but if any of the Indian automakers could take the effort, it might pay off. If Koenigsegg can do it in such a short period, why not Tata use Jaguar’s help to make their own? A next-gen XJ220 supercar, anyone?
Here’s some mighty exclusive news. The Concept A-Star from Suzuki sent out strong reverberations throughout the world when the wraps were taken off it at the Delhi Auto Expo in January earlier this year. The design of this small car was the reason for the buzz and company officials declared that they would embark on producing it from the later months of this year. They also confirmed that in India, it would run alongside the existing models rubbishing claims which suggested it would replace the Suzuki Alto.
The leap of an automobile from concept stage to mass-production stage sometimes takes years and that was one of the reasons Suzuki’s statement was taken lightly. But No! It looks like they will stick to what they said and the car could go out on markets including Europe on the promised date. But it also seems like they haven’t stuck to all the design elements of the concept car. Looking at the photographs one can make out the similar grille and headlamps but the rest aren’t carried over. There is still some time left, and we hope the thin-striped LED rear tail lamps are present on the production model. C’mon Suzuki!
The A-segment five-door hatchback will be manufactured exclusively in India and will be shipped to overseas markets (read- Europe, India and other non-US markets) similar to its competitor Hyundai ’s i10 hatchback. It will use the help of a Euro 5 compliant 1.0-litre petrol engine which is said to have CO2 emission levels nearing 109g/km making it a fiercely green car! No plans as of yet on a diesel version.
On February 25th, Ferrari announced the start of a new Prancing Horse adventure, the Magic India Discovery Tour, which gets underway from Mumbai on February 25th and returns to the same city on May 8th having covered a route stretching more than 11,000 kilometres.
Now, the famous Italian sports car manufacturer announced that it is planning to enter India by the end of 2010. Although in some previous articles the Italian manufacturer announced its presence in India by 2008, it seems that the automaker will pustpone the moment for a few years in order a guarantee for its success.
“Ferrari is looking at India and we may enter the country by 2010. Before which, the company needs to set up a sales and marketing network in India. For us, customer satisfaction is of prime importance. Hence, we will also have to take care of these aspects before we enter India. We are looking forward to India.” Said Gabrielle Lalli, head of Magic India Discovery Tour.
For Hyundai, it all started way back in 1998 with the 800 cc petrol engined Santro hatchback (Atos to our overseas friends). Even after the launch of its successor i10, Hyundai continues selling the Santro, indicating its strong presence and number filled sales charts.
The diesel form of the Santro is set to enter the ever-hot Indian small car market in the month of May. With that said, there are no signs of the company seizing production of this aging wonder car for a long time to come. The diesel sipper will embrace a small 3 cylinder, DOHC, 1.1 litre CRDI engine having 75 ponies at its disposal. Torque wise 153Nm @ 1900-2750 RPM will address the pulling needs. The CRDI technology for Hyundai was developed by US-based Detroit Diesel, using Fiat’s technology back in 1997. (Just for your information!)
Top speed of this car is estimated around 160 kph and a fuel economy figure of roughly 20 kilometres to the litre is expected.
The diesel small car race is getting competitive by the day. Competitors like the Fiat Palio, Tata Indica, Suzuki Swift will give a tough time for this new Santro, but the reputation and reliability of its petrol sibling, will make it a shade easier for it to sell. And the brand image of Hyundai in India is equivalent to a Toyota or a Honda in the United States.
Small, good looking, diesel heart and reliability are its plus points. Any car with those basic ingredients has more or less succeed in India. With an estimated price tag starting at Rs. 4.25 lakh (US $10,597) ex-showroom, we predict that there is a bee in Hyundai’s bonnet.
These are spy pictures of Ford India’s upcoming small car codenamed B402, taken by a member at team-bhp.com, which is scheduled to be launched in 2010.
Nothing about its price, engine or transmission is known. It looks like a smaller clone of the Fusion MPV. The car will either use the existing Ikon or Fiesta platforms, which are sold in India.
This car will be Ford’s entry-level car in India and the styling indicates that it may well be exported overseas. Ford previously announced that it may consider manufacturing this hatchback in low-cost hubs like India and Brazil.
Around US $500 million will be invested on the existing plant in Chennai, to increase its installed capacity from the current 100,000 units to 250,000 units by 2010. The small car program along with an improved engine are part of this expansion plan.
Third time and it’s India’s turn. Two Ferrari Scagliettis are travelling across India, an odyssey aimed at creating awareness of Ferrari and to explore the marvels the country has in offer.
The two stallions started their trip from Mumbai on the 25th of last month and will return to the same city on May 8th after munching more than 11,000 kilometres through the 12-stage 72-day voyage. Ferrari is offering 50 journalists from across the globe to take turns behind the wheel of the V12-powered 612 Scaglietti.
Indians seem to have big plans with the European automakers. After Tata showed its interest in Jaguar and Land Rover another Indian manufacturer is interested in purchasing Bertone, the famous Italian coachbuilder and design house.
Mahindra, an important Indian automaker showed its interest in buying Bertone after another design house, Giugiaro, announced that is interested about the Italian manufacturer. Although the Italian producer was not present at the Geneva Auto Show due to its financial problems, it is unlikely to see the famous design house being declared bankrupt.
Renault feels that the low-cost car project with Indian automaker Bajaj, is very important for them.
Renault-Nissan will partner with India’s No. 2 motorcycle maker and top three-wheeler maker, Bajaj, to develop and manufacture a $3000 car following the footsteps of Tata Motors, who unveiled their Nano last month which costs a mere $2500 excluding taxes and transportation charges.
Patrick Pelata, executive vice-president of Renault, after signing the memorandum of understanding late on Friday for a $1.0b plant to make 400k vehicles and power trains in Southern India, told Reuters that it was very important to them. He also mentioned that the Nano is "a big step in the automotive industry," and would help people in developing countries traveling in motorcycles, to shift to a better and inexpensive mode of transportation.
Chief executive of Nissan and Renault, Carlos Ghosn , announced that the production is set to commence somewhere in late 2010 or early 2011. Tata Motors and Renault will not the be the only ones to flock the market with their ultra-cheap products. Fiat, Hyundai and Toyota have their plans as well and will join the race at a later stage to give the Indian middle-class people a basic car. Small cars account to approximately 67% of passenger car sales in India and the the country is steadily evolving into a hub for both manufacturing and exporting small cars.
Renault is presently sourcing parts worth about 100 million euros from India, and a dedicated logistics centre in the western India has also been set up. Renault has a tie-up with Mahindra & Mahindra for manufacturing the Logan sedan.