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.

Nissan’s Next car for India

Overview:

Nissan will enter the premium midsize car segment with Teana in March. The segment is currently ruled by Toyota Camry, Honda Accord, Skoda Superb and Mercedes C class.
Nissan has great plans for India it is willing to postion India as its manufacturing base; it has joined hands with Renault and Mahindra to produce cars. As its sister Renault has decided to enter India in a bigger way with car like Logan, Nissan also wants to join the fray.

Nissan Teana is sold as the Cefiro in Singapore and Hong Kong, as the Teana in Thailand or as the Maxima in Australia and North America. The name Teana comes from a Native American word meaning “dawn.” This model name was selected because it is suitable to the dawn of an all-new luxury sedan and because it has an elegant ring befitting the car’s appearance.

Engine and Powertrain:

Under the hood of the Teana is the 2.3l V6 naturally aspirated gasoline engine. The DOHC (double overhead camshaft) gasoline engine with CVTC – continuously variable timing control delivers an impressive power of 127KW exactly the same as the segment leader Toyota Camry. This VQ23DE power plant comes from Nissan’s VQ engine series that made Ward’s 10 Best Engines list 12 years in a row. VQ engine is said to be one of the quietest engines in the industry certainly a tough call for Skoda Octavia (Octavia’s engine is the noisiest in its class).On the performance side, 2.3l engine will offer 7.3kpl as against 8.9kpl offered by Mercedes Benz C200k. It will be faster than Skoda superb it takes only 10.4second to reach 100kmph and the engine is said to be smoother whether in stop-and-go city traffic or at speeds exceeding 100kmph. But the maximum speed is limited to 198km/h( the performance figures here estimated are based on Thailand Teana, since Teana will be bring to india as completely Built down(CBU) unit or knocked down unit I believe actual figures will be close to the estimated figures)

Design:

Exterior prestigious styling by harmonizing between European and Japanese style, the roof line arches conformable with fenders and wheels by superior design. Hood and grille were integrated, luxury feature with chrome molding. Teana knocks out Toyota camry, Honda accord, skoda superb, Mercedes C class and even Mercedes E class when comes to interiors. Pearl suede (also seen in Mitsubishi Montero) covers the upper surface of the instrument panel, seats, door armrests and center armrest. This technique of inserting a third colored material into the basic two-tone color coordination scheme gives a fresh expression to the interior.

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Driver’s zone:

The 4-speed E-CAT (electronically controlled automatic transmission), 5.3-meters minimum-turning radius (lowest in its class) and rear-view reversing camera that displays on the dashboard monitor, make this executive sedan easy to drive and park. With the ground clearance of 135mm you may feel hard to drive Teana in Indian roads. Teana provides disc brakes on all four 16-inch alloy wheels. Teana looks modern with position memory driver seat eminent with welcome seat system that will automatic sliding up to 40 mm. Highlighted by the bold use of wood-grain trim, the instrument panel resembles a furnished piece of high-class furniture. Electronic Throttle Chamber (ETC) system is controlling the throttle valve without cable (or called “drive by wire”) and hence improved response for Teana drivers. Powerful Xenon headlamps, which provide more intensity than conventional halogen lamps, offer improved visibility for safer night driving.

Passenger’s zone:

Teana’s quiet engine together with the spaciousness of the passenger cabin afforded by the Teana’s size, plus the independent suspension at the front and rear with stabilizer bars, results in exceptional ride quality for all occupants. Teana is taller than Toyota Camry and Honda Accord hence only very tall people may find roof limiting the rear headroom, but otherwise all passengers will enjoy good space in all direction. Teana has only 476litre boot space to fill your cargo. Though Teana’s air massage Seats – the two front and two rear air-massage seats that are designed to fit comfortably with the shoulder and backbone to offer a relaxing back massage to relieve stress and tension as Nissan claims, the seats are flat and fail to support in corners as the vehicle reported by most Teana customers in Thailand. The center console, connecting the front- and rear-seat areas in a gentle arch, is like a side table that facilitates lively conversation among those around it. Inside, the genuine leather upholstery and trim, memory adjustment for the driver’s seat, matte-finished wood panels on the dash and jagged-design gearbox, Human Machine interface with 7-inch color display, power sunroof, dual climate control air con, six-disc CD changer and audio system with six speakers and remotely controlled rear power sunshade contribute to the luxury class ambience and raise the riding comfort level

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Safety and special features:

Safety features in the Teana include the usual specs found in cars in this class, such as airbags, ABS with EBD, brake assist, dual front pretensioner seatbelts, three rear 3-point seatbelts and a VDC (vehicle dynamic control) programme that automatically controls engine output and braking power on each wheel to help keep the car steady under demanding conditions. To make things even easier for the driver, the Teana offers keyless “smart start and entry” whereby you can unlock the car and start the engine simply by pushing buttons as long as you have the Nissan Intelligence Card Key in your pocket. Teana also comes with the theft proof immobilizer -security device to prevent thieves from stealing a car even if they gain entry. An electronic immobiliser is part of the engine control unit (ECU), and prevents the car from being started unless it recognises signals from a transponder in the key. Auto-levelling feature for the Teana’s headlamp helps to improve the straight-line visibility, thereby enhancing the safety standards.

Price and service:

Definitely, the car has edge over the camry and accord when comes to appeal, Teana tops the JD power APEAL (automotive performance, execution and layout study) in the premium midsize car segment. Teana’s pluses are

• An elegant interior reminiscent of a modern living room
• Stylish and attractive body proportions
• amply powerful and comfortable driving performance for sophisticated drivers

If you want comfort then Teana will be your choice. Teana will be priced at around Rs 21-22 lakh this is where the new Honda accord scores with a price tag of 16 lakh. Also the hi-tech Teana will face another loss when comes to service. Expensive spare parts and very few dealer networks are the other drawbacks.

Further launches:

Currently Nissan offers X-trail an SUV which is sold over 200 units.X-trail is offered in diesel version. Nissan has announced business collaboration with Suzuki, including sharing manufacturing facilities. Nissan has also joined hands with Mahindra and Renault to produce cars in India. Nissan has great understandings about the Indian market, YOSHIE MOTOHIRO Managing Director Nissan Motor India Pvt. Limited said“People in India know about Nissan as a global company and about Mr. Ghosn, but they don’t really know we’re selling cars in India yet”. But Nissan has great plans for India she also said “We want to enter higher-volume segments, meaning the more moderately priced A, B, C and D segments”. Believing her words we will see some great Nissan cars in India

Useful links:

Nissan India’s dealers

For Nissan Teana’s Technical specification Nissan Thailand home page

For Nissan’s report on India.

FIAT’S INDIAN PUNTO

The first product of the Fiat – Tata alliance will be the Grand Punto, a premium hatchback which is expected to be launched in the second half of 2007 or in the beginning of 2008. Grande punto will compete with swift diesel, getz CRDi and indica DICOR by the time of its launch. Grande Punto alone saved fiat to go bankrupt and made itself the biggest success in European markets.
Will it do the same for Fiat India? Let’s see

Engine:

Punto may come here by the end of this year but its engine is already here! Punto 75bhp engine is already offered in swift by Maruti. GM, Suzuki and Fiat co-developed the engine. This engine may also feature what Tata’s call next generation indica or indica CRDi (common rail direct injection). This year will be of CRDi year since santro and getz CRDi by Hyundai and indica, sumo, indigo sedan and indigo marina DICOR (direct injection common rail diesel) by Tata will be launched this year. Punto’s 1.3l diesel engine comes in two variants with the one delivering 75bhp active and the other 90bhp dynamic. Performance and power always moves in different directions, if you want to enjoy the both you can opt for 90bhp punto. 90bhp punto is modified from the 75bhp with the VGT-variable geometry turbocharger (available in newly launched indigo DICOR) and refined combustion chamber. This provides the edge for the 90bhp amidst the increased power output it gives you better mileage or fuel efficiency. A carefully developed manual gear box not only gives you comfort and better torque at low speeds but also makes the gearbox more reliable. Fiat claims the mileage as 22.3kpl for 90bhp and 21.2kpl for 75bhp engine. At least we shall hope this engine and power train requires less maintenance, the area where Fiat India is poor.

Design and Comfort:

Exteriors:

Designed by the famous Giorgetto Giugiaro of Italdesign, the Grande Punto is an attractive and spacious car. The Grande Punto uses the same suspensions (Independent McPherson with telescopic dampers and anti-roll bar at the front and Independent torsion axle and cross beam with telescopic hydraulic dampers at the rear) as the fourth generation Opel Corsa. Fourth generation Corsa may not be available in India since GM has announced it’s pulling the brand out of the country. Grand Punto, which is 4030mm long, is expected to be shortened by 30mm so that it can fit for the 16% excise duty. Since many customers never pop the bonnet and look for the practicality and the style. The car is styled to satisfy the both; Styling is driver centric from the visibility to airy environment, from dashboard design to instrument control. The model has faired vertical light clusters incorporated in the two rear pillars, where they are protected and visible. Fiat claims this arrangement serves two functions enhanced aerodynamics and a sporty look.

Interiors:

The punto is preceded with “Grande” to indicate its larger size. Fiat claim the interior represents the epitome of Italian style it means being able to get in and out of the car easily and comfortably, and once you are sitting down, it means being surrounded by an airy environment, enjoying its generous space and greater visibility.
As the name indicates the car is very spacious, in terms of space the car that can challenge punto will be Skoda Fabia which will be launched later this year. Fiat punto provides many possible adjustments for seats and steering. It is possible to raise the driver’s seat and adjust the height and reach of the steering wheel, roominess on the front seats is excellent and every driver will find a position that is ideal for him. Fiat claims comfort that the rear seats is almost independent of the adjustment of the front seats; It can accommodate a front passenger of 186 centimeters tall and a rear passenger of 182 cm tall simultaneously, providing both with a generous amount of space. The task is now with Fiat India to preserve the comfort and make the car fit for small car regulation. Punto offers an impressive luggage or boot space of 275 litres and body coloured interiors.

Safety and special features:

Brakes are ventilated discs in front with drums at rear; equipped with ABS and electronic brake-force distribution (EBD) on the higher version. Further safety features include brake pedals that will break on impact, while the front seatbelts have pretensioners, load limiters and a fastened sensor. Another important safety feature is the passenger cannot get away with not fastening his belt — an insistent beep will sound until the seatbelt is fastened. I wish this feature must be offered in India as well. You can monitor your driver there is also a boy beep which you can preset it to a certain speed and if driver exceeds that speed, it beeps at you. Punto has been given maximum rating for passenger safety in Euro NCAP (European agency for safety testing). Fiat provides an extensive list for special features; armrest with storage bin, electric power steering (with a city mode, making the steering lighter for easier parking),air conditioning that can be varied for individual passengers,60:40 rear split seats, electric front windows (one touch up and down on driver’s side) and they work without the ignition switched on. On board computer for fuel range, current and average consumption, etc. These features are excellent but all depends on the price of the Indian version.[kml_flashembed movie="http://www.vicky.in/temp/punto.swf" width="450" height="400" wmode="transparent" /]
Price and service:

Punto 75bhp is priced at Rs6,80,000 and 90bhp at Rs 8,00,000 for the basic version in south Africa. For India the car is expected to be priced between 4.5 – 6lakhs to take on getz, swift and Fabia. Fiat has failed to find a niche market even with excellent products like palio, siena and adventure because of its poor servicing. It was designed to travel 250,000 km without any maintenance to the mechanical components. What is more, the oil change intervals have been extended from 20,000 to 30,000 km. In South Africa the car’s price includes a 5year/90000km service plan. Hope this will be offered in India as well.

Further launches:

Fiat India new cars may replace the blue backed badge by new logo in red. Fiat is likely to launch the new Palio that will incorporate a few exterior changes and could well also be offered with a new engine. New palio is estimated to be priced at Rs 400000. Fiat is also planning a premium saloon Linea which is as big and spacious as the Toyota Corolla. Linea is being developed on a modified Punto platform especially for emerging markets and India is likely to be a key production base for the saloon in the region. Fiat also plans to launch Ferrari, Maseratti and Alfa Romeo in india in coming years. Fiat and Microsoft automotive division collaborated and made a car infotainment system – first of its kind. The system, based on Mobile Windows, allows to make and receive calls and to listen to music. Thanks to the Bluetooth technology which makes the automobile communicates with the outer world through your personal devices like movable telephones and palms. This system will be in India when the fiat launches higher end models

Earlier Fiat and Tata had announced ambitious plans to manufacture cars and engines under a new 50:50 joint venture between the two companies. Fiat’s expertise in small cars helps the Tata in designing the 1lakh dream car. Fiat hopes the alliance with Tata will make a turnaround for it’s Indian subsidiary, we will wish the same

Useful links:

For Fiat’s current offering

For Fiat Grande Punto colours and technical specification

Auto News – Feb 2007

*Here is the budget impact on automotive sector, budget 2007 has no major announcements for automotive sector.For the sector the budget remains neutral. Manufacturers said 1% increase on education cess from the previous 2% will be passed on to the customers. For more

*Yamaha may move out of india because of its declining sales.With a marketshare of just 3.76%, Yamaha is fourth among India’s top five bike makers.The financilal condition of yamaha motors is said to be critical For more

*Nissan is going to launch its new sedan ‘Teana’ in India.The gasoline car will be priced between 22-24lakhs will take on Toyota camry and recently launched 7th generation Honda accord.For Nissan Teana review and technical specification

*Tamilnadu may be the manufacturing base for the trio- Nissan, Mahindra and Renault. The trio may choose Tamilnadu over Mahrastra for the new plant. Official statement is expected on 26th Feb.The trio may produce 8lakh vehicles in the new plant.For more

*Tatas plan new indica range to counter swift diesel.For more

*Hyundai will launch a new small car named “pa” either in the fourth quarter of 2007 or early next year. The car will be positioned between getz and santro.For more

*Ford has launched the seventh model of Fiesta.The new Fiesta 1.4 L ZXI is priced at Rs 6.30 lakhs, ex-showroom, Chennai.

*The government on Feb 22nd invited bids from public sector financial institutions and mutual funds for its remaining 10.27 per cent stake in Maruti Udyog Limited that would bring in Rs 2,700 crore.For more

*Country’s second-largest car manufacturer Hyundai Motor India Ltd (HMIL) has sold one million sales mark for its flagship product ‘Santro’.

*Tata Motors has extended the application of the same 1.4-litre common rail diesel (DICOR) engine to the Indigo Sedan and Estate range.For more

*Another new small car from an indian manufacturer is going to be launched in 2009 not from Tata or Mahindra but from a new manufacturer.Hyderabad-based MLR Motors Private Limited is setting up a Rs. 2,500-crore car manufacturing unit on the outskirts of Hyderabad and plans to roll out its entry-level diesel cars in 2009.MLR Motors, which is headed by B. V. R. Subbu, former president of Hyundai Motor India Limited, has bought the daewoo india plant for Rs765crore.For more

*Daimler-chrysler -world’s fifth-biggest carmaker could spin off or sell loss-making U.S. arm Chrysler.Hyundai has denied the speculation that it may buyout the chrysler. Various news agencies has posted GM may acquire chrysler.For more

*Bajaj has launched much awaited pulsar 200cc india’s first bike engine to have oil cooler.By May, the Pulsar 220 cc with fuel injection will be launched and the following month the 200 cc cruiser bike Avenger will hit the market. Fuel injected DTS-i 220 cc bike could cost about Rs. 80,000-Rs 85,000, while the just launched 200 cc Pulsar DTS-i had been priced at Rs. 65,497. The company would gradually phase out its entry-level bikes `Platina’ and `CT-100. To counter Bajaj Pulsar 220cc HeroHonda will launch the fuel-injected version of its 223cc Karizma(Karizma has already hit our TV screens).Hero Honda might also launch PGM-FI version of achiever to boost its numbers.Racing bike manufacturers Suzuki and Yamaha are expected to roll out models to capture this new segment.America’s cult bike brand Harley Davidson is also exploring the opportunity to sell it’s bike in india.

For pulsar 200cc features and technical specifications visit bajaj pulsar page.

PGM-FI–programmed fuel injection.Fuel injection(direct injection of fuel into the cylinder against through carburettor) has long been used in cars(u might have heard MPFI in maruti cars like swift).Hero Honda Glamour FI is the India’s first fuel injected version of bike.Fuel Injection gives you better pick-up and fuel efficiency than carburretor version of a bike.Overdrive magazine has calculated that premium you pay for these bikes equals the savings on fuel.

*Fiat said “ferrari will be launched in india within 5 years” and Fiat also said “alfa romeo will be launched in india within 2 years”.for more

*Honda is going to roll out 100cc bikes in india.

*Hero Honda will launch revamped models of achiever and Karizma.

*CSE-centre for science and environment has notified the government to curb the tax sops enjoyed by diesel cars.For CSE letter on diesel cars
Whereas SIAM-society of automotive manufacturers has proposed the government to reduce the excise duty on all cars from 24% to 16% (currently engines under 1500cc for diesel and 1200cc for petrol falls under tax band of 16%.)

*Burmans(promoters of dabur india) holding 14.5% stake and actis holding 29% are selling their stake in Punjab tractors.Key contenders are Mahindra&Mahindra, TAFE, Sonalika tractors and Tata – Fiat.The deal is expected to be over 800crores.

Electric vehicles in India

Toyota unveiled its electric-petrol Prius at the International Engineering Trade Fair in New Delhi. Honda Motor Company unveiled its Insight hybrid car and the FCX fuel-cell vehicle in Delhi. Mahindra said that a hybrid SUV will be launched soon Dalmer-chrysler has been working on biodiesel powered Mercedes. In January mahindra has launched biodiesel powered Arjun tractors and Bolero. Has Indian automotive industry looking for a hybrid future?

Especially for a fossil deficient country like India, Hybrid, fuel cell powered and biodiesel powered vehicles seems to be a good alternative. Biodiesel, Electric vehicles (EV), Hybrid vehicles and Fuel cell vehicles will replace the Petro – Diesel vehicles in coming years. I will write on all these things in future. This post is all about electric vehicles in India.

Overview:
Electric vehicles are virtually maintenance free. It has no gears, no engine, no belt or chain drive, zero emission, no pollution, electronic start and accelerator, besides it is exempted from the Central Vehicles registration act by the Automotive Research Association of India (ARAI) and does not require any registration or license. These bikes are usually chargeable at 220V which your refrigerator requires. For charging bikes require special adapter. Batteries, Motors and other electrical kits are imported from china and other countries whereas mechanical design and assembly of these bikes are done here. Electric bikes target School students, women and who are under 18 years of age. Following is the review on some of the manufacturers and their products in India.

Yobykes:

Indus – division of Electrotherm a gujrat based company is the recent player in electric vehicle market. It offers two scooterette and four bikes models with the motor power range 200-250W. YO-smart scooter model from Indus come with a very compact dimension. The vehicle weighs less and has a payload of 75kg. YO-smart vehicle clocks a top speed of 25km/hr and the vehicle offers a range/charge mileage of 75km. Charge duration required is 6 – 8hours. Electrotherm’s YOBikes are ranged between Rs 13,999 and Rs 23,249.

EKO vehicle:

EKO vehicle a Bangalore based company offers EKO cosmic –I scooter and EGO bike. This company has been in this business for a long time and has dealers in various locations in India than its counterparts. Battery weighs at 28kgs and has a life of 12000 – 15000kms. The company offers a rapid charger which will charge the bike at 10 – 15 minutes (good for intuitional consumers). Cosmic offers a variable mileage depends on your payload. The maximum speed is 40 km/hr and Cosmic noise is less than 60decibel. Cosmic is offered in five colours and is exported many countries.

ACE motors:

Pune based Ace motors manufacturers e-bike (electric bike) and the majority of the components of this bike are imported from China based company Changtong E Bike Company Ltd. The e-bikes from Ace Motors weigh almost 60kg. The bike offers a load-carrying capacity of 100-140 kg. To cover a distance of 220 km, you need to charge the bike for 6 – 8 hours at 220 volts. The maximum speed of the bike is 25 km/hr and is priced at Rs 26,500.

REVA:

Reva car is the Indian face of Toyota Prius and Honda FCX. It launched the India’s first electric car in 2001. Reva introduced Energy Management system (EMS) which diagnoses and rectifies the problem of over discharging and helps in better maintenance. To counter the general perception amongst people that electric vehicles are not safe, the Reva has incorporated safety features like the steel space frame, side impact beams, dent-proof ABS body panels, a low voltage system, and a dual-braking system. The Reva is offered in three variants — Standard (non-a/c), Air-conditioned and Classe. Priced at Rs 3.1 lakh (on-road) for the base variant and Rs 4.05 lakh for the Classe variant, the Reva is not exactly very affordable. The non air-conditioned base variant has a driving range of 80 km on a full charge, while the other two air-conditioned variants will give you about 60 km. Cute and super compact Reva which comfortably seat two adults and two kids offered in six colours. Reva has received investments worth USD 20 million recently from Global Environment Fund

Others:

There are many regional players in this industry. Now, this industry has attracted major players too. Mahindra eco mobiles a subsidiary of M&M has launched “Bijlee” a 10 seater available only in selected markets. Scooters India a lucknow based company has been offering 8 seater (including driver).Scooters India claims the charge range as 80km at a speed of 30-35km/hr.Many major cycle makers has recently entered this industry. Hero cycles (Hero Honda group) has collaborated with UK based Ultra motor has launched a series of bikes in January 2007. The bikes have a maximum speed of 25 kilometres per hour and run for about 45-50 kilometres on a single charge. The electric bikes come in the range of Rs 15,000 to Rs 20,000 and the electric scooters in the range of Rs 24,000 to Rs 28,000. Hero group has great investment plans for this segment. Another major bicycle manufacturer Atlas has launched an e-bike priced at Rs 17,000. Ludhiana based Avon Cycles and Chennai based TI cycle has also launched ebike.

Problems:

Even after intense subsidies (not in India) these vehicles failed to make definite market why?

Some of their biggest minuses of these vehicles are underpowered performance, the heavy weight of batteries, which consequently drags the performance even further, poor driving range per charge of the batteries and inability to offer all the devices that gasoline/diesel powered cars offer since they will drain the battery and charge needs to be saved for the main purpose of driving the car. It lacks practicality and luxuries that gasoline powered vehicles have been able to offer.
Other problems include less availability of spare parts and qualified mechanics, bad dealer network, even though it is claimed maintenance free, problems with electrical kits often occurs. Very importantly these vehicles are priced too high for instance Reva is priced on par with a well established car like Zen estilo makes it unattractive. But the manufactures estimated that production of higher volumes of EVs will reduce the cost by 10-15%. Also larger number of regional players makes electric vehicle less reliable since prospect of the company itself uncertain. Many people questioned me about the location of availability of these bikes. The industry requires consolidation and proper marketing.

Verdict:

“It is estimated that India’s fossil fuel dependency on other countries currently from 70% to 82% in 2012. If we can have three lakh Electric Vehicles on the roads by 2020, including three-wheelers, cars, and scooters, this could result in a reduction of over 16 lakh metric tons of CO, NOx and HC by 2020, savings of over Rs 3,700 crore in foreign exchange and significant health costs savings”—- automonitor

If you are ready to buy an EV just read what the Indian government offers!

Government has reduced the custom duty on three of the imported components in battery operated vehicles (BOV) to 10%.Excise duty reduced on electric vehicles from 16% to 8% in 2004 budget. But the industry feels that the efforts are not sufficient.
Toyota Prius the model which accounts for nearly 80 per cent of the hybrid vehicle sold globally is about Rs 10 lakh in the US. In India at current levels of duty, it could cost anywhere between Rs 20-25 lakh because of the high import duty. At present total import duty is 111% (60% on CBU imports plus countervailing duties and other levies). According to A Toyoshima, managing director, Toyota Kirloskar, the Indian government should relax the duty structure for such hybrid vehicles to promote eco-friendly technology in the country. Honda said that the new small car it plans to offer in 2009 would be a hybrid if the government makes required tax sops. If government wishes a greener future it has to take necessary actions to encourage the industry, if you want to save the earth buy an e-vehicle.

F.N: if you know any manufacturer producing electric vehicle just post it here, this will help someone.

Preview on Chevrolet Spark

Remake time! Not only in cinema but in automotives too. GM will launch its compact car Chevy (Chevrolet) spark in India in April.

To reduce the risk, manufacturers tend to remake the cars under the old badge and to be cost competitive they prefer identical configuration (Zen estilo borrows its engine from WagonR).Now, GM will bring the old Daewoo matiz as Chevrolet Spark in April quarter of 2007. GM already sells the Spark in China, South Africa and Singapore as Chevrolet spark and in Europe under the badge Chevrolet matiz. The proposed compact car would take on the market at present dominated by Maruti Alto, Zen Estilo and Wagon R (the trio shares the same platform) and Hyundai Santro and Tata Indica Xeta .

Engine:

There will be two versions of petrol engine-0.8L and 1L for Chevy spark (there are speculations about launch of diesel engine, but I believe at least in the short term first the diesel will be introduced in Chevrolet aveo U-VA to match diesel swift).
795cc, 6valve-Smaller engine (to take on Maruti 800) will pump out 38KW and torque of 68.6 Nm@4600 rpm. The three-cylinder design is said to provide a very flat torque curve, which means a much less peaky power delivery than would be expected from an engine of this size, and ensures that the Spark exceeds most performance expectations. . According to Chevrolet, with its five-speed manual transmission driving the front wheels, the three-cylinder unit claims to give a mileage of 19.2kpl with a top speed of 142 km/hr.

The 995cc, 8valve engine which will compete with Maruti Zen estilo and Hyundai Santro, pumps out 48.5KW and gives a maximum torque of 87.3Nm. With the refined engine the spark provides you greater power for a more relaxing drive at sustained higher speeds for longer journeys. With the completely new pedal box design with durable plastic moulded pedals and a noise-insulating mat between the engine compartment and the dashboard improves the sound insulating effect. Chevrolet claims fuel figure as 17.85kpl with a top speed of 156Km/hr

Design and comfort:

Exteriors:

As for the design the GM plays safe it preserves the old design – large round head lamps brings back the memory of old Daewoo matiz.
The Chevrolet spark is a classic example of the Monoform design, as is the Zen estilo and Honda Civic. Monoform design reduces the front and rear overhang which means easy parking in metros and it also maximizes the wheelbase, which in turn improves cabin space. Thanks to the selection of materials, generous use of high strength steel not only gives you the required stability but it also makes the car weigh less. It weighs about 795 kg against 875kg Zen estilo. To improve the handling of the Spark, a completely new torsion beam rear axle was used, coupled to angled shock absorbers and semi trailing arms. This will provide you much greater precision wheel control than the trailing link axle used in Zen estilo. Gas pressure shock absorbers together with softer mounting rubbers in the suspension links will improve the ride comfort. Chevrolet claims spark gives you greater visibility from the high driving position with low waistline and slim pillars for tight reversing occasions.

Interiors:

The main feature of the Spark interior is the cockpit, which is divided into two main sections. In the driver’s direct line of view, there is a semi-circular set of displays incorporating the control and warning lights. Then, in the center of the dashboard and slightly raised, is the instrument panel with classic-style analogue displays, easily visible to all Spark occupants. They provide information on rpm, speed and fuel level. The odometer reading and time are displayed in digital form which means they are easy to pick out at a glance and the clever ergonomics mean you don’t have to peer through the steering wheel and take your eyes off the road. More cars should have this set-up. For average sized people the Spark’s interior will pose no problems in the legroom department and headroom will fit for most sizes too. The seats are supportive and good for distance work. The rear seat’s backrest can be divided in the ratio 60:40 against the not folding type offered by Zen estilo, enabling longer objects to be transported without problem. If the complete bench is flipped up, the capacity rises to an impressive 845 litres whereas the raw boot space (luggage space) is 170litres.

Safety and special features:

ABS (anti lock braking system) and driver-passenger airbags may not be offered in 0.8L spark and may be offered in 1Lspark as an optional one. Precisely defined load paths with an energy absorbing hexagonal profile protect the passengers in the event of a head-on or rear collision. Optimised links between the B-pillar and the sills provide additional protection in the event of a side impact. The range of safety equipment is completed by an energy-absorbing steering column, knee padding and a plastic fuel tank with a safety valve that immediately halts the fuel supply if the car turns over, thereby virtually eliminating any fire risk. Certainly it may not be the safest car but 0.8L spark will certainly score over the Maruti 800 when comes to safety. Air conditioning, power windows, power steering, remote fuel lid opener and remote tail gate opener will be offered as standard in 1L spark.

Price and Service:

Chevrolet spark occupies the top position in both the APEAL and IQS study by JD power in china

Definitely a superior package from the world leader, especially 0.8L spark is much much superior to Maruti 800 in terms of design, safety, engine and comfort( u can avail the estilo type comfort at Maruti 800 price).1L spark will also give sleepless nights to Maruti alto, zen estilo and Hyundai Santro. But can general motors match the well established Maruti in fuel efficiency and very importantly price?
In china the basic model is sold close to a price of 2,75,000 rupees even after the intense competition from chery QQ( it is reported that Chinese manufacturer chery QQ has copycat the chevy spark design ). In India Maruti 800 A/c is priced at Rs2,20,000 hence to be competitive GM has to bring down the price. I believe that lot of trimming will take place before the launch in India. Spark requires service for every 15000km/1year.
Considering the Maruti’s reliability, customer satisfaction and mileage it will be tough for General Motors to penetrate the well established Maruti’s market.

Further Launches:

Optra diesel is likely to be launched soon. GM will roll out two new models Epica and Captiva. The Captiva will take on the likes of the Honda CR-V, the Hyundai Tuscon and possibly the Toyota Fortuner if it does make its way to India by then. The GM SUV will be available with a 2.0-litre common rail diesel and a 2.4-litre petrol engine. As for the Epica, the car will compete for market share with the Honda Accord and Hyundai’s Sonata. It will share its diesel engine with the Captiva, though in a different state of tune. For Cadillac and Hummer, “those cars are in the horizon but not in the short to medium term,” said GM India president and MD Rajeev Chaba.

Useful links:
http://www.aas.com.sg

For Chevrolet spark colours http://www.chevroletsingapore.com/content_data/AP/SG/en/GBPSG/001/flash/

For Chevrolet spark copycat
http://www.businessweek.com/magazine/content/05_06/b3919010_mz001.htm

catch the photos of chevrolet spark

[kml_flashembed movie="http://www.vicky.in/temp/SPARK.swf" width="480" height="360" wmode="transparent" /]

Fabia for India!

Skoda is going to launch Fabia – a compact car in India by the end of 2007.

The first generation fabia has sold about 15lakh in Europe and other countries. The world premiere of the new generation of the Skoda Fabia will take place at the Geneva Auto Show in March 2007 subsequently it will be launched in India. From the looks of it, the 2007 Fabia seems to have a lot in common in terms of design with the new Suzuki Swift. Here are the few scoops about the car and its video

Czech site “Auto” has got THE on tscoop he second generation Fabia model. They managed to catch on tape, a semi-camouflaged prototype performing test runs.

In Europe the fabia is well known for its attractive design,the large amount of space, and above all, the generous amount of comfort ans is offered in various segments as Fabia sedan, Fabia combi and Fabia RS.

Engine:

A total of seven engines for the new Fabia,Four petrol and three diesel engines will be available in Europe. But only two variants of diesel and petrol are likely to be offered in india (since only engines under 1500cc for diesel and 1200cc for petrol falls under the tax band of 16%). These engines are already available in Romania and Czech market.. Engines will be borrowed from Skoda roomster-another successful model from Skoda, for Fabia.

Mileage figure in Czech by similar vehicles powered by these engines (though fuel consumption varies for vehicles I believe these figures will help you to evaluate the engine).

Diesel engines:
1.4TDI PD/51 KW —-18.4kpl
1.4TDI PD/59KW —-19.1kpl

Petrol engines:
1.2 HTP/44KW —– N.A
1.2 HTP/51 KW —–14.7kpl

abbrevation:HTP-high torque performance TDI-Turbo Direct Injection PD-pumpe duse(unit injector)

Very important for India (and for Skoda) will be the smallest of these engines offered. The three-cylinder 1198cc 12-valve petrol engine puts out 60bhp but this engine’s 11.4kgm of torque at a low 3000rpm

The 1422cc turbo-diesel will be Skoda trump card though. A three-cylinder version of the Laura’s PD motor, it puts out an impressive 79bhp and an even more impressive 19kgm@ 2000rpmof torque which can be matched only by Maruti swift. So it will go head-on with the Swift diesel, Tata indica and the soon-to-be-launched Getz diesel. To be competitive apart from the performance and pricing, Skoda has to improve its customer satisfaction (it occupies 9th rank in JD power CSI study) before this launches.

Design:

According to Skoda, new Skoda Fabia will be of 3992 mm in length (well under 4000mm to enjoy tax sops) 1642 mm in breadth and 1498 mm in height Fabia is largest in its class. The effectively usable space offers the occupants more space both in the front seats and in the rear. The boot has a basic capacity of 300 litres as against 232 litres in Maruti swift and, when the rear seats of Fabia are folded down, it will increase to 1163 litres.

The world car got the opportunity to ride the new generation Fabia has come up with following facts.

“The design of the new Fabia expresses clearly emotional characteristics. The fresh design with its strongly accentuated radiator grille, the integrated headlights which are both dynamic and harmonious, and the sideline which expresses both agility and value combine to make the new Skoda stand out clearly from its competitors. This is achieved by means of the white roof, available on request, and the four different wheel designs in the programme. The space is exceptionally generous in spite of its compact measurements and, in the rear; the amount of headspace provided is impressive. The ergonomic seat position for the driver is a matter of course in the new Fabia, while the higher position of the seats affords a better view of the bonnet and also makes entering and leaving more comfortable. The new Fabia offers more space for knee and foot space for all occupants, setting new standards in travelling comfort. Numerous functional improvements have been realised in the interior. The operating elements for the ventilation and the audio unit have been set high up in the centre console. This makes it possible to operate them without being distracted from what is happening in traffic”.

The following facilities will be offered in new Skoda Fabia, but in India these facilities may not be available for the sake of low cost or it may be offered as an optional one.

The highlights of the new Skoda Fabia :
• Large boot with a capacity of from 300 to 1163 litres
• Above-average legroom for all passengers
• The best headroom for rear passengers in the small car class
• Choice of different engines
• Audio/mobile phone operation via new remote control module on the steering wheel (option)
• Large tilting sun roof (option)
• Electronically regulated “Climatronic” air conditioning (option)
• Integrated six-CD autochanger (option)
• Two-tier boot cover-which can be installed at two different heights increasing the flexibility and functionality of the boot.
• Curve halogen projector headlights (option)
• Cornering front fog-lights (option)
• Seven different wheel designs, four steel and three alloy
• Diesel particle filter for the 1.4 TDI PD/59 kW and 1.9 TDI PD/77 kW diesel engines
• Attractive rear lights in Skoda’s trademark C-shape
• Higher seat positions for driver and front passenger that afford a better view and more comfortable access

In the rear, a child’s seat can be affixed with a top-tether belt which limits the forward movement of the upper part of the child’s seat in the event of a head-on collision.

Price:

Fabia may be priced at around in the price band of 4.5-6lakhs (10-15 percent more than the Getz). What you will get for the premium will be quality levels previously unheard of in this segment, plenty of interior space and solid European build and safety. The Fabia is sure to give Hyundai getz and Maruti swift a few sleepless nights at the very least. It is certainly ahead of the game when it comes to interior space, quality and choice of engines

Further launches:

Volkswagen will invest $ 530 million in pune for a new plant, that will work in conjunction with sister company Skoda India’s existing facility at Aurangabad and the plant will be operational by 2009. Pune plant will have a production capacity of 1,10,000 units and the group will bring other locally produced VW brand. Skoda will bring india the Fabia RS which is expected to have 150-plus bhp in addition to Volkswagen launch of Polo – which will compete with Maruti swift, Hyundai getz and Chevrolet spark (soon to be launched) and Passat sedan- costs about 30 lakh which will compete with Mercedes and BMW  in India in coming years.

useful links:
http://www.auto.cz
http://www.skoda-auto.com