Things to know about Formula one!

India and the Formula one:

India has long been on the Formula one’s radar, with Hyderabad considered as a potential race venue but as the Chandrababu Naidu chief backer of the project was voted out in the Andhra Pradesh assembly elections India’s Formula one dream remains the dream till 2007.

India’s history with formula one has been great, India’s first Formula One driver Narain Karthikeyan made his debut in 2005 with Jordan (now midland), he is now the test driver for william. In 2004, TCS provide IT and engineering services for the development of the Ferrari‘s Formula 1 racing car. But as India clocks more than 9% GDP I believe things will change in future. India could host a grand prix in Delhi as early as 2009, Formula One supremo Bernie Ecclestone said on January this year. India’s Kingfisher Airlines owned by Vijay Mallya, inked a multi-year partnership deal with Toyota Motorsport to be an official partner of the Toyota F1 Racing team in January 2007 “The government of Delhi I think really wants Formula One in India and I am optimistic that maybe we will be able to host our first race in 2009” Mallya said.

Overview:

Formula One, abbreviated to F1, and also known as Grand Prix racing, is the first class of auto racing. The F1 world championship season consists of a series of races, known as Grand Prix. A Formula One race takes place over an entire weekend, with two free practice sessions on friday, a practice session and a qualifying session on Saturday, and the race on Sunday. The qualifying session takes place to determine the running order at the beginning of the race. A driver or car that sets the fastest time qualifies at the front of the grid and is said to be on pole position. For the year 2007 only 11 teams have entered for the formula One world championship, each entering two cars for a total of 22 cars, while the regulations place a minimum limit of 20 cars and maximum limit of 24 entries for the championship. Unlike the motoGP, F1 gives room for strategy throughout the race, drivers will make one or more pit stops in order to refuel and change tyres and driver’s one false decision may cost him the race.

Circuit and Scoring:

The circuit parameters are the pole position, length, longest straight, left turns, right turns and its width. Races are usually 305 kilometres long (apart from the Monaco Grand Prix, which is 78 laps / 260.5 km), though occasionally some races are truncated due to special circumstances. The top eight drivers and their respective teams of a grand prix get points in this pattern 10-8-6-5-4-3-2-1 basis (the race winner receives ten points, the first runner-up eight, and so on) The results of each race are combined to determine two annual World Championships, one for drivers and one for constructors.

Cars:

FIA is the governing body which regulates the formula one race. Though manufacturers can make cars of any power FIA emphasizes the safety and has made many precautions to avert accident for these high speed cars. A wide variety of technologies – including active suspension, ground effect aerodynamics and turbochargers – are banned under the current regulations. F1 cars are said to be the most technically advanced one prevailing in the world. Manufacturers have been pumping millions of dollars for this race. Although teams rarely disclose information about their budgets, it is estimated that they range from US$66 million to US$400 million each.

Prominent Drivers and their Cars:

schumi.jpgMichael Schumacher – Ferrari: Popularly known as ‘Schumi’ is the all time favourite of F1 race. He is the most successful ever in history of formula one. Michael Schumacher and Ferrari have won five consecutive drivers championships and six consecutive constructors’ championships between 1999 and 2004. Schumacher set many new records, including those for Grand Prix wins (91), wins in a season (13 of 18), and most drivers’ championships (7). Once it was happened due to the dominanceof Michael Schumacher and Ferrari, Formula One Viewing figures dropped creating an embarrassment for the sport; such was the dominance of the schumi.

alonso.jpgFeranando Alonso – Mclaren Mercedes: The one who gave tough fight to the king of F1 – schumi. 2005 and 2006 world champion Alonso moved from Renault to Mclaren for the 2007 season. Mclaren unveiled its new car MP4-22 on January 15. Alonso said that the MP4-22 is the nicest car he has ever had. Alonso will defend the title with this new car and he partners a newbie Lewis Hamilton.

trio.jpgMassa – Raikkonen – Ferrari: Massa joined Ferrari last year and partnered schumi. With three pole positions and two race wins in first year and finishing third in overall drivers’ championship Massa has become the nominee for the 2007 championship. Massa’s new partner Kimi Raikkonen moved to Ferrari from Mclaren. But unlike Massa last season was not good for Kimi, he finished fifth and failed to secure a single win in the season. But with the new Ferrari he might bounce back in2007.

Toyota’s Ralf Schumacher, Renault’s Fisichella, Red Bull’s Mark webber, Honda’s Jenson Button and Barrichello might look for championship in the post Schumacher era.

Alonso’s partner Lewis Hamilton, Fisichella’s partner Kovalainen,William’s Nico Rosberg and BMW’s Robert Kubica are the four newcomers who have the potential to become superstars.

Formula one’s Indian Driver!

narain.jpgNarain Karthikeyan is the India’s first Formula One driver. He made his debut in 2005 with the Jordan team. He is currently a WilliamsF1 test driver. He achieved his first points in the 2005 United States Grand Prix under uncertain circumstances as all but three teams pulled out due to an argument over tyre safety. Karthikeyan finished 4th besides the controversial USGP, Karthikeyan’s highest finish was 11th place. In an unlucky end to his 2005 season, Karthikeyan crashed his Jordan into a wall at the Chinese Grand Prix in Shanghai. Because the Jordan team was taken over and renamed Midland for the 2006 season, the management change prompted some doubt over Karthikeyan’s future at the team. Near the end of 2005, Karthikeyan announced he would not be driving for Midland the following year due to their demand of USD11.7 million to secure his seat on the team. For the 2005 season he secured 5points lagging behind his 2005 team partner by 2 points. He was ranked 18th for the overall 2005 season out of 24 drivers. Williams confirmed Narain as their fourth driver in 2006. He has been retained as a test driver for Williams in 2007 also. Karthikeyan’s main sponsors are the Tata Group, India’s second largest business conglomerate, and state-run refiner Bharat Petroleum Corp.

2006 clashes…

At Indianapolis US grand Prix only three out of ten teams raced when their Michelin tyres were deemed unsafe for use and the sport created controversy throughout the year. 2006 season was highlighted by the rivalry between Alonso and Schumacher, who each won seven races. The championship was decided in the last race. At last Alonso won title again edging out schumi by 13 points. Alonso and Renault retained the title. Seven times World Champion Schumacher retired at the end of 2006, after 16 years in Formula One. Alonso’s honeymoon with Renault ended in 2006 as he moved to Mclaren – Mercedes for the 2007 season.

Formula1 official Home Page

2007 F1 race calendar

DATE GRAND PRIX

18-Mar AUSTRALIA
8-Apr MALAYSIA
15-Apr BAHRAIN
13-May SPAIN
27-May MONACO
10-Jun CANADA
17-Jun UNITED STATES
1-Jul FRANCE
8-Jul GREAT BRITAIN
22-Jul GERMANY
5-Aug HUNGARY
26-Aug TURKEY
9-Sep ITALY
16-Sep BELGIUM
30-Sep JAPAN
7-Oct CHINA
21-Oct BRAZIL

What should you know about car and bike insurance?

Enjoy the drive safely!

Part-1

Need of the Insurance:

When you buy a car or bike as per the Indian motor rules you must get the insurance certificate. Car and Bike owners have liabilities to third parties (victim) – injured or dead- in case of an accident. Often owners are not able to pay the huge claims made by the dependants of the victim. Hence government of India has made third party insurance mandatory for car and bike drivers. Also, understand that vehicle insurance is the only legal document by which you can claim the vehicle.

Insurer – insurance company
Insured – refers to you or your vehicle
Third party – person other than you

Kinds of Motor Insurance:

Third party Insurance and Comprehensive policy/ Package policy are the two kinds of Insurance. Of these two insurance, third party insurance is mandatory and Package policy is optional one. Third party insurance covers the insured for death or injuries of the person you hit and for their property.

Limits of Liability – Third party insurance:

*Claim – as per Motor Vehicle Act 1988. After receiving the victim’s claim which should be justified with sales tax and Income tax returns your insurer will estimate the victim’s earning and depending on the partial or complete disability, the victim will get the amount.

*Your insurer will take care of all the legal expenses incurred for defending the third party claim

*Damage to third party property in respect of any one claim or series of claims arising out of one event up to amount of Rs 7.5 lakhs for private car and Rs 1lakh for two wheelers.

Package/ comprehensive policy in addition to the above covers

*Personal accidents cover for owner-driver which is compulsory in case of individual owners and importantly total liability of the insurer shall not exceed the sum of Rs 2lakhs during any one period of insurance.

*Personal accident cover for occupants incase of cars

*Legal liability to paid driver as per workmen compensation act up to 1lakh

*Damage or loss to vehicle or its accessories due to fire explosion, burglary, theft , riots & strike, accidental external means, natural perils, terrorist activity, flood , malicious act, in transit( road rail inland waterway lift elevator or air) and landslide.

*The insurer will pay the towing charges if the vehicle is unmovable to the owner for moving the vehicle to nearest garage where repairs can be made. Towing charge for cars – Rs 1500 and for two wheelers – Rs 300.

To insure the vehicle…

*For insuring the new vehicle you have to produce the original RC book of the vehicle.

*For a vehicle which insurance is lapsed you have to physically show the vehicle to get the new insurance. Know that you have no need to pay for the lapsed period or any fine.

*For an old car bought from someone third party insurance has to be changed to your name. Regarding the comprehensive policy most prefers to continue

*In the event of death of sole insured the legal heirs of the sole insured may apply to have the existing policy transferred to their names within a period of three months or until the expiry of policy( whichever is earlier)

Steps for Calculating Premium:

IDV – Insured Declared Value of the vehicle will be deemed to be the ‘sum assured’ for the purpose of this policy which is fixed at the commencement of each policy period for the insured vehicle.

A) Own Damage:

1)Find out the IDV
a)vehicle own damage
b)accessories
c)CNG/LPG kit

2)Apply premium rate to the IDV
a)age of the vehicle
b)zone – depends on areas
c)cubic capacity

3)Calculate Own Damage Premium(IDV*rate)

Deduct discounts
a)Voluntary deductible
b)Anti theft devices
c)No claim bonus(NCB)

B) Liability

a) TPPD – Third Party Property Damage
b) Owner – driver Personal Accident (PA) cover
1) Passenger PA
2) Paid driver
3) Employee liability
4) Any other additional cover

Final premium = own damage (A) + Liability (B) + service tax + stamp duty.

Insurers:

The insurers include General Insurance Company of India and its subsidiaries New India Insurance company, Oriental Insuarance Company, National Insurance company and United India Insurance Company. Private players include Tata AIG, Bajaj Allianz and ICICI LOmbard. Because of the new de-tariffy system differnt company offers different packages. Check it and pick the one which suits you

In the following posts we will see how to calculate IDV, what is deprecation, what these company offers when there is no claim – bonus, what you have to pay for claims – malus and most importantly how to make a claim in case of vehicle damage…

Bajaj’s DTSi, exhausTEC and SNS suspension system

You must have come across these terms at least once in a while. Bajaj has popularized these terms very well. At least one or all these features are seen in CT100, Platina, Discover, Pulsar and Kristal too. I will explain you the features i.e. DTSi engine, SNS suspension and exhausTEC in simple terms.

SNS- spring in spring suspension:

It is nothing but two springs of different dimension are used in suspension system (usually one). The suspension system has two co-axial (outer one and inner one with same axis) springs. The springs are intelligent enough to differentiate between large and small shocks. While the inner spring absorbs the impact of small bumps the outer spring absorbs the larger ones. The springs serve a dual purpose — a better ride and reduced back problems (by reducing the jams on your vertebrae) thus SNS economises on your visits to the doctor.

DTSi- digital twin spark ignition:

The most successful engine ever produced by an Indian manufacturer. It is nothing but having two spark plugs (to produce spark to burn the fuel) instead of one in a cylinder (usually one).The ignition timings are controlled electronically and these spark are made at different strokes to minimize the fuel waste. Thus more the fuel is burnt more the power and efficiency of the engine.

The big change is the adoption of an extra spark plug within the combustion chamber. Both plugs have the same heat range and fire at the same moment. A throttle actuated ignition-control system works hand-in-glove with a chip-controlled digital capacitor discharge ignition (CDI) system for accurate ignition timing under all conditions. This dual spark design accelerates and evens out flame propagation, which results in more efficient combustion The torque curve has shifted lower into the rpm band, aiding urban ridingDaily use of the bike revealed the DTS-i to have a delightful throttle response and hitch-less power delivery. The engine feels sportier in nature, and is yet more user-friendly

ExhausTEC- torque expansion chamber:

This a resonance chamber fitted on the tuned exhaust to enhance power delivery in the lower reaches of the power band. This technology is to use the exhaust energy thereby ensuring that sufficient levels of torque is available at low engine rpm levels and is optimized to provide torque distribution in the mid and higher range rpm levels. It also enables to achieve a better fuel efficiency.

It is familiar among automotive engine experts while designing intake and exhaust systems, it is a common practice to consider subsequent effects on torque delivery. Such exercises are known to the Indian and foreign automotive industries for several years before Bajaj marketed them as ExhausTEC. Bajaj does not hold an international patent for DTSi and exhausTEC. Anyway, Hats off to marketing department!

Qatar MotoGP

Stoner holds off Rossi in Qatar

Casey Stoner

Stoner celebrates his first ever MotoGP victory

Casey Stoner won a cat-and-mouse battle with Valentino Rossi to take victory in the season-opening Qatar MotoGP. The pair, who started at the front of the grid, traded the lead throughout the race with Australian Stoner finally prevailing for his first MotoGP win.

Rossi’s Yamaha was superior on the turns but Stoner’s Ducati gave him the edge with awesome straight-line speed.

Reigning champion Nicky Hayden looked ill at ease on the new Honda and finished down in eighth place. Hayden’s team-mate Dani Pedrosa won a hard-fought battle with American John Hopkins to take third place.

 

A win is better but second is not so bad

Valentino Rossi

Northern Ireland rider Jeremy McWilliams was not fit enough to take part after hurting his leg in a crash during Friday’s qualifying. Rossi started on pole and held the lead until the end of the first lap when Stoner’s power down the straight propelled him past the Italian.

From then on, the pair shared the lead and began to pull away from Spaniard Pedrosa.

   

Stoner held the lead for the majority of the second half of the race and when Rossi tried to make a move with four laps to go, the Australian immediately went back in front. The 21-year-old then put in his fastest lap on the last circuit of the track to claim victory.

“We struggled in a few parts of the track during the race where Valentino was a bit quicker but I just used what we had to our advantage,” said the Australian.

Five-time champion Rossi was more than satisfied with his start to the season. “The Yamaha was well balanced and took the corners well,” the 28-year-old Rossi said. “I am happy because we made the right tyre choice.”

“A win is better but second is not so bad.”


Qatar MotoGP result
1. Casey Stoner (AUS) Ducati 43min 02.788 seconds
2. Valentino Rossi (ITA) Yamaha +2.838 secs
3. Dani Pedrosa (ESP) Honda +8.530
4. John Hopkins (USA) Suzuki +9.071
5. Marco Melandri (ITA) Honda +17.433
6. Colin Edwards (USA) Yamaha +18.647
7. Chris Vermeulen (AUS) Suzuki +22.916
8. Nicky Hayden (USA) Honda +23.057
9. Alex Barros (BRA) Ducati +25.961
10. Shinya Nakano (JPN) Honda +28.456
Source BBC sport

Things to know about MotoGP!

Grand Prix:

2007 first MotoGP has kick started in Qatar. On March 18th Formula one(F1) championship race will start in Australia. India may host its first F1 race in 2009. Delhi or Tamilnadu or Andhra Pradhesh may host the race. Narain Karthikeyan of India is the test driver of williams. India is one of the important player in A1 GP. We will decrypt and analyse various Grand Prix in this section.

Circuit:

circuit.jpgGrand Prix motorcycle racing refers to the premier category of motorcycle road racing currently divided into three distinct classes: 125 cc, 250 cc and MotoGP. The current racing calendar consists of 18 rounds in 16 different countries (Spain which hosts 3 rounds, Qatar, Turkey, China, France, Italy, Great Britain, Netherlands, Germany, Czech Republic, San Marino, Portugal, Japan, Australia and Malaysia). Exclusive to the MotoGP class, there is also a USA round California. The grid is composed of 3 columns (4 for the 125 cc class) and contains approximately 20 riders. Grid positions are decided in descending order of qualifying speed, the fastest on the ‘pole’ or first position. Races last approximately 45 minutes, each race a sprint from start to finish without pitting for fuel or tyres.

Bikes:

In 2002, rule changes permitted manufacturers to choose between running two-stroke engines (500 cc or less) or four-strokes (990 cc or less). Manufacturers were also permitted to employ their choice of engine configuration. The new four-stroke machinery proved to have too many advantages over their two-stroke rivals, and, as a result, by 2003 no two-stroke machines remained in the MotoGP field. The 125 cc and 250 cc classes still consist exclusively of two-stroke machines. In 2007, the MotoGP class had its maximum engine displacement capacity reduced to 800 cc.

Like the FIA for Formula one FIM is the governing organization for motor racing. The current MotoGP speed record is 347.4 km/h (215.864 mph) against the current Formula One speed record of 369.9 km/h (229.8 mph). To ensure safety, FIM laid safety rules and other regulations to reduce motorcycle speeds. These include changes in weight, fuel and engine capacity.

Scoring:

Points Scoring – MotoGP Class
Position 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15
Points 25 20 16 13 11 10 9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1

Prominent riders and their Bikes:

vr_face.jpgValentino Rossi – Fiat Yamaha team: The charismatic Italian entered the Grand Prix with Aprilia in winning 125cc races in his first session. Earlier he was with Honda and in 2004 he took the Yamaha. Rossi was earlier rumored to be the successor of Ferrari Michael Schumacher but he extended the contract with Yamaha for another two seasons. Fiat sponsors the 2007 Yamaha team.

nicky-hayden.jpgNicky Hayden – Repsol Honda: Entering the 2003 season 25yr old Hayden jumped straight into the Moto GP and has once partnered Rossi. But later become a mighty competitor for Rossi and won the 2006 Moto GP championship.

meladri.jpgMarco Melandri – Honda Gresini: Another Italian in the GP, he entered the GP at the age of 15. He moved from Yamaha to Honda in 2005. Though frequent injuries interrupted his career he has been the strong contender for the championship.

_42665077_stoner_203.jpgCasey Stoner – Ducati Marlboro: One of the top players in 250cc class moved to Moto GP in 2006 as part of the LCR Honda team. He achieved his first premium class podium in Turkey. After suffering few crashes on the Honda he moved to the Ducati Marlboro team for the 2007 season. Stoner lined up with Loris capirossi for the team.

308130.jpgDani Petrosa – Repsol Honda: The champion of 2004 and 2005 250cc class champion won the motoGP held in china and Britain. He is the partner of defending champion Nicky Hayden.

2006 clashes…

The premier class in past seasons has been dominated by Italian Valentino Rossi (moto GP’s Sachin), winner of the 2001 to 2005 titles. In an effort to beat Valentino’s amazing consecutive victories, other companies have signed younger riders on newly designed machines. The 2006 championship was the first in 14 years to be decided at the final race, with Valentino Rossi starting the race with an 8 point lead. Nicky Hayden finished 3rd with Valentino Rossi finishing 13th after crashing on lap 5 to give Nicky Hayden his maiden Championship title.

The circuit parameters are the pole position, length, longest straight, left turns, right turns and its width. Qatar Grand Prix is the first in this season. For the 22 lap(the number of times the rider has to round the circuit) Qatar circuit length 5.380km, longest straight 1.068km, width 12m, 6 left turns and 10 right turns. MotoGP usually held on week-ends.

MotoGP official home page

2007 MotoGP calendar

March 10Qatar Doha/Losail
March 25 Spain Jerez de la Frontera
April 22 Turkey Istanbul
May 6 China Shanghai
May 20 France Le Mans
June 3 Italy Mugello
June 10 Catalunya Catalunya
June 24 Great Britain Donington Park
June 30 Netherlands Assen
July 15 Germany Sachsenring
July 22 United States Laguna Seca
August 19 Czech Republic Brno
September 2 San Marino & Riviera di Rimini Misano
September16 Portugal Estoril
September23 Japan Motegi
October 14 Australia Phillip Island
October 21 Malaysia Sepang
November 4 Valencia Ricardo Tormo – Valencia

Ford Ikon’s new journey

Ikon’s Journey:

Ford has launched new Ikon 2007 on March 9th.

Ford Ikon popularly known as the josh machine helped Ford India to taste the success in India.Ford Ikon was introduced in India after the lacklustre response received by Ford for escort to take on Maruti Esteem. “In March 2005, the 100,000th unit of Ford Ikon rolled out the Ford India plant.But after Ford launched its Fiesta it sidelines the Ikon, after Indians tasted Ford Fiesta and other high quality cars, Ikon was criticized for its poor quality and lack of refinement. Last year the company sold nearly 36,000 Fiestas out of total vehicle sales of 42,060. Other models like Ikon, Fusion and Endeavour account for the remaining. Ford has now determined to revive the fame for its Ikon. It has made series of up lifts to ensure it.

Ford India priced the Ikon Flair CNG, a dual-fuel variant that can run both on petrol and Compressed Natural Gas (CNG) at Rs.5.25 lakh (ex showroom New Delhi). In February it adds new trim features to Ikon and in March Ford has given another up lift to revive this product. Ford India on March 9th announced the introduction of the Ikon 2007 sedan that comes packed with plush interiors and stylish exterior enhancements.

New additions and Pricing:

Ford India has given a slightly different trim set for the Ikon Flair in February. The February up lift has given the Ikon a new-look gear-knob and steering wheel and fog lamps, which were not available in some of its earlier versions. Now the Ford has given another up lift, the new Ford Ikon exudes style. Ford believes its dynamic interiors and contemporary styling will make the new Ford Ikon a showstopper on any road. So you can expect a higher ‘Charisma Quotient’ for you new Ikon than the old.

The new Ford Ikon is priced at Rs 4,75,000 (ex-showroom) in New Delhi and Hyderabad and also comes in a new colour option, `Jeans Blue.’

The car loads beige and dark parchment interiors, matching seat fabric, stylish dashboard and new instrument cluster graphics. In addition, if a customer desires enhancements, these are offered for a Rs 35,000 package that includes rear spoilers, sporty alloy wheels, sporty seat covers, anti-theft alarm, chrome deck-lid handle and chrome exhaust trim.
alloy.jpgspoiler.jpgblobserver.jpg

The new Ford Ikon also rewards you with the option to purchase Extended Warranty for an additional period over the default warranty period. And for those who choose to have the entire maintenance of the car to be covered, there is the Total Maintenance Plan

We shall hope these cosmetic changes will give the Ikon the necessary revival.

Mahindra’s New Bolero

Overview:

Bolero has emerged as the best selling vehicle in the Mahindra & Mahindra stable for the past two years, overtaking Scorpio. Bolero has been growing at a CAGR of 35 per cent. In the last two years, volumes have gone up 50 per cent and the company has sold about 1.2 lakh Boleros since its launch. But that doesn’t make Mahindra to take rest; it has seen the sales of Tata sumo which once hits the roof and now the ground. Mahindra has launched the New Bolero and it has invested about 30 crores to keep the lead.

Engine and Powertrain:

The new bolero features two kinds of engines snd transmission for its variants. The new bolero SLX 4WD engine delivers maximum power of 68hp@4000 rpm the other engine which features in SLX 2WD , SLE, DI, Diz and Plus delivers maximum power of 63hp @3200 rpm .With NG520 5speed manual gearbox with overdrive on the 5th gear and hydraulic clutch Mahindra claims New Bolero will deliver a combined mileage of 15kpl. The new bolero complies with BS III emission norms. Mahindra gives 3yr warranty for engine and drive line and 18month warranty for the complete vehicle.

Design and Engineering:

New Bolero has shed the pleasing look with the new bold headlamps, muscular bumper and neatly curved wheel arches, the New Bolero looks intmidating. With the new trim on the front grille and dual tone exteriors which is derived from the brother scorpio the New Bolero’s driver gets a commanding position. 215/ 75 radial tyres and the new fender extensions gives the vehicle a much needed masculine look. Blend-in side indicator lamps stimulates the pedestrian and fellow car drivers to look at it. New Bolero may intimidate from the front, but from the rear with the curved clear lens tail light and stylish spare wheel cover, i’m sure that other cars love to follow this SUV. New Bolero is offered in seven colours.

Seating postion and low integrated footstep makes the New Bolero easy to ingrees and egrees.While the SLX 4WD is equipped with complete features the PLUS variant is larger in terms of dimension. The base variants requires 11.2m to make a circle while DI and PLUS requires 11.8m. SLX and DI features rigid leaf spring at the front and the rear whereas the other variants feature coil spring at the front and parabolic leaf spring at the rear.

Inside the New Bolero…

The SLX 4WD variant of New Bolero is loaded with complete features while the other variants takes and leaves something from the master variant. The two tone fabric enhances the interior along with moulded roof lining. Two tone gear knobs, sporty white instrument cluster, wood grain finish dash board and a decent centre console ensures you pleasant driving. Plush bucket seats, voluminuous glove box, thoughtfully located bottle holders and armrest increases the ergnomices of the Bolero. Side ventilators, multi directional AC louvers with flow control helps you to breathe easy.

For keeping the low cost Mahindra has provided power steering and power windows only in SLX variant. But the basic requirements like air conditioning, heater, 12V charging point and CD mp3 player are absent in SLE, Diz and DI variants and optional in PLUS variant makes wide variation of price between the showroom price and on the road price.

Safety and security:

Don’t expect ABS or SRS airbags from this entry level SUV. Mahindra has tries its best to ensure safety of the Bolero’s occupants. Special sensors sounds when the door is open or if you forget to buckle your seat belts. Disc brake at the front and rear at the back with a GP valve prevents rear wheel locking and stops the vehicle as you wish. Bolero’s low centre of gravity, wider radials and the anti-roll bar give it solid anti-topple stability in uncertain condition. Solid structure with corrosion resistant sheet metal body makes you more safe. Depending on the variants you pick the ground clearance varies from 180mm to 195mm and thus new Bolero protects itself in off-road driving conditions. Sadly, the keyless entry and central locking systems are equipped only in SLX 4WD variant it is not even provided as optional in other variants

The game has just started…

Bolero’s Rival Chevrolet Tavera have brought in fresh features, built quality and after-sales service-warranty packages unheard of till now in the utility vehicle segment. Mahindra’s natural rival Tata Motors is to introduce a new-look Tata Sumo in April 2007 which will feature a 2.2 litre CRDi (common rail direct injection) diesel engine. With the new models that are technically and feature-wise on par with the competitors, Mahindra has understood the deciding factor would be the pricing of the vehicle and hence the new Bolero is competitively priced, ranging from Bolero DI at Rs.4.58 lakhs to Bolero SLX at Rs.5.6lakhs (ex showroom, Bangalore).Will the other players follow the leader….

Useful links:
For Mahindra Bolero technical specification

Pulsar 200cc versus New Karizma

By the time Dhoom-3 is produced atleast the producer will not have to import bikes. Cruise bikes are ready in India itself! Bajaj has launched the Pulsar 200cc and Hero Honda has come up with face lifted Karizma. Thanks to the India’s growth story, manufacturers have come up with modern bikes that can be comparable to any international bike. When you watch Dhoom 3 don’t get surprised if Hrithik is on the Karizma and Abishek is on the Pulsar 200cc.
Here is the detailed comparison of these two amazing bikes.

Engine and Transmission:

Pulsar 200cc features India’s first oil cooled engine which delivers a maximum power of 18Ps@8000rpm making it most powerful engine offered by Bajaj. It’s an air cooled single-cylinder with an alloy barrel and head as well as twin valves. Oil cooler placed just below the fuel tank helps in further cooling of engine lubricant and keep the large 198.8cc motor cool. Digital twin spark ignition (DTS-i) and torque expansion chamber — ExhausTEC ensures the pulsar to provide sufficient levels of torque at low engine rpm levels and is optimized to provide torque distribution in the mid and higher range rpm levels. Pulsar 200cc features a five speed gearbox with one down and four up pattern.

For the face lifted Karizma the engine remains the same. Karizma scores over the pulsar when comes to torque, the bigger engine provides a healthy 18.35Nm@6000rpm against the pulsar’s 17.17Nm. The progressive feel, multi-plate wet-type clutch and the smooth five-speed gearbox are again the same as in the previous version.

Pulsar 200cc clocks a top speed of 121kph against the 125kph offered by Karizma 223cc. Pulsar 200cc is not quicker as Karizma 223cc and it cruises to 60kph from rest in 4.73 seconds. The pulsar 200cc offers an impressive mileage of 38.3kpl in city and 42.4kpl in highway against the Karizma offers only 30kpl in city and a decent figure of 45kpl in highway. Performance figures are taken from autocar India.

Design:

When comes to cruiser bikes power and style is the deciding factor but with proven engines style occupies the centre stage. The two bikes derive their styling from their previous version and have added some interesting features. Pulsar 200cc derives its identity from 180 and 150. Bajaj’s new additions in Pulsar 200cc are
*Black paint theme carried over to the front fork legs, the rear shock absorbers, and the swing arm, in addition to the engine and six spoke alloy rims, for deadly looks.
* A lowered Headlamp/Fairing assembly along with a high tail-end, giving it an aggressive, ready to pounce stance.
* An all Stainless Steel silencer with an aluminium muffler can for genuine sporty looks and long life.
* Sleek, Twin row, Light-Emitting Diodes (LEDs) derived from the upgraded pulsar 180cc along the split grab rail perfectly compliments the new rear chiseled looks.

I have seen many Bikers love to alter their Pulsar 150cc, 180cc and other bikes with modern diffuser, more powerful horns, replacing rear tyres with bigger tyres, raising the rear suspension to give a racing look and exposing the drive train which demands higher price . For those relief comes in the form of pulsar 200cc Bajaj has offered some of these as standard features

* It’s the first bike in India to feature both front and rear tubeless tyres, which besides offering superior stability are safer than conventional tube types and in sync with the offerings abroad for similar applications. The rear tyre is the broadest in its category to ensure better road grip and stability. Another first is the use of split seats in pulsar 200cc for styling and comfort.

New Karizma strikes the Bajaj 200cc with the following additions

*an attractive new logo, which represents the bike’s cutting edge imagery of being racy.
*International styling graphics with a pronounced `R’ on the tank and an asymmetrical one on the visor in keeping with the latest international trend.
*New sporty under-cowl, which makes the bike look more powerful and mean.
*Matt-axis grey coat for the engine, which makes it look very rugged.
*The other notable features in the bike are the red-coloured springs in rear suspensions and stylish fender with new graphics
A special edition version of New Karizma, which has a set of racy-red mag wheels and a dual tone finish for exhaust pipe, makes it one of the most attractive bikes on Indian roads. Although the cosmetic changes made in the Karizma targets the youth it is not enough to meet the sporty Pulsar 200cc in design

Handling and Engineering:

Pulsar 200cc is lengthier than new Karizma but its wheelbase is shorter than new Karizma which means you have to be careful with the Pulsar 200cc while negotiating a turn. Both the bikes offer disc at the front and drum brake at the rear as a standard feature. With the MRF tubeless tyres at the front and the back Pulsar gives excellent traction control. Even though Karizma features a 276mm disc at the front a little larger than 260mm offered in pulsar, the massive 150kg Karizma comes to halt in 18.36m from 60kph as against 16.47m taken by pulsar 200cc from the same speed. Both the bikes offer a commanding position for riders. But with split seats and carefully placed foot rest the pillion in the pulsar 200cc gets better visibility. The split seats are not only meant for the sporty look, but also resides a modest lockable and cable released storage under it.

Special features:

In addition to the features mentioned in design section both these bikes have special features which increases their practicality

Pulsar 200cc also leaves its drive chain exposed with O’ ring sealed, which is pre-lubricated to help it stay reliable inspite of running open without protection is one such example. Similar to its sibling Pulsar 220cc-soon to be launched, the pulsar 200cc bike throws away the kick lever and makes you to crank the engine only with your thumb unlike the Karizma which offers both self and Kick mechanism for cranking. Both these bikes use best instruments and unheard features in any Indian bike. Both Pulsar 200cc and the new Karizma have Digital odo Meter, Digital Fuel Gauge and Digital Trip Meter. Pulsar 200cc features a digital console which uses only LEDs and intelligently varies its amber backlight intensity for viewing in either day or night. The new Karizma features a night vision in the digital console, which illuminates the console to bright neon yellow and makes the speedometer stand out in the dark, forming a stunning contrast. It also features powerful multi-reflector trapezoidal headlight with two pilot lamps for that added beam, an integrated clear-lens lamp tail light for better visibility at the rear. Real time clock is found only in the console of Karizma. Both these bikes use 15 litre reservoirs and bar end weights – which keeps off the vibration. Karizma has safety switch for clutch which actuates when the vehicle is started in gear.

What Karizma lacks:

For the features like self-canceling Indicators that switch off when the turn has been completed and the handlebar comes to a ‘straight ahead’ position with a pre-set automatic switch off function, even if the turn has not been undertaken, auto switchover feature – which comes into play incase one of the two Headlamp filaments stops functioning, backlit, non-contact type, soft-touch handlebar switches digital speedo meter – which throws away the conventional cable, additional digital trip meter and indicators for air filter condition, engine temperature, battery voltage and oil level -all of which contribute to enhancing rider info for trouble-free riding and for a low maintenance battery with a unique venting valv – which drastically reduces the electrolyte loss and therefore reducing frequency of routine maintenance the new Karizma has no answers to Bajaj Pulsar 200cc.

Pricing and availability:

The new Karizma will also continue to be priced at almost the same level as the previous version, with on-road prices for the regular variant working out to Rs 79,000-80,000. The special edition variant with red mag-wheels will be costlier by about Rs 1,000. Bajaj has launched 52 Probiking outlets – which will house only high performance bikes. Pulsar 200cc would be available at such Probiking showrooms at select locations across the country for an attractive price of Rs.65,497 (ex showroom, New Delhi).

Summing it up…

With proven engine and completely new unheard features Bajaj Pulsar 200cc outsmarts the new Karizma. Also, the better pricing makes the Bajaj pulsar 200cc a perfect bike for the highway. Whether you choose new Karizma or Pulsar 200cc one thing is sure i.e. you will find a perfect mate for the week-end outing

Hot Photos – Mar 2007

1) All new Ford Endeavour CRDi which will be launched soon in India to take on Hyundai Tucson and Honda CR-V
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2) The newly launched Mahindra Bolero
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3) Spied Suzuki Sx4 sedan which will be launched in India by May
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source:windingroad.com

4) New Hero Honda Karizma to take on Bajaj Pulsar 200cc
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5) Tata’s new concept car ‘Elegante’
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6)Reva’s New electric car ‘Greeny’ unveiled in Geneva auto show
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7) TVS new Star City sport version

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8) Mahindra- Renault may rock the market with the new Logan Hatchback

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9) Side view of Bajaj Pulsar 220cc
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10) Honda’s new sporty Unicorn
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11) Photo of Unicorn Grand Prix(limited) version

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12) Daimlerchrysler newly launched Mercedes S-class(S-320 CDI-L) to take on upcoming BMW 5-series & 650i

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13) Daimlerchrysler newly launched Mercedes CL-class 500 to take on upcoming BMW 7-series

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14) Skoda’s third variant of Laura Elegance

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15) The Fiat 500 is back. Fiat will reveal the all-new Fiat 500 on July 4, 2007. Like the Mini and the Beetle, the 500 or Cinquecento is one of Europe’s iconic small cars.

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16) Hyundai new Getz Prime to take on Maruti Swift and upcoming Skoda Fabia

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17) soon to be launched BMW 320i to take on Mercedes C class 

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18) soon to be launched BMW 5 series to grab the luxury market

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Auto News – Mar 2007

*India is going to allow the import of a specified number of the iconic motorcycles at lower duty in turn US will allow Indian mangoes. Earlier Harley Davidson had tried to enter the indian market but not succeeded due to strict indian emission norms and high import duty.

* Bajaj Auto plans its foray in to four-wheelers with a light goods carrier which will compete with market leader Tata ace and soon to be launched piaggio 4-wheeler. . Bajaj Auto is working on a “non-traditional light car concept” for which it’s open to partnering with Tata Motors which is working on a Rs 1-lakh car. The concept car will be showcased at the 2008 Auto Expo. The concept car will not be a one-box passenger carrier, but a two-box vehicle like Maruti 800 or Alto.

*General Motors India on March 29 launched a special ‘Platinum’ edition of its luxury sedan Chevrolet Optra priced at Rs 8.24 lakh (ex-showroom Delhi). The company plans to sell 250 units of Chevrolet Optra Platinum limited edition throughout the country. The limited edition sedan comes with an additional three-year warranty and sports new feature including a platinum badge on the trunk lid, chrome kit for the front lower bumper, outer rear view mirror and tail-lamps, new gear knob and an MP3 music system.

*Hyundai will launch environment-friendly compressed natural gas (CNG) version of the Santro within two months. Hyundai, which started exporting the compact car Getz today, will also launch three versions of the car in the domestic market. The car will be rechristened Getz Prime and will have three variants with 1.1 litre and 1.3 litre petrol engines and a 1.5 litre diesel engine.The 1.3 litre Getz that we have here today will get a facelift with the same engine while the diesel variant will come in the second half of the year.

*Bad news for two wheeler manufacturers! A Merrill Lynch report says the growth figure for the two-wheeler market will fall to a single digit in the next two years. Two-wheeler sales grew 12.5 per cent in April-February 2006-07, down from 13.63 per cent in the same period of the previous fiscal year. Growth in passenger car sales, on the other hand, accelerated from 11 per cent to 25 per cent during the period.

*Financial Express reported Bajaj is expected to launch passenger carrier version of light commercial vehicle(LCV). The proposed vehicle will be fitted with a 500-600cc engine and will be available in diesel, petrol and compressed natural gas versions. Bajaj had earlier said it would launch a goods-carrier version of a light commercial vehicle in the first half of 2009 to take on mighty Tata ACE.

*Valentino Rossi – five time motoGP champion won the Spanish motoGP. Rossi dominated the race from the begining and won the spanishGP(Rossi failed to win the championship in the past five races). Fiat – Yamaha is happy to see both Rossi and Edwards in the podium.

*Porsche- the maker of SUV cayenne has launched a takeover bid to Volkswagen. Volkswagen has control over popular car brands such as Audi, Skoda, Bentley and luxury brand Lamborghini. In India Skoda has niche market in the premium car segment with its offerings such as octavia,superb and laura.

*Ford and Honda occupies the top position in the Customer Satisfaction Index (CSI), a collective measure of the loyalty and experience index of car buyers in a survey conducted by Businessworld India. Hero Honda, Bajaj and TVS occupies the top slots in the survey

*DaimlerChrysler India unveiled its latest edition of the S-Class diesel, S-320 CDI-L, and the premium Mercedes-Benz CL-Class on March 23. The S-320 CDI-L will cost Rs 71.12 lakh, while the CL-Class 500 Rs 1.17 crore and the Cl-Class 600, Rs 1.62 crore (ex-showroom, Mumbai)

* Impact of Inflation on car sales are clearly seen in March figures. In 2007 India’s inflation has hovered above 6%, to curb rising inflation rate, Reserve Bank of India has moved up the interest rate. This has affected the car sales badly. Over the last two months, car loan rates have seen a rise of 250 basis points (2.5%) to touch the 14.5-16% range which means consumer have to bear additional burden in Equated Monthly Installments(EMI) for buying their dream machines. DNA has reported sales so far in March are down anywhere from 5-15% from last year.

* When bikes like Bajaj Pulsar 200cc, New Karizma and soon to be launched Pulsar 220cc, Karizma FI are priced/expected to be priced at Rs80,000. Consultancy Firm JD Power said, the much-touted “people’s/1 Lakh car” from the stable of Tata Motors could create a major dent in the top-end motorcycle sales with its lucrative price tag, which has already become a global case study.

*China and India’s growing auto markets carry high credit risks for foreign automakers, despite promising high returns, mainly due to intense competition, Standard & Poor’s Ratings Services said in a report published on 22 March 2007.

*Economic Times reported Honda is planning to launch a whole range of 100cc motorcycles in India soon. Honda also plans to import fully built bikes in the 500cc and above range. Honda may first go for 500 cc and above models where Honda may look at importing completely built units. But for models less than 500 cc engine displacement, Honda is studying options to assemble them in India. Honda has recently launched Grand Prix limited edition of Unicorn.

*Skoda – subsidiary of Volkswagen has been assembling cars from completely knocked down kits imported from the Czech Republic. Now, Skoda is looking at changing its India strategy from an assembly operation to full-scale manufacturing. This will help in reducing the production cost and hence Skoda can position its cars competetively.

*The India-assembled high-end BMW cars are set to formally roll out on March 29 at the company’s assembly facility near Chennai. BMW will initially roll out the BMW 3 series from the new assembly plant. BMW now has a total of eight dealers, covering major cities. Besides two dealerships each in Delhi and Mumbai, it has one dealer each in Chennai, Bangalore, Hyderabad and Chandigarh. “BMW is likely to expand this to Kochi, Kolkata and Ahmedabad,” reported Economic Times.

* Tata Motors rolled out its 1,00,000th Ace, its mini-truck, 20 months after its launch, from the company’s Pune plant. Recently,a special variant of Ace called TataAce HT (High Torque) is launched to deal with a wide variety of gradients, especially in the North Eastern region. Tata is also planning to launch to omni version of Tata Ace to compete Maruti Omni soon.

*Honda has launched special/limited edition of Unicorn which is priced at 59,425 (ex-showroom Delhi). It would sell 2,500 units of the limited edition, which would be rolled out in May.

* Honda launches sporty Unicorn with new graphics which is priced at Rs58,150(ex-showroom, Delhi). Honda’s Sporty Unicorn is set to be launched nationwide on April 9. Honda is also going to launch new scooter by the end of 2007. source NDTV profit

*Kimi Raikkonen of Ferrari won the Australian Grand Prix.

*Here’s another war between TVS and Bajaj. TVS has launched a special website for its flagship product ‘Apache’ to combat Pulsar’s famous web

*Aston Martin, James Bond’s preferred car, is changing hands. To raise cash after last year’s record loss, Ford Motor Company will sell its profitable Aston Martin luxury sports-car unit for £479 million ($926.522 million or Rs 4,119.4 crore) to investors led by UK auto-racing champion David Richards.

*Kimi Raikkonen will start the first race of the 2007 Formula One season on pole position after qualifying fastest in

*Piaggio plans scooter Vespa’s third entry into India soon.*Indus Elec-Trans, a division of Electrotherm (India) Ltd on March 15, 2007 announced launch of its Yobykes in Eastern India. *Two-wheeler major, TVS Motor Company (TVS-M) has launched a sport variant of its popular entry level motorcycle, ‘Star City’. The 100 cc ‘Star Sport’ is launched in two versions, the basic and premium. The base version will come with alloy wheels in 2 colours – Red and Black. The deluxe version with alloy wheels will have fuel gauge, chrome graphics and will be available in three colours – Silver, Black and Blue. While the basic variant of ‘Star Sport’ has been priced at Rs 33,990 (ex-showroom Chennai), the premium variant of the new model will carry a price tag of Rs 35,490 (ex-showroom Chennai). TVS will also launch a new Apache, a three-wheeler in August, and a new Victor during 2007-08

*Stoner of Ducati won the Qatar Moto GP. Former champion Valentino Rossi finished second and defending champion Nicky hayden finished 8th.

*Ford India announced the introduction of the Ikon 2007 on sedan on March 9th that comes packed with plush interiors and stylish exterior enhancements.

*Bush to sign biofuels pact in Brazil, earlier Bush called on Congress to require the annual use of 35 billion gallons of ethanol and other alternative fuels such as biodiesel by 2017, a fivefold increase over current requirements.This move will give new dimension to biodiesel market for which India has great potential.

*Bajaj slashed out Tata’s talk of small car as a marketing gimmick.
“He has to sell his car… so he has to speak like that,” Bajaj shot back when reporters asked him about Tata Group Chairman Ratan Tata’s remark that one of the major reasons for him to decide on the ‘people’s car’ was the concern for safety of those travelling by two-wheelers.

*Fiat to sell its cars only through Tata -Fiat dealership chain.Mr De Filippis Giovanni, Managing Director, Fiat India, said the company has been selling its models using the existing 41 outlets of the Tata – Fiat dealership chain and has now proposed to link the remaining 38 `Fiat’ channels to the Tata – Fiat chain.

*Visit your favourite manufacturer cars shown in Geneva auto show- one of the biggest auto shows in the world.
Geneva auto show home page

*Bajaj will slash the price of its 100cc bike Platina thus making it cheapest bike in the segment, more affordable than Hero Honda CD Dawn. This strategic move by Bajaj will put more pressure on its rival Hero Honda. Bajaj will exit the 100cc market in mid-2007.For more

*Mahindra and Mahindra bags Punjab tractors in an all cash deal. The winning bid by M&M is said to be Rs360 per share.Source CNBC TV18.

* Tata has unveiled it’s new concept car ‘elgante’ in 77th geneva motor show. New Indica and Indigo sedan will borrow design cues from this concept car.