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Maruti Suzuki Ertiga all set to be launched at Auto Expo 2012

     The suspense of Maruti’s MUV codenamed R3 is over. Maruti’s MUV will be called Ertiga and clear images of the Ertiga have been out in the net. Maruti has been showing glimpse of Ertiga on its website related to Auto Expo 2012. Maruti will launch Ertiga with 1.4L petrol and 1.3 L DDis diesel engine. The petrol engine has been specially developed for the Ertiga and promises to gives better performance compared to its 1.2L siblings.

     As seen from the pictures, Maruti (Suzuki) have done a wonderful job in conceptualization  of the MPV and bring it to the reality. Thought the Ertiga is different from the R3 concept shown at the Auto Expo 2010, the overall silhouette of the vehicle remains the same. The Ertiga production model is more practical with conventional Swift/Ritz looks.

     The Ertiga being an MPV and competing against the market leader Innova, it does not look too long. It features proportionate dimensions and can still seat 7 persons. As speculated earlier, the Ertiga will not come under 4 meter length mark and hence will not have tax sops as that of a small car.

     Built on the extended Ritz platform, Ertiga is designed to give class leading performance at affordable cost. The tall stance and intelligent seating arrangement accommodates 7 persons comfortably. Expected to be priced between Rs. 7-9 lakh, Ertiga is getting ready to give nightmares to Toyota Innova. In fact, the Ertiga is the first serious contender to compete against dominant Toyota MPV since its launch in 2005

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New Tata Safari facelift to be named Safari Storm

     Tata Motors has been testing the facelift Safari for quiet some time and rumors of its name Merlin has been in the net since the spy mules were spotted. Now it is official that the new Safari will be named as Safari Storm which will be launched at the Auto Expo 2012. This is the major facelift to Safari since its launch way back in 1998.

     Some spy pictures of the Safari Storm has also surfaced during its ad shoot out. From the spy pictures (see below) the facelift is very much evident, with new set of headlamps, new bumpers and new grill. The new grill gives a premium feel to Safari which now looks more like a Land Rover. The other change you can see in the new Safari is absence of the spare wheel on the rear door. Tata Motors has worked on the body in the rear to accommodate the spare wheel.

     With the SUV segment hotting up with some new launches from Mahindra and Force Motors, it will be nice to see how the Safari Storm performs. Tata Motors will carefully price the Safari Storm and do not want to make the pricing mistake it did for the Aria. Recent Tata Motors was offering huge discounts of over Rs. 1 lakh on an Aria variant.

     The new Safari Storm will come with the same 2.2 L DICOR engine and we feel Tatas have worked on the engine to rectify the power woes (Safari’s main drawback was its engine which lacked power).

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Tata Pixel at Auto Expo 2012

     Tata Motors will showcase its advanced micro car Pixel at the coming Auto Expo 2012. The Pixel, designed for the European markets is based on Nano and incorporates lots of advanced features. The Pixel is over 3 meters in length and accommodates 4 persons comfortably. Tata claims Pixel to be  most advanced compact car in the world.

     A 1.2 liter 3 cylinder diesel engine powers the Pixel and the engine position is same as that of the Nano, in the rear. The Pixel features start stop technology and low resistant tyres. The design of the Pixel gives a very low coefficient of drag which gives maximum fuel efficiency to the car.

     The Pixel features the Zero Turn System which enables the car to deal with tight parking spaces. An Infinitely Variable Transmission (IVT) results to rotation of the outer rear wheel forwards and the inner rear wheel backwards during aforementioned maneuvering. This gives the car an incredible turing circle of radius of just 3.6 meters. The Pixel’s vertical lifting doors is the main highlight of the car.

     As we told earlier, the Pixel is developed for European model and will not come to India soon. Expect the car to come to India by 2012.

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Renault launches upgraded Fluence diesel in India

     Renault has launched an upgraded variant (E4) of Fluence diesel in India. The E4 trim which was available only in petrol version is now available in diesel which now becomes Rs. 1.5 lakh dearer than the base E2 variant. The E4 variant is priced at Rs. 15.12 lakh (ex-showroom, Mumbai). Bookings for the diesel E4 variant have already started.

     The E4 diesel variant gets Chrome Finish on Window Sill and Trunk Lid, Automatic Healdlamp, Rain sensing wiper (2 Speed + Intermittent Variable), Rear Parking Sensors and Side Chest Level Airbags on the Front Seats. 

     There are some changes in the interiors as well. The E4 variant now gets Plush Leather Upholstery with beige interior which adds to the premium look of the vehicle. There is Dual Zone Auto Climate Control with rear AC vents to keep the cabin temperature at one’s need. The car also get Cruise Control and Speed Limiter, Rear sunblinds and electrically operated outside rear view mirrors which fold with tough of a button. The inner rear view mirror gets ElectroChrome treatment. 
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Chevrolet/ Wuling Sunshine van spied, could be launched at Auto Expo 2012

     Chevrolet’s Chinese minivan Sunshine has been spied again on Indian roads and as the Auto Expo 2012 is getting nearer, we can expect its launch very soon. Chevrolet has brought Wuling vehicles to India and has been testing them for quite a sometime.

     Apart from Sunshine, Chevrolet is also testing a minivan of the Maruti Eeco size in India. We in our earlier post (few months back) had showed you the spy pictures of this Maruti Eeco sized minivan. Seeing the sizes of these two Chinese vehicles we can asses that Chevrolet wants to tap Maruti Eeco and Mahindra Xylo/Tata Sumo segment.

     If Chevrolet can bring in good diesel engines for these vans, the can turn the fortunes of Chevrolet in India. But having said this no one can expect a vehicle’s success than the cautious Indian customer!

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Next generation Nissan Pathfinder spied

     The legendary Nissan Pathfinder is the SUV anyone will like to do off-roading with. The current generation model built on Nissan’s F-Alpha platform will undergo transformation to a new platform FF-L (Front-engine, Front-Wheel-Drive, Large) in 2013. Spy photographers of Worldcarfans has caught some spy pictures of then next generation Pathfinder testing in US.

     The FF-L platform underpins the Murano and Quest and by the spy pictures we can assume the new Pathfinder will have the same sleek styling of the Murano. Before speculating anything let’s wait till next month where Nissan will preview the new Pathfinder at Detroit Motor Show.

Current Nissan Pathfiner

2013 Nissan Pathfinder 

2013 Nissan Pathfinder 
2013 Nissan Pathfinder 

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Honda City facelift launched in India

     Honda today launched the City facelift in India. Honda had earlier launched the City facelift in Thailand few months ago. We somehow did not like the new City's changes. We will highlight you why we were not impressed with the changes in the new City.

     The front bumper now doesn’t look as sporty as the earlier one and the grill with wide air inlet openings doesn’t suit the City’s overall sleek body design. The front headlamps have made bigger now, boy the sleek small headlamps suited the best for the arrow shot design. In the rear also the bumper design doesn’t look attractive; the crease continuing from the tail lamp to the bumpers doesn’t gel well.  What we liked is the tail lamps with LED lights and the turn indicators on the ORVM. Oh we have not motioned about the roof opening, yes it is a good move by the Honda to provide one but it will be available in only selected models.

     Having said these things, we feel beauty lies in the eyes of the beholder. Anyone might feel the new City to be attractive, but we have mentioned about our feeling about the ‘Iconic City’ (Known for its superb design).

These are changes you can seen in the new Honda City facelift - New chrome grille, Restyled front & rear bumper, New tail lights, 10 spoke alloys, Improved ground clearance, now stands at 165 mm, Honda City facelift interior additions, New fabric seats, Center control panel, Chrome fittings, Blue meter, Sunroof, Cruise control, Turn indicators on ORVM, Introduction of Corporate edition for value customers, Two new colors – Carnelian pearl red and Sparkling brown metallic.

Honda City facelift price (All prices ex-showroom New Delhi)

Honda City Corporate Edition – 6.99 lakh
Honda City E – Rs. 7,70,000/-
Honda City S – Rs. 8,20,000/-
Honda City V MT (Manual Transmission) – Rs. 8,70,000/-
Honda City V AT (Automatic Transmission) – Rs. 9,42,000/-
Honda City V MT with sunroof and leather seats – Rs. 9,50,500/-
Honda City V AT with sunroof and leather seats – Rs. 10,22,800/-

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Nissan Sunny diesel launched at Rs. 7.98 lakh

     Nissan has launched the diesel version of Sunny sedan in India with price starting from Rs. 7.98 lakh (ex-showroom, New Delhi). The Sunny diesel is available in two trim levels – XL (priced at Rs. 7.98 lakh) and XV (priced at Rs. 8.78 lakh) (Both prices ex-showroom New Delhi). The bookings for the car have been started all over India.

     The Sunny diesel is powered by same 1.5L engine of Micra but with different tune. Here the engine develops 85 bhp of power @ 3750 rpm and torque of 20.4 kgm @ 2000 rpm. It is coupled with 5 speed manual gearbox. Nissan claims the diesel engine has ARAI certified fuel economy of 21.64 Kmpl.

     The XL variant gets body coloured bumpers, on board drive computer, manually adjustable anti dazzling mirror, ABS with EBD and Brake Assistance, driver and passenger side airbags, body coloured and electronically adjustable outside rear view mirrors, chrome plated outside door handles and radiator girll, steering mounted audio controls, rear A/C vents and remote keyless entry. In addition to all these the XV variant gets alloy wheels and electronically folding rear view mirrors. With all these features both the variants of Nissan Sunny is a good value for money car. 

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Honda City facelift Indian launch on 14th December

     Honda will launch its facelifted City sedan in India on the 14th of December. The facelifted City will be the same one launched couple of months ago in Thailand. Honda had drastically reduced the price of the current City to clear the backlogs.

     The key exterior changes in the new Honda City are – new front grill with chrome plating, new altered headlights, new front bumper and fog light design, new rear bumper with diffuser, new taillights, new alloy wheel design. In the interior there is blue instrument cluster illumination and gun metal finish to the central console. The E variant gets beige interiors.

     The new Honda City comes in following colours - Chameleon Red, Sparkling Brown Metallic, Bold Beige, Tafeta White, Black, Silver, Urban Titanium. Six variants will be on the offerings - E M/T, S M/T, V M/T, VL M/T, V A/T, VL A/T. The V variant gets OSRVM turn indicators and new alloy wheels. The VL variant in addition to the features of V variants gets leather seats, sunroof and automatic climate control. The E and S will remain the same with just the facelift. There is absolutely no change in the mechanicals in the new Honda City. 

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Tata Safari Merlin launch early next year

     Tata Motors has given a major uplift to its SUV Safari since its launch in 1998. Codenamed ‘Merlin’, the camouflaged Safari has been spied numerous times for over more than 6 months. It will be launched in the first quarter of next year.

     The changes in the front include new headlamps and grill which are now sharper. In the rear there is change in the tail lamps and no spare wheel. Lots of chrome in the front and rear are the major highlights. The interiors get plastic wood finish, apart from which there is no change absolutely.


     Powering the Safari ‘Merlin’ will be the same 2.2L DICOR engine. The ‘Merlin’ adopts the new X2 platform of Aria, shortened to Safari’s 2650mm wheelbase. This helps the ‘Merlin’s’ ride and handling characteristics. Like the Aria, the ‘Merlin’ too gets dual exhausts. 

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Volvo design director sketches Modern day Volvo P1800

     To commemorate the 50th anniversary of Volvo P1800, Volvo’s design director Mr. Christopher Benjamin has sketched the modern day P1800. The Volvo P1800 which was a 2 door notchback was built between 1961 and 1973. The car was designed by Pelle Petterson through the Italian Carrozzeria Pietro Frua design firm.

     The modern day Volvo P1800 sketch though has some resembles with the original car, has some modern day design cues. The car in the sketch looks sportier with clear lines running along the shoulder upto to the bonnet and grill. The rear of the car also has some scooped out design which again add to the sportiness to the car. 

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Nissan Sunny diesel to be priced at Rs. 6.6 lakh

     The diesel version of Nissan Sunny will be launched in January next year with a starting price of Rs. 6.6 lakh (ex-showroom, New Delhi). The Sunny TV ad of big Caaar has caught lot of attention and with a diesel engine coming into the car, the Nissan customers will have more options to choose from.

     The diesel engine of the Sunny is the same 1.5L engine which powers the diesel Micra. The 1.5L Renault source diesel engine has proved its mettle under the hood of Logan and Micra. This engine is one of the best diesel engines at present in India which delivers class leading fuel efficiency and performance.   

     With the diesel Sunny coming in, the rivals such as Tata Manza, Fiat Linea, SX4 diesel, Ford Fiesta, Hyundai Verna, Skoda Rapid and VW Vento will have one more competitor who will be hard to match in terms of price and fuel efficiency.   

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Hyundai to unveil a compact SUV at Auto Expo 2012

     After seeing the success of Mahindra XUV500 and with news of Maruti Ertiga and Ford Ecosport coming into Indian SUV market, Hyundai wants to be part of this fastly growing segment in India. Hyundai will unveil a compact SUV at the Auto Expo 2012 being held in January next year at New Delhi. The details of this mini SUV is still remote, but speculating with the Hyundai’s international product line up, a crossover based on Veloster could be Hyundai’s new mini SUV.

Hyundai has not had good success in Indian SUV/MUV segment. Its vehicles Terracan and Tucson, though being good products was not able to make a mark. The timing of these vehicles could be a major factor as the SUV/MUV segment in India was in infancy. 

     The mini SUV segment has good advantage of tax sops if it comes into small car norms. The small car norms in India which applies to vehicles with length of under 4 meters and engine capacities of under 1200cc for petrol and under 1500cc for diesel makes this mini SUV segment the hottest at present. No wonder Premier has launched Rio (its first vehicle after a decade) and Mahindra working on a shortened Xylo.

     Finally the carmakers have understood the Indian customers mind set of travelling more people in a vehicle which costs less to run and own. 

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India car market sales data for November 2011

Spark – 1041
Beat – 4586
Aveo-UVA – 74
Aveo – 84
Optra – 211
Cruze – 449
Tavera – 1892
Captiva - 45
Punto – 813
Linea – 223
Palio –1

Figo – 6106
Fiesta Classic – 1388
Fiesta – 624
Endeavour – 204
Ambassador – 107
Lancer & Cedia – 29
Pajero – 99
Outlander – 9
Montero – 4
EVO-X – 0
Brio – 666
Jazz – 382
City – 652
Civic – 161
Accord – 91
CR-V – 30
Eon – 7418
Santro – 5122
I10 – 10174
I20 – 7148
Accent – 682
Verna – 4331
Sonata – 3
Santa Fe – 122
Verito – 1127
Bolero – 8004
Xylo – 1637
Scorpio – 4646
XUV500 – 1637

Maruti Suzuki
800 – 1373
Omni – 6351
Alto -24422
Eeco – 3261
Estilo – 702
Wagon R – 12069
A-Star – 1057
Ritz – 4148
Swift – 17273
Dzire – 10403
SX4 – 1433
Gypsy – 180
Kizashi – 162
Grand Vitara – 0

Micra – 1543
Sunny – 1131
X-Trail – 25
Teana – 18
370Z – 0

Fluence – 101
Koleos – 73
Skoda Auto
Fabia – 1155
Laura – 329
Yeti – 68
Superb – 119

Tata Motors
Nano – 6401
Indica +Vista – 10926
Indigo+Manza – 6213
Sumo – 2104
Safari – 1368
Aria – 140
Venture – 585
Liva – 4328
Etios – 3943
Innova – 4308
Corolla – 488
Fortuner – 860
Camry – 16
Prius – 0
Prado – 10
Landcruiser – 3
Polo – 3160
Vento – 3055
Jetta – 359
Passat – 140
Beetle – 8

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2012 Mercedes Benz M Class spotted in Mumbai

     The next generation 2012 Mercedes Benz M Class has been spotted at ‘Air Cargo Complex’ Mumbai. We feel the 2012 M Class would have been flown to India for the Auto Expo 2012 being held at New Delhi in January next year.

     Mercedes Benz in its future plans had announced that it will assemble M Class SUVs in India. Currently GL and M Class vehicles are imported from Europe. The next generation M Class features fuel saving technologies such as smart oil and water pump, and AC compressor. It is powered by a 3.0-liter turbo-diesel V-6 producing 240 horsepower paired to a 7 speed automatic transmission.

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2012 Mitsubishi Mirage debuts in Japan, might come to India

     Mitsubishi has unveiled its latest 2012 Mirage small car at Tokyo Motor Show. The Mirage is built exclusively for developing markets, so India could be one of its destinations. The Mirage will go into sale in Thailand in March next year.

     The Mirage is built with the theme "satisfy the needs of people all over the world". The styling is simple with traditional Mitsubishi grill. The silhouette is decent which reflects ample space in the interior. The interior design is again simple and clean and gives airiness to the cabin.  

     A 1.0 liter 3 cylinder gasoline powers the Mirage. The engine has variable valve timing and start stop system. The engine is connected to a continuously variable transmission which is expected to deliver 30 km per liter of fuel.

     Mitsubishi will certainly consider launching the car in India, sensing the demand for B segment cars. A diesel engined Mirage could create wonders here with its simple and functional looks. Having said this, Mitsubishi’s Mirage is still a mirage for India. Let us hope to see this small beauty here as soon as possible!

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