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Showing posts with label .car talk. Show all posts
Showing posts with label .car talk. Show all posts

Mini SUV segment to boom with Maruti, Volkswagen & Tata entry

        Ford has managed to pull out a rabbit out of the hat through the highly successful Ecosport. The mini SUV segment in India is still in infancy and has very little competitors as of now and Ford Ecosport is enjoying the privilege of being the winner in the segment.

        But things are going to change soon. Hyundai is coming up with a mini SUV codenamed ix25 which has already spied testing alongside Ford Ecosport and Renault Duster on Indian soil. Now the spy picture of Maruti’s mini SUV based on Alpha XA concept has given a broader dimension to the segment. Being a Maruti, it can offer a product very competitively to its competitors, the trend which Maruti Suzuki has been following for a long time.

        Volkswagen is planning to bring Taigun in 2016 and mini Duster or new low cost mini SUV from Renault is also on the cards. Tata Motors is launching Nexon mini SUV soon. So in coming years we will see a huge demand as well as competition in the mini SUV segment in India. Does B segments 2005 to 2014 success story will be carried to mini SUV segment? Chances are more likely...

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After Chennai, is Sanand the next automobile capital of India?

     Tamil Nadu has many automobile manufacturing companies in India and it would not be wrong to say Chennai is the automobile capital of India. Now Sanand, the permanent home for Tata Nano is the hot designation for automobile companies in India to set up its plant.

     French carmaker PSA Peugeot Citroen will start works for its plant in Sanand next month. Peugeot is re-entering into Indian market after 10 years and plans to invest Rs. 4000 crores in its plant. The other major car manufacturer Ford India has already started work on its second plant in Sanand which too will see investment close to that of Peugeot’s. Ford will roll out its first car from Sanand plant in 2014.

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Mahindra’s design issues

     We have never seen a good looking vehicle from Mahindra, except the Bolero, thanks to its bold front grill.

     Right from MM 540 International to today’s Xylo, Mahindra vehicles have not be able to turn heads. Many of you might argue for Scoprio’s design, but we should tell you, the Scorpio was a hit because it was the first off-roader cum SUV in Indian market with rounded contours. Tata Safari was big flop because of its engine. The Scorpio’s other success secret was its engine.

     Coming to the latest W201 SUV design, Mahindra has put some effort to make it stand out from its competitors. The unique door handle design and huge rear wheel arch are some of them to mention. But by the front picture of W201, which was posted on a facebook fan page, the vehicle did not impress us honestly.  It is still premature to say that as we still have not seen the complete picture of the SUV. Let’s wait and see if Mahindra could indeed pull out a head turner. 
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Peugeot 207 hatch entry to hot up B Segment

     Peugeot 207 hatch’s entry to Indian market will further hot up the already crowded B Segment. Though the French are late to enter India, the design and quality of Peugeot products have their own essence with which it can gain a decent market share. The design of 207 might seem similar to other cars on road in India but the car does demand attention because of its invigoration personality.

     Peugeot 309 which was launched a decade and a half ago in India was known for its refined engine and durability. It was unfortunate that ‘309’ could not sell in large numbers, which as all because of marketing issues and nothing to do with 309’s technicality. The international version of 207 is 4045mm long and we are sure Peugeot will work on the bumpers to shorten the car to come under 4 meters. With over 1800 mm width, the 207 promises to give class leading interior space.

     Peugeot has two diesel engine options, a 1.4L & 1.6L HDi engine for 207 in the other parts of the world. In India, the 1.4L HDi engine will find its place under the 207’s hood. The 1.4L HDi engine produces a decent 70 Bhp of power. Since Peugeot’s diesel engines are known for its smoothness, the 207 will deliver good performance and fuel efficiency as well.

     Peugeot 207’s built quality will also be good, keeping in mind about Peugeot’s quality standards. With a good engine, fuel efficiency, build quality, style and large interior space the Peugeot 207 hatch aims to give run for their money for the cars in B Segment. Expect the Peugeot 207 hatch to be priced around Rs. 6 lakh

What do you people think? Your opinion is most welcome…
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Honda City diesel? Wait till 2013

     With the rising fuel prices, people are switching to diesel cars, thanks to the latest diesel engine technology which has improved the performance and fuel efficiency of diesel cars.

     Honda City had been the market leader in the C Segment cars in India because of its sheer performance and better fuel efficiency than its competitors. Well we have to say that it no longer stays at the top because of the Vento diesel.

     Volkswagen had targeted the Honda City before launching and it is succeeded to some extent in tress passing the Honda City category. Volkswagen’s Vento diesel has indeed caused damage to the Honda City party.

      Honda seems to be the worried automobile manufacturer. First it was the Tsunami and Earthquake in Japan which has caused damage to Honda and secondly the raising fuel costs. Since Honda has no potential diesel engine for its medium segment cars, it is finding difficult to sustain the markets especially in India.

      Honda had announced that it is developing a small diesel engine for it s cars. But that will not happen before 2013. We feel Honda has speed up its diesel engine development to sustain in this cut throat competitive market.

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The best B Segment car in India

     It is no doubt that everyone will agree that Maruti Swift is the best B Segment car in India. We have a question on it. Why does Swift is the best B Segment in car in India. There are more than one answer.

     The Maruti Swift compared to its competitors namely Polo, Micra, i20 is priced lesser. The other most advantage of Swift is that it is a Maruti. Being a Maruti it is easier to service your car with much cheaper spare part price. 

     The design of the Swift is so fresh, it will go on selling like hot cakes for another 5 years. The only disadvantage of Swift is its rear seats. The rear seats are cramped and you will find hard to get in and get out if the front seats are pushed even little behind. Suzuki has worked on it and has developed an all new Swift which is wider and has good leg room for rear passengers.

     The million dollar question arises now? Does Maruti launch the all new Swift along the the existing Swift. We see many cars in India being continued along with its last generation model. We at Automobile Planet feel, Maruti is in big confusion perhaps the biggest confusion it has faced in its history. 

     If Maruti launch the new Swift along with the old generation one, it has to price the new Swift above the current Swift. This would make the new Swift come into Micra, Polo and i20 category which we feel are over priced. If the new Swift replace the current one, Maruti will lose the customer base who have showed great interest in the present Swift. It is indeed a tricky situation which Maruti has to sort it out cleverly. We feel Maruti has been good at strategies and would come out with good solution in regards to its one of the best cars Swift. 

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Chevrolet Spark diesel could change the face of the game

     Couple of days back, the Chevrolet boss of India has hinted about Spark diesel to be launched in India soon with a new 1.0L TCDi diesel engine. Chevrolet might price the diesel Spark little higher than the petrol one. This makes the Spark to be the first car in the segment with a diesel option.

     A diesel car at the price of Rs. 3 lakh+ could change the face of the Indian car market. The cheapest diesel currently available in India is priced above Rs. 5 lakh. Car buyers are increasingly worried about the running cost, thanks to the petrol price hike. A person buying a car with budget of Rs. 3 lakh will definitely think about spending another 50K and go for a diesel car. The smaller three diesel engine from General Motors will give good average as well.

 Chevrolet might face a problem of Spark eating the share of the Beat which will also be available with the same diesel engine. Smart pricing and positioning of the cars might change the fortunes of the American auto major.
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A new kid on the block - SX4 diesel, watchout

     The SX4 diesel might be a late entry into the Indian mid-size diesel segemet, but the car promises to ruin the party of Ventos, Manzas, Lineas and ofcouse the Vernas. The Fiat sourced 1.3L multijet diesel engine with Turbo, which the Suzuki calls it as DDiS seams to give better performance than the Linea. Fiat might be kicking itself for transfering the technology of 1.3L multijet diesel engine to Suzuki. This is not the first time Suzuki has bullied the Fiat, even the engine in Swift which is same as that of the Punto, delivers better performance and mileage than the later, thanks to light weight and value engineering from the Japanese.

     The sales of SX4 had sky-dived in the recent past, that was manily due to the lack of diesel option. The SX4 which the company calls as 'Men are Back' indeed lives upto the proverb with is ruggedness and high ground clearance. The large wheels and high ground clearance gobbles the potholes like a devil.


     With the launch of SX4, not only the diesel rivals such as Vento, Linea, Manza and Verna are concerned, the bench marker in the segment, Honda City will also face the heat because of the pricing. With the price of Rs. 7.74 lakh for the base variant which goes up to Rs. 8.60 lakh for the top end one (All prices ex-showroom New Delhi), a great chunk of Indian customers will opt for SX4 and since being a Maruti is an advantage.

      The other car which the SX4 will closely compete is the Etios, but by the time Toyota would launch the Etios the SX4 diesel would have dominated the segment. What you say???
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Will Volkswagen & Suzuki share dealerships in India?

     With VW buying Suzuki’s 19.9% share it can be speculated that both the companies could share their dealerships in India like Tata and Fiat.

     Tata and Fiat got into a JV couple of years ago. With the JV, Tatas got the technology from the Fiat and in turn Fiat which lacked the sales and service in India got a channel to sell and service their cars in a better way. Fiat though makes world class cars, could not make a big intact in India from past 10 to 15 years due of lack of its after sales services. Now with the JV, Fiat has sold a substantial number of its newly launched cars Grande Punto and Linea.

     This could set a great example for VW and Suzuki. Suzuki has a vast dealership network in India and VW is relatively new here. Setting up of good number of dealerships will consume both time and substantial cost. So it could be better for VW to share the dealerships with Suzuki. Suzuki can in turn get the diesel technology which it lacks in its portfolio. This could to be a win-win situation for both the companies if the JV is worked out well.

VW and Suzuki tie up story

     German and Europe’s largest carmaker Volkswagen bought 19.9% stake in the Japanese third largest carmaker Suzuki couple of weeks ago by purchasing shares of Suzuki worth $ 2.5 billion. Suzuki had its strength in small cars and for Volkswagen to become the world’s largest carmaker its needs small cars in its portfolio.

     On the other hand Suzuki will be benefited from VW’s diesel engines and sell its cars in Europe from which the company gets 57% of its revenue. Of $2.5 billion dollars, Suzuki will use half of the money to clear its debts and invest in development of next generation technology like electric, hybrid, low emission and low cost vehicles as well.

     One country which will be greatly affected from VW and Suzuki tie up will be India. Global makers are eying Indian market and are expecting their growth here for next decade. With the two company joining hands, both will be benefited in what could be the higly competitive automobile market in the world for sure in coming days.
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