New Hyundai Santa Fe: Leaked images promise a better look

If one were to go by the images of the new Hyundai Santa Fe, he would realize that this vehicle has been given a new look at the front, with more forceful overtones. This new stylish looking vehicle retains its five passenger hold and is positioned in the premium sub crossover category.

While no specific modifications or updates have been revealed by the Korean Automotive giant, one can expect a detailed report at the upcoming New York Auto Show. What we do know is that Hyundai is going with its generic “hexagonal grille”, which bears a resemblance to the one seen on the soon to be introduced Hyundai Sonata. Again a closer look at the images, which have been conveniently leaked, the body has a lavish spend on it with chrome finish.

New Hyundai Santa Fe: Leaked images promise a better look
The front end also reveals chunkier bumpers with larger fog lamps, with adjacently housed LED motoring lights. The rear end has new LED taillights which have been integrated within its tailgate and rear fender. The side panels match the overall forceful look of this vehicle with a convex window line and radiating wheel arches. Hyundai prides itself on its safety features and it’s a foregone conclusion that the same safety, if not improved features, will be incorporated into this vehicle. The safety features already incorporated include six airbags, electronic stability control in high and low speeds, anti-lock brakes and automatic tyre pressure indicators.

The interiors are also most certainly up for a makeover. The new Santa Fe will likely have a plusher interior with ergonomically designed seats with fully reclining back rests, a full six speaker audio system, adjustable steering wheel, brightly lid LED panels and open flip glove compartment.

Land Rover Defender likely to be manufactured in Pune

The all new Land Rover Defender is all set to find a new manufacturing assembly plant at Tata Motors plant in Pune, Maharashtra. The plant is scheduled to begin manufacturing the vehicle soon. It seems strange that the Land Rover Defender, which was listed to be phased out by 2015 due to EU regulations and later got a reprieve till 2017, will set shop in Pune.

So, could we expect a radically changed iconic vehicle? Though the European Union has relaxed its emission rules, this vehicle can only have a mass sell (as far as Europe is concerned) if it conforms to EU standards.  As far as India is concerned, it remains to be seen if this vehicle will have an all new eco-friendly engine or not.  As a part of the reverse CKD system, some of the other models would be sent back to Europe. Incidentally, Land Rover manufactures Freelanders in India for mass consumption in Asia.

Land Rover Defender likely to be manufactured in Pune

The Asia Pacific market is a strong pull for the Defender and hence, manufacturing this vehicle in India would cut down on costs and make it more affordable for European markets as well.

The Defender scheduled to be launched in 2015 will have a full body frame edifice, by far a much better construction of the old monocoque design. This body would improve the overall dynamics of the vehicle and give it better controls, stability and comfort. It is also by far a safe bet to assume that the Defender will have a much lighter T5 ladder armature and would resemble Land Rover latest DC100 conception. Also on the anvil are changes to lights, grilles and wheels with better indoor styling.

Tata motors is most likely to supply the chassis and suspension parts borrowed from its Aria and Safari range of models.

FIAT 500 cars will now have 5 and 7-seater variants

FIAT is finally in the race and competing hard by planning to introduce various models of its 500 series car, hence, the birth of the FIAT 500L (read “Large”).

The vehicle will sport an elongated look, stretched by almost 60 mm. It will have 5 doors, higher top-crown, but the front end will have no changes. The new FIAT 500L will be showcased for the first time at the upcoming Geneva Motor show in March, this year.

FIAT 500 cars will now have 5 and 7-seater variants

FIAT will roll out two versions of the vehicle, a 5 seat standard passenger car and also a 7-seater version. The 7-seater will be a bit longer than the 5-seater and will begin sales in Europe come July, 2012. The United States gets only the 5-seater model as Americans may not be too fond of the bigger 7-seater vehicle.

Both models will have a petrol and diesel version powered by a 900 cc, 2 cylinder engine, with the petrol version (1.4 liter) revving up 77/105 horsepower and the diesel (1.3 liter) 75/95 horsepower. Both models will be manufactured at FIAT’s Serbia facilities in partnership with the Serbian government. FIAT owns a two third share in this FDI induced partnership. FIAT will invest approximately 700 million Euros to fund this plant.

FIAT 500 cars will now have 5 and 7-seater variants

The FIAT 500 has been termed as an adorable car and has great interiors. The new 500L will most likely have better and plusher interiors. German ace formula driver Michael Schumacher owns the FIAT 500 and it’s yet to be seen if he opts for the new model of FIAT 500L.

Maruti Alto comes ahead of Volkswagen Golf for the second time in a row

In India, the company that has always reigned supreme when it came to the car manufacturing is Maruti. The company has a range of compact cars custom made to suit India’s lack of parking space and twisted lanes and deep curves. The car company has emerged on top after years of fulfilling India’s needs. With its wide variety of models, the company caters to diverse needs, from compact cars to luxury drives, to other heavy duty vehicles.  Now the company has gone on to claim another title, that too once again making it the only one of its kind to ever do so in India. Maruti Alto bustled its way ahead of the race, claiming the title ‘Worlds highest selling small car‘ this year as well. The car has fought off other giants from other countries that tried a hand at clinching the title. But this isn’t the only thing that makes Maruti Alto special. This is its second win on the trot, laying claim for the second time in a row and retaining the title of the Highest Selling Small Car in the World. Indians have always banked on this car company to deliver, and they have delivered Maruti, with its best servicing and maintenance facilities all across India, has raced ahead in the completion against the world.

Maruti Alto comes ahead of Volkswagen Golf for the second time in a row

Coming second to the ‘highest selling small car’ was the Volkswagen Golf. The third spot has been claimed by Fiat Uno.  The Indian car manufacturer has sold a whopping 310,000 units of the Maruti Alto in the last one year, which steers clear of any completion from the runners up. Fiat sold a total of 273,537 units in Brazil while the Volkswagen sold a staggering 258,059 units of its car Golf back in their home country of Germany. The third runner- up trailing behind the others in the race for the highest selling small car in a country was the Suzuki WagonR, which sold 160,439 units. Coming in next is the Chinese car company manufacturing the Chery QQ and selling an appreciable number of 150,769 units back home in China.

There hasn’t been much of a change in the tally compared to last year, but there have been certain change in trends that suggests how the next years tally might shape up. The car that came in second, the Volkswagen Golf is sure feeling the heat, with the Fiat Uno trailing close behind having bridged quite a bit of gap in terms of sales within a span of one year. These changes in figures indicate that Fiat Uno has become the fastest growing in terms of units sold compared to last year in 2011. Another interesting trend is indicated through Brazil, which has fast become a thriving market for cars and bikes. Car companies are doing admirably well in the Brazilian terrain and this favorable market conditions is drawing in a lot of attention from car manufacturers.

Volkswagen Golf in India
Now the car with the highest sales in the small car category may be Maruti Alto, but the respect of being the highest number of units sold for any vehicle on the roads goes to the Ford F-150 truck selling a total of 584,917 units.

Volvo looking for an ally for development of small segment cars

Over the past few years, Volvo has emerged as one of the most revered automobile brands in the prospective global market and thus now they are aspiring to launch small-segment cars in the markets. Volvo is in search of a supporting automobile magnate to assist Volvo in the development of its small car variants.

Volvo was earlier owned by Ford Motors but was then bought by a Chinese firm by the name of Geely. This transfer of ownership has made Volvo a bigger enterprise now and thus Volvo is seeking compatriots who can help them with the production costs involved for manufacturing their costs. A joint business enterprise and undertaking is something that Volvo is highly anticipating and there are many offers of alliance but Volvo considering its brand name and brand value will be conducting meetings to ascertain which conglomerate auto-maker should be made an ally and can aggravate the sales of their newest edition of cars in the global market.

Volvo looking for an ally for development of small segment cars
There are many factors that Volvo is considering for allying up with another bigwig from the automobile industry. There are certain terms and conditions that Volvo has placed for alliance and the primary one of them says that the profits from the prospective sales of the units will be equally distributed amongst Volvo and the subsidiary ally collaborating in the manufacturing and mass production units. Volvo plans to jointly manufacture new cars and design an engine which can be accepted by both the companies without any second thoughts. Though Volvo will be conducting meeting over short-listing the perfect ally, there has not been any latest update on the fact as to when such a meeting would take place and what outcomes can possibly come up. There have been many potential companies which Volvo is considering as ally but many factors are being worked upon by the core group of Volvo so that they can easily join hands and collaborate together to give an impressive and commendable percentage of sales.

There are many aspirations that Volvo head and Chief Executive Mr. Stefan Jacoby is considering and the primary one is to modernize the brand and expand it in lucrative markets where the demand of cars exceeds the surplus estimate. Volvo have already taken the first step towards modernizing their brand name by giving shape to their all new engine varieties and adding to that they have also designed a new sort of platform which has the capability of strengthening hatchback models to large saloon models. Now the company wants to shift focus towards the booming small car market after selling saloon cars and SUVs.

Very soon Volvo will pull V40 out of its garage following its anticipated response at the prestigious Geneva Motor Show about to be held in March, 2012 after successfully achieving sales targets with SUV and XC90 models.

Downfall in Rupee boosted up car exports in 2011

2011 saw a considerable downfall in the value of the rupee, and as a result, it was anticipated that this would hit and affect the export market of cars. Rather it turned out to be quite the other way round as the car export business of many bigwigs in the automobile industry such as Maruti Suzuki, Hyundai, Toyota, Nissan, have recorded an increase for year 2011. Though Maruti Suzuki took the whole year to recover from the losses they had to face in the past one year, it got left a little behind in the race. But after this considerable downfall Maruti Suzuki is trying its level-best to stand up once again as the most demanded automobile brand in India.

Although the losses suffered by Maruti Suzuki were massive, yet they are looking forward to regaining all the shares that they had lost in the market. In the coming months, Maruti Suzuki will be launching the newest version of A-Star, and it also plans to increase its production of diesel models by opening a diesel manufacturing power plant in Gurgaon very soon. The newest and highly upgraded version of Maruti Swift Dzire is also being anticipated in the market and has already attracted customers. This year Maruti Suzuki is looking forward to rolling out its MPV Ertiga onto the Indian roads. Now owing to the rupee downfall, Maruti Suzuki has astonishingly recorded escalating export demands and now plans to export the new Swift Dzire as well as its newly unveiled Ertiga MPV.

Downfall in Rupee boosted up car exports in 2011
The head of Maruti Suzuki India, Shashank Srivastava, has given a brief count of the upcoming exports, and proudly announced that around 4500 bookings have already been finalized by dealers dealing in Maruti Suzuki abroad. These bookings have majorly been for its most demanding line-up of cars, consisting of Alto, A-Star, Zen Estilo, and Wagon R.

Over the last one year, due to the downfall of rupee, the exports of many prime automobile manufacturers soared to a considerable extent, and many companies reaped the benefit of this situation. According to experts, whenever there is a fluctuation in the currency, the automobile industry is vulnerable and can generate heavy profits by exports or vice versa. Last year car manufacturers reported approximately 16% boost in their export rate due to the fall of rupee.

Hyundai has been exporting its cars to its dealers based abroad since long and Ascent is one of the most demanding cars to be exported by the company. Along with that the newly launched Hyundai Eon and i10 have also benefited the company by meeting export demands on a grand scale.

Hyundai Eon in India

Toyota, on the other hand, hopes to increase its export of Toyota Etios Liva and Toyota Etios Sedan into the global market. Nissan seems to be a veteran as it has been into export since a long time now. Nissan Micra failed to meet up to the export demands, and that is why the company now plans to export Sunny to other countries.

Toyota Etios Liva in India

BMW all set to unveil the New and Beastly X6 at Geneva Motor Show

BMW at the moment records one of the most impressive sales figures of its different variants. The X5 created a roar in the SUV industry and other automobile heavyweights tried to take the X5 down but couldn’t tackle the performance and looks of the car. BMW came up with an upgraded version of the X5 and now finally they are set to unveil the all new upgraded and revamped version BMW X6 at the upcoming Geneva Motor Show in the month of March. The launch of new BMW X6 2012 has been highly anticipated in the industry and BMW is looking forward to launching the car in the global market by June, 2012.

Regarding India, there have not been much reports or any kind of information as to when the car will make its way towards the booming Indian automobile market. Presently India has three versions of BMW X6 on its roads. These are the BMW X6 xDrive 50i which is basically the petrol variant of the car, followed by BMW X6 xDrive 30d which is the subsidiary diesel model of the car. And finally BMW X6 M which is the petrol model with automatic transmission system.

BMW all set to unveil the New and Beastly X6 at Geneva Motor Show
The looks of the car have been changed to a great extent with primarily the grille of the car modified and given a new design and secondly the fog lamps have been replaced and fitted just below the head lamps of the car. The design of the car somewhat resembles that of the BMW GT. Presently BMW X6 comes in three colors namely Orion Silver metallic, Midnight Blue metallic and Marrakech Brown metallic. The all new BMW X6 will come in three new colors along with the existing scheme of colors. The exteriors of the car have been immensely worked upon and the car boasts of 19’’ alloy wheels which will give a sporty finish to the car. The car comes equipped with LED lamps which help in adding a subsidiary luminance to the headlights of the car and this luminance is brilliant when lit using LED. Ergonomically the car has been ramped up to a great extent and the tail lights are now sportier with the presence of LED in them which once illuminated, give a bright luminance.

Ergonomically the car has been given a newest variant of brake calipers made of aluminum and will be having LED lamps. There is a rumor that the new BMW X6 will be having an 8-speed automatic gearbox which is pretty rare in cars. The BMW X6 xDrive 30d will be using the same engine as that of the BMW M class of vehicles. This model boasts of a 3.0 L 6-cylinder engine which is being powered by a strong torque.

Premier Indian Business leaders enjoy Ice-Driving experience organized by Audi

Recently Audi gave a surprise to a visiting Indian CII Business delegation, when they were treated to a unique experience of driving over ice in an exclusive Audi A8 L Sedan and Audi Q5 Hybrid. The German luxury car manufacturer has been manufacturing class-apart luxury cars since a long time now and has unveiled the experience of A8 L sedan and Q5. These two cars have been designed keeping optimum safety and traction control in mind and adding to that the luxury of these cars is class-apart.

The event was organized in Davos, Switzerland by the German Luxury Car manufacturers and the business delegation had some of India’s most prominent business barons including Sunil Munjal (Joint Managing Director of Hero MotoCorp) along with Pawan Munjal (Managing Director of Hero MotoCorp). Also present were Astarc Chairman and Managing Director Kishore Musale and Vinod Mittal (Vice Chairman and Managing Director of ISPAT Industries) along with many other NRIs and dignitaries.

Audi Ice Driving Experience in Davos

Audi India Head Michael Perschke was present at the event and seemed enthusiastic about giving this experience to the leaders. He told media that The World Economic Forum (WEF) meet organized every year has the most prominent business leaders in attendance and many other dignitaries from all fields of science and politics. This year Audi was the official sponsor of World Economic Forum and with so many dignitaries and business leaders in attendance Audi got a fair chance of displaying its Vorsprung Durch Technik to these leaders and explain its meaning to them. Audi considers it an honour for itself to be hosting and giving this opportunity to prominent business leaders from India to experience their new Audi A8 L and Audi Q5 Hybrid version which ensure fine grip of the road and along with that ensure optimum luxury to the passengers.

The Audi A8 boasts of a long wheelbase which Audi decided upon for the fact that it will ensure redefined levels of technology and sophistication of the models launched by Audi in the market and will also showcase the technology they use to give ultimate comfort to both the front and rear passengers. Audi also gave an exclusive chance to the dignitaries to drive their all new S6, S7, A3 etron and A1 etron models on ice. Audi has been exclusively chauffeuring business delegates for the WEF since 1987 and supplies 150 Audi vehicles for the delegates.

Premier Indian Business leaders enjoy Ice-Driving experience organized by Audi

2011 seemed to be a prospective year for Audi India as it sold 5511 units of their cars thus increasing their sales rate by an impressive 84%. Along with that Audi India set up new showrooms in Delhi, Surat, Ludhiana, Indore and Chennai. Audi has a wide range of models in India. Some of these are A4, A6, and A7 Sportback along with Audi A8 L, Audi Q5 and Q7. They recently launched RS5 Coupe and their meanest sports car R8 basic and also R8 Spyder.

Honda to unveil CR-V in its meanest avatar

There was a time when Honda CR-V was considered as the king of all the SUVs in India and then came a new revolution and onslaught of many SUVs which pioneered the boundaries of innovation. But the charm of Honda CR-V was never lost. Ever since the first model came into market, CR-V has been highly appreciated and acclaimed by the customers for its sleek looks and a powerful engine. But the only repercussion attached to CR-V was the fact that the liquid which boosted the engine of the mean machine was petrol whose prices are nowadays sky-rocketing. But those who trusted Honda and had the money to shell out on petrol went for this car. Then an upgraded model of CR-V was launched onto the Indian road which was also highly commended for its features and sleekest looks. Now comes perhaps the meanest version of CR-V with tough and sleek looks and high performance.

Last year Thailand was struck by flash floods which halted the operations of Honda to a great extent and its manufacturing units in Japan also suffered due to many natural disasters which had hit the country last year. But Honda is not in a position to blame any calamity for its downfall and is hell-bent on winning back the throne.

Honda to unveil CR-V in its meanest avatar
In USA, Ohio housed the manufacturing unit of Honda and now this plant has been shifted to Ontario, Canada where Honda plans to increase its production of its vehicles and launch CR-V on a grand scale in the global market. Earlier Marysville unit of Ohio was in charge of manufacturing Honda CR-V but then Honda seemed to consider launching the all new CR-V 2012 into the global market from Alliston, Ontario. With the opening of this new manufacturing unit, Honda plans to increase its manufacturing rate and sell its cars at a massive rate to customers as they are anticipating huge response for the new CR-V so that they can regain the foothold in the industry once again. The production units in Thailand were being authorized to supply electronic components and underbody parts to other manufacturing units all across the world but the operations were heavily rampaged by the typhoon last year. As a result, Honda’s sales reached to a rock-bottom level and even the market share of Honda in India fell to a great extent. India seems to be one of the prime zones where Honda has a stronghold but the operations to India also took a beating.

Unfortunately Honda could not properly market its newest car Brio in the Indian market due to the halt in sales but now since Auto Expo 2012, Honda has grown optimistic and will be unveiling new CR-V 2012 in the Indian market as well. There is hype that the new upcoming CR-V will be powered by a diesel engine and this news is generating buzz amongst the potential buyers. Honda plans to launch 2012 CR-V across 160 countries to re-establish its foothold in the global automobile market.

Aston Martin Rapide wins Top Honors in Switzerland

For three successive years in a row, the Aston Martin Rapide, the prized and signature car of the British auto manufacturer, has left its competition way behind and once again won the “best car” in the luxury slice in Switzerland, recently. The numero uno auto magazine, Auto Illustrierte had asked its readers to poll for the best cars of 2012 and the Aston Martin Rapide received most number of votes.

At the award presentation in Switzerland, a visibly beaming Jeffrey L Scott, Managing Director Aston Martin Lagonda -Europe said that it was a momentous recognition three times over as the market was fiercely competitive. He went on to add that Switzerland was one of the most important markets in Europe, and the award meant a bit more as it was the consumers who rated the Aston Martin Rapide as the best luxury car.

Aston Martin Rapide wins Top Honors in Switzerland

It would be noteworthy to mention here that this luxury car polled a whopping 2609 percent from the readers of Auto Illustrierte. Never has a car polled such a percentage ever in the magazine’s 18 year history. This time around over 311 models in 10 categories had vied for the coveted number one position, but the Rapide from Aston Martin took the prized position of number one at the podium.

Performance

The Aston Martin Rapide revs up a maximum power of 350 kW at 6000 revolution per minute, with its torque peaking at 600 Nm at 5000 revolutions per minute. This vehicle can accelerate from 0 – 100 kmph in 5.2 seconds flat and can attain a maximum speed of 295 kilometers an hour.

Aston Martin Rapide wins Top Honors in Switzerland

Engine:

The Aston Martin Rapide houses an 11 alloy quad overhead camshaft with forty eight valves and its engine is mid mounted in the front with a rear wheel drive. The exhaust system is made of fully catalyzed stainless with active bypass valves and a compression ratio of 10.9: 1.

Aston Martin Rapide engine

This power packed luxury car is designed with a four door body style with four individual passenger seats. The body panels are aluminum with extruded door side impact beams. The car has LED lights in the rear and side of the car. The taillights have no fewer than 360 LEDs. LED lighting can also be found on the mirror lights and front turn signals.