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Era of cheap foreign cars and costly Indian cars!

Last updated on: March 1, 2011 14:12 IST

Era of cheap foreign cars and costly Indian cars!

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CarDekho


Gone are the days when foreign brands were expensive and Indian brands were cheap.

At least in the auto segment a new trend seems to be catching up and making everyone scratch their heads in confusion.

While coveted brands like BMW, Volkswagen, Toyota, Ford, et al are going in for aggressive pricing, country's successful value-for-money trio Tata, Maruti and Hyundai are going horribly wrong in their pricing of premium products.

Here is a low-down on the competitively priced foreign brands and expensive Indian badges:

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Image: Foreign cars are in aggressive pricing drive
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BMW X1

This is perhaps the most surprising pricing strategy from the German carmaker. At Rs 22 lakh (Rs 2.2 million), this is a BMW in the reach of many.

The SUV is powered by 1.8-litre petrol and 2.0-litre diesel engines and comes as a rear-wheel-drive vehicle.

The compact SUV has a wheelbase of 2760mm and a length of 4454mm long. This makes it a unique product in its class and sets the benchmark for other carmakers to follow.

The base variant or the Corporate Edition of X1 has been stripped of features like sunroof, i-drive interface, and 6-CD changer.

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Image: BMW X1 sets benchmark for others
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Era of cheap foreign cars and costly Indian cars!

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It also has toned down interiors that have simple black trim and fabric seats in place of wood garnishing.

However, the other two trims -- Highline and Cool Elegance -- come loaded with all the high-end features.

The 1.8i trim of the compact SUV has been priced at Rs 22 lakh, while the 2.0-litre diesel base variant has a price tag of Rs 23 lakh (Rs 2.3 million).

BMW has priced the 2.0-liter Diesel Exclusive Variant at Rs 29.90 lakh (Rs 2.99 million) and the Cool Elegance at Rs 32.5 lakh (Rs 3.25 million).

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Image: BMW X1 has toned down interiors
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Era of cheap foreign cars and costly Indian cars!

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Nissan Micra

The car comes with a standard driver airbag and a price tag of Rs 3.98-5.29 lakh (Rs 398,000 to Rs 529,000) -- ex-showroom, Delhi.

Now available in the diesel version too, Nissan's first India specific hatchback Micra was launched with a 1.2L, 3 cylinder DOHC 1198cc petrol engine capable of producing 75 bhp at 6,000 rpm and 104 NM of torque at 4,000 rpm.

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Image: Nissan Micra costs Rs. 3.98 lakh
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The Micra has a 3 cylinder (Double Over-Head Cam) *DOHC 1198cc petrol engine producing at 75 BHP at 6,000 rpm and 104 NM (Newton meter) of torque at 4,000 rpm.

Idling is silent, and its refinement is leagues ahead of a Maruti A-Star and there is hardly any rocking motion felt inside. Size wise, the Nissan Micra is in the same category as the Maruti Swift. Its bug-eyed headlamps and twin grille give it a very cute look.

Women and youngsters are likely to be impressed by the style more than the die-hard car enthusiasts!

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Image: Nissan Micra is available in diesel version
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Ford Figo

The brand is generally associated with high end cars but with the hatchback Figo launched at a starting price of 3.5 lakh (Rs 350,000) the carmaker changed the perception.

The car comes in both the petrol and diesel version.

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Image: Fod Figo is at Rs. 3.5 lakh
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The 1.2L petrol engine is capable of producing 71PS of maximum power and 102 Nm of peak torque while the 1.4L, Duratorq diesel engine that currently powers Ford Ikon and Ford Fiesta produces 69PS of maximum power and 160 Nm of top torque.

The car is available in four variants in both petrol and diesel engine -- Lxi, Exi, Zxi and Titanium.

Thus the total variants for diesel and petrol are eight.

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Image: Figo is available in four variants
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Volkswagen Vento

The carmaker placed its brand new sedan straight against segment leader Honda City at a competitive price of Rs 7,02,883 - Rs 9,28,631 (ex-showroom, New Delhi).

The car comes in both petrol and diesel engine powered by a 1.6 liter DOHC in-line type engine.

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Image: Vento is in direct competition with Honda City
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It is mated with a 5-speed manual and 6 speed automatic gearbox with triptronic (in the petrol version) for easy shifting of gears.

The engine is capable of producing power of 105 bhp at 5250 rpm and torque of 153 Nm at 3800 rpm for the petrol engine and 250 Nm at 1500-2500 rpm for the diesel engine.

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Image: Engine is capable of producing 105 bhp power
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Toyota Etios

The carmaker is known to charge on its premium cars such as Innova and Fortuner but by placing the Etios up against bestsellers like Dzire and Manza the carmaker stunned everyone.

With a price tag of Rs 4,96,000 - Rs 6,86,500 (ex-showroom, New Delhi) the premium brand is now in the reach of many giving the fight among sedans a brand new dimension.

The Toyota Etios is powered by a 1.5-litre motor capable of producing close to 90bhp. It is a well styled car with good fabric and built quality.

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The interiors are top class as in any other Toyota. The car is big on the space front and has ample of space, but the seats do not fold or slide to make more room.

The car has a lot of storage space in the form of a large boot and other spaces like a glove box, etc.

The car also has a centrally mounted instrument cluster and leather-wrapped steering wheel in the higher end model.

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Image: Etios is big on space
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The expensive Indian brigade

Maruti Kizashi

Imported as a completely built unit (CBU) the car is priced at Rs 16,50,000 to Rs 17,50,000 (ex-showroom, New Delhi), while its specification actually put it in a lower bracket among cars with a price tag of about Rs 10,00,000 to Rs 11,00,000.

The car comes equipped with the engine that also powers Grand Vitara.

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Image: Maruti Kizashi is a completely built unit
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The 16-valve VVT DOHC inline-four displaces 2393cc and generates 176 bhp at 6000 rpm and 23 kgm of torque at 4000 rpm.

It comes with a six-speed manual gearbox and an optional CVT.

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Image: Car's engine also powers Grand Vitara
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Tata Aria

The carmaker forayed into the premium multi utility segment (MUV) segment with the Aria but with a price tag of Rs 12,86,034 to 15,45,128 (ex-showroom, New Delhi) the car is priced on the higher end of the spectrum.

This eight seater luxurious MUV build on the roadster concept comes with a 2.2L, DICOR (Direct Injection Common Rail) engine (same as Tata Safari).

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Image: Tata Aria is priced at the higher end
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The engine produces 140bhp power at 4000rpm with 320Nm torque at 1700-2700rpm.

It has a plethora of new and advanced features including disc type coupled with ABS and Electronic Stability Programme (ESP) system.

The ESP is being offered for the first time in any Tata car. Aria's power steering, efficient braking system with ESP and standard ground clearance ensure hassle free driving.

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Image: It also has Electronic Stability Programme
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Hyundai Santa Fe

Another value for money carmaker known to produce some of the country's best small cars goes on price its premium sports utility vehicle Santa Fe in the Rs 20 lakh-plus (Rs 2 million-plus) bracket.

The Indian car market got two versions of the Hyundai Santa Fe -- the 4X2 (two wheel drive) version that has been priced at Rs 20.95 lakh (Rs 2.095 million) and the 4x4 (four wheel drive) version priced at Rs 22.95 lakh (Rs 2.295 million) -- ex-showroom, New Delhi.

It comes with the benefit of a CRDI (Common Rail Direct Injection) fuel system that is bound to deliver excellent engine performance and a better fuel efficiency thanks to the Euro V engine.

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Image: Sante Fe is priced in the Rs. 20 lakh-plus bracket
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The car has 4 cylinders and 16 valves with DOHC (Double Over Head Camshafts), which is already a success.

The 2.2L engine is teamed with a six-speed manual transmission gearbox that produces an impressive power of 197 PS, peak power at 3800 rpm and belts out 420Nm of torque between 1800-2500 rpm.

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