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2016 Chevrolet Beat Activ Concept

2016 Chevrolet Beat Activ Concept

Chevy unveils a new Concept based on the Chevy Spark, and it looks almost ready for production.

The Chevy Beat initially debuted at the 2007 New York Auto Show along with the Chevy Trax and Chevy Groove concept. In a poll released by Chevy that year, the Beat was widely accepted, taking more than 50 percent of the votes between it and the other two concepts. With that kind of acceptance, Chevy moved the Beat into production. It is known as the Chevy Spark here in the U.S. and other markets, but still goes by the Beat nomenclature in the Indian Market.

With the Indian market loving small cars, Chevy decided to bring a new concept of the beat to the 2016 New Delhi Auto show, calling it the Beat Activ. The interesting thing about the Beat Activ Concept is that it is also showing off a lot of the same design cues of the third generation Spark that came with the 2015 model year here in the U.S. For some reason, the Beat in India still has all of the second generation styling that Chevy put to rest with the newest iteration of the Spark.

So, with that said, this concept not only showcases some interesting design ideas for future models, but also the design cues that will surely make it when the third-generation Beat debuts in India. That, at least in part, is what makes this concept that much more interesting. According to Chevy, the Beat Activ is a “fun and spirited concept” and a “soft-roader” that has been designed to stand out from the crowd. It is a youthful car that was designed as a response to India’s maturing market.

So, does the beat active really have “adventure at its core” and ensure the driver will be “comfortable and connected” as Chevy suggests? Well, let’s take a closer look and see for ourselves. Join me, as I take a look at the specifics of this new concept.

Continue reading to learn more about the Chevrolet Beat Activ Concept.

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2016 Chevrolet Essentia Concept

2016 Chevrolet Essentia Concept

The Essentia concept previews Chevrolet’s upcoming Spark-based sedan for the Indian market. Will it have what it takes to compete with the new Volkswagen Ameo?

Earlier this month we reviewed the Volkswagen Ameo, a sedan version of the Polo specifically developed for the Indian market. Less than four meters long, the Ameo was developed as an affordable subcompact sedan to compete with the Maruti Suzuki Swift Dzire, Honda Amaze, and Ford Figo Aspire. At the 2016 New Delhi Auto Expo, Chevrolet unveiled its own competitor for this niche. Dubbed Essentia, it is just a concept for now, but one that looks ready to hit the assembly line without any modifications whatsoever.

Based on the new Beat, which was just launched in the country as an India-spec version of the fourth-generation Chevy Spark, the Essentia will slot under the Sail (built on the same Gamma II platform as the Spark, Sonic, and Trax) in the company’s lineup and will become the smallest bowtie-badged sedan in production.

There’s no word as to when the Essentia will hit the market as a production model, but Chevrolet did confirm that it will announce "specific market plans" at a later date. Given that Volkswagen and Ford have already joined this growing niche, Chevrolet will most likely roll out the Essentia within a year. Until that happens, let’s have a closer look at the upcoming sedan version of the tiny Spark.

Continue reading to learn more about the Chevrolet Essentia Concept.

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2016 Honda BR-V

2016 Honda BR-V

The Honda CR-V’s little brother comes to Auto Expo 2016 in India

Auto Expo 2016 has kicked off in India, and Honda had quite the stand setup for the world to see. Honda is showcasing all of the current models in its lineup for India, but on top of that, it brought the Honda Accord, the Honda Project 2&4 Concept, and the McLaren Honda M4-30 Formula 1 car. Next to all of these in Honda’s pavilion, sits the Honda BR-V, which is finally being introduced to the Indian Market.

The President and CEO of Honda Cars India, Katsushi Inoue, said, “As we celebrate 20 years of our existence in India and building an affinity with over 1 Million Indian customers, HCIL is adopting a new brand direction of ’Advanced and Exciting’ and our products, dealerships, and communication will be guided by this new brand direction. Year 2015 has been a very successful year for HCIL as we achieved our record sales of 200,000 units in a calendar year. The launch of exciting new models Honda BR-V and Accord in 2016 will help us accelerate our growth this year and also strengthen our brand in the country.”

As you can probably guess, the BR-V is essentially the CR-V’s little brother. It was designed by Honda R&D Asia Pacific as an exclusive model for the Asian market. Will it prove to be a worthy family-based utility vehicle for the Indian market as well? Join me as I take a closer look at the BR-V and give it some good, old-fashioned, American critiquing.

Continue reading to learn more about the 2016 Honda BR-V.

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2016 Volkswagen Ameo

2016 Volkswagen Ameo

Volkswagen gave the Polo a sedan trunk and renamed it the Ameo for the Indian market. The new subcompact is supposed to help boost VW’s sales in one of Asia’s largest automobile market.

With an annual production of more than 23 million vehicles per year, India has one of the largest automotive industries in the world. Hard to believe given that the country only began to liberalize its automobile market in 1991, but the high import taxes, which encourage cars to be produced locally rather than imported, have turned India into a big exporter. Also, the growing internal demand has prompted foreign automakers to open shop in India and even develop market-specific models. Important companies that have already did it include Ford and Suzuki, but Volkswagen has recently joined in on the fun with subcompact sedan that just broke cover at the 2016 New Delhi Auto Expo.

The vehicle in question is dubbed Ameo and it is based on the PQ25 platform used by the Volkswagen Polo, which pretty much makes it a Polo sedan. Given that Volkswagen is already selling a Polo sedan in India with a Vento badge, the Ameo doesn’t seem to make much sense, but it’s the exterior dimensions that make the difference, and not just from a design standpoint. You see, in India size matters when it comes to taxes and insurance, which is why many automakers came up with sub-four-meter sedans, which are cheaper to own. Developed specifically for this market, the Ameo is basically Volkswagen’s answer to the Maruti Suzuki Swift Dzire, Honda Amaze, and Ford Figo Aspire.

The subcompact German sedan will go on sale by the end of the year and will remain exclusive to the Indian market. Volkswagen will offer a choice of two engines, including a diesel. Find out more about it below.

Continue reading to learn more about the Volkswagen Ameo.

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2016 DC Design Avanti

2016 DC Design Avanti

Known for building the Aston Martin AMV8 Vantage concept and various custom vehicles, including a coupe version of the Porsche Cayenne, Indian design firm DC Design set out to develop its first production vehicle in the early 2010s. The result was christened Avanti, in a nod to Studebaker’s 1960s luxury coupe, and arrived in 2012 as a concept with supercar intentions. It took DC another two years to showcase a production version, which made it clear that the Avanti will be more of the sports car with just a four-cylinder engine under the hood. But things didn’t go as planned, and production of the Avanti was delayed for 2015 after DC had trouble convincing Renault Sport to supply its turbocharged four-banger for the car.

With the 2015 calendar year well underway and a new test vehicle unleashed on the streets of India, the DC Avanti moves closer to production, which is reportedly set to commence as early as March 2015. Meanwhile, let’s have a closer look at India’s first ever sports car based on the details we already know, with a little speculation in between.

Update 2/4/2015: Our friends over at IndianCarsBikes.com managed to grab some spy shots of India’s first-ever sports car, the DC Design Avanti.

Click past the jump to read more about the new DC Design Avanti.

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2015 Mahindra Komodo IED Concept

2015 Mahindra Komodo IED Concept

India’s Mahindra&Mahindra is a largely unknown company outside of its home country. But the brand has been making waves recently, having acquired some assets recently (South Korea’s SsangYong) to go with its possible expansion into the EV world with the Halo Coupe EV Concept. But none of those things could potentially draw the world’s attention like building the Komodo IED Concept.

Actually, the Komodo IED Concept is nothing more than a design study created by Indian designer and IED Torino graduate, Makrand Patil.

Presenting the Komodo IED Concept as a versatile vehicle that can cater to a wide range of markets, Patil’s vision for the vehicle is to turn it into a functional and luxurious 4x4 that can go just about anywhere it pleases.

Whether the designer’s study does make it past this stage is another question entirely. But if Mahindra wanted to, it shouldn’t have any problem agreeing to this, right?

After all, there’s no surer way to get attention than building a vehicle that attracts it the moment it comes into the picture.

Click past the jump to read more about Mahindra Komodo IED Concept

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2014 Chevrolet Adra Concept

2014 Chevrolet Adra Concept

So, what happens when a Kia Soul and a Chevy HHR decide to have little babies? Well, you get this really, really weird concept that showed its awkward self at the Delhi Auto Expo. We’re not saying that the Adra Concept is ugly or anything... well, okay, maybe we are, but it at least falls under the 4 meter (157-inch) length required for a tax break in India, right? No sir, it does not. The Adra is actually 4.2 meters (165 inches), so you can nix that thought.

Honestly though, from the front end, the Adra Concept actually looks fairly decent, though that high roof is not my cup of tea. Its front fascia is pretty stylish and modern, the apron is sporty, and its sweptback headlights are really sharp. Around back, however, things quickly head south, as it is way too bland and that short rear overhang combined with the high roofline just looks strange.

What the Adra offers is a high seating position, so drivers get a good view of the road, more ground clearance and a pretty roomy cabin for its relatively petite footprint.

There’s no mention of what’s going on under the hood, but we wouldn’t be shocked to see it come with the same 1.0-liter, three-cylinder engine found in the Chevy Beat — called the Spark in the U.S. — with about 60 horsepower.

We’re willing to bet (read: hope) that this model stays right at home in India, if it ever reaches production.

Click past the jump to read more on the Adra Concept

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Video: Very Young Kids Driving a Ferrari F430

Video: Very Young Kids Driving a Ferrari F430

For most kids in the world, the biggest joy will be to drive the bike he or she always dreamed about. But how about a Ferrari F430? No, not a toy one; a real-life one with a 483-horsepower, V-8 engine under the hood and that sprints to 60 mph in just 4.5 seconds. Yeah, that one.

Apparently, to these two Indian children, who look no older than 8-years old, this powerful supercar is a toy. This is all too evident with just how well they handle this machine on the public roadway.

Apparently, the two childrens’ parents were there, or at least some adults were there filming, so we can only assume they had permission. However, we cannot stress enough to you just how stupid it is to let your kids take control of any car, let alone a powerful supercar. Especially when the need the New York City telephone book to see over the steering wheel…

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Lamborghini opens brand new dealership in Mumbai, India

Lamborghini opens brand new dealership in Mumbai, India

It’s been just over a week since Lamborghini officially began construction on its very first dealership in Russia, and the Italian marque has already opened another new showroom this time in Mumbai.

This new dealership means Lamborghini now has two outlets across India, a country which has been booming over the past few years and isn’t showing any signs of slowing down. As a result, wealthy business people are looking to splash their cash on exotic sports cars, much like their compatriots in China and Russia.

In addition to this opening, Lamborghini also announced the launch of a new subdivision of the brand being Lamborghini India. Lamborghini India will be the sole importer of Lamborghini’s into the country, obviously discounting the few high-end importers which may be situated in India, and if this second showroom boosts sales then Lamborghini is likely to open further dealerships across India.

Furthermore, this latest announcement comes after Lamborghini confirmed late last year that it was targeting to improve sales in India, as the number of millionaires is set to double before 2015 and Lamborghini expects sales of luxury automobiles to sky rocket in excess of five times their previous rates.

Unfortunately for Indian buyers, the Lamborghini Aventador LP700-4 will cost almost twice as much as it does in the U.S. due to the very high import taxes.

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India's DC Design set to reveal new supercar concept

India’s DC Design set to reveal new supercar concept

Every year, we’re treated to a number of completely new supercars that are built from all corners of the world. 2011 offered a number of those babies in the form of the Hulme F1, the Vision SZR, and the TranStar Dagger GT-D Outlaw.

Now that we’ve flipped over to the new year, expect a lot more of these little-known exotics to come out of the woodwork, with the first example coming from - of all places - India.

The car is being built by DC Design and is expected to be the showcase car of the upcoming Delhi Auto Expo. Little details are known at this point, but we did get an initial teaser that gives us a sneak peek of what the car will look like. Judging from the silhouette, it appears that it’s being developed as a mid-engine supercar with a unique profile and a jet-style cockpit.

Under the hood of this still-to-be-revealed supercar is a Honda-sourced V6 engine that is being prepared to receive an output of around 400 horsepower. Combine that with a svelte frame and you’re looking at a car that’s poised to impress the auto world.

DC Design is looking into building around 300 initial examples of the supercar at a price that’s being hinted at around $56,000.

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"Star of India" Rolls Royce sells for 'dirt-cheap' $850,000

"Star of India" Rolls Royce sells for ’dirt-cheap’ $850,000

It’s not often that a car sells for $850,000 and gets considered one of the biggest bargains in automotive history. But if the car in question is the famed “Star of India” – it’s a one-off 1934 Rolls Royce Phantom II 40/50 HP Continental All-Weather Convertible – then you kind of understand why that selling price is ridiculously cheap for this car.

You see, this car is one of the rarest vehicles in the world, which gained notoriety when the Maharaja of Rajkot had it built with some pretty fancy coachwork made by Thrupp and Maberley and finished with saffron ochre and polished aluminum wings.

About a year ago, the car was on sale for an eye-popping €10 million – that’s about $14 million based on current exchange rates. After making its way to a number of auctions, the rare Rolls Royce was finally snagged for a ‘paltry’ $850,000 by an Indian man who – get this – turned out to be one Mandhatasinh Jadeja, a former prince of Rajkot and an actual grandson of the Maharajah. Turns out, Jadeja brought the “Star of India” Rolls Royce as a present to his father on his 75th birthday, effectively bringing the multi-million dollar Rolls Royce back to the family for the first time since the Maharajah sold it back in 1968.

We don’t have $850,000, but if we did and we found out that we could scoop up this car for that amount, we’d be running to the bank faster than a wasted teenager making a beeline for the bathroom. That’s how much of a bargain that price tag is. Of course, the fact that it ended up with its rightful owner does sort of bring a small tear to our eye, albeit a manly tear.

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Bugatti to begin selling Veyron in India despite 110% import tax

Bugatti to begin selling Veyron in India despite 110% import tax

Bugatti must be really confident in the buying power of the rich folks of India considering that the company has introduced the Veyron 16.4 Grand Sport in the country despite the ridiculous 110% import tax tacked to items like foreign exotic cars.

Add the car’s cost to the tax it comes with and to be able to purchase a Veyron in the country would mean that you would have to pay a staggering $3.6 million. Apparently, Bugatti is undeterred by the mammoth tax cars like the Veyron will be given, opting to focus more on the huge potential of the spending power of wealthy locals, which, according to analysts, could reach $14.7 billion as fast as 2015.

Satya Bagla, head of Exclusive Motors Pvt., the company that carries high-end brands Bugatti, Bentley, and Lamborghini, said that the Indian market, specifically the wealthy, are beginning to open up their bank accounts. “People have more spending power and are getting more aware of owning beautiful things,” she said.

“They are more ready to show their wealth.” Must be nice.

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2011 Tata Safari

2011 Tata Safari

Although you’ve probably never heard of the Tata Safari, it’s a pretty big seller in other parts of the world. For 2011, there is a new model, although it still appears to be stuck in 1999. It will go on sale in India in the early part of 2011, followed by Europe later in the year.

The new model will pick up where the old one left off, but with more technical updates, a new design, and more attention to fit and finish. This means that the price will rise, but Tata is debating on continuing the production of the previous model, as a low cost variant. Hard to imagine BMW doing that with one of their models isn’t it?

The 2011 Tata Safari SUV will be based on its sibling Aria’s platform which will make the car more rigid and a better handler. The new model will also have lots of space and will be loaded with features such as a leather-wrapped steering wheel, a silver finish on the center console, Climate Control, and much more.

Tata will also use some of the technical know how from Jaguar Land Rover on the new Safari to help sales in Europe. The motor should be 2.2-liter four-cylinder diesel with 140 horsepower.

Hit the jump for the full review.

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The New Mahindra Bolero 'Attitude' Is Ready

The New Mahindra Bolero ’Attitude’ Is Ready

Now this is what we call a real truck. It might not wear the Ram, Ford, or Chevrolet badge, but it’s just as good. The monster looking Bolero is a favorite of police, military, and some citizens who feel the need to be big and tall on the public roads, similar to driving a Hummer in the United States.

Now that the truck has been around 10 years, Mahindra are releasing a 2011 version truck with all the goodies that one might need to tame the Indian wilderness, such as a wicked light bar, a snorkel, tow loops, and a pick-axe.

According to the automaker, the Bolero is the best selling truck in India. It sold around 70,554 units year, which is quite a remarkable feat. This is certainly one of those vehicles that you either love or hate. Arnold Schwarzenegger types will love it, while green folk will believe it to be the anti-Christ. Either way, it sure does look neat.

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2011 Tata Aria

2011 Tata Aria

Tata Motors may have a slew of SUVs on its portfolio, not to mention owning Land Rover, but the Indian-based automaker is finally ready to dive into the crossover market with the launch of the Aria.

The crossover is powered by a 2.2-liter diesel engine that produces around 140 horsepower. It also comes with a number of features including traction control, ABS, ESP, six air bags, and a higher ride height that makes it look more like an SUV than what’s classified as a crossover.

The Aria’s interior is also chalk-full of high-end features including power mirrors, rain sensing wipers, a GPS nav-sat system, automatic climate control, height adjustable seats, glove box chiller, and Bluetooth. The features seem fitting for a vehicle Tata describes as a “luxurious creation with the finesse of a sedan and the muscle of an SUV all blended in one car.”

Tata has yet to release pricing and availability of the Aria crossover, but according to the brand, the car will most likely be sold in India exclusively.

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Video: Volkswagen uses Indian newspaper for new audio ad

Video: Volkswagen uses Indian newspaper for new audio ad

Now here’s something you don’t see in your newspapers everyday.

Volkswagen has a new and ingenious advertising ploy, one that involves a newspaper, an audio chip, and a voice recording. Yeah, we’ve never seen this one before.

The German manufacturer recently teamed up with Indian newspaper, The Times of India, for a pretty unique advertisement that allows you to listen to a voice-recorded message while looking at a whole page ad for Volkswagen.

Talk about a morning jolt, huh? Apparently, the voice-recorded spiel begins talking when you open the page to where the advertisement is as shown in the video. The message isn’t all too clear, but it’s unmistakably a promo message for the new Volkswagen Vento.

We don’t know a good deal about how Volkswagen and The Times of India were able to make this work, but according to the people of Wired, the ad apparently uses a photodiode – it’s an object that controls an electric current depending on the presence of a light source - on the audio chip. The message is then activated whenever a reader opens to the page where the advertisement’s ad and stops as soon as he leafs through to another page.

That’s a lot of electrical information that just passed in on one ear and came out the other, but if you want to see how the ad works, you can do so by checking out the video.

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