The latest Mercedes-Benz SL Roadster expected in December

A sea change is being observed in the automobile industry with respect to the segment of light cars. Mercedes-Benz looks like maintaining its reign at the top for a long time. Another sporty lightweight offering from the company, the new Mercedes-Benz SL Roadster is likely to reach Indian shores pretty soon. In specific terms, the company has set a deadline of this year end for making the car available in India. If you want to get the feeling off what this new roadster would look like, all you have to do is frame a picture of a car with an aluminium body frame. The pricing of the Mercedes-Benz SL Roadster is a matter that is subject to a lot of speculation at this moment.

The best feature that an aluminium body frame provides is that it makes the car very light in weight and the auto manufacturer has the intention of taking full advantage of this metal property by having the car built from scratch, using the same. The overall weight of the vehicle is expected to get a reduction of 110kg, given its new makeover in aluminium. An even lighter store than Aluminium happens to be Magnesium, and this has been included in designing the rear panel of the Mercedes-Benz SL Roadster. Apart from its feature of being light in weight, Magnesium also comes handy in reducing the effects of corrosion, particularly in those parts of the vehicle that are highly subject to corrosive forces. Also, its inclusion cumulatively reduces the weight of the vehicle by 140kg as compared to the erstwhile model. However, steel has been retained in those joints that require high durability. The A-pillars have been given steel support, as they require the same.

Mercedes-Benz SL RoadsterSome manufacturers might give Carbon-fiber a consideration for the development of light weight cars, as it is lesser in weight than aluminium. However, if the factor of stability is analyzed, Aluminium has been seen to perform much better. The car industry is seeing a radical change happening with increasing manufacturers showing keenness in developing light weight cars. The greater efficiency towards fuel consumption by these cars seems to be pushing the car manufacturers towards that direction. They also exhibit a commitment towards the environment, with lower levels of emission. Even domestic manufacturers in India, like Mahindra and Maruti Suzuki have developed interest in designing the same.

Drive safely on city roads – Indiandrives way

Driving on the city road can be a painful exercise, especially during peak traffic hours. It is highly challenging to navigate your car through congested roads and the problem compounds if you are travelling through unknown territory. Particularly in India, you will definitely come across congested expressways, innumerable red lights, continuous construction work and many unfamiliar routes.

This makes drivers angry and run out of patience. However, there are certain measures, which if employed, can make driving in the city an easier exercise.

  • Stay Highly Alert when Driving: City roads are congested with different modes of traffic including buses, trucks, cars, scooters as well as pedestrians. Hence, one needs to be highly alert and keep an eye in all directions, before taking turns. The alertness should be at its peak in junctions, as most vehicles move in simultaneously from different ends.

Tips for driving on city roads

  • Novice Drivers need to be extra cautious: Difficulty of driving is compounded if the person driving is relatively new or does not know the routes. It is very difficult reading signs on city roads while driving particularly when the road spreads out to multiple directions at junctions. Therefore, the driver needs to be highly vigilant during these circumstances.
  • Give preference to small cars: If you need the car for communicating within the city on a daily basis, it is more sensible to go for a smaller variant. In peak traffic hours, the roads are always clogged; hence having a small car to negotiate the traffic is much easier compared to larger sedan-like vehicles. Also, the parking sites are customized mainly to entertain smaller cars.

Tips for driving on Indian roads

  • Automatic-Transmission the better choice: Though cars having manual-transmission offer better driving experience, it is advisable to go for vehicles with automatic-transmission in areas of higher traffic, though only a few such cars are available in India as of today. Prominent among them are – Hyundai Santro, Maruti Zen, and Hyundai i10 among others.
  • The Mileage Factor: Since one is not expected to drive the car in high speed on city roads, one should try and maintain constant speed. This is because speeding followed by immediate slowing of vehicles impacts their mileage. Frequent starting and stopping also hits hard on the fuel economy aspect. Hence, one should drive at a constant speed, as much as possible, for saving fuel.

City roads driving guide in India

  • Avoid Lane switching: Changing lanes frequently in congested roads increase risks of accidents. Agreed that you can reach your destination faster but you also increase the risks of colliding with other vehicles.
  • Installation of Safety Features: It is always advisable to have safety features installed in your car. Normally, city driving would require features like car-alarms, anti-lock braking, theft prevention devices and starter disabling switch. This not only ensures safety while driving but also can help bring down the risks of theft of your vehicle.

City driving can be a bit of a risk. But by being alert, you can ensure performing the same in a safe manner.

Guidelines to buying cars at lesser financing rates

The dream of owning a car is something everyone has. However, most people are disappointed by the huge investment required for the same. But in recent times, the scenario of buying cars in India has undergone a total change with numerous institutions of car financing available for giving you the requisite finance for buying your dream vehicle. However, inadequate awareness about this market often creates problems for the buyers as they end up paying higher interest rates. Though there is an availability of many private and public financing institutions, lack of awareness and knowledge often lead to the buyers paying much higher amounts. The article aims to guide you on some critical aspects that will come in handy when you plan to get your car financed.

  • You need to personally approach the automobile finance providing institutions; it is always preferable to go to those financial institutions that have been certified by RBI. Public sector banks like SBI, Punjab National Bank as well as Private Banks like HDFC, ICICI and the likes offer auto financing at easy to pay installments.

Buying a car at low finance rates

  • You need to shortlist that bank, which will offer you the most finance at lower interest rates. Generally, interest rates offered by government banks are lesser than the private ones. Be sure to check on additional charges that might be levied. This could include approval and filing charges, which differ from bank to bank, but it is normally in the range of Rs.6,000 to Rs.7,000 approx.
  • Though government banks have a policy of fixed interest rates, the same can be negotiated for in private banks.

Guidelines buy a car at low finance rate

  • Be careful in choosing the type of interest rates – there are two “Floating” and “Fixed”. Floating rate initially looks appealing as it is kept at values below Fixed Rates, but it is subject to fluctuation in the market and carries the risk of increasing in the future, if so decreed by RBI. Fixed rates however remain constant irrespective of fluctuations in RBI rates.

Mahindra Mini Xylo in India: Car Preview

Mahindra Mini Xylo is a compact XUV and is a lighter variant of the Mahindra Xylo, with respect to size and engine power. The vehicle is a 5-seater and marks the entry of Mahindra & Mahindra into the segment of 4-meter cars. This new compact version of the popular SUV from Mahindra will imbibe all the positive traits of the original version, the Mahindra Mini Xylo.

Features Expected:

It is expected that this car will be as aggressive in looks as the standard Xylo has branded for itself. However, the Mahindra Xylo Mini will not contain some of the high-end luxury features that the parent model has. The omissions have been necessitated for the vehicle to adjust to its pricing of Rs.5 lakh compared to the Rs.7 lakh of the original version. Features that are expected to be incorporated into the Mahindra Mini Xylo include Bumpers in body colour, Trip Meter, Tachometer, A/C minus the feature of climate control, Seat belts for rear passengers, Central Locking, Power windows, Remote-controlled Fuel refilling system, Rear wiper, manually adjustable driver seats, Rear A/C vents and many others.

Mahindra Mini Xylo in India

 

Power and Comfort:

The engine provided to the Mahindra Mini Xylo will be 1.5L turbocharged CRDi variant, which ensures free flowing of the oil and thereby results in excellent performance on the road. The engine has been made available with 5-speed manual gearbox, however information regarding the variants of this vehicle has still not been revealed. The Mahindra Xylo Mini is also expected to retain all the components relating to safety that has been provided in the parent model. However, though detailed specifications of this vehicle have still not been disclosed yet; one can expect that it will have an impressive quality of upholstery provided within.

Mahindra Mini Xylo interior

Mahindra Mini Xylo interior Mahindra Mini Xylo interior

Mileage:

Though we are yet to receive details on the mileage aspect; given the engine it runs on, the Mahindra Xylo Mini is expected to deliver 10 plus km/l in city traffic and peak to 15 plus km/l going into the highways.

Footnote:

The Mahindra Xylo Mini is expected to offer all the comforts of driving that its original variant, the Mahindra Xylo has been providing so successfully on the Indian roads. The benefit to the end users is that being dimensionally small and a little low on power, it can suit requirements of smaller families and at the same time, it comes with a huge advantage in the pricing scenario. The Mahindra Xylo Mini is expected to be priced around Rs.5 lakh, which will be substantially lower than its parent model, which costs Rs.7 lakh.

Bosch plans investing Rs.250 crore in 3 years for its aftermath business

Auto component maker, Bosch Ltd. is reportedly investing Rs.250 crore in the coming three years on their aftermath business. This has been aimed for increasing revenue generated from this division to touch Rs.3000 crore.

Reports state that Bosch is aiming to generate Rs.2000 crore in revenue from their aftermath business in the current financial year and also want to increase their training centers for the mechanics from the current figure of 11 to 15, in the coming three years. The V.P. (Automotive aftermarket) Bosch Ltd. S Muralidharan has said that the company will be investing between Rs.200-250 crore within the coming three years for expanding their aftermath business. This would include increasing their centers for car servicing to 750-800 outlets across the country against the current figure of 500 outlets.

Bosch plans investing Rs.250 crore in 3 years for its aftermath businessThis investment would form a component of the total investment plan of Rs.2500 crore till 2013 that the company had announced earlier in the year aimed at diversification of business, augmentation of capacity and setting up R&D centers in India. Muralidharan also said that the company had been growing strongly at double digit rates and expected the trend to continue. The company was also hopeful of crossing a turnover of Rs.3000 crore within the upcoming 3 years against the Rs.2000 crore that they expected to achieve in the current financial year. However, the company was also losing out about 30% on their aftermath business mainly because of spurious and fake parts available in the market. However, they had experienced a positive signal in the reduction of the impact of these spurious parts due to raids that had been conducted by them jointly with the local authorities and also because of the education that they were imparting to their mechanics.

The mechanic training centers would be increased to 15 from the 11 that are there at present, within the coming three years. The company has plans of training 25,000 people in the current year with the figure expected to double in the coming three years, reports stated.

Car Companies Like Toyota, Maruti, Honda and GM May Hike Prices By Up To Rs 25,000

Automobile manufacturing companies plan to increase prices by up to Rs. 10,000 for compact vehicles and Rs. 25,000 for saloons for offsetting the impact of weakening rupee on import costs, despite the recent slump in sales. The executives of the company said that Skoda, Maruti Suzuki, Honda, Toyota and GM also plan to raise prices within days because the weakening rupee has pushed up costs of their imported parts significantly. It has destabilized approximately 17 percent against United States dollar since January, hitting all time low Rs. 52.73 last week. It has forced the automakers that import between 40 percent and 10 percent of components for various models for considering price augments.

A Senior Executive at Maruti Suzuki said that they will have to pass on the cost to discerning buyers for offsetting the growing impact of weakening rupee and increasing cost of producing diesel models, which are at present selling like hot cakes. Luxury car manufacturing companies like Audi, which imports completely produced vehicles for feeding local market are also expected to raise prices by Rs. 50,000. The Indian automotive industry has been the cruise with sales increasing at high double digit figures since 2 years, eventually falling in current fiscal year and before slowing down. There has been augmented competition in the market with international companies speeding up to the 2nd quickest growing car market of the world, launching plethora of made for India and new cars at highly competitive or reasonable prices.

Car Companies Like Toyota, Maruti, Honda and GM May Hike Prices By Up To Rs 25,000

Skoda Rapid vs. Nissan Sunny vs. Hyundai Verna – A Detailed Comparison

The Mid-sized sedan segment in India is bustling with action, following the recent launch of the Skoda Rapid. It means that with its launch, the Skoda Rapid has become the 3rd major launch in this category of vehicles in India in the recent times – the other two being the Nissan Sunny and the Hyundai Verna. This has further intensified the battle for supremacy within this segment as other players like Honda City, Volkswagen Vento, Maruti Sx4 and Fiat Linea have already been slogging out for the top spot. In this article, we try to make a comparison between the three new entrants into the segment, on the basis of certain key parameters.

Pricing:-

Taking the base as the ex-showroom prices of the cars in Delhi, it is found that the middle variant of the Skoda Rapid car costs Rs.7.09 Lakh whereas the Nissan Sunny has a starting price of Rs.6.88 Lakh. The Hyundai Verna has a starting price of Rs.7.7 Lakh. However, one thing that has to be definitely mentioned here is that the Verna has 2 variants priced at greater than Rs.10 Lakh ex-showroom, hence with the added costs on taxes and other factors would enhance the on-road pricing substantially higher than that as well.

Skoda Rapid in India

Options and Variants:-

The Rapid has been made available both in Diesel and Petrol variants and has been equipped with both Automatic and Manual transmission. The Hyundai Verna also has the same features incorporated. The Nissan Sunny, however, has been made available only in Petrol variant and automatic transmission has also not been provided on this vehicle.

Hyundai Verna in India Nissan Sunny in India

Dimensions of the Vehicles:-

The Skoda Rapid has a length of 4386mm, width 1699mm and height 1466mm.

Skoda Rapid in India

The Nissan Sunny has a length of 4425mm, width 1695mm and height 1505mm.

Nissan Sunny in India

The Hyundai Verna has a length of 4370mm, width 1700mm and height 1475mm.

Hyundai Verna in India

Engine specifications and Power Generated:-

The 1600cc Skoda Rapid engine delivers a peak power of 105Bhp.

The 1500cc Nissan Sunny engine delivers maximum power 99Bhp.

The Hyundai Verna rules in the power criteria with its 1600cc Petrol engine delivering maximum power of 123Bhp whereas its 1582cc Diesel engine has a peak power of 128Bhp.

Skoda Rapid in India Nissan Sunny in India Hyundai Verna in India

Mileage:-

Mileage computed on the basis of ARAI standards show the Skoda Rapid trail behind at 15km/l, the Sunny is marginally ahead at 16.5km/l. Hyundai Verna rules this criterion as well at 17km/l for its petrol variant and 22.3km/l for its diesel one.

Safety Features Incorporated:

The standard version of the Nissan Sunny is equipped with ABS and Airbags with Automatic Climate Control provided in its Middle version.  The middle variant of the Skoda Rapid includes features like ABS and Airbags whereas its top end version comes with Automatic Climate Control. The Hyundai Verna however is equipped with latest features like Reverse Parking Camera and Sensors, 6 Airbags and many more compared to the other two vehicles. However, its top end model out-prices the other two vehicles by Rs.50, 000 minimum, a cost if additionally paid can get these features incorporated into the other two vehicles as well.

Skoda Rapid interior

Hyundai Verna interior Nissan Sunny interior

Networks in India: This is where Hyundai Verna triumphs again as it has access to a huge number of dealership networks in the Indian market, followed much behind by the Skoda Rapid with Nissan Sunny at the end.

Based on the above-mentioned criteria, the Hyundai Verna, though more pricey, seems the right vehicle to buy. However, this is not the end-all about these cars; you might be interested in having certain other features on your car that might not have been elaborated here.

Daimler Eying a Large Share in Local Truck Market

Daimler AG, the largest truck manufacturing company of the world is gearing up to introduce its offerings in India by 2nd half of 2012, which is reportedly eying a larger share of local truck market pie. Daimler, an iconic international marque whose interest in trucks goes back over a 100 years is tutoring a full Indian avatar even going to extent of calling itself Bharat Benz. Its operations in the country have been built from scratch with no readily offered international blueprint for help. Mr. Marc Llistosella, Chief Executive Officer and Managing Director at Daimler India said that they are a domestic player. It is an Indian form. The Indian unit’s parent marketed over 3.5 lakh truck models in 2010, gathering approximately 24 billion euros in the process. Its entry in India was originally planned through a partnership with Hero Group.

Nevertheless, the latter pulled out in the year 2009, leaving Daimler AG for making India charge on its own. Daimler has planned to deal with India in a particular manner, launching things unidentified to enormous operations of the company anywhere else. In the month of February 2011, it introduced the Bharat Benz marque for Indian market, the first timer ever; the German maker has introduced a country-specific marque. As per the report, Daimler has put together advisory council in India, including software Services Company Cognizant’s Lakshmi Narayanan, Bharat Forge Chairman and Managing Director Baba Kalyani, former Finance Secretary Arun Ramanathan, lawyer PS Raman and HDFC Managing Director Renu Karnad.

Daimler

By forming this panel, Daimler AG is following footsteps of other international MNCs such as Novartis. Microsoft, Bosch and Siemens in India. It is not the only truck manufacturing eyeing India, there are plenty of others such as Navistar, Volvo and Nissan. Navistar, Volvo and Nissan have tie-ups with Mahindra and Mahindra, Eicher and Ashok Leyland respectively. Daimler AG is a German car company. By unit sales, it is the 13th biggest car manufacturing and 2nd biggest truck manufacturing company of the world. Apart from automobiles, it designs and develops buses and offers financial services via its Daimler Financial Services. It also owns most important stakes in aerospace group EADS, parent and high technology Company of Vodafone McLaren Mercedes racing team McLaren Group along with Mitsubishi Fuso Truck and Bus Corporation, the Japanese truck manufacturing firm.

Of course, German counterpart MAN of Daimler is now going solo, after newly purchasing stake from Force Motors, its Indian partner. MAN’s move has come after Volkswagen purchased mainstream control in MAN international.

Is Toyota planning a revamp of the Corolla sedan?

Toyota, one of the largest automakers in the world, has always been referred to highly in India because of the premium cars that they have brought into this country. Though the Indian market has the highest demands for entry-level small cars, Toyota continues with their plans of bringing in premium cars into the country. Success of the company’s cars in India can be appropriately reflected by taking the example of the Toyota Corolla, the premium car that has been serving generations. The buzz in the market now is that a revamped version of this vehicle could be making its way here in 2012. Though the car had been launched long time back in the 1960s, it had been a steady performer in the Indian market and is often attributed to be the reason for the huge growth that Toyota India has been able to make. Like most other sedans, the Toyota Corolla had been initially made available only in a petrol engine version.

However, keeping itself in sync with the growing market for diesel vehicles in the Indian market, Toyota had recently introduced a diesel engine version of their sedan, the Toyota Corolla Altis. However, the story does not end here. It seems now that Toyota had not introduced the top versions of their diesel engine vehicle, the reason for which has even let market analysts wondering. The growth in the pricing of the Toyota Corolla could have been the possible hindrance to their plans of bringing in the top variant of their diesel engine sedan. By this, the price range had been restricted between Rs.10.63 Lakh to Rs.15 Lakh, having included both the top end as well as the base variants in the same.

Is Toyota planning a revamp of the Corolla sedan?The Toyota Corolla sedan has been made available in four models and has always provided stiff competition to vehicles like the Volkswagen Jetta and the Skoda Laura in the D-segment of vehicles. The 1.8 Liter petrol engine variant has been provided a 5-speed automatic transmission that would enable it to give an impressive top power of 138Bhp with peak torque at 173Nm. Diesel variants of their vehicles have never received any preferential treatments in Toyota, hence the diesel variant has been given a 1.4 Liter D-4D rail turbo common engine that has been attached with 6-speed manual gears and delivers maximum power and peak torque of 87Bhp and 250Nm respectively. Rumors doing the round also seem to suggest that the company is in the midst of contemplating a hybrid version for their sedan.

BMW Mini to enter Indian market with three models at 2012 Auto Expo

BMW, the German auto giants, have kept their promise of bringing their iconic brand, the Mini, into Indian shores as per reports appearing in a business daily. The report further states that 3 models from the Mini Series – the Cooper Hatch with their famous three-door model, the Countryman SUV and the Cooper Convertible – will make their entry into the Indian market for the first time with them being showcased in the 2012 Auto Expo.

The report further states that the pricing would be kept at a range of Rs.25 Lakh to Rs.35 Lakh, similar to that of the X1. The President of BMW India, Andreas Schaaf hopes that the company will be bring in customers for all these variants as they are known to deliver high-end performances. In the initial stage, the company will import completely built units of the vehicles into the country. The premium segment of the auto market would be targeted with these high performing engines. Within the first quarter of 2012, there will be an opening of two showrooms, exclusively for the Mini, in Delhi whereas a third would be opened in Mumbai. However, by the end of the year 2012, dealerships would also be opened in Pune, Chennai, Bangalore and Chandigarh.

BMW Mini to enter Indian market with three models at 2012 Auto Expo

It is interesting to note that the Mini, which has completed 52 years as a brand, had been initially designed for being a small car catering to the city by their originators, British Motor Corp. The company, together with another manufacturer, Rover Group, was bought in 1994 by BMW. The present larger sized cars of the Mini brand have no technical resemblance to their original versions; however they seem to contain some similar aspects in design. The brands like the Rolls Royce and BMW are already being sold by the group company in India, along with their offering in the two-wheeler segment, the BMW Motorrad. Among these brands, the Motorrad and the Rolls Royce continue to be imported into the country by the BMW Group, who makes use of independent channels for doing the same. The only brand that has not been brought into India is the Husqvarna motorcycles. The BMW Board members have had elaborate discussions spanning over a few years and have now bringing in their entire British range into Indian shores with the same expected to have their initial showcasing at the Auto Expo in January 2012 to be held at Delhi. The President has in a statement confirmed the same and also added that the initial focus of the company would be building the brands of these vehicles in the Indian auto market.