Saturday, October 8, 2011

2012 Yamaha Zuma 50F Scooter

Imagine a company having enough faith and confidence in a new product’s performance potential to have the national press launch take place in the “City by the Bay” – San Francisco, with its steep hills and heavy commute traffic. Especially when the new product is a new 49cc scooter and several members of the moto-press are in excess of 220 pounds – the payload for the product in question is actually 222 pounds. The company was Yamaha and the product was their new 0212 Zuma 50F scooter.

The Yamaha Zuma first made its appearance on the scooter scene with the first generation, which covered from 1989 to 2001, followed by the second generation Zuma from 2002 to 2011. So far, more than 79,000 Zumas have been sold to a variety of rider types, making it a cult favorite. The new third generation Zuma makes its debut as a 2012 model, and it has progressed from a two stroke to a four stroke, SOHC, 3-valve, liquid-cooled, fuel injected single-cylinder motor. The motor is mated to a CVT automatic transmission that delivers power to the rear wheel via a V-belt.

Development of the 2012 Yamaha Zuma 50F was aimed at satisfying customer concerns in all areas, but focusing most heavily on style and fuel mileage. The resulting design influence was based upon a tough, rugged dirt bike image, with a separate front fender, side panels, knobby-type tires and tube-type handlebars.

Zumas are used most for both commuting and for pleasure riding, with no real specific rider profile. Zuma riders are traditionally a very diverse group, skewed gender-wise at 28 percent female and 72 percent male, with the highest age groups being in the 30-34 age range, topped by the 50-54 age group. Twelve percent are under 16 years of age and two percent are over age 70. How’s that for a broad reach? Average Household Income of Zuma riders is $46,003. And 56 percent have some level of college education.

The Zuma 50F features a low center of gravity for great balance and sporty handling characteristics. The 1.2-gallon fuel tank is positioned low, in the center floorboard tunnel and the fuel thrifty scooter is capable of delivering 132 mpg. The locking under seat storage is large enough for a helmet (23-liters), but if

other gear consumes most of the space; there is an underseat post for hooking one’s helmet strap rings for security with the seat in its locked position.

The Yamaha Zuma 50F (the F is for Four stroke) provides a flatter seat and more spacious ergonomics, delivering a less cramped riding position and greater comfort for both rider and passenger. The tube-type handlebars with their bar clamp mounting system allows customers to easily change bars. There’s also a cupholder, fold out hook and rear luggage rack and grab bar for added convenience and versatility. The sporty meter pod contains an easy to read speedometer, fuel gauge, odometer, coolant warning, turn signal (non-canceling) indicator, high beam and engine trouble warning lights.

As already mentioned, the Zuma rides on fat knobby 120/90-10-inch tires front and rear, mounted on five-spoke alloy wheels. Suspension componentry consists of telescopic forks up front and left-side single coil-over shock and swingarm in the rear. Braking chores are handled by a single, left-side disc up front and drum in the rear. Finished in red are the front brake caliper, front inner brake disc and rear shock spring. Other styling details include the clear front and rear turn signal lenses. Exterior color choices include: Team Yamaha Blue; Alpine White; and Raven.

Available Zuma 50F accessories include: a low or tall clear windscreen, under-seat storage organizer, hand guards, seat cover, carbon fiber dash sticker kit, graphic kits and a storage cover.

My test ride came in Alpine White and was equipped with Garmin’s bike friendly Zumo 220 GPS (priced at $499.) The base price was set at $2,540. Total price estimated at $3,189. Based upon GPS and dealer prep.

SUMMARY: The Yamaha Zuma 50F launch team concocted a photo “scavenger hunt” that took in ten of San Fransisco’s most notable landmarks and tourist attractions, all preloaded with City Navigator® into the Garmin ZUMO 220 nav system with voice-prompted, turn-by-turn directions to aid in locating the points of interest. Moto-journalists were encouraged to photograph their scooters at each location, in no particular order with an Olympus PEN E-PM1 camera provided to participate in a contest, with the winning photographer to receive their own Garmin Zumo 220. A Bell “shorty” helmet was provided for each rider’s safety.

The Zuma 50F performed admirably, hauling my 230 pounds (not counting extra gear) up and down hills (Twin Peaks included, along with famed twisty brick-paved Lombard street) and through crowded city streets. The scooter did everything that it was supposed to do with little effort. The ride quality was most compliant and my 6-foot, 4-inch frame actually fit comfortably.

Acceleration seemed to be more than adequate, and the Zuma 50F proved to be highly maneuverable, even surviving an encounter with an intrusive automobile that drifted into my lane, bumping my Zuma in the process. The scooter and I remained upright with only a slight scratch on the scooter and tire mark on my pant leg. Even despite that negative incident, the Zuma 50F provided an exceptionally fun outing with very little fuel consumed during the entire day’s fifty plus mile run.

Yamaha offers a complete lineup of scooters, including a Zuma 125 priced at $3,350 should you desire a little more power, but the Zuma 50F did a yeoman’s job transporting oversized journalists about the city with seemingly little effort. Yamaha’s Extended Service is optionally available for up to four years of extended warranty coverage. – available for all Yamaha street and scooter models.

Bottom-line, the 2012 Yamaha 50F represents an outstanding entry into the scooter world in a smart and stylish package.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Yamaha R15 launched in India for a price of Rs 1.07 lakhs

Yamaha Motors has finally launched the new Yamaha R15 motorcycle in India for a price of Rs 1.07 lakhs (Ex-Showroom, New Delhi). Christened as R15 Version 2.0, the new motorcycle from Yamaha is available for booking across all Yamaha outlets in India.

Yamaha fans in India have been waiting for this upgrade for quite some time now. As predicted, Yamaha has installed new cosmetics which make the new R15 much attractive than the outgoing variant. Along with cosmetic changes, Yamaha has also managed to upgrade handling and performance of their new R15 sportbike.

Technical specs of the new Yamaha R15 Version 2.0 include, a single cylinder FI engine with a displacement capacity of 149.8 cc generating maximum power of 17 PS @ 8,500 rpm and maximum torque of 15 Nm @ 7,500 rpm.

Dimensions of the new Yamaha R15 are 1970 mm X 670 mm X 1070 mm (L X W X H). To tackle the bumpy Indian roads, Yamaha has installed hydraulic damping telescopic suspensions on the front while the rear features monoshock coil spring suspension. As seen in the earlier variant, this one too has front and rear disc brakes.

Upgraded features of the New Yamaha R15 are, new sportsbike like split seats, new front faring, black color coating on the engine, new black alloys, better aerodynamics, new black color exhaust, and new tire hugger for both front and rear wheels.

Friday, August 19, 2011

Maruti Suzuki launches Swift in UP

Maruti Suzuki launched its new version of Swift, loaded with 140 new features, in Uttar Pradesh market today.

Launching the car here the company's Chief General Manager (Network Development) Partho Banerjee said the new Swift has been introduced at a time when there was a good demand for the outgoing model.

Build on an all new platform, the new Swift is longer and wider than the earlier model.

Banerjee said engineers of the company had adopted several new weight reduction techniques for an enhanced power to weight ratio and much fuel efficiency in the new model.

The base model of the Swift (petrol) would start from Rs 4.46 lakh and the diesel from Rs 5.32 lakh

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Maruti Suzuki launches upgraded version of Swift

The country's largest carmaker, Maruti Suzuki India, on Wednesday launched an upgraded version of its popular premium hatchback 'Swift' in an aggressive price range of Rs 4.22-6.38 lakh. Built on an all-new global platform, the new Swift is cheaper than rivals Volkswagen Polo and Hyundai i20. Maruti is hoping the new Swift would help it drive sales in the world's second largest auto market where new car purchases fell 16% in July.

"The new Swift will create new benchmarks with its improved fuel efficiency, stylish and sportier looks and high performance," Maruti Suzuki India managing director and CEO Shinzo Nakanishi said on the sidelines of the launch in Delhi. The new Swift is lighter by 30 kg and promises better fuel efficiency than its phased out version. The company said the petrol variant would run up to 18.6 km in a litre of fuel, offering 4% more mileage, while the diesel version will deliver 22.9 km in a litre, or 6% more fuel efficiency over the older version.

Maruti, which invested Rs 550 crore in the new car, saw its sales drop 26% in July. The company is now hoping to make strong gains from the new Swift. The company said it has already received orders for 50,000 new Swifts from across the country. In anticipation of the huge order flow, the company has raised production of the new car at its Manesar plant from 12,000 to 18,000 units a month.

Volkswagen launches new Jetta at staring price tag of Rs 14.12 lakh

The largest European car maker Volkswagen has launched all new upgraded diesel variant of its popular premium sedan – Volkswagen Jetta – in the Indian market. The car carries a starting price tag of Rs 14.12 lakh (ex-showroom New Delhi).

The all new Volkswagen Jetta has been launched in four new variants including Trendline, Comfortline and highline manual and Highline DSG. The new Jetta is powered by a 2.0L four-cylinder CRDi engine. The car is available in both 6-speed manual and 6-speed automatic transmissions.

Speaking to the reporters at the launching ceremony of the car in Mumbai, Member of Board and Director, Volkswagen Passenger Cars, Volkswagen Group Sales India, Neeraj Garg said, "With the introduction of the New Jetta our entire carline from the Polo to the Passat now offers the latest and the best to our customers."

Volkswagen India has been witnessing a considerable surge in sales since last one year. While the total sales of the company stood at 32,000 units during last year, it has already sold 45,000 units of its cars in the country in last seven months.

While further elaborating the company’s expectations from newly launched Jetta, Mr. Garg said that the company has sold a good number of Volkswagen Passat and Volkswagen Jetta in the last seven months. Despite economic slowdown Volkswagen hopes this New Jetta will help to increase its market share in coming days.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Chevrolet India website features Beat Diesel

Chevrolet India website, added a new page which features one of the most awaited cars of this year, Beat Diesel. Chevrolet Beat diesel will be powered by a small 936 cc TDCi diesel engine that will generate 57 bhp and 157 Nm torque.

The USP of this car is that it will be powered by a diesel engine that will deliver a mileage of 24 kmpl. In today’s time when rising fuel costs have forced people to switch to diesel powered cars, Chevrolet Beat is expected to change GM India’s fortunes in India.

According to the website, Chevrolet Beat’s Smartech engine will feature advanced engine design, engineering & packaging, combination of features and engine components package that provides improved performance, significant improvement in NVH characteristics of the engine leading to more comfortable driving experience, smart engine design and technology that provides optimum fuel efficiency in varied driving conditions, higher low end torque delivery for improved driving experience in stop and go traffic conditions, and rigorously tested & proven in extreme Indian road and climatic conditions.

While on the car, Chevrolet states, “Leave behind the worries of petrol costs, ignore the long queues at fuel stations; pass by every milestone on the road because new Beat Diesel is here. Equipped with advanced SMARTECH engine, Chevrolet Beat Diesel promises a very good mileage for really long drives. Its low end torque lets you hit the road with excellent pick up and enjoy the silent rides along with 4.5 m turning radius for great city maneuverability. So what are you waiting for? Be the first to experience. The Smarter Diesel!”
Source: Chevrolet Beat Diesel India

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Chevrolet Beat Diesel Pre-Launch Preview

Chevrolet Beat Diesel

Tomorrow, at 1130 in the morning, General Motors India will unveil the hotly anticipated entry level diesel hatchback, the Chevrolet Beat Diesel at Delhi and Mumbai simultaneously. In the run up to the launch, General Motors has been stressing upon the fact that the Beat Diesel’s three cylinder, common rail turbo diesel engine displaces 936cc and will be one of the segment leaders when it comes to fuel economy.

Also, the fact that the engine being a three cylinder unit will cost lesser to produce than say, a four cylinder diesel engine that most of the other competing cars in the segment like the Tata Indica eV2 and the Ford Figo Diesel feature. And this factor is expected to make a big difference.

This cost saving aspect of the three pot engine is expected to translate into a lower sticker price for the Chevrolet Beat Diesel, one which we expect will be very competitive to say the least. So, you can expect the Chevrolet Beat Diesel to be priced very close to the Tata Indica eV2 or just a little over the Indica’s price, thus making it one of the lowest price diesel hatchbacks in a country.

Chevrolet Beat Diesel

This, is especially crucial in a time when the demand for diesel cars in India is at an all time high. With the Chevrolet Beat Diesel, GM India will also aim to demonstrate that a three cylinder engine too can be as smooth as say a four potter. Yesterday, we brought you a story about the Chevrolet Beat’s brand new XSDE(An acronym for extra small diesel engine) Diesel engine’s raft of technologically advanced features.

The engine is also the smallest diesel engine yet, from the General Motors stable. Featuring a cam chain instead of the conventional cam belt, the XSDE Diesel three potter is designed to be a low maintenance engine. The engine has also been developed keeping in mind the fact that its intended application will be mainly on city streets. Therefore, plenty of low end torque to make city driving a breeze is a strong point of the engine.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Honda Vietnam to build third motorcycle production plant

Honda motor's, motorcycle and automobile sales unit, Honda Vietnam (HVN) is planning to build its $120m third motorcycle production plant in Ha Nam Province, Vietnam.

The new plant is part of company's plan to expand its total annual production capacity by 500,000 units in order to meet demand of the motorcycle market in the region.

HVN is expected to invest $120m in the new plant which is scheduled to become operational in the second half of 2012.

The third plant is expected to open in the second half of 2012 and increase HVN's annual production capacity to 2.5 million motorcycles from 2 million.

Since starting production in 1997, Honda Vietnam has produced 9.6 million motorcycles and its market share reached 64% last year.

GM Introduces Beat in Diesel Version

General Motors are aware of rising fuel prices, and also very well know the difference between petrol and diesel prices. And, that is why they have introduced diesel version of Beat for their friendly customers. The new swanky model is priced at Rs 4.29 lakhs. It is considered the car would give tough competition to Ford Figo and Suzuki Swift.

Not only, GM has kept price in mind but it also has designed world smallest diesel engine. The Diesel Beat is available in 1000cc engine, which is designed by GM engineers in Europe, and also has been modified, so that it could suit Indian driving conditions. According to GM officials, this new model would surely give an impetus to the sales of Beat.

Moreover, this new diesel model would be appreciated, when fuel prices has been recently hiked. GM could also introduce diesel versions in their other models. And, in next 18 months GM India hopes to get five new vehicles, including a hatchback. There would not be much difference in novel model, but signature style of the Beat that is macho factor would remain and would be carried in interiors of it as well.

The best about the Beat is its handling, which is considered to be the best in India’s small cars. What makes its handling easy is its light steering, and its turning radius is also small, which makes everything hassle free.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Chevrolet Beat (diesel) to be launched in India on Jul 25

General Motors India would launch the diesel variant of its Chevrolet Beat in the Indian market on July 25, a top company official said

“With fluctuation in fuel prices in India from time to time, the new Chevrolet Diesel Beat, the prices of which will be announced at the launch will revolutionise the small car segment, with its engine capacity and fuel economy,” Karl Slym President and Managing Director General Motors India said

The company, which sold about 1.1 lakh cars last year in India, was doubling its growth rate in India as compared to industry average and expected to sell about 1.4 lakh vehicles in all variants this year,up by more than 30 per cent, he said.

Slym, was in Coimbatore to launch a new dealership along with two attached workshops, said the outlet was 250th in India. With tremendous demand for its cars particularly in rural areas, the company would increase sales and service network to 300 locations by the end of this year, he said.

Ford Focus Sedan to be unveiled at the 2012 Indian Auto Expo

Ford Focus Sedan

Having just launched the 2011 Ford Fiesta Sedan a couple of weeks ago, Ford India will unveil its next product for the Indian car market, the second of the 8 global products the automaker plans to launch in India by 2015, the Ford Focus Sedan. Reliable Ford India sources have revealed this bit of information to Team ICB. The Ford Focus Sedan will compete with the likes of the Toyota Corolla Altis, the Chevrolet Cruze, the Honda Civic, the Renault Fluence Sedan, the Skoda Laura and the new Volkswagen Jetta.

Ford India though would have a tough time at pricing the Focus Sedan competitively as the Fiesta Sedan Diesel’s top end variant is dangerously close to the D-segment car segment. Coming to what the Focus Sedan is expected to offer, a petrol engine and a diesel engine will be on offer with Ford India very serious about expanding its diesel engined model range in India.

Ford Focus Sedan

A 1.6 Liter turbocharged Eco-Boost engine producing about 160 Bhp could be the petrol engine that Ford India might outfit the Indian Focus Sedan with. The diesel engine on the other hand could be a 140 Bh, 2 liter TDCI unit. Both these engines, while being quite powerful to endow the Focus Sedan with terrific performance are also known to be extremely fuel efficient, which most definitely is the need of the day.

These engines will be paired with both manual and automatic six speed transmissions. Notably, the dual, dry clutch automatic Powershift gearbox that Ford has developed recently could make it to the Focus Sedan, for better gearshift response as well as fuel economy. Globally, the Ford Focus Sedan comes with a range of new features, that might come to India as well as Ford India has demonstrated with the class leading features for the new Ford Fiesta Sedan like Active Park Assist, Adaptive Cruise Control and Rear View Camera to name just a few.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Triumph Motorcycles to be launched in India

The iconic British motorcycle brand has announced its foray into the Indian market with its extensive range of premium models hitting the roads by next year. Triumph is one of the oldest motorcycle makers in the world and has been producing some of the finest machines for bikers all around the world. With international players entering the Indian market, Triumph too does not want to be left behind and has officially announced its entry into the country. For its Indian operations, Triumph has appointed Ashish Joshi as its Managing Director, who previously was heading the European operations for Royal Enfield and has a solid experience of sixteen years working in the in Asian and European markets.

Commenting on Triumph’s entry to the Indian market Nick Bloor, CEO of Triumph Motorcycles, UK said: “India is a very important motorcycle market and Triumph has assessed it carefully before deciding to step in. We see it as the next step in our global business model. The appointment of Ashish Joshi is a signal of our seriousness about success in India. I wish him the best and look forward to comprehensive growth from the Indian market.”

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Ford rolls out global Fiesta at 8.23 lakh

Ford drove in the international Fiesta sedan in India on Thursday with an entry price of Rs 8.23 lakh (ex-showroom Delhi), significantly higher than rivals like Honda City, Hyundai Verna and Volkswagen Vento. The US car major has seen a revival of sorts in India after the launch the Figo last year. It is counting on the new car to up its stake in the lucrative but highly competitive premium sedan segment, which has seen a flurry of new launches in recent times.

Ford Fiesta is the first of the eight new global models that Ford has promised to roll out by 2015. It sports a 1500cc engine in both petrol and diesel variants. The entry-level diesel variant will cost Rs 9.27 lakh (Delhi ex-showroom). Michael Boneham, MD of Ford India, told TOI that he was not worried about the price gap against rivals. "It is not about price, but about the product. The Ford Fiesta offers features like anti-lock braking system (ABS), airbags and steering wheel audio controls as standard across variants," Boneham said.

However, rival brands like Honda also offer the features as standard while in others they are available at a lower price. The premium sedan segment has seen competition hotting up of late and changes in the dynamics. The Honda City, once the leader of the pack, has been under tremendous pressure following the entry of models like Vento and the new Verna, forcing the company to go in for a Rs 66,000 price cut last month.

The competition will make things difficult for Ford. The US major is already witnessing a pressure in the demand for the Figo as slowdown hits the market and competitors like Maruti, Hyundai and Toyota catch up. The Figo, the volume-driver for the company, saw volumes dip 6% in the first quarter of this fiscal at 17,319 units against 18,495 units in the corresponding quarter in 2010-11, according to figures released by Society of Indian Automobile Manufacturers (SIAM).

Boneham said he was not too worried about the slowdown in demand in the market and for Figo. "While factors like high interest rates and scarcity of cash have put pressure on the demand in the car market, we are still forecast to grow by 12-14%, which is absolutely not bad. On Figo, we have some production constraints on the diesel engines. In any case, the model is also being exported and we are doing well internationally." Refusing to forecast the company's sales targets, Boneham said Ford was bullish on India and was on course to bring in new models in the market.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

New Chevrolet Beat Diesel

Chevrolet Beat Diesel

A small, economical, four-door hatchback is what an average middle-class Indian family of today is looking for. Out of all this, economy is of utmost priority when it comes to choosing a family hatchback from the varied choice that the customer is presented with. Now with price of petrol nudging 70 rupees a litre, diesel powered cars are set to gain popularity among the middle class population in India. Automakers in India are now anticipating an increased demand for diesel vehicles and have already started addressing the issue.

General Motors will launch the Beat hatchback with a diesel engine which will be aimed at fulfilling the demand for affordable diesel cars. IndianCarsBikes takes a look at a car that will grab your attention by virtue of its funky looks and now with a diesel engine under the bonnet would be light on your pocket as well. Well, fuel economy was definitely on GM’s mind when it comes to the Chevrolet Beat Diesel. At the heart of the machine is the smallest common-rail diesel engine on a passenger car in India and the first GM hatchback to sport a diesel powerplant anywhere in the world.

This is how important the Indian market is to automakers that GM went on to develop the 3-cylinder diesel engine specifically for India. The engine is based on the 1.3 litre Fiat Multijet which GM got from Fiat. The engineers at GM then reduced the size of the engine to 937 cc by getting rid of one of the cylinders turning it into a 3-pot. In this configuration, the 937 cc common-rail diesel engine puts out a healthy 57.8 horsepower and 15.2 kgm of torque. The 4-valves per cylinders and double overhead cams ensure better fuel economy and driveability.

Chevrolet Beat Diesel

To further improve fuel efficiency, GM has dumped the good-old hydraulic steering with a modern electric one. The new electric setup will in fact make the car more maneuverable but could lack the feedback of the classic hydraulic. Still, in the city the Beat diesel with its electric steering will be a joy to hustle around. At speeds though, things could get rather twitchy. The Chevrolet Beat Diesel will do a top whack close to 140 kph but it will require quite a long stretch of empty highway if you wish to get any close to the limit.

Coming to the most important bit, fuel economy. With a small diesel engine upfront, the Chevrolet Beat Diesel does 24 km in a litre of diesel, this according to tests conducted by ARAI. This makes the Chevrolet Beat diesel one of the most frugal hatchbacks available in India today. Now, the Chevrolet Beat is not the most spacious of the hatchbacks and lacks rear space. The boot too is not as spacious as that of its competitors. That said, the rear seat can seat just two adults in comfort.

The Chevrolet Beat Diesel will be launched in India on the 25th of July and as always, pricing will be crucial. So, bottom line, the new Chevrolet Beat is a frugal and affordable (depends on how GM price it) hatchback for a small family or four adults at the max. GM is expected to price the Chevrolet Beat diesel around Rs 4-4.2 lakh. Thus, it will rival the Tata Indica V2 (53.5 bhp @ 5500 rpm). In terms of power, the Beat diesel surely has a slight upper hand and same with the looks. But, as far as practicality is concerned, the Beat does lack interior space. Keep watching this space for more updates on the launch day.

Maruti Suzuki hopes to see car sales pickup by festive season

2011 Maruti Suzuki Swift

The past few months haven’t been so good for the Indian auto industry. Sales have slumped during the past months due to various reasons. Maruti Suzuki sales slumped by 8.8 percent in the month of June. India’s #1 auto maker recorded 80,298 units in the month of June this year which almost 8000 units down on the last years tally during the same month. The slowdown has been associated with the rising fuel prices. The increase in interest rates haven’t been helping either.

CNBC-TV18 recently had a chat with RC Bhargava, Chairman, Maruti Suzuki. Bhargava believes that the recent slowdown in the auto sales should not only be associated with the rising petrol prices and the interest rates that have also been on the rise. The auto industry has been on a roller coaster ride since the past couple of years. The growth of the industry has been fluctuating for the past few years. Maruti Suzuki grew by 30 percent last year and according to Bhargava a low growth rate in the following year was inevitable.

Suzuki Swift Hatchback

Meanwhile, Maruti Suzuki is gearing up for the upcoming festive season and Bhargava believes the sales would pick up before Diwali. Now, the company is also getting ready to launch the new Maruti Suzuki Swift. We come to know that the new Swift will be launched in the month of August. Maruti has already halted the production of the old Swift for the upcoming model. The company has also planned an MPV to take on Toyota’s Innova.

Recently, Maruti Suzuki had to deal with labour issues at their Manesar unit, which also lead to huge production losses. The waiting period for Maruti cars thus increased and with new launches impending, the automaker will have get its act together. The festive season will bring in more demand but automakers should also be able to meet those in time if they wish to cash in on the opportunity.

Via Moneycontrol

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Audi's Half-yearly Sales Up 100 Percent

German luxury car manufacturer Audi reported a 100 percent increase in its sales for the first half of the calendar year.

It has sold 2,802 cars from January to June 2011 as compared to 1,400 units sold in the corresponding period last year.

"Given our outstanding performance in the first six months of the year, we will soon surpass our 2010 annual sale of 3,003 cars," said Michael Perschke, head, Audi India.

The luxury carmaker's sales during the last month grew by 75 percent with sales of 408 cars as against 233 cars in June 2010.

According to the company, the brand is in the process of repeating in the Indian market some proven growth strategies used in the Chinese market, such as aggressively marketing the product, qualitative network growth and strong brand-building process.

"Audi India has adopted an aggressive product strategy this year with the launch of a slew of class-defining models," the company said in a statement.

The statement further said that China has overtaken Germany as the single biggest market for Audi, while the Indian and US markets were the fastest growing regions for the company.

Currently, the company offers a range of cars including A4, A6, A8, A7 Sportback, Q5, Q7, RS5, R8 and R8 Spyder.

Monday, May 23, 2011

Renault Fluence to be launched

The much awaited premium sedan Renault Fluence is all set to mark its debut in the Indian market today. The Fluence model will mark the re-entry of the French car maker in the Indian market as the company currently doesnt' have any car in the country. However, the company is yet to reveal any specification details of the car.

The Fluence model is speculated to be rolled-out in the price range of Rs 11 to 14 lakh where it will be competing with the likes of Honda Civic, Toyota Corolla Altis, Chevrolet Cruze and Skoda Laura. The Fluence sedan will be imported to the Indian market as a completely knocked-down unit (CKD).

Initially, the Fluence model will be available at only 12 dealerships of the company in the Indian market. The company plans to enhance the reach of the Fluence model as per rise in the demand for the car. According to a recent statement given by Mr. Sudhir Rao, Deputy MD, Renault India, “Currently, we have appointed about six dealerships. By the end of May we should be having 12. The plan is to have 100 dealership networks by 2012.”

Thursday, March 31, 2011

2011 Tata Nano Diesel

2011 Tata Nano Diesel

Here’s an ICB exclusive straight from a very reliable source regarding the 2011 Tata Nano Diesel. Work on the 2011 Tata Nano Diesel is going on at a frenetic pace at Tata Motors as the Nano Diesel is the next big thing for Tata. We have many interesting things about the Nano Diesel, first of which is the launch. The Nano Diesel’s CRDI engined version should be all set to hit Indian roads by the end of 2011.

Simultaneously a lower priced Nano Diesel with a Direct Injected version of the the Tata Ace’s engine is being tested and that could follow the Nano Diesel CRDI as a cheaper alternative. However, the Nano Diesel DI’s launch is something that Tata Motors is still evaluating. Coming to the Nano Diesel CRDI, the 800cc common rail diesel engine has been developed by German diesel engine specialists FEV along with Bosch proving the injection system.

According to our source, the engine is extremely torquey and Noise Vibration and Harshness levels are pretty similar to that of the Indica Vista Diesel. Now, that is a huge positive as we were concerned about the 3 pot CRDI Diesel NVH levels considering that the petrol Nano’s engine is more on the audible side. The biggest selling point of this engine is said to be it’s fuel efficiency with Tata’s in-house testing managing 40 KMPL pretty consistently.

The boffins at Tata are gunning for an even better economy figure to ensure that the Nano Diesel CRDI really turns on the heat when it is launched later this year. Now, beat that! Coming to the fuel efficiency of the DI engined Nano Diesel, it is expected to be much lesser than the CRDI engine’s figures and will be in the range of 30 KMPL. Also, a major change in the Nano Diesel’s engine design is the location of the radiator which might be in all probability shifted to the front of the engine.

This, as Tata seems to be grappling with the temperature levels of the petrol Nano engine, especially with the CVT variant, with the radiator being located at the back of the car, struggling to cool the engine quickly over large distances. The front radiator design might be adopted in the CVT Nano, which is another product that is being developed quickly. While that is a lot of messy plumbing, it is imperative for the Nano’s engine to remain cool and reliable. The Nano CVT could see a 2012 launch and going by our source, the Nano CVT might just be the best solution for driving in Indian traffic.

Also, there have been reports about the Nano’s boot being redesigned to allow more access by means of a hatch type rear windshield design. No such plans for the Nano exist in the near future and the Nano’s design is set to be pretty consistent for some more time. While Tata continues to explore on the interior front seat redesign, no decision to incorporate it in the Nano has been arrived at yet.

Finally, coming to the Nano fires incident, Tata has been testing the Nano Petrol all along, even after it’s official investigation declaring the Nano’s design to be safe. Here’s some good news for existing Nano owners. The Nano’s design is safe and in most fire cases reported, the improper fitment of accessories have been the cause of short circuit fires in the Nano. So, if you’re are in a spot over the Nano’s safety, don’t worry. Just go ahead and buy it. Your Nano is safe.
So, that brings us to the end of this week’s big ICB exclusive on the Tata Nano Diesel. Stay glued as we bring you more juicy stuff soon. And thanks for reading!

Honda to develop new diesel engine for Civic and Accord

After a number of delays and postponements, the leading Japanese car maker Honda will be developing a new diesel engine for its premium cars – Civic, Accord and CR-V. So far, most of Honda cars are only available in Petrol versions and the company has developed only a 2.4L diesel engine for Accord. In a statement given in a recent interview Mr. David Hodgetts, MD, Honda UK, said that the company will be launching its new diesel engine once its new Civic model completes one year on road.

The new diesel power-train of the company will be rolled-out in across the world by the first quarter of year 2013. The move of developing a new diesel engine has been taken in the view of rising demand for diesel run cars in the country. The launch of diesel version will not only strengthen the company’s India portfolio, but will also enable its luxury cars in Indian to compete more promptly with their rivals.

The unavailability of diesel versions is now proving a major drawback for the Honda cars. For instance, the closest competitors of the Honda Civic model including Toyota Corolla Altis, Chevrolet Cruze and Skoda Laura, all are available in diesel versions.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

2012 Tata Nano America to be launched soon in US

Tata Nano is expected to hit the US market either in 2011 or 2012 as a 2012 model. This will be known as the 2012 Tata Nano America, which will be a tough competitor for other group of minicars in US market.

Tata Nano was launched first in India during 2007. This was a blessing for millions of people to get this small car at an affordable price of just $ 2,500. The 2012 Tata Nano America is being called as the 21st century Model T.

The Tata Group's CEO, Ratan Tata came up with this small genuine car that can seat four passengers quite comfortably. This small car was a big relief for most of the people in India. Many Indian families, who cannot afford to have a car, would travel on a two wheeler with four persons on it.

Tata Nano is a mini car, which is shaped like an egg. It is a four door model car, which has taken it from the original British Mini of 1960's. Tata brought a deluxe version called Nano Europa at the Geneva Auto Show held on March 2009. This Nano Europa was meant to be launched in other developed countries in future. The source says that Tata Europa would be released for sale in UK, Spain, Italy, and Poland markets.

The new and the latest version of Nano is the US version of Nano called the 2012 Tata Nano America. This Tata Nano in US would compete with 2011 Chevrolet, 2011, Ford Ka, Smart ForTwo, Scion iQ, and other minicars in US. 2012 Tata Nano America will measure 129.5 inches in length, 62.2 inches in width, and 65.0 inches in height. The base curb weight of this car is 1,475 pounds. The wheelbase measures 89.8 inches. The 2012 Tata Nano America is 7.5 inches longer than the basic Tata Nano model. The wheel base of the Nano America is 2 inches longer and larger.

2012 Tata Nano America is a subcompact car with rear wheel drive. Its engine is placed in the back. It has a 1.0 liter 3 cylinder engine that produces 65 horsepower and 65 Ib-ft of torque. This new Nano America has a five speed automatic transmission, which is replaced by the basic Nano's 4-speed manual. The 2012 Tata Nano America is modeled after Nano Europa in Indian markets. The 3-cylinder engine is based on the Europa model. The Tata Nano America claims to have very low CO2 emissions. It gives a fuel economy of more than 50 miles per gallon.

The interior of the new 2012 Tata Nano America will have a high quality interior trim with leather upholstery. The outside appearance of the small car will surprise you with the more spacious interior. The new Tata Nano American version will have a restyled strong bumpers placed for the Western crash tests. The Nano America will also have a rear wiper and washer. Unlike basic model of Tata Nano, the Nano America will have safety features like four airbags, antilock brakes, traction control, stability system, which are standard safety features found in top trim levels.

2012 Tata Nano America also include air-conditioning, fog lights, front power windows, and power door locks. The new Nano America is more stylish in design. All these features in 2012 Tata Nano America comes with the base price of $ 7,000, which is very impressive for a person with low budget.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Big Bazaar helps Tata Motors drive Nano sales

Kishore Biyani's discounted retail format Big Bazaar, which started the concept of 'Sabse Sasta Din' a few years ago, is now selling the sabse sasta car-the Tata Nano.

In a novel move, Tata Motors has tied up with Future Group to sell the Tata Nano in Big Bazaar outlets.

"There is a lot of commonality between Big Bazaar consumers and prospective Tata Nano buyers. Big Bazaar as a concept appeals to the masses and with over 150 million footfalls every year, we are trying to see how we can sell Tata Nano, which has a similar positioning," said Future group's Customer Strategy president Sandip Tarkas, who heads this initiative at Big Bazaar.

2011 Volkswagen Passat @ Rs 20.80 lakhs

Earlier today, German car manufacturer, Volkswagen launched their new Passat sedan in the Indian auto market. Available in 3 options, 2011 Passat is priced between Rs 20 – 26 lakhs. Following are the prices of the 3 Passat variants;

• 2011 Passat 2.0L TDI Trendline @ Rs. 20.80 lakh
• 2011 Passat 2.0L TDI Comfortline @ Rs. 23.80 lakh
• 2011 Passat 2.0L TDI Highline (AT) @ Rs. 25.65 lakh

All the above prices are Mumbai, ex-showroom prices. To know the exact price of 2011 Volkswagen Passat in your city, give a call to the nearest Volkswagen dealer. Volkswagen has launched the new D segment sedan hoping that they can now garner some sales in the segment. Outgoing Passat variant, failed badly in the Indian auto industry.

2011 Passat’s 2.0L TDI engine is not only powerful, but also very efficient as it features the BlueMotion technology. This diesel heart generates 170 bhp of raw power and 350 Nm of torque while giving you the complete control over itself. 2011 Volkswagen Passat’s main competitor in India is Skoda Superb, ironically, VW owns Skoda Auto!

BMW plans launch of new 4-series

Germany’s Auto and Motor Sport magazine has revealed that BMW plans of launching a new four-door coupe. BMW has plans of launching cars for every segment of customers, and the campaign will start with the new four door coupe or BMW 4-series.

The brand new 4-series model is expected to be based on Gran Coupe or a BMW 3-series GT. The main idea of BMW is to launch a car which would include less development costs, and can be afforded easily by customers. Expect the possible 4-series coupe to be a mix of BMW 3-series and 5-Series.

Frankfurt Motor Show in September might feature BMW making announcements pertaining to launch of their new affordable 4-series coupe. BMW’s plan of launching a four-door coupe reflects the company’s idea of increasing sales and profit margins. Presently, no information of the technical specifications was available, but in coming months details of the new 4-series from BMW are expected to be revealed

Friday, February 18, 2011

2011 Chevrolet Beat Diesel primed for a June 2011 Launch

2011 Chevrolet Beat Diesel

As petrol prices have sky rocketed to a level where two wheelers seem the sensible option for most prospective car buyers, a diesel hatchback makes so much more sense as Diesel is still being taxed lesser than petrol by the Indian government. So, diesel cars are most definitely the flavor of the season. The Chevrolet Beat Diesel has been long in the coming with General Motors India making some positive noises at the launch of the Chevrolet Beat LPG recently. According to General Motors India Vice-President P Balendran, the Chevrolet Beat Diesel will be launched in June, 2011.

He also went on to add that the Chevrolet Beat featuring the 1 liter CRDI diesel engine is not a volume player for General Motors, which is really surprising as we expect the Diesel Beat to really improve the fortunes of the Beat brand as a whole. General Motors India, for it’s part has been constantly improving the Beat based on the market feedback and the latest SMARTECH engine was a move in this direction, to improve the low end tractability of the petrol Beat. Now, a top GM India official mentioning that the Beat is not a volume player for GM could mean three things.

One: That he hasn’t a clue about what the Beat lacks right now, which is a diesel engine and that the Diesel as recently as January 2011 anaged to clock in at units, which while falling short of the market leaders the Hyundai i10 and the Maruti Suzuki Swift, is still a very reasonable number.

Two: That General Motors plans to sell the Diesel Beat with a high price tag, a-la-Nissan Micra Diesel and ensure that they shoot themselves onto their own feet and manage to convert the high potential Beat Diesel into an absolute sales dud.

Three: That, he simply has been misquoted.

The last option seems most likely or so we hope as the Chevrolet Beat Diesel simply deserves to be very competitively priced if GM India aim to consolidate their position in the Great Indian Small Car market. Otherwise, introducing a high priced diesel variant would simply not make sense, especially when the likes of the WagonR and the i10 are setting sales charts afire, month after month.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Hyundai i45 named 2011 International Car of the Year

Hyundai i45 named 2011 International Car of the Year.

Off the back of a very successful start to the year for the i45 in New Zealand, its latest accolade, the stunning Hyundai i45 has been named International Car of the Year.

In a grueling American review, the family-favourite midsize sedan has been singled out by a dozen of the world’s top motoring writers as the very best at fitting the lifestyle of its owner.

“This is proof of what many Kiwi owners already know,” commented the Chief Operating Officer of Hyundai New Zealand, Tom Ruddenklau.

“It’s an enormous accolade and an extremely difficult award to win. The ICOTY Awards honour vehicles based on lifestyle compatibility and how well automakers achieve that goal.

“Many of the world’s leading brands would give anything to have a model honoured by the ICOTY jury,” said Mr Ruddenklau.

The ICOTY Jury consists of 12 reputable writers and editors who represent respected publications such as Kelley Blue Book, Consumer Guide Automotive, Yahoo! Autos, Auto Week, MSN Autos, and and more.

Voting ballots are then sent to JD Power and Associates for final tabulation to ensure accuracy and credibility.

Launched in 1997, the ICOTY Awards became the first automotive awards show to honour new vehicles based on the emotional connection between car and consumer.

“Month by month, all around the world, the accolades have continued to roll in since we launched the Hyundai i45 last year,” Mr Ruddenklau said.

“The awards and recognitions are simply too numerous to list.”

“The Hyundai i45 is setting the standard for even more advanced Hyundai vehicles in future, and New Zealand drivers are sharing the joy of this premium ownership experience right now.”

The Hyundai i45 has set a new industry standard for mid-size sedans, with a unique fuel-efficient four-cylinder engine delivering outstanding fuel economy, emotional design, high-tech and luxurious convenience features and a 5-star ANCAP safety rating across the entire range in New Zealand.

The Hyundai i45 was the first mid-size car to receive a 5-star safety rating under the US National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s new, more stringent 2011 system.

Tata’s Nano becomes an exhibition in US museum

Heralding the role of design in profound societal change, an exhibition highlighting the Rs 1 lakh car Nano is one at the Herbert F Johnson Museum of Art here. On till March 27, “Unpacking the Tata Nano” explains how it is possible to design and produce a car that sells for equivalent of $2,500, the organisers said.

The exhibition, by a team of Cornell University’s faculty and students, features a full-scale Tata Nano, plus a production Tata Nano dismantled and suspended in air in its 2,000 parts.

The exhibition also has Tata Motors’ very first concept vehicle, which consists of two used motor scooters welded together under the body of a golf cart.

To show how little carbon dioxide the Tata Nano emits, a 25-foot in diameter balloon will float above the museum's sculpture garden. It represents the Nano's emissions for one year.

Tata Motors to build Nano car factory in Indonesia in 2013

Tata Motors is considering building a manufacturing unit in Indonesia which will be used to manufacture the famous Tata Nano model. According to Indian motoring sources, the plan is under “constant vigilance” by the various study teams. The report cited a Tata spokesperson as saying “Yes, we will be establishing a manufacturing unit in Jakarta. We will be announcing this piece of news shortly, but till then it is all under wraps.” said the plan is basically to get a foothold in the large, as yet untapped markets, beginning with Indonesia. The next step is thought to include Malaysia, Philippines and Thailand.

If the reports are right, the decision will have been influenced by surging sales figures of light vehicles which expanded to 2.23 million units up 36 per cent, according to an Asian Automotive market report by JD Power and Associates in January this year.

This plan is expected to take “a definite shape” in the 2013 financial year. Once they establish production of Tata Nano, the company is then likely to start manufacturing the Tata Ace side by side. It is expected that this manufacturing unit will be capable of generating 50,000 units per year. Supplier are said to have already given quotations.

Currently, the company is planning to output between 12,000 and 15000 Tato Nano model a month in its Sanand, Gujarat plant from March 2011 onwards, according to

New auto sales drop in December

Sales of new automobiles dropped in December, as the truck-buying spree of the previous month lost momentum, Statistics Canada reported.

Sales dropped 4.8% to 128,210 units, with the sale of trucks dropping almost 7% to 69,998 units, it said. The sale of passenger cars dropped for a second month, declining 2.2% to 58,212 units.

For the whole of 2010, new motor vehicle sales jumped 6.7%, as an 18.4% gain in truck sales outweighed a 4.8% drop in car sales.

Last year was a bumper year for Canadian truck sales, accounting for 55% of all vehicles sold. It was the first time since records began in 1946 that trucks outstripped passenger car sales.

In December, sales of North American cars declined 3.6%, while overseas-built vehicles fared better, declining just 0.3%.

Statistics Canada said preliminary data for January points to a renewed uptick in auto sales, with a gain of 3%.

In December, sales dropped across all provinces, led by Ontario.


Honda to Recall Nearly 60,000 Cars in India

The Indian unit of Honda Motor Co. said Thursday it will recall 57,853 units of the City sedan to replace a faulty part as part of a global exercise.

The company would replace the lost motion spring in the valve train in City cars manufactured between November 2008 and December 2009, Honda Siel Cars India Ltd. said. The replacement would be done free of cost by informing customers directly, it added.

Honda said the recall doesn't impact the latest version of the City sedan that is currently produced and sold in India.

"Honda Siel is proactively replacing the part in these vehicles with a new improved part," it said. "Lost motion springs, which are compressed by rocker arms in normal engine use, may bend or break over time, resulting in abnormal engine noise and potentially causing engine stalling and problems in re-starting."

This will be the second recall of City sedans in about a year. In January last year the auto maker recalled 8,532 City sedans manufactured in 2007 to replace defective power window switches that could cause a fire.

Honda currently produces the City, Jazz, Honda Civic and Accord cars in India. It also imports and markets the CR-V sport utility vehicle.

The latest recall doesn't impact the Jazz hatchback in India, the auto maker said.

"The recall announced by Honda applies to certain units of Fit/Jazz fitted with 1.5-liter i-VTEC engine, which is sold in other countries and not sold in India," it said. The Jazz is sold with a 1.2-liter gasoline engine in India.

Honda said it would recall a total of 693,497 vehicles worldwide due to faulty engine parts. Outside India this affects City sedans, some models of the Fit compact, also known as the Jazz in some markets and Freed compact minivan models sold in North America, Asia-Pacific, Latin America, the Middle East and Africa.

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