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DAZZLING beauties wow world's 2nd largest auto show

Last updated on: January 6, 2012 15:32 IST

DAZZLING beauties wow world's 2nd largest auto show

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The 11th Auto Expo 2012 that began on Thursday in New Delhi with a slew of launches that marked the debut of many automobile manufacturers into new segments of the dynamic Indian vehicle market.

The showcase combined state-of-the-art technology and innovation to deliver models high on performance and unique in design.

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Image: The Tata Nano CNG.
Photographs: Rajesh Karkera/Rediff.com
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As many as 13 car makers unveiled their vehicles amid intense international media coverage at the 11th Auto Expo, which is being jointly organized by Automotive Component Manufacturers Association (ACMA), Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) and Society of Indian Automobile Manufacturers (SIAM), from 5-11 January 2012 at Pragati Maidan, New Delhi, India.

On conclusion of the first day of media preview of the Auto Expo, CII DG Chandrajit Bannerjee expressed his satisfaction and said the organizers are maintaining a close interaction with all stakeholders of the show and are leaving no stone unturned in making the automobile carnival a stupendous success.

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Image: Chevrolet En-V, the environment friendly car.
Photographs: Rajesh Karkera/Rediff.com

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"The number of new models launched at the 2012 Auto Expo underlines the robust growth of the Indian auto market and the position it has attained on the global auto industry map. With 50 launches across several categories, the 11th Auto Expo is expected to infuse more optimism in the industry," he said.

"India's automotive industry is well-positioned for resurgence in growth, catering to both domestic and international markets. Post the expo, we expect vehicle sales to sustain their momentum, especially with a large number of new launches at the show, and register double digit sales for all the companies." he added.

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Image: The new Tata Safari.
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The country's largest car maker Maruti Suzuki unveiled its compact SUV XA Alpha. Keeping in view the promising growth rate of the SUV segment in India, Shinzo Nakanishi, managing director and CEO, opined that the new model will help retain Maruti Suzuki's stronghold on the automobile industry in the country.

While Maruti Suzuki kick-started its display with the XA Alpha, it also plans to launch the Ertiga alongside other new models.

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Image: The dashboard and the console of the new Tata Safari.
Photographs: Rajesh Karkera/Rediff.com

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Targetting the premium car sector, car maker Hyundai showcased a new version of Sonata, which is expected to be launched in India by February end. With a graceful design inspired by the orchid flower, the new Hyundai Sonata is luxury on wheels with its impressive contours and lush interiors.

Japanese auto major Nissan Motor Company today unveiled the seven-seater Evalia. With a stately, imposing design and the promise of superior comfort, the Evalia is Nissan's new entry into the multipurpose vehicle division.

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Image: The Tata Safari Storm E Navigator can go through 6 feet of water.
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Close on the heels of the success of its Figo, Ford drew back the covers off its global compact SUV Ecosport, as it envisions India to lead the company's growth worldwide in the coming years.

EcoSport is the second of eight new global models that Ford proposes to unveil in India over the next 3-5 years.

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Celebrating its success in the Indian luxury car market, German car manufacturer Audi displayed the compact SUV - Audi Q3, the new futuristic A3 e-tron concept, the Audi S6 limousine, the powerful Audi Q7 V12 and some highlights from the existing Audi India product range.

Novelty seems to be the forte of Toyota as it launched the new Land Cruiser 200 coupled with the new Innova and Fortuner. The Land Cruiser 200 is proof of Toyota's technical competence as the makers have reworked the exteriors and included new headlamps and foglamps, a new radiator grill and the front bumper.

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Image: The Tata Safari Storm E Navigator.
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Toyota has also unveiled the new Camry which was the highlight of its display.

After 10 years of launching the Thunderbird, Motorcycle maker Royal Enfield today unveiled its completely redesigned model Thunderbird 500 which will hit the Indian roads later in the year.

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Faster than its predecessor and with efficient ergonomics, the 500cc variant of the Thunderbird promises an exciting and comfortable ride. The Thunderbird lives up to its reputation of being the adventure biker's favourite with enhanced features.

Taking advantage of the 70% stake enjoyed by 100-125cc two-wheelers in the Indian vehicle scenario, Suzuki introduced the 125cc scooter, Swish and the 110cc motorcycle, Hayate. With plans to emerge as a leading player in this segment and to avail of higher margins, Suzuki's current focus is on the scooter arena. However, it has not discounted the possibility of unveiling more 150cc models.

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Image: The Tata Nano.
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India Yamaha Motor marked its entry into the scooter segment as it displayed its new scooter concept, the Yamaha Ray, designed for the Indian woman. With this, Yamaha marks its foray into all spectrums of the two-wheeler category. Celebrating 50 years of its association with MotoGP, Yamaha also exhibited its YZR M1 and YZF R1.

Other scooters on display are from the ASEAN market and include the Mio, Fino and Xeon. The bikes that are on display comprise of YZR M1, YZF R15 Version 2.0, FZ1, legendary VMAX and FZ-S, Fazer, SZ Series, YBR 125 and Crux.

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Image: Bollywood actor Ranbir Kapoor gestures during the unveiling of Nissan Motor Co's new Evalia car at India's Auto Expo in New Delhi on Thursday.
Photographs: Reuters

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Mahindra and Mahindra, revealed the Ssangyong's Rexton SUV, which is likely to be launched in India by mid-2012. Apart from Rexton, Mahindra also displayed two concept cars, the new XIV 1 SUV concept and Ssangyong Actyon Sports.

Targeted at bike enthusiasts, Honda has launched the150cc Honda CBR150R, a variant of the 250cc CBR250R. Honda also eyes the mass market with its new Dio scooter and the Dream Yuga motorbike. Flaunting a sleek design and a 10% increase in power owing to the 110cc engine, the revamped Dio offers stiff competition to its counterparts from the same segment.

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Image: Arvind Saxena (L), director for sales and marketing at Hyundai India, Park Han Woo (C), managing director of Hyundai India, and a model pose with the company's new Sonata car after its launch at India's Auto Expo in New Delhi.
Photographs: Reuters

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Nissan showcases 7-seater car; to triple India network by 2015

Japanese auto major Nissan Motor Company on Thursday unveiled a seven-seater car 'Evalia' at the Auto Expo in New Delhi and said it will triple its dealership network in the country in the next three years.

Nissan has developed the Evalia in partnership with Ashok Leyland and will produce the car at its plant near Chennai. Click NEXT to read on . . .


Image: Shinzo Nakanishi, chief executive and managing director of Maruti Suzuki, poses with company's new compact SUV XA Alpha car after unveiling it at India's Auto Expo in New Delhi.
Photographs: Reuters

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The Evalia, that is said to be launched in the middle of this year, will be the third model to be rolled-out from the company's Chennai plant after Micra, Sunny.

No plans to launch sub 4 lakh small car soon, says Skoda

Czech car-maker Skoda on Thursday said it will not launch a small car below Rs 4 lakh (Rs 400,000) in India immediately as entering the segment will require the company to compromise on "safety" and "quality" of the vehicles.

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In 2010, the company had announced to launch a small car in Rs 3-5 lakh (Rs 300,000-500,000) range by early this year.

"There is no such plan at present. It is a very demanding market and to enter this segment (Rs 2-4 lakh) it will require us to compromise our belief on safety and quality," SkodaAuto a.s. member of the board (sales and marketing) Jurgen Stackmann told PTI at the 11th Auto Expo.

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Asked if other car makers who are present in this segment like Maruti Suzuki, Hyundai Motor and General Motors have compromised on the said two aspects, he declined to comment.

Peugeot to launch locally assembled car by 2014

French car maker Peugeot plans to roll out locally assembled car for the Indian market by 2014.

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The company will begin by importing a range of models in completely built units (CBU) format in India by the end of next year.

"We will start with CBUs next year and then follow it up with Peugeot508, which will be locally assembled and then go to different segments, starting from C-segment (sedan) and then later B-segment," PCA Motors India MD Frederic Fabre told reporters in New Delhi.

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However, depending on the demand, the company could also import the 508 model before local assembly begins in India, he added.

In September last year, Peugeot had entered into an agreement with the Gujarat government to set up a manufacturing facility with an investment of Rs 4,000 crore (Rs 40 billion) in Sanand.

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M&M investing over Rs 800cr to develop products with SsangYong

Auto major Mahindra & Mahindra on Thursday said it will invest over Rs 800 crore (Rs 8 billion) to develop a joint platform for two products with its Korean subsidiary SsangYong Motor over the next 3-4 years.

The company on Thursday unveiled four models from SsangYong's portfolio at the 11th Auto Expo here. Out of these, the sports utlity vehicle Rexton will hit the Indian market within next six months.

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Besides, the homegrown auto major also announced that it will enter into the heavy bus segment, to be developed on Mahindra Navistar platforms, in the next one year.

Yamaha to set up 3rd plant in India; to enter scooter segment

Motorcycle maker India Yamaha Motor plans to set up its third plant in the country, for which it has started scouting for land in Karnataka and Tamil Nadu.

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The company, which plans to invest Rs 800 crore (Rs 8 billion) in the next two years, on capacity enhancement, said it expects to sell around 10 lakh (1 million) units by 2014.

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"Setting up a third plant is under consideration. We are already looking for land in Karnataka and Tamil Nadu," India Yamaha Motor Hiroyuki Suzuki said on the sidelines of the 11th Auto Expo.

Royal Enfield unveils Thunderbird500

Motorcycle maker Royal Enfield on Thursday unveiled its 500cc bike Thunderbird 500, which will hit the Indian roads later in the year.

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The company, however, did not disclose the price of the new model.

"After 10 years of launching the Thunderbird, we have completely redesigned the model, especially for the urban and the long distance travellers," Eicher Motors MD and CEO Siddhartha Lal told reporters.

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The company plans to launch it by the end of first half of the year, he added.

Royal Enfield is the two wheeler division of the BSE-listed Eicher Motors.

The new bike will be manufactured at the company's Chennai facility.

Harley-Davidson introduces two bikes at lower price

American cult bike maker Harley Davidson on Thursday launched two locally-assembled models at a price starting from Rs 9.95 lakh (Rs 995,000), which is much lower than that of imported motorcycles.

FXDB Street Bob and FXDC Super Glide Custom, previously offered as Completely Built-up (CBU) imports, will now be available at all the seven dealership of Harley-Davidson. The two bikes belong to the company's Dyna family of motorcycle.

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FXDB Street Bob will be available for Rs 9.95 lakh as against the earlier Rs 13.95 lakh (Rs 1.395 million). The FXDC super Glide Customs will be retailed at Rs 11.5 lakh (Rs 1.15 million) as against Rs 15.45 lakh (Rs 1.545 million) (CBU). The assembly plant is at Bawal, Haryana.

Apart from multiple launches from automobile manufacturers, the Asli Naqli pavilion, an awareness campaign against counterfeits set up by ACMA was inaugurated by Ambuj Sharma, jt secretary, ministry of heavy industries & public enterprises.

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The pavilion will also have an IPR Cell, which is the first initiative of its kind to offer advisory to an exhibiting company against display of its counterfeits by any infringing company.

On the occasion, Arvind Kapur, president, ACMA, said, "36 percent share of parts sold in the replacement market are counterfeit products, raising concern and emphasizing the need for road safety and prevention of road accidents.

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Image: The Enfield Thunderbird.
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Around 20 per cent of all road accidents in India are directly or indirectly attributed to the use of counterfeit automotive parts (as per ACMA-E&Y Study).

The Asli-Naqli show will see sixteen leading component manufacturers participating to create awareness against counterfeits and will display the difference between genuine and fake products to promote the industry's fight against counterfeits.

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He also urged the public to support the initiative and visit the pavilion.

Another key highlight of ACMA's Campaign against Counterfeiting is the national seminar on Brand Protection through IPR management to be held during the Auto Expo 2012.

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This seminar will highlight the issue of Grey imports and border-related measures to curb import of counterfeit auto parts.

The first day of the exposition was reserved exclusively for the media. The day was also designated as Goodwill day for the differently-abled to visit the show and drew visitors from various institutes for a special guided tour of the show.


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Based on the Tata Nano, the TataPixel - at just over three metres in length - is the most package efficient four-seater in the world, comfortably accommodating four adults, unlike a typical city concept which is either a two-seater or can accommodate two adults and two children only.

Speaking on the occasion, Carl-Peter Forster, managing director and group CEO of Tata Motors, said, "Tata Motors holds true to its belief that there is an opportunity in Europe for a city car, which is optimal in space, manoeuverability and environment friendliness. The Tata Pixel is a reflection of Tata Motors' idea of what such a car should be."


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The Tata Pixel's ability to manoeuvre and park in the tightest of spaces is made possible by its zero-turn toroidal traction-drive Infinitely Variable Transmission (IVT), which assists rotation of the outer rear wheel forwards and the inner rear wheel backwards, while the front wheels turn at acute angles.

The result is a turning circle radius of just 2.6 metres. The 'scissor' doors rotate upwards from the front to allow passengers to effortlessly enter or exit the Tata Pixel, even in the tightest of spaces.

A forward sweeping roofline, with minimal front and rear overhangs, accentuates the youthful styling. The TataPixel is also designed to provide a high level of connectivity.

Key functions are controlled by the driver's smart phone, running 'My Tata Connect' - the first integrated human-machine interface (HMI) concept from Tata Motors.

A 1.2 litre three-cylinder turbocharged diesel engine, positioned at the rear of the Tata Pixel, gives lively performance.

The engine is a low-friction design, featuring variable coolant and oil pump and rapid warm-up technologies.


Image: The Tata Pixel.
Photographs: Rajesh Karkera/Rediff.com

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