Hot News – May 2007

* The high octane Forza Motorsport 2, eagerly awaited sequel to Microsoft’s Xbox 360 exclusive motor racing game, Forza Motorsport, is hitting Indian PCs on may 25th.  Developed by Turn 10 of Microsoft Game Studios, the sequel is expected to build on the euphoria around Forza Motosport, and enhance overall gaming with Xbox 360. Forza Motorsport 2 sees more than 300 of the world’s hottest cars revving-up and racing it out on more than 45 tracks carved out of twelve environments, which include several real-world licensed racing circuits such as Silverstone, Tsukuba, and Laguna Seca. Add to this is the new real-world licensed circuits, an advanced Physics engine courtesy top automotive engineers and programmers, plus detailed camera effects like blooming, lens flare, heat shimmer, and crashing. Microsoft had spent nearly 40 million dollars and two years in upgrading the title for gamers globally. Microsoft were earlier selling titles for Rs 2,599 and have brought this popular title Fortza for just Rs 1,895. Microsoft is presently looking at bringing online gaming through XBox live in India soon.  Microsoft is also planning to bring a top-end variant of its high-definition gaming console, X-Box Elite, in the Indian market by August.

* MRF is ranked the highest in customer satisfaction with original equipment tyres in India, according to the J.D. Power Asia Pacific 2007 India Original Tyre Customer Satisfaction Index (TCSI) Study. For a fifth time (tying in 2002 and 2003), MRF has ranked highest in the study, improving its overall performance to 840 points on a 1,000-point scale — up 18 points from the 2006 study. JK Tyre follows MRF in the rankings with 822 index points, while Apollo (812) improves by 34 points to rank third. In its seventh year, the study analyzes new-vehicle buyer perceptions of five critical factors regarding their original equipment tyres. In order of importance, they are: appearance of tyres, durability of tyres, ride quality, traction and handling. Among vehicle segments, small-car owners have greater satisfaction with their original tyres compared to those in other vehicle segments. However, the average kilometres driven on a small vehicle are nearly 10 percent less than the industry average.

*Honda Siel Cars India (HSCI) will set up its second car manufacturing plant in India near Alwar in Rajasthan at an estimated investment of Rs 1,000 crore. Honda plans to manufacture two models from the plant – One model will be a new small car and the second will be from Honda’s existing line-up. But the new Honda’s small car won’t be cheaper as the Honda’s other cars the new small car will also be priced higher(relative to Maruti and Hyundai’s cars). For More

* Harley Davidson – the cult bike maker is unsure of its Indian foray because of high duty structure on import bikes. On the other hand Honda Motorcycles and Scooters India Limited, a fully owned subsidiary of Honda Motor Company, is already moving ahead with plans to manufacture bikes in the sub-500 cc category and bring in high-end (including 800 cc) bikes as completely built units through the import route. The company plans to introduce two such bikes initially, which are expected to hit the market later this year or early next year. The other major Suzuki is not yet decided which models to be introduced. A third player, Yamaha, has not taken a final call due to problems in its India operations.

*Country’s largest car manufacturer Maruti Udyog Ltd (MUL) on Tuesday posted 17 per cent increase in domestic car sales for the month of April. Maruti’s volume in the domestic A2 segment, which includes models like Zen, Swift, Alto, sales grew by 20.3 per cent and in the C segment which houses Omni, Versa by 21.1 per cent last month compared to the same period in 2006. Meanwhile, in A1 segment, which comprises the popular M800 model, MUL posted a fall of 9.8 per cent growth and the A3 segment (Baleno, Esteem) sales recorded a downfall of 12.7 per cent, it added.

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