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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