Upcoming New Car Launches in 2012


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Mahindra-Ssangyong Rexton II

The Rexton II will be the first SsangYong product Mahindra will launch in India. Based on the first-generation Mercedes-Benz M- class, the Rexton II uses its XXL size to camouflage a rather dated design. The cabin is neatly styled though and we hear Mahindra will offer the Rexton with a whole lot of kit too. Power is courtesy a 161bhp, 2.7-litre five-cylinder turbo-diesel engine. Permanent all-wheel drive and a high ground clearance should give it good off-road capabilities though its old-school body-on-frame chassis means on-road dynamics would be far from the best. M&M will assemble the Rexton at its Chakan plant and is likely to price the big SUV close to rivals like the Toyota Fortuner.

Factfile:

Power/Torque: 161bhp/34.7kgm

Kerb weight: 1966-2101kg

L/W/H: 4720/1870/1760mm

Expected: Late-2012

Price: Rs 19-21 lakh
 

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Mahindra Verito (sub-4 metres)

Another addition to the sub-four-metre brigade will be the shortened Mahindra Verito. To do so, Mahindra engineers have chopped off a large chunk of the boot section but we hear that the redesign works well. Spacious interiors, solid build and a proven diesel engine come together to make this a sensible ‘small car’ to buy. Expect keen pricing when the smaller Verito goes on sale this December.

Factfile:

Engine: 1.5-litre diesel

Power/Torque: 65bhp/16.3kgm

Kerb weight: NA

L/W/H: NA

Expected: End-2011

Price: Rs 4.8 lakh
 

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Mahindra Mini-Xylo (sub-4 metres)

The government’s small car excise rebate regulations have seriously brought out the creative side of Indian engineers. The Mini-Xylo illustrated here is a fine example of this ingenuity. Built on a shortened Xylo chassis, the UV gets a redesigned tail with a shorter rear overhang to help keep length under the crucial four-metre mark. As a result, the Mini-Xylo will almost definitely lose the third row of seats. Elements like the dashboard and interior trim are likely to be carried over from the standard Xylo. With an engine cap of 1.5 litres for diesel small cars, the Mini-Xylo will use a three-cylinder version of the larger Xylo’s 2.5-litre engine. Bore and stroke will also be reduced to keep displacement under 1500cc. Four-wheel drive will be an option too on the Mini-Xylo.

Likely to be priced between Rs 4-5 lakh, this car could give hatchbacks a run for their money.
A lot depends on how it’s positioned, though.


Factfile:

Engine: 1.5-litre diesel

Power/Torque: NA

Kerb weight: NA

L/W/H: NA

Expected: Early 2012

Price: Rs 4-5 lakh
 

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Mercedes Benz M-Class




To join Mercedes’ line-up will be the smart new M-class SUV. The lines are softer, the eye-like headlights with their LED detailing are pleasing, and the whole look is less brutish than before. A stylised cabin with Merc-typical luxury bits make the interiors a comfortable place to be in. The dash design in particular is a huge improvement over the staid styling of the old car’s. Ride quality should be a huge improvement and Merc’s Airmatic air suspension could be offered as an option to discerning customers with deep pockets. As with the current car, Mercedes is likely to offer just a single engine – the 3-litre V6 diesel in ML 350 CDI guise. A raft of updates see the engine improve in both efficiency and power which sees a bump up to 258bhp. Prices are likely to see a rise too when the car is launched in mid-2012.

Factfile:

Engine: 3-litre diesel

Power/Torque: 258bhp/63.2kgm

Kerb weight: 2175kg

L/W/H: 4804/1926/1796mm

Expected: Mid-2012

Price: Rs 60 lakh
 

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Nissan Evalia (NV200)




With the Evalia, Nissan wants to take the Toyota Innova head-on. Styling is more commercial van than MPV and this appearance is not helped by the Evalia’s sliding rear doors. Like the Innova, the Evalia seats passengers in a 2+3+3 layout but where it should hold a crucial advantage is in terms of space; its monocoque body in theory more space efficient than the Innova’s ladder frame construction. Power is courtesy the 105bhp 1.5-litre diesel motor that does duty on the Nissan Sunny but it remains to be seen if the engine will be powerful enough to propel the Evalia with a full load. Pricing is likely to be in the range of Rs 7.5-12 lakh.



Factfile:

Engine: 1.5-litre diesel

Power/Torque: 105bhp/24.4kgm

Kerb weight: 1269kg

L/W/H: 4400/1695/1860mm

Expected: Early 2012

Price: Rs 7.5-12 lakh
 

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Renault Duster


Renault wants a presence in each segment of the car market and will be ready with its Duster mini-SUV by July next year. The Duster shares its platform with the Logan (now Mahindra Verito), so should be able to take a fair bit of abuse. But this is no off-roader in the true sense and will be sold in India in a two-wheel-drive avatar only. Interior space is impressive and, just like on the Logan, ride quality is nice and supple too. The Duster will have 1.6 petrol (105bhp) and 1.5 diesel (90bhp) engines. A more powerful 107bhp 1.5 diesel with reduced turbo lag will also be on offer. Expect prices to start at Rs 7 lakh for the base petrol-engined Duster.



Factfile:

Engines: 1.6-litre petrol, 1.5-litre

diesel, 1.5-litre diesel

Power/Torque: 105bhp/15.1kgm,

90bhp/20.4kgm, 107bhp/24.5kgm

Kerb weight: 1205kg

L/W/H: 4315/1822/1695mm

Expected: July 2012

Price: Rs 7-8 lakh
 

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Renault Scala


Renault’s new midsize car, Scala will be to the Nissan Sunny what the Pulse is to the Micra. The cars will share the same platform, engines and, in all likelihood, the same interiors. However, exterior styling will be quite different. Engine options will include a 105bhp, 1.5-litre petrol and an 86bhp, 1.5-litre diesel. Renault will price the car aggressively, so expect this exciting new saloon to cost between Rs 7-9 lakh when it is launched in September 2012.



Factfile:

Engines: 1.5-litre petrol, 1.5-litre diesel

Power/Torque: 97bhp/13.6kgm,

85bhp/20.4kgm

Kerb weight: NA

L/W/H: NA

Expected: September 2012

Price: Rs 7-9 lakh
 

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New Porsche 911



It may not look radically different from its predecessor but this is the all-new sixth-generation 911. The car will go on sale in India soon after right-hand-drive sales commence globally. It will initially be sold in rear-wheel-drive Carrera (3.4 litre) and Carrera S (3.8 litre) coupé guises. Cabriolet and four-wheel-drive variants will follow in 2012, and pave the way for a range-topping 523bhp Turbo in 2013. The new 911 will sport a new seven-speed manual gearbox — a first for a series production road car. Apart from increased power and improved emissions, the new 911’s chassis has also been worked on for improved ride and even better dynamics.



Factfile:

Engines: 3.4-litre petrol,

3.8-litre petrol

Power/Torque: 345bhp/39.8kgm,

394bhp/44.9kgm

Kerb weight: 1455-1470kg

L/W/H: 4491/1808/1295mm

Expected: September 2012

Price: From Rs 90 lakh
 

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Skoda Fabia Scout



A rugged, go-anywhere hatchback sounds ideal for India and that’s exactly what the Fabia Scout is. The Scout is in essence a Fabia that uses taller springs to give it more ground clearance. There is no 4x4 system, so off-road ability will be limited to rutted paths at best. The Indian car we have spied testing at Aurangabad will feature gravel and scratch-resistant cladding on the lower portion of the doors, wheel arches and rear bumper. A scruff plate at the rear will also differentiate the Scout from the standard Fabia, though frontal styling will remain identical.

Engines will be shared with the Fabia. The Scout will be a niche product but if priced well could win itself a sizeable fan following.



Factfile:

Engines: 1.2-litre petrol, 1.6-litre

petrol, 1.2-litre diesel

Power/Torque: 75bhp/11.2kgm,

105bhp/15.6kgm, 75bhp/18.3kgm

Kerb weight: NA

L/W/H: NA

Expected: Mid-2012

Price: Rs 6-7 lakh
 

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Tata Manza CS


Cropping the boot to get a midsize saloon under the crucial four-metre mark to benefit from the excise duty relief is a successful formula. Ask Tata Motors whose Indigo CS has been a big seller since launch. Tata would want to emulate this success with the Manza too and is said to be developing a sub- four-metre variant. If launched, the CS could use the Vista’s 1.2 petrol and 1.3 diesel engines. Like the Indigo CS, pricing should be competitive.

Factfile:

Engines: 1.2-litre petrol, 1.3-litre diesel

Power/Torque: 65bhp/9.8kgm,

74bhp/19.3kgm

Kerb weight: NA

L/W/H: NA

Expected: Late-2012

Price: Rs 5 lakh
 

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Tata Safari Storme


It may be long in the tooth now but Tata Motors hasn’t given up on the Safari just yet. To be called the Safari Storme when launched in mid-2012, the SUV gets revised styling as part of the comprehensive update. The L-shaped headlights are new, the front grille is different and the side cladding more pronounced. Even the tail gets a makeover with restyled lights and the spare wheel now repositioned under the body. Unfortunately, the styling tweaks do not pass off as anything more than a facelift and that’s disappointing on a design that’s over a decade old. That said, massive interior space is a given on the Storme and the cabin also benefits with a serious quality upgrade.



Powering the Storme is Tata’s familiar140bhp 2.2-litre turbodiesel Dicor engine but it’s the adoption of Tata’s modern X2 platform on the Safari that has changed the way it drives. Apart form improving driving dynamics, the new chassis also makes the Safari cabin a lot quieter than before. So the Safari Storme is more than just old wine in a new bottle. If Tata prices it in the Rs 9-10 lakh range, the Safari Storme could still win itself a sizeable fan following.



Factfile:

Engine: 2.2-litre diesel

Power/Torque: 140bhp/32.6kgm

Kerb weight: NA

L/W/H: NA

Expected: Early 2012

Price: Rs 11 lakh
 

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New Toyota Camry



Toyota has played it safe with the Camry’s styling for far too long. However, the 2012 Camry is a whole lot more interesting than before. The lines have a hint of Lexus to them and the interiors are far more luxurious too. There’s more space on the inside and the rear seat is really comfortable. As expected, Toyota will replace the current Camry’s 2.4-litre VVT-i engine with the newer 2.5-litre VVT-i motor. Power output increases by 11bhp to 178bhp and expectantly the Camry also feels a lot more eager than before.



Other markets get the option of a six-speed manual gearbox though the Indian car may only come with a six-speed automatic transmission. The Camry clearly has the Honda Accord in its crosshairs. The big news is that Toyota plans to assemble the Camry from CKD kits at its Bidadi plant which translates to competitive pricing too. The lack of a diesel engine will remain the Camry’s Achilles’ heel, though.



Factfile:

Engine: 2.5-litre-petrol

Power/Torque: 178bhp/23.5kgm

Kerb weight: NA

L/W/H: 4825/1825/2775mm

Expected: October 2012
 

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New Volkswagen Beetle


The latest Beetle has grown up, both in appearance and size. It retains many elements of the previous model and continues to look like an iteration of the original design classic. The interiors lose the flower vase now but the upward-opening glovebox does add a hint of vintage Beetle to the new dashboard. There is more space than before too. India should get the 158bhp, 1.4-litre petrol engine and VW could import the Beetle with the 138bhp, 2-litre diesel too.

The Beetle is more a designer accessory than a rival to conventional hatchbacks, so expect heavyweight pricing for this small car when it’s launched in late 2012.



Factfile:

Engines: 1.4-litre turbo-petrol, 2-litre diesel

Power/Torque: 158bhp/24.5kgm,

138bhp/32.6kgm

Kerb weight: 1360kg

L/W/H: 4278/2021/2048

Expected: Late-2012

Price: Rs 25 lakh
 

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This I have been hearing for past 1.5 yrs now. There is no test car on road as yet. Even Tata dealers don't have any ideas about this. I personally don't think Manza CS will make it this year. Manza CS may come only after Manza replacement is done, else it will end up eating market of Manza as well as Vista sedan class.

We may also get updates about new Toyota Corolla by end of this year. Some pics of this car which look really nice.
 

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New multi-utility vehicles will hit the Indian roads in the next few months

http://economictimes.indiatimes.com...it-indian-roads-soon/articleshow/13912852.cms

At least five new multi-utility vehicles will hit the Indian roads in the next few months as automakers try to replicate Maruti Ertiga's success

Ertiga, which Maruti advertises as a life utility vehicle, clocked 35% growth in sales to 10,174 units in the first two months of the current fiscal.
Chevrolet's Enjoy, Nissan's Evalia, Ashok Leyland's Stile, Hyundai's Hexa Space and Force Motors' MPV will hot up competition for Ertiga at the entry level and Toyota's Innova at the other end of the price band.

Analysts say the new products will be an ideal mix of price and utility, something that Indian buyers have been waiting for long.

"Customers had been looking for right upgrade from hatchbacks in terms of size and utility. Unlike Innova, Ertiga offers a perfect preposition of a personalised vehicle," said Abdul Majeed, partner, auto practice, at PricewaterhouseCoopers.

NEW ENTRANTS

"It seats seven passengers and can also be maneuvered easily," PricewaterhouseCoopers' Majeed said about Maruti's Ertiga, underlining the increasing room for MUVs that offer an easy crossover option to buyers. Growth in India's MUV segment has lagged that in other vehicle classes.

The entry-level vehicles Sumo, Rhino Rx and Xylo were available for long, while Tata Motors' Aria could not make a dent in the market primarily because of its higher pricing. In this scenario, the Ertiga, with at an entry price tag of Rs 5.9 lakh, is considered a good bargain.

Mayank Pareek, managing executive officer (marketing & sales) at Maruti, said, "Eritga's compact size and big interior makes it a good vehicle for multiple needs."

Ertiga's healthy sales volume could be a cue for companies looking to boost revenues in a country where the growth story appears to be faltering.

India's GDP growth dropped to a nine-year low of 5.3% in the last quarter of 2011-12, according to official data released in May.

First off the block among the new launches will be Nissan's Evalia.

The Japanese carmaker, which will be starting Evalia's trial production soon, is expected to launch it in late August.

"We have finalised the vehicle and we are looking at introducing it around the festive period this year," said Takayaki Ishida, CEO and MD of Nissan Motor India.

CAR SALES

Car sales in India, a gauge of economic activity in the country, were subdued last month, as rising fuel cost and higher excise duty hit demand.

The government increased petrol prices by about 11% in May.

According to some senior executives, sales continue to be sluggish for most brands, except for Maruti's DZire and Ertiga, Honda's Brio, Hyundai's Verna, Skoda's Rapid, Mahindra's XUV500 and Toyota's Innova. Last month, Maruti posted a 4% dip in sales while Hyundai Motor said sales rose just 3%.
 

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