Chinese FAW considering West Bengal and Gujarat for investment

With local auto firms such as Tata Motors confronted problems in the state of West Bengal, the site is still under debate together with Gujarat by a well-known Chinese automobile giant, First Automotive Works (FAW).

The company is not new to the Indian market and is already marketing automobile components for trucks as well as buses in an association with Kolkata based firm.

If the red dragon car manufacturer proposes to establish a manufacturing division in the city of Kolkata than it will function as a completely possessed Chinese company and not in coalition with other firm, Zhang Lizhong.

Chinese FAW considering West Bengal and Gujarat for investment
The automobile company is eyeing to establish a manufacturing facility in the Tata Indian market and is taking two states including Gujarat and Bengal into account for it.

The land allocation would not be a problem as First Automotive Works’s Indian associate already possesses land that is enough for the project.

China’s consul-general in Kolkata stated that he didn’t rule against the troubles that surrounded the area in past times and stated Chinese companies would be careful and alert about their past investments in the state.

Recently, Dongfang Electric Company Ltd that is among the most important power plant equipment firm of China forward its representatives to check the prospect of making foray in the Indian market.

With the Chinese access in the nation, it would be harsh for domestic firms to maintain the margins as these firms are considered to present things at affordable rates.

Ford reveals highly fuel efficient version of Fiesta hatchback

After launching its Fiesta hatchback, American auto maker Ford has now revealed its highly fuel efficient version of the car for carrying cargo in Europe. The Ford Fiesta van mainly targets the small business units that always seek high fuel efficient vehicles. The diesel engine in the Ford Fiesta van delivers about 27 kmpl or more of mileage with sub 100g/km carbon emission. The Fiesta’s ECOnetic technology increases the fuel saving and delivers mileage around 30 kmpl with about 87 g/km of carbon emission.

The new vehicle can replace the current monotonous vans with new exciting looks. It can be used as a mobile workshop for light duty equipment and tools. According to Ford Britain’s Light Commercial vehicle product manager, Mark Easton both local and urban trader will praise its looks, dependability versatility and low operating costs. Housing about 1 cubic meter of loading space, the vehicle offers an adaptable solution for various needs with the Ford Fiesta driving appeal.

Ford reveals highly fuel efficient version of Fiesta hatchback
The load compartment offers a secure four cargo tie down hooks and steel bulkhead developed in standard with the DIN Load restraints along with the strong rubber floor mat and sidewall lining. Van can offer load length of about 1.3 m with a load capacity of about 485 to 508 kg, that means it can also accommodate bulky items. The Ford Van is powered by a 1.5 litre Duratorque engine that delivers about 75 PS of power and another 1.6 litre engine that delivers about 95 PS. There is also an option for 1.25 litre Duratec petrol engine.

The efficient Ford Fiesta ECOnetic houses especially developed 1.6 litre DuratorqTDCi engine with auto start and stop, aerodynamic under trey, lowered suspension and new wheel trims with rolling resistance tires. The van also hires number of safety features that includes important first in the segment technologies. Ford’s MyKey also helps to encourage the drivers for safer driving and restrict the driver’s exposure to wheel at the same time providing ownership info. Fiesta Van also offers Ford SYNC, which is an in-car connectivity system.

Ford SYNC along with the emergency assistance allows the vehicle occupants to directly connect to the emergency services in case of any accident. Along with the other feature, it also offers Active City stop which allows the drivers to avoid low speed collision in the city, hill start assist, rearview camera and Easy fuel.

The new version of the Fiesta boasts of the new sharper design inspired by the Ford’s global design and concept vehicles. These also include the laser cut headlamps with LED technology, 17 inch alloy wheels and power dome bonnet. Ford’s interior design and ergonomics experts have redesigned the Fiesta’s interior by relocating the gear switch, providing arm rest, new center console and use of new materials, displays and interfaces.

Chevrolet Sail sedan to arrive soon according to Chevrolet India website

GM India has already revealed its Sail hatchback in the country and is all set to bring Sail Sedan by January 2013. With the launch preparations almost over, Chevrolet has updated all the details about the car on its official website. Company claims that the car boasts of the dynamic exterior form that is competently matched with the stunning dual tone interior that is inspired by Corvette and horizon view dashboard that enhances the overall please of interior.

Company has also revealed the complete list of features that the vehicle will be housing, that includes the auto door lock, ABS, airbags, electronic brake force distribution (EBD), seat belts equipped with pre-tensioner, collapsible steering system, crumple zone and side impact beams for safety. With all the safety features it is one of the safest cars in the segment.

Chevrolet Sail sedan to arrive soon according to Chevrolet India website
Sail will be powered by a 1.3 litre SMARTTECH turbocharged diesel trim and another 1.2litre Smartech petrol, both these engines also features in Sail Hatchback. According to the website the sedan will also feature FUN WIDE Bluetooth phone pairing and music streaming to fill your journey with more fun and convenience. After the Sail, Chevrolet is also planning to bring its first MPV Enjoy to Indian market.

Image Courtesy –www.cardekho.com

Ford EcoSport bags SUV of the year award in Brazil

Ford EcoSport has already brought a lot of laurels to its American auto maker. After so much of appreciation and applause it has bagged another award prior to its launch in India. The SUV has bagged SUV of the Year award in Brazil, where it is on sale for quite a long time.

Ford EcoSPort is expected to be launched in India by March 2013 and will possess the award winning 1.0 litre Ford EcoBoost engine. The 1.0 litre EcoBoost with only three-cylinder is powerful enough to compete with any 1.5 litre 4-cylinder engine. The engine delivers maximum of 118 bhp at 6000 rpm with the peak torque of about 170 Nm, taking it above all its competitors.

Ford EcoSport bags SUV of the year award in Brazil
Another engine that is expected to feature in the Ford EcoSport is the 1.5 litre TDCi diesel engine that currently powers company’s Fiesta sedan in India. With the impressive design at exterior, the new SUV also boasts of exciting safety and comfort features like side airbags along with the front and driver seat airbags, keyless entry and push button start, Anti-lock Braking System (ABS), traction control, EBD, auto transmission, 6-speed dual clutch, hill launch assistant, a total of 560 litre of boot space with the folded rear seat, storage under the front seat, cooled glove box and other number of features. As far as the pricing is concerned, it is believed that the EcoSport will be priced even lower than its closest competitor Duster with about 80 percent of the local made parts to its credit.

Chrysler Group launched Jeep Grand Cherokee SRT Black Edition in China

We keep saying that China is one of the fastest growing automobile markets in the world. Chrysler Group has proven it by launching Jeep Grand Cherokee SRT Black Edition over there. Black Edition takes the Jeep legacy to another level in China.

As seen in pictures, the new Jeep justifies itself completely to the tag name of ‘Black Edition’. The whole Jeep is completely painted in Piano Black color including its JEEP logo on bonnet. To highlight the black color, Chrysler has provided some chrome strokes on the exteriors. Outlines of window, fog lamp enclosures, dual exhaust tips and alloy wheels too are seen chromed.

Chrysler Group launched Jeep Grand Cherokee SRT Black Edition in China
No technical changes have been made. The Black Edition will sport the same 6.4 liter HEMI V8 engine delivering a massive 648bhp and a ground shaking 624 Nm of torque. It will zip from 0-60 mph in 4.8 seconds and is able to attain a top speed of 160mph (257kmph).

One can own a Black Edition at a cost of 1.19 million Yuan (RS.1.04 crore). It will be available in unlimited numbers. Price-tag made Black Edition to stand in competition with Mercedes G63 AMG. It will be very interesting to see AMG and SRT battling against each other.

Bentley Continental GT Speed revealed

Some leaked images of the convertible GTC version of the Bentley Continental GT Speed has appeared on the internet. It is speculated that the model will be making its debut at the Detroit Motor Show in January.

It is expected that the features and specification of the convertible will greatly vary from the GT Speed coupe. The convertible is expected to be powered by a 6.0 litre twin turbocharged W12 engine that will deliver a peak power output of 616 bhp, the engine will be mated with a 8 speed auto gearbox that will be directing drive to all four wheels. The coupe can reach from 0 to 100 km ph in just 4.0 sec but we are expecting the convertible to be a little slower due to the extra weight it will be putting on via fabric roof mechanism.

The real difference will be the top speed. Coupe can attain a top speed of about 330 kmph, so we are expecting the convertible to touch at least 320 km ph.

Bentley Continental GT Speed revealed

Bentley has done some tweaking with the coupe, it has stiffened the chassis, upgraded few hardware in air suspension and have also uprated the steering, so we could expect these changes to appear with the convertible also. The ride height is also expected to get slashed with the new 21 inches wheels.

Styling changes are quite subtle and mainly focuses around dark patched mesh for the grille and air intake. Dual exhaust pipes have also received a rifle finish. Bentley has also upgraded the interior with top level leather.

Mercedes C63 to get 4.0 V8

Mercedes-Benz AMG is considering equipping the small brother of the naturally aspirated 6.2 litre V8, Mercedes C63 AMG with a new turbocharged 4.0 litre V8 engine. It is the same engine that is marked for company’s upcoming sports car, Mercedes SLC.

The new engine has been developed along the strict guidelines and shares the same cylinder capacity, bore and other specifications as the turbocharged 2.0 litre 4-cylinder that is scheduled for Mercedes CLA45 AMG and A45 AMG.

Sources have revealed that the new engine that claims to deliver about 450 bhp of power in the initial run and is speculated to deliver about 600 bhp is scheduled to outrun the naturally aspirated 5.5 litre V8 housed mainly by the Mercedes SLK55 AMG.

Mercedes C63 to get 4.0 V8

AMG boss, Ola Kallenius short of confirmed the new engine to the autocar at the LA motor show but at the same time also hinted about the other smaller engines that are also coming.

Company is already downsizing to 5.5 and is working with the sophisticated direct injection technology that it is hoping to see more in future, he said. He also added that company has already downgraded to 5.5 and the technological rise that they are working on.

With the new engine, German Car maker will now be providing offer of rear and four wheel drive options in their performance saloon.

Mahindra blocked up in setting Testing facility; Land allotment issue

M&M is facing land allotment problem from the Tamil Nadu government and investment has been piled up so much that it has become a cause for concern for the company. Mahindra was considering investing about Rs. 18,000 crore in setting up a test facility at Cheyyar near Chennai, but the slow government process has delayed the whole operation.

Mahindra is apparently not happy with the delay. M&M has also planned several other investments including a 4,000 crore production unit for which it is considering several places in Tamil Nadu. According to the words of Pawan Goenka, President of Automotive and Farm equipment, company should have possessed the land by now but the snail paced government process is creating problems. He also added that the government had not denied the allotment and company is expecting for some fast pace decision.

Mahindra blocked up in setting Testing facility; Land allotment issue

According to the MoU signed with the TN government in 2011, the facility should be ready in one year. the company has demanded for about 400 acres of land out of which 150 acres will be used for construction of test circuit while the remain area will be made available for the manufacturing plant. The 18,000 crore investment is planned for next 7 years beginning 2011.

Currently Mahindra is using a small course at its Mahindra World City near Chennai for testing purpose. However, this is not the permanent solution company is looking for, and for long run company need something well established and that could meet with the objectives and criteria. Company is already in the final stage of talk with the govt and decision could be revealed anytime. Earlier they were considering seven states but now they have shortlisted Maharashtra and other one is still in covers, said Goenka.

Honda Amaze bracing for a launch by the first half of 2013

At the end of the day clients will be the victors when it comes to picking out a vehicle in the entry level sedan section. This is because of a lot of options that are being presented comprising Tata Indigo eCS, Maruti Swift Dzire as well as Mahindra Verito.

By the first half of the coming year (2013), Honda India would also make foray in this section with the introduction of its initial diesel vehicle in the nation, the Honda Brio Amaze.

It will be exciting to witness the fight between two Japanese giants, Honda and Suzuki (Maruti Suzuki) in this section. The Maruti Suzuki Swift Dzire is already an established player, whilst the Honda Brio Amaze would rely on the victory attained by Honda during the past few years. Both auto firms shied away from creating diesel engines, but rising petrol rates forced both of them to fabricate diesel cars.

Honda Amaze bracing for a launch by the first half of 2013
The Honda Amaze will be catered via a 1.5 litre diesel engine or a 1.2 litre petrol engine respectively. The vehicle’s engine would be coupled to 5 pace Manual Transmission, which would deliver low gearing proportions. This signifies that the Amaze gear case would permit one to speedily shift into higher gears, identical to the other Honda cars in the Indian market.

External styling in the vehicle does not appear as hasty as the Dzire or the Indigo eCS. But, aside from the front chrome fencing, there are not many styling disparities between the Amaze and the Honda Brio Amaze .

Inner space is quite large, with sufficient amount of space for back passengers. As compared to its total length of 3,990 millimeter, the company has tried to create a lot of space in the cabin. This makes the car a perfect choice.

Mahindra XUV 500 v/s Renault Duster : Comparison

According to appearance, Mahindra XUV and Renault Duster is positioned somewhere between a crossover and an SUV. But we will call it an SUV here as they have maintained that kind of image in the Indian market.

The year 2012 seems to be the year of SUVs. 2012 had seen the two most significant launches i.e. Mahindra XUV 500 and Renault Duster. If we will go by the figures, then XUV will be the ultimate winner. It has fetched 35,000 customers to the showroom since one year from the launch. But we cannot term the Duster as a loser. It has also done a significant job for Renault. It had helped the French carmaker to set foot in India. The Duster is the bread and butter of Renault. Duster aka Dacia is being called the cheapest SUV in the Europe, priced at 10,000 Euros.

In India, the Duster is priced at 11.39 lakhs while the XUV at 13.18 lakhs. All the prices are Ex-showroom Delhi.

We are comparing the 2WD version of XUV because the Duster doesn’t come with AWD system. We have got our hands on the high end version of both the cars i.e. W6 for XUV and RxZ for Duster.

Exteriors:

Both the SUVs sport tough looks. At the front Duster sport squared looks. This helped headlamps to gain maximum space of the front. Chromed front grilles and Renault’s (chromed) logo being placed at the centre gives Duster a rigid and built-to-last impression. The larger wheel arches, descent roofrails along with the wider body makes Duster more attractive and sophisticated from the front. The taillamps are also well done. However, the door handles are not up to the mark. They look a bit outdated.

Mahindra XUV 500

On the other hand, XUV exterior seems more refined than the Scorpio. It looks more macho and a bit futuristic as well. On seeing XUV one can form an image of a cheetah staring at him, which is seen in all of its advertisements. Proportionate wheel arches add some sportiness to it. The rear is perfectly designed which Mahindra had incidentally forgotten to include in the Scorpio. In fact we like the rear more than the front.  The vertical taillamps and the tilted roof at the end make the XUV a clear winner at the rear. Last but not the least, door handles of XUV seems to be inspired by the Cheetah’s paw. It is one of the innovative features which Mahindra has added to the XUV.

Overall, the looks of the Duster appeals to us more than the XUV. The Duster looks more clean and clear while the black detailing at the front made us a bit disappointed on the Mahindra XUV 500 part. But the Indian customers tend to like Cheetah more than the French stud.

Mahindra XUV 500 v/s Renault Duster

Interiors:

Interior is that part where customer actually feels the car. On opening the doors, real pictures of both cars were in front of us. XUV offers a third row seating option and in other words it can be said that it can accommodate 7 persons at a time. On the other hand, Duster offers only two row seating feature i.e. five persons seating capacity. Mahindra offers foldable third row seating arrangement which can be converted to boot, when folded. XUV offers a 703 liter boot space (when third row folded) while the Duster offers a mere 475 liter only. Duster also offers a parcel tray which helps to obstruct additional luggage from peeping out through the window. Both of the vehicles come with a foldable second row feature as well. Though this feature is rarely used but is useful at sometimes.

The second row seating arrangement is good enough in Duster as compared to XUV. In XUV a person has to face glitches while moving out of the car. The reason is that XUV offers the third row seating arrangement. But in Duster this isn’t the case. We mention that Duster is made with clear intention of SUV while XUV is made to suit the Indian market more.

Mahindra XUV 500 v/s Renault Duster

One thing which did not appeal to use in the Renault Duster is the second row AC vents. It is good, but is placed at the centre of the floor in second row. It takes away all the comfort and legroom from the third person who is sitting in the middle. I can say that only a child will be able to sit comfortably and not an adult.

The driver’s seat in Duster is uncomfortable but in XUV it is made perfect. We felt that driving XUV for a long distance will not be a problem. Though the ground clearance is more in Duster but XUV feels better in driving seat.

Talking about AC, Duster offers HVAC. It cools the cabin faster as compared to XUV.  AC vents in XUV Is also placed efficiently. Even last benchers will not complain about the cooling because there are AC vents placed at the rear pillars too.

Mahindra comes fully loaded in terms of feature. It offers Touch screen LCD at the centre, car information system, automatic headlights and wipers and climate control. The Duster doesn’t offer so much on the features part.

While both the cars come with standard features of USB/aux-ready audio player, Bluetooth telephone function, steering-mounted controls, reverse parking sensors, keyless entry and dual airbags in the high-end version, which I feel, is enough for the price tag of Duster.

The dashboard of Duster looks very sophisticated and the plastic quality is excellent. Plastic used in XUV is of very cheap standard. It doesn’t goes at any point with features it provides. Glove box in XUV is too good. It is divided into two parts. You don’t have to take your legs backward to open the glove box. You can use open the upper half of it with your legs stretched.

Our take on the interiors is that the XUV is built taking Indian market into consideration, while the Duster is giving a lot at that cost, except the seating space (as per the Indian market). XUV should have used better quality plastic for dashboard to get customer’s delight feedback. But not to worry, you can make it yourself by shelling out some extra money. While the plastic quality is not a big drawback on seeing the features that XUV is providing.

Technical:

XUV is powered by a 2.2 liter ‘mHawk’ engine mated with a 6-speed manual gearbox. The same engine is used in the Scorpio as well. M Hawk yields a power of 142PS (140 bhp and 104 KW) and a torque of 330 Nm @1600-2800 rpm. It zips from 0-100 kmph in 12.5 seconds and attain a top whack of 175kmph. It yields a fuel efficiency of 12kmpl (overall) when tested. It owns a 70 liter fuel tank.

Mahindra XUV 500 v/s Renault Duster Mahindra XUV 500 v/s Renault Duster

On the other hand Duster sport a 1.5 liter dCi engine combined with a 6-speed manual gearbox. It yields a power of 110 PS and 248 Nm of Torque @ 1800-2250 rpm. It swoops from 0-100kmph in 11.88 seconds yielding a fuel efficiency of 12.75kmpl (overall). It can store only 50 liters of fuel to the fullest.

Drive and performance:

Both the vehicles are mated with 6-speed manual gearboxes which are quite heavy. But the driving experience of Duster is much better than XUV within city limits. It’s because Duster is lighter by 669 kg (gross weight) than XUV. And that’s not it, the max torque of 248 Nm @ just 1800rpm helps to move swiftly on city roads.

Mahindra XUV 500 v/s Renault Duster

The heavy kerb weight than Duster plays a spoilsport for XUV (in city). But the XUV gains more points on Highway. Its massive 330 Nm of torque @ a lesser 1600 rpm which stays till 2800 rpm proves it a Cheetah on highways. The sporty ergonomics of XUV gains more advantage on turns and twists than the boxy-designed Duster. But I can say that Duster finds itself comfortable in the tight parking spots because of boxy design while the XUV has to struggle a lot.

Renault Duster suspension system is much better than XUV. Duster gobbles up everything whatever thrown at it. Both of the vehicles share the same front MacPherson struts but at the rear Duster sport a torsion bar setup while XUV’s rear is based on the sophisticated multi link setup. Duster moves swiftly over the broken Indian tarmac but XUV do it with a lot of bumps. Steering control of XUV is worst on the broken paths.

Mahindra XUV 500 v/s Renault Duster

Verdict:

Experiencing both the cars from corner to corner we came to the conclusion that one of them stands at value for money and the other one at good ride quality for a lesser price.

XUV offers a great line of features. It also offers rugged looks complementing off-roader as well. It does provide ‘Status’ quotient which Indians expect on buying a car.  However the ride quality is not up to the mark but Cheetah has snatched many customers in the showroom.

Mahindra XUV 500 v/s Renault Duster Mahindra XUV 500 v/s Renault Duster

Duster offers a good ride quality at very affordable price tag. We also admit that it doesn’t offer so high-end features like that of XUV but you can do it yourself by spending extra bucks on it. Yet there will be still one important thing which the Duster’s owner will miss all the time i.e. 7-seater capacity.

Mahindra XUV 500 vs Renault Duster Renault Duster

In India people will manage some of the bumpy rides, if given more space.  But with Duster you can flaunt sophistication and a world renowned brand name of Renault which is missing in Mahindra XUV 500. Duster is one of the successful running SUVs in Europe while the XUV has done the same in India.

Technical specifications at a glance:

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