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Rs 1-cr designer Nano to hit the roads soon

Last updated on: January 6, 2010 21:15 IST

Rs 1-cr designer Nano to hit the roads soon!

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The Rs 1-lakh wonder Nano will soon enter the elite league thanks to auto design firm DC, which on Wednesday said it will unveil redesigned version of the world's cheapest car within the next two months with premium price tag of Rs 1 crore (Rs 10 million).

"The Rs 1-crore Nano will be ready for public unveiling within the next two months. . . we will make one car to begin with but if there is more demand than we will make additional units," DC Designs Promoter Dilip Chhabria told reporters on the sidelines of the 10th Auto Expo in New Delhi.

He said design and development of the car would involve an expenditure of around Rs 1 crore, of which the company has already invested 90 per cent.

"However, I don't think that there will much demand for the car. For us it is more a case of showcasing India's prowess in the global automotive design market," Chhabria said.

He said that Tata Motors, the maker of Nano, is not involved in the redesiging process.

"We already have a couple of Nanos with us and our redesigning was carried out in those cars. The Rs 1 crore car designed by us will be fitted with lot of high-end technologies" he said without giving more details. Click NEXT to read further. . .


Image: Ratan Tata unveiling the Tata Nano at the Geneva Auto Show last year.
Photographs: Courtesy, Tata Motors
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Audi captivates auto enthusiasts

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Audi, the German luxury car manufacturer, showcased an outstanding display at the 10th Auto Expo in New Delhi.

To commemorate the centenary of the brand, Audi's display included the heritage Audi Front 225 Roadster, the Audi India product range and the Audi Sportback Concept car.

The Audi range was presented by Peter Schwarzenbauer, member of the board of management of Audi AG marketing and sales, and Benoit Tiers, managing director, Audi India.

"The Audi Sportback Concept car, which we have displayed at the Auto Expo, effectively demonstrates Audi's future design vocabulary. We will continue to bring latest models from Audi to India. This is part of our commitment to the Indian customer," said Schwarzenbauer.

The technology of the Audi Sportback concept is markedly futuristic. With its pronounced coupe-like silhouette and large rear hatch, the 4.95 m long (16.24 ft), 1.93 m wide (6.33 ft) and only 1.40 m high (4.59 ft) vehicle is boldly progressive for the luxury class.

Power is provided by the world's cleanest diesel technology: the 3.0-liter V6 TDI clean diesel almost completely eliminates nitrogen oxides.

And numerous measures to ensure top efficiency mean that the Audi Sportback concept is expected to achieve impressive fuel consumption figures of 5.9 liters of diesel per 100 kilometers. Click NEXT to read further. . .


Image: Teh Audi Sportback Concept car.
Photographs: Courtesy, Audi
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The striking Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG

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The Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG, the highlight of this year's International Motor Show in Frankfurt/Main, is on display in a stunning gold paint finish at the Mercedes Pavilion at Auto Expo.

This matt silk finish with the designation AMG Desert Gold lends an extraordinary aura to the new super sports car.

Matt gold on the aluminium body together with striking highlights in high-gloss black -- an extraordinary and highly attractive combination. With its matt silk surface, AMG Desert Gold further accentuates the sporty appearance of the Gullwing model.

All the decorative and mounted features that are in shining chrome or Silver Shadow in the standard SLS AMG have been given a deep-black paint finish by AMG's designers.

The interior of the special SLS AMG model is in uncompromising, sporty black, the AMG sports bucket seats corresponding with the solid carbon-fibre centre console and other carbon-fibre interior features.

Opening the bonnet reveals the 420 kW (571 hp) AMG 6.3-litre V8 engine, which is strikingly framed by the high-quality carbon-fibre engine compartment cover. Click NEXT to read further. . .


Image: The striking Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG
Photographs: Courtesy, Mercedes-Benz India
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Tata Motors displays widest range of products

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Tata Motors unfolded the full scale of its product portfolio and the breadth of its technology capability with a display of 37 vehicles, from the Tata, Jaguar and Land Rover brands, at the Auto Expo 2010.

Among them are three new Tata vehicles -- the Tata Aria, the Tata Venture, the Tata Magic Iris -- and the all new Jaguar XJ, which were unveiled by  the Chairman of Tata Sons and Tata Motors, Ratan Tata.

In passenger vehicles, Tata's displays range from Jaguar luxury saloons and Land Rover SUVs to Tata Indigo Manza sedans, Tata Indica Vista hatchbacks, the Tata Safari, the Sumo Grande MK II, the Xenon XT, and two specially conceived Tata Nano cars.

The Nano has been declared as the 2010 Indian Car of the Year.

The Tata commercial vehicles range displays include a brand new Starbus platform, the Prima range of world standard trucks, CNG-fuelled truck pick-up vehicles, and a Winger-based special application.


Image: A model poses with a Jaguar XF at India's Auto Expo in New Delhi.
Photographs: Reuters
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The Imperator from DC Design

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DC Design unveiled its Super Sports utility vehicle -- DC Imperator --which is powered by Audi's 6.0 litre V12 TDI engine and fitted with 28 inch wheels.

Chhabria also said the company plans to launch at least 20-25 new redesigned vehicles by the end of this year.

"The new vehicles will cater to all segments, including entry level cars, SUVs and MPVs," he added.

The company also said it has tied-up with Pune-based educational chain-- D Y Patil Group-- for setting up an automotive design institute, which will impart full time undergraduate (UG) and post-graduate (PG) degrees.

The new institute in Pune - DC Centre for Automotive Research and Studies - will start taking students from August this year.

"This academic year we will take 60 students for UG and PG batches in Automative Styling. Within three years, we will have an annual capacity of 480 students and will also open courses in Automotive Engineering and Automotive Management," he said.

Chhabria added the institute is intended to cater to the growing demand for professional auto designers in India.

Regarding the company's plans to foray into the Chinese market he said, "in 2011, we will take part in either the Shanghai or the Beijing Auto Expo, where we will showcase two vehicles. We want to explore the market there."


Image: A model stands next to Maruti Suzuki's new concept car at India's Auto Expo in New Delhi.
Photographs: Reuters
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Yeti leads the Skoda show

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Skoda AutoIndia lifted the veil off its international bestseller SUV Yeti for the first time in India at the 10th Auto Expo 2010 in New Delhi.

Reinhard Fleger, member of the board, sales and marketing, SkodaAuto and Thomas Kuehl, member of the board, sales & marketing, SkodaAuto India celebrated the extension of Skoda's model range to five in India with the unveiling of the soon to be launched Yeti.

Kuehl said, "The highly agile Yeti is compact, attractively styled with excellent handling characteristics and is bound to create a stir in this segment with the potential of  having a cult following. The 4 4 variants are also characterised by outstanding off-road capability and excellent traction. These, coupled with superb emission values and low fuel consumption meet the needs of a socially acceptable SUV. I am very confident that the Yeti, with its intrinsic Skoda values combined with our growing network expanse across India, will fuel fresh energy in this segment contributing to the overall growth."

An impressive front end, with a ribbed grille and friendly looking headlamps confidently demonstrate Yeti's bonding in the Skoda family.

Sturdy flanks and distinct wings give Yeti its robust and solid look. Skoda has met the demands for a cleanly styled body, a high seat position and versatile operating options with a design, which alongwith its sturdiness, exudes lightness.

The Yeti meets the needs for environmental care, luggage space, and safety norms.

Yeti's overall length allows drivers to fit into parking spaces that are far from generous, while its width guarantees that the doors can be opened wide in tight spots. And if the terrain becomes rough and more challenging, the slim stature of the Yeti always finds a gap to get through.

The permanent, intelligent, power-distributing four-wheel drive with 17 inch alloy wheels, hill hold and hill start assist with a ground clearance of 180 millimeters makes Yeti fun and dynamic to drive on and off the road.

Other Skoda models on display at Auto Expo 2010:

The current portfolio features the locally produced Fabia Elegance, the Laura Laurin & Klement (Octavia in Europe) trim level, and a Top end Superb with a 3.6 FSI V6 engine and 4WD featuring the 4th-generation Haldex clutch system with the automatic 7-speed DSG gear box.


Image: Skoda's SUV Yeti
Photographs: Courtesy, Skoda India
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Tata Motors hikes CV prices

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The country's leading automobile firm, Tata Motors, said it has increased prices of some of its commercial vehicles by around 1 per cent on account of rising input costs and addition of new features.

"Tata Motors has passed on some (input cost) burden to customers in specific segments . We have increased prices by about one per cent from this month," Tata Motors president (commercial vehicle business unit) Ravi Pisharody told reporters at the 10th Auto Expo in New Delhi.

While all heavy vehicles (16 tonnes and above) will be affected by the price hike, some models in the lower tonnage (3.5-7 tonnes) will also be impacted, he added.

The prices of steel, a major input in manufacturing of vehicles, have gone up by about $60-80 a tonne in the past two months to over $550 a tonne due to rise in demand and increase in input cost.

On withdrawal of stimulus measures introduced by the government to boost demand in the economy during the slowdown, he said if stimulus is withdrawn, the sector will see some temporary slackening in demand.

"But the outlook looks good as the fundamentals of our economy is strong," he added.

Tata Motors will also launch 15 new models in the commercial vehicle segment over the next 12 months.

"Of these 15 models, three models will be in the 'Prima' range and will be launched in the current quarter," he said.

Tata Motors, one of the country's largest automobile company, registered consolidated revenue of Rs 70,938.85 crore ($14 billion) in 2008-09.

Truck prices moving northwards

Commercial vehicle makers, including Tata Motors, Volvo and Ashok Leyland, have hiked or are considering raising prices of trucks by up to 4 per cent this month to offset rising input costs, even as the segment saw return of demand.

Leading automaker Tata Motors has increased prices of all heavy vehicles (16 tonnes and above) and some models in the lower tonnage (3.5-7 tonnes) by one per cent from this month.

Volvo Trucks India has hiked prices by 3-4 per cent.

"Prices have gone up on account of high input costs especially, steel and rubber," Volvo Trucks India president Somnath Bhattacharjee said at the 10th Auto Expo in New Delhi.

Bhattacharjee, who is also on the board of Volvo-Eicher JV, added that prices of Eicher products too have been increased by 2 per cent for the same reasons.

Hinduja Group-promoted Ashok Leyland said it will hike prices of its commercial vehicles before March this year.

Ashok Leyland MD R Seshayee said there has been a surge in demand of commercial vehicles in the last two quarters and the company expected to close this fiscal at a total sales of about 62,000-63,000 units.

Commercial vehicles makers, who last year were forced to shut operations temporarily to cut operating costs, saw sales turn positive in August 2009. Sales jumped over 130 per cent in November last year.

Prices of steel, a major input, have gone up by about $60-80 to over $550 a tonne in the past two months due to rise in demand and increase in input cost.


Image: Tata Motors Chairman Ratan Tata speaks during the unveiling ceremony of Tata Motor's new car Aria at India's Auto Expo in New Delhi.
Photographs: Reuters
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Mahindra Navistar unveils MN 49 & MN 40 trucks

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Mahindra Navistar Automotives Ltd. (MNAL), the commercial vehicle JV between Mahindra & Mahindra Ltd. (M&M) and Navistar Inc. of USA on Wednesday unveiled the MN 49 and MN 40 trucks for the Indian market at the 10th Auto Expo.

These trucks have been designed, developed and tested for Indian roads and usage conditions and are capable of negotiating the toughest terrain. Made for India and made by utilizing Navistar Inc's world renowned trucking expertise of over 175 years, this launch comes soon after the unveiling of the JV's 25 tonne and 31 tonne trucks in Delhi, recently.

"With the addition of the MN 49 and MN 40 to its product portfolio, Mahindra Navistar is now well poised to cater to a wide spectrum of requirements in the Indian HCV industry. This product line up makes us a credible player in the commercial vehicle industry," said Anand Mahindra, vice chairman and managing director, Mahindra Group.

The MN 49 and MN 40 have been developed keeping the unique requirements of the Indian market in mind.

At the heart of the 49 tonne and 40 tonne trucks is the world renowned MaxxForce 7.2 litre CRDI engine which is the most modern engine in its class in terms of product configuration as well as components technology for the HCV segment in India. With the 4-valve per cylinder technology, the engine has been designed for better performance, higher power, better fuel efficiency and stricter adherence to emission standards.

The vehicles' transmission consists of 9 forward syncromesh gears and 1 reverse. Tilt and telescopic power steering make driving these beasts a breeze, while the GPS vehicle tracking system allows you to keep abreast of the truck's progress along its route.


Image: Mahindra Navistar
Photographs: Courtesy, Mahindra
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Mahindra Maxximo: The next-generation mini-truck

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Mahindra & Mahindra Ltd., the leading player in India's small commercial vehicle segment, announced the launch of the Maxximo, the world's first mini-truck to be powered by a 2-cylinder CRDe engine with DOHC technology and 4 valves per cylinder.

A game-changer offering, the Maxximo combines best-in-class technology, unmatched performance and superior style and comfort. The Maxximo is the first product to roll out from Mahindra's state-of-the-art Chakan plant.

The C2 CRDe engine provides an ideal balance between power and fuel economy.

It delivers 18.4 Kw (25 HP) of Power and 55 Nm (5.5 Kgm) of Torque which means greater pulling power along with superior fuel economy of 20 kmpl.

The Maxximo boasts of superior pick-up, in-gear acceleration and gradeability.

It delivers an unmatched top speed of 70 kmph and best-in-category acceleration, in loaded condition.

A large loading area of 3.2 sq. mt. (35 sq. ft.) coupled with 850 kg of rated payload mean that the customer can carry more load in one trip, leading to improved earnings. 

The trendy front grill adds a distinctly stylish look to the Maxximo. Style is further highlighted with wrap-around headlamps that flank the front grill. Plus with multi-focal reflectors, you get the added benefit of improved visibility at night.

The car-like interior includes features like beige-and-tan 2-tone seats that come with headrests and that are more comfortable with better support; a bench seat for the co-driver with no obstruction between driver and co-driver seat - all of which reduces fatigue for driver and passenger over long distances.


Image: Maxximo

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Fiat plans to develop small car for India

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Italian auto maker Fiat on Wednesday said it plans to develop a small car, specifically for the Indian market, although it has deferred the launch of its super hatchback Bravo in India.

"Fiat plans to develop a small car for the Indian market in Italy with the help of an Indian team. It will be launched here with our joint venture partner Tata Motors with about 80-85 per localisation," Fiat India president and CEO Rajeev Kapoor told reporters at the 10th Auto Expo.

He, however, did not specify the time of completion of the development of the car.

The company has also put on backburner its plans to launch Bravo in India, he said. "Looking at the availability of number of various cars in India, we have decided to postpone the launch of Bravo. We will keep evaluating the launch time for India," Kapoor added.

Bravo was originally scheduled to be launched in the beginning of last year.

Fiat India also expects to double its sales volume in calendar 2010 at 46,000 units against 23,000 units sold last year.

It is also starting exports of its sedan Linea and hatchbacks Grande Punto and Palio Stile to Nepal and Sri Lanka shortly.

The company unveiled various versions of Linea, 500 and Punto at the Auto Expo.


Image: Fiat Punto

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Hyundai to consider introducing EVs in India

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Korean carmaker Hyundai said it will consider introducing electric vehicles in the Indian market as demand for such cars is increasing gradually.

The company, which has presence in India through a 100 per cent subsidiary, today showcased the electric version of its small car i10 at the 10th Auto Expo.

"We hope that the heightened interest in electric vehicles (EVs) will present us with a huge opportunity to bring in this technology to the Indian market in the near future," Hyundai Motor India Ltd director (marketing and sales) Arvind Saxena told reporters.

He, however, declined to give any time-frame as to when the electric vehicles would be introduced in India.

"A growing awareness among consumers for all things green inspired us to introduce the electric version of our compact car i10," Saxena said.

The i10 electric was first unveiled at the Frankfurt Motor Show in September last year and the company plans to produce the car in limited numbers for the South Korean market from this year.

Currently, only Reva produces electric four wheelers for the Indian market.

The i10 was globally launched in India in 2007, which clocked a sales of over 300,000 units in 2009.

Besides, the company also showcased the sports variant of its luxury sedan Genesis at the auto show.


Image: A Hyundai car model at the Expo.
Photographs: Rediff Archive
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