IS IT WORTH WAITING FOR LOGAN?

Logan is named to sound like log in or log on

Logan is the European face of low cost manufacturing which knocks out many global manufacturers, now heads to India-paradise of low cost manufacturing. Renault is now cloning its success to Nashik-where 5 lakh cars(that number could increase by 3lakh if Nissan decides to join the duo) is going to be produced through a joint venture between Mahindra and Mahindra (M&M) and Renault. The car is sold across three continents i.e. European, African and Asian and in 42 countries (the car is not offered in US).Despite the low cost 5000 euros (Rs3,00,000) its quality nothing sort of a good car from other manufacturers. Toyota and GM is drawing methods to produce a low cost vehicle that could challenge the Logan.

Engine and Powertrain:

The car will be made available with three different engine options and in as many as eleven variants, to compete from indigo to fiesta, from Verna to aveo. The company is looking at launching two petrol engines for the car — a 75bhp, 1.4-litre and a 105bhp, 1.6-litre and a 70bhp, 1.5-litre common rail direct ignition (CRDi) K9K diesel engine. It comes with second-generation common-rail injection and a low-inertia turbo. Power output is a modest 70bhp, similar to the Tata Indigo, but the torque of 16.3kgm is (higher than the Tata indigo) with 85% of peak torque available between 1,500 and 3,500rpm, the 70hp 1.5 dCi engine delivers lively acceleration that will meet your expectations. Gear ratio is good enough to exploit the torque of the engine i.e. you don’t need often switch gears. Supercharged by a low-inertia turbocharger to reduce the response time, it combines comfort and driving flexibility. Since a large amount of soundproofing (to preserve the low cost) was omitted, road vibrations and engine sound and wind noise are noticeable for the passengers. The engines are specially prepared to handle lower quality fuel, preserving the fuel economy and pollution levels. Combined with its 50-litre tank, the model’s low fuel consumption gives it a basic range of over 1,000 kilometers The Logan 1.5 dCi accelerates from 0 to 100kph in just 15 seconds quicker than fiesta and indigo. Fuel consumption is very frugal. Deduce the figure by 25% for India u will happy to ride it against Indigo and Verna. Fiesta cannot match its low cost despite equable mileage.

Mileage figures in Europe

1.4l(pet) 1.6l(pet) 1.5l(die)
14.7kpl 13.7kpl 21.3kpl

Price band

Logan combines keen pricing with low running cost. It requires servicing gasoline engines for every 30000km and 20000km for diesel engines and Renault provides generous warranty (3yr or 100000km warranty). The petrol Logan is estimated to be priced at between Rs 4.5 and Rs 4.8 lakh (base model) while the diesel variants will be priced around Rs 5.5 lakh.

Design and comfort:

The Logan is based on the B platform on which third generation Renault cars are built. Logan designer Kenneth Melville (the man who designed the Mercedes SLK) told Business Week, the original design brief for the auto was a “value-for-money car with a lot of space and the stately look of a sedan.” Certainly Logan serves the purpose.

Exteriors:

In order to make maximum savings on production costs and recycle components and technical solutions already in stock, the car comes with a flatter windscreen than usual, a single body shell (to save on welding), rear-view mirrors are symmetrical and can be used on either sides of the car and a dashboard moulded in one piece. The rear lamp clusters, set at an angle, smooth out the car’s structured edges. The Indian Logan is all set to get a different grille and a Renault logo. It will also come with new lights and an entirely body-coloured nose. The aerodynamic drag coefficient is 0.360.Ground clearance is 155mm where Mahindra&Mahindra and Renault have to work out for the Indian roads. Logan suspension is said to be soft and strong, and the chassis sits visibly higher than most other cars help it to negotiate dirt roads and potholes and is appreciated by many auto analysts, but the real test will come when the car hits the Indian road.

Interiors:

With a record wheelbase of 2630mm against indigo (2450mm), Verna (2500mm), Fiesta (2486mm) it is more spacious and it can be compared with what tata calls indigo limousine(Indigo XL pricing almost 7 lakh).The Logan’s interior space was designed for countries where it is common for whole families to pile into one car! So there are 5 proper seats and a very large boot with a capacity of 510 litres, offering best-in-class value. Three very tall passengers (over 1900 m) can sit comfortably in the back. The width of the seats (1,420 mm), foot room (420 mm) is generous, and there is 185 mm of knee room. The adjustable steering column and seat and with a cabin length of 1685mm (you no longer need to adjust for the driver).Air conditioning takes between 3 to 10 minutes maximum to reach the desired temperature and is powerful enough to lower temperature even from 40C. The absence of a boot release means you have to use the key each time you want to open the boot. This certainly is taking cost cutting a bit too far

Catch out the design and comfort in flash

[swf width=”420″ height=”325″]http://vicky.in/temp/logan.swf[/swf]

Safety and special features:

The Logan was the subject of intensive work regarding safety. The vehicle’s structure has deformation zones and is designed to disperse the kinetic energy of an impact. The dashboard is also of major importance in providing protection in the event of frontal impact. Its honeycomb structure, made of highly absorbent polypropylene, reduces the risk of knee injury in the event of an impact, while the structure of the seats keeps the pelvis in an appropriate position. Despite the low cost Renault’s use of digital simulation makes the car fetch an overall rating of 9 EuroNcap. Airbags, ABS (antilock braking system), child seat, EBD (electronic brake distribution) and for other features we have to wait till the launch of the car (probably by mid of 2007).

useful links
http://renault-logan.eastrolog.com
http://www.businessweek.com/bwdaily/dnflash/jul2005/nf20050719_4953_db089.htm?chan=search
http://www.mahindrarenault.com/

Expected Launches:

Mahindra will launch its new vehicle named ingenio by 2008. Ingenio, which is expected to replace Bolero, may be aggressively priced at Rs 5 lakh, just above the Rs 4.5-lakh Bolero. Mahindra Renault may also launch five or seven seat version of Logan i.e. Logan MCV (Multi Convivial Vehicle).

With the entry of Logan M&M will create next round of revolution in Indian automobile industry. Hoping a good fight from Tata as well! IS IT WORTH WAITING FOR LOGAN?yes! Continue reading “IS IT WORTH WAITING FOR LOGAN?”

Will swift diesel match its petrol version?

It must be a ridiculous question! Astounding success of swift petrol version i.e. it has already sold over 60000 units since its launch making Maruti an invincible player in compact car segment. Even though Maruti is holding over 50% market share in Indian car industry it does not lose its appetite. Maruti has decided to roll out at least one new model per year that’s why it launched Maruti zen estilo even in December (not an auspicious time to roll out new model-many will not have money since it is next month to festive time in India).Maruti has launched two variants of swift – LDI and VDI- priced at 4.71 and 5 lakh respectively J.D. Power estimates diesel’s share of India’s passenger vehicle market will grow to 35 percent by 2010 from 30 percent now. Maruti decided to throw a stone in tata’s well established diesel market. Maruti knows well that Indica has become synonymous for diesel, so it offers a complete package that can challenge any car of its class.

Generally petrol fonder are frustrated of diesel because of its higher maintenance cost, it is expensive relative to petrol version and because of its noise and poor resale value. Common rail direct injection (CRDi) claims to resolve some of the problems, swift diesel is using that technology. So the specifications are here and we will decrypt it and find what we can expect from it. The vehicle is already being offered as Suzuki Swift in markets such as Poland, Hungary and the UK at a price tag of £9,799 on the road. Maruti play safe it is evident as it preserves the same chassis and the only difference from the swift petrol version is the engine, hence I wish go in detail.

Now comes the most important part, what we can expect from the Engine

blog-swift.jpg

The technology behind swift diesel (CRDi)

DDiS

The car is heaviest in its class but don’t worry it is provided with powerful engine. The engine’s technology used here is similar to the one used in Mahindra Scorpio i.e. CRDi. Thanks to Maruti for making it available in compact car itself. Fiat, Opel and Suzuki co developed the DDiS(Diesel Direct injection System yet another term coined not from R&D but by marketing dept) engine, which will be the country’s first super compact common rail diesel engine. It will also be the lightest diesel engine, and hence higher the power-to-weight ratio. With a total displacement of 1,248cc, the DDiS engine puts out a peak power of 75bhp (5bhp more than the European version) at 4,000 rpm. With a 16-valve cylinder head, this DOHC engine is also aided by a fixed geometry turbocharger, an intercooler and a cooled EGR system (exhaust gas re-circulation) which results in flatter torque curve which makes it most powerful, fuel-efficient and low emission engine in its class. The engine meets the current Bharat Stage III emission norms, but is capable of meeting the Euro IV level emission standards. The transmission is 5 speed synchromesh. Maruti is well known for its mileage here too we can expect the same with its advanced engine.The car is said to offer an impressive mileage of 61.4mpg(21.8kmpl)in UK and NDTV estimates mileage as 22kmpl as against TATA indica turbo which offers an average mileage of 16kmpl

What we can expect from the numbers:

For drivers:

The steering system is analogous to indica v2 and has a turning radius of about 4.7m. The product comes with P-EPS electronic power steering i.e. steering is assisted by electronic system hence demands lesser effort to negotiate a turn. The swift petrol version has some problems with its steering i.e. you have to pull it suddenly as it is loose in straight ahead position while taking a turn. Hope this will be fixed in this version (check it wile you test drive). The lack of a driver’s switch for the nearside electric window was unforgivable. The swift has slightly shorter wheelbase (the centre distance between the front and rear tyre) than its rival getz but it has widest track(distance between two front/rear tyres) in its class making it more stable and offers better handling. Ground clearance (the distance between ground and lowest part of the vehicle) is 170mm which is good for Indian roads. You no longer have to adjust the rear view mirrors often, the oversized outside rear view mirrors (in fact more than most sedans) offers greater view. Front brakes are ventilated disc type and rear one is drum.

For pillions:

Luggage space is 232 litre as against 290 litre offered by getz and santro. You can get more space by folding the rear seat 368 litre. But notice that volume do not alone matter when comes to luggage space you have to concentrate on effective (usable) space depends on dimension of your luggage. The windscreen and the rear glass are smaller than other cars in the segment and hence reduce the visibility. It cannot match getz when comes to space (leg room and shoulder space offered by getz is best in its class).The rear seat offers generous space for two but the car remains frugal when comes to three. The Swift’s adjustable headrests at the rear are a good addition (available only in VDi model). However, the front seats are comfortable and generously wide. The electronic climate control gives you accurate control of the cooling. McPherson strut in front, torsion beam and coil spring set-up in the rear and 165/80-R14 tyres provides you softer ride in the city. Coming to colour the Maruti offers swift 8 colours (but check the availability in your nearby showroom!).

Safety and special features:

Sadly,front airbags(protects the driver from collision with steering during accident) is not offered in both versions. ABS (antilock braking system) with EBD (electronic brake distribution) comes as optional and it helps you when you travel on a wet surface. Intelligent computerized theft system, Cabin light, cup holders (two at the front and one at the rear) and removable ashtray are the added features. Child lock is offered in both versions. Though alarm when key is not removed is useful it has other side too (you can’t sit with door open and radio on for example), the seatbelt alarm is annoying while maneuvering.It is important to mention Maruti customer support(enjoys the first place in JD survey)which is very important for a maintenance oriented diesel car.

Verdict:

Though you have to pay an additional premium (40000-50000 rupees) for diesel version the car seems to be promising. But Indica remains price competitive and also there is word from Maruti that this is an introductory price, there will be revaluation.

The Swift diesel car also qualifies for a lower 16 percent excise duty versus 24 percent for its petrol variant. GM is going to launch UVA diesel version and much awaited chevrolet spark (nothing but dawoo matiz).Hyundai is also planned to rollout many diesel models this year-santro,getz diesel version and with tata’s indica CRDi customers (wait for some time unless you are a die hard Maruti fan). Maruti had already experimented Zen and esteem diesel but it failed hence all its diesel future lies in swift and it hopes for the best. Also there is a fear that it will eat swift petrol sales. We will wait to see whether swift will do another swift for Maruti

[SWF]http://vicky.in/temp/swift.swf, 400,400[/SWF]

P.S: This post is written by my brother Karthick, who is in his final year of automobile engineering. I hope he will write more articles related with Automobiles and other his fav. fields in the forthcoming days. — Vicky

Petrol/Diesel Price hike – I

If i suggest… our Dailies may add a new column along the the regular market price of Gold, Market price details of petrol..i guess there wont be anything wrong .if my memory is good, i guess the petrol and diesel prices are hiked more than 50% in the last two years…But as expected and usual, people from the ruling front try to convince that they had no other alternatives and people in the opposition use this chance to come into front

Courtesy: Rediff

i’m really wondered how people in the middle class are going to bare such hikes, as people are getting more addicted with automotive like Bikes, mopeds etc etc.
i heard it from my brother, tht a 40 cent hike in petrol price become a huge issue in US while more than 50% hike become so normal in India…

But still i’m not so clear with the statistics and some unanswered questions regarding the petroleum products ..

* Even after this abnormal hike in petroleum products, petrol is underpriced by Rs. 7.45 and diesel by around Rs.5 . The case is so pathetic for LPG which is underpriced by Rs. 96 and kerosene by 10 rs ..

So does i means people who ruled as early were not capable of financial dealings or the people now working in the centre are not good enough to control the conditions ???. If govt is able to give subsidiary at a high rate for such essential products even before two years, why not now ??. Whose real pblm is this ???

* Next one Petroleum companies like IOC, BPCL, HPCL are already facing a fiscal loss of 14 crores and if the prices are not hiked now, then the burden may cross Rs. 40 crores ..Okay But i’m really wondered whats the need for these companies in spending a huge amount in advertisements?? Whats the need for them to Sponser Cricket matches, sponsoring sports players , spending a huge in television advertisements etc etc ..I agree the expenditure for all these is very trivial when compared to the expected loss of 40 C, but definitely this kind of cost cuttings will have an impact in their profit. i’m wondered unless or otherwise Ganguly hold the IndianOil cup ( tht may be possible only if we played against Nambia, Canada etc ..i stress again it may) people in India dont opt for fueling their vehicles ..dont it look somewhat unnecessary one ??

* People then talking about cutting percentage of Excise duty so that the price hike may be reduced ….Someone from TamilNadu also suggest for drop in Sales Tax so that the hike may be reduced…But i ‘m not sure why the ruling parties doesnt show much interest on this …I’m sure it will not less the burden of the govt and it is not a good soln for administration but what i thought is, for our previous mistakes we cant find immediate remedies and its not good to put the entire burden over the people particularly middle class people who is definitely going to be severely blasted with such inconsistent hikes …So lets revolutionize slowly. Also, if i have a thought like only becaz of forthcoming elections LPG and Kerosene prices are not raised, is there anything wrong in it ???..Who is going to bare this burden for ur vote politics ??

* I’m sure it is the world’s most critical pblm of the day ..Whats the alternative for Petrol and Diesel ?? ..But how far we are working towards it ?? r we really invest for such research activities ??. or as usual we are waiting for some other developed country to come up with a proposal and make a big gain out of it ??

Whatever may be” Here after Daily a walk to my office not only going to make my energy balance but also kept my Bank balance” …