Top 5 Car Launches of 2013

2013 came to end, and we decided to go for a recap what the Indian automotive horizon has given to its audience, as well as the automakers. Listed down are the best of car launches that had happened in 2013; and to be a bit specific, the mentioned cars are of the layman’s category and not from the niche section.

1. Honda Amaze

Prices starts at: Rs. 4.99 lakh

Honda Amaze is powered by 1.5L i-DTEC (diesel) worth of 100PS and 1.2L i-VTEC (petrol) of 88PS. Amaze lands the first ‘diesel engine’ for Honda in India, so it remains a win-win equation.

Honda Amaze

2. Ford EcoSport

Prices starts at: Rs. 5.59 lakh

Priced efficiently for being a compact SUV, Ford Ecosport is sold in whopping numbers, and also holds a long waiting period behind. 1.5L diesel, 1.5L petrol and an award-winning 1.0L EcoSport (petrol) fills in the lineup precisely. EcoSport is launched in 10 variants with automatic as well manual transmission.

Ford EcoSport

3. Hyundai i10 Grand

Prices starts at: Rs. 4.29 lakh

Best in segment with first-in-class features, Hyundai i10 Grand wrote success story with one of the smallest diesel engines available in India. Power to it comes from a 1.2L Kappa (petrol) and a 1.1L diesel engine. An automatic transmission for petrol variants is also launched recently.

Hyundai i10 Grand

4. Nissan Terrano

Prices starts at: 9.59 lakh

Terrano flexed sales of Nissan to remarkable notches. Nothing new but a rebadged Renault Duster, Terrano is impressively refined in aesthetics as well as technical aspects, even better than the original work (Duster). 1.5L Renault K9k diesel in two states of tunes 85PS and 110PS, with 1.6L petrol of 104PS.

Nissan Terrano

5. Chevrolet Enjoy

Prices starts at: Rs. 5.49 lakh

Chevrolet Enjoy marked the segment of MPV with an all new affordable option for India. Hence, leader of the segment Maruti Ertiga got a competition with largest value-to-money derivation from Chevy. Fiat’s 1.3L Multijet diesel engine of 77bhp remains an exclusive for India launch, while 1.4L petrol gone berserk with the 104bhp for its segment.

Chevrolet Enjoy

Important Note

Above mentioned prices are launch prices, so they are subject to change as per the cities, and hikes scheduled by carmakers.

Diesel variant of Tata Nano might be shelved

Tata Nano has done quite well in the Indian market with customers who are looking for cars with a low price tag and also have a low cost of maintenance. Tata Motors is considering the fact of launching a diesel variant of Nano in the Indian market. The car is said to have been in the works from 2010 and has already reached the advanced developmental stage. Looking at the changes that have taken place in the market, the prices of diesel and petrol variants are almost negligible with the diesel cars having higher demand. Recent trends have shown that the petrol prices have risen by only 4.5 percent while the diesel costs have soared by 30 percent.

The Tata Nano has been developed with 3-cylinder and 2-cylinder engine, but the company has not yet declared as to which one they would like to launch in the market. While Tata Motors is planning to take out the diesel variant, the diesel engine is turning out to be expensive as a result of which the price of the car would eventually rise, disappointing the customers who are looking for low cost cars.

Tata Nano Diesel

The company has also launched the CNG variant of the car at Rs.2.5 lakhs. The economy offered by the CNG variant is quite competitive to that offered by the diesel variant, and it surely has a lower running cost than that of the petrol variant. This weakens the case of the new diesel variant that the company will be launching. As a result, the car will not be showcased at the Delhi Auto Expo.

Image Courtesy – www.autocarindia.com

Actor Sonu Sood Audi Q7 Catches Fire

Burning Audis are seems to be a blazing trend on the roads of Mumbai. Earlier this year it was the Audi flagship R8 which burnt during Parx Car Rally 2013 at Bandra-Worli Sea Link. Now it’s the actor’s Sonu Sood’s Audi Q7 which caught fire at Kalanagar junction, Bandra East.

It happened all of a sudden when a bystander spotted smoke coming out of the car’s bonnet. Sonu Sood was on his way to home from a press-conference in Worli when this incident took place. Luckily, he wasn’t travelling in that Audi SUV instead it was friend Ajay Dhama who was driving the car. Sood was following him in one of the cars behind; fortunately Mr. Dhama escaped the spot without any injuries.

Eyewitnesses reported that auto drivers rushed to the spot and doused the flame. Later on, the Audi Q7 was towed to Kherwadi police station.

Sonu Sood's Audi Q7 catches fire

After all it is an incident, so no case is registered. Fire station officer R M Shinde who turned up at the spot a short late after the incident confirmed “short-circuit” to be the main reason behind the fire. But no official confirmation is been delivered from the end of carmaker’s technical department. “I am going to meet the Audi officials tomorrow and figure what exactly happened. It was brand new, in a perfectly good condition,” said Sood who looks keen in taking up the Audi officials gravely.

Actor Sonu Sood Audi Q7 Catches Fire

Facelifted versions of Maruti Swift Dzire and Swift to come in 2014

Looking at the competition present in the Indian market, car makers are launching facelifted versions of their cars that already exist in the market. This competition mostly prevails in the sedan segment and the hatchback segment. The facelifted versions of Maruti Suzuki Swift Dzire and Swift will be launched by India’s largest carmaker in 2014. Maruti Suzuki is expected to showcase the car at the 2014 Indian Auto Expo.

Other car manufacturers like Hyundai will also be launching cars in 2014 that belong to the sedan segment, like the Grand i10 sedan. The competition is already getting tough with cars like Honda Amaze in the market, which are doing exceptionally well. Suzuki was motivated by this trend to launch the Swift Dzire facelift version as the car had already been ruling the segment earlier.

Maruti Swift Dzire

International markets like Europe and Japan have already seen the launch of the facelifted version of the Swift early this year. The new hatchback is said to feature new bumpers in the front, fog lamps, LED daytime running lights and also LED stop lamps. The top variant of the car is also said to offer 16-inch alloy wheels. An additional color option of Boost Blue Pearl will also be offered to the customers.

Though the car will see new upholstery, the interiors will remain more or less the same. The car might have an Auto-UP touch function at the driver’s window, adjustable side mirrors and automatic headlamps. The car is said to be powered by a 1.3-litre Multi-Jet engine or a 1.2-litre petrol engine. In addition to these cars, the company will also launch cars in the compact SUV segment, hatchback segment and the mid sized sedan segment.

Skoda Octavia Coupe Confirmed

Skoda is quite delighted with the new product launches over various markets and, some aggressive sales plans for the near future. To beef up its lineup further, the Czech based carmaker is now confirmed of going the coupe way with the new Octavia (in conceptual form) by next Geneva Auto Show.

There is ample of time for the carmaker to work on, while only a thin layer of information is been landed on the reporting-dial. It is reported to be based on four-door coupe version, and the Volkswagen’s modular MQB platform to be riding underneath it. Octavia’s bold triangular LED headlamps and similarly-shaped tail lamps, alongside its sophisticated creases across the body with the low roofline, which earlier too resembled like a coupe, is expectedly asked do the job for new Octavia to go seamless into a coupe variant. Large wheels to just finish off the tint of regarded look, left by the other tweaks.

Skoda Octavia

Engine specification to be varied in between 1.4L TSI and 2.0L turbodiesel worth of 140hp and 150hp respectively. The option of manual and an automatic gearbox will also be there to choose from.

While a range-topping vRS-variant said to arrive later on the paddock at a further part of the plan, along with a GTI-borrowed 2.0L four-cylinder of 220hp. A diesel engine of 2.0L (TDI) with 184hp engine will beef up the lineup with leaving no gap empty for competitors to barge upon.

Mahindra continues its commitment to flood relief in Uttarakhand

Earlier this year, the USD 16.7 billion Mahindra Group, one of India’s leading business houses, had committed to help rebuild the flood ravaged state of Uttarakhand. As part of this effort, Mahindra Group employees had also pledged one day’s salary to the Mahindra Foundation for assiting in the reabilitation efforts.

The amount collected has now been utilised to donate 19 Mahindra vehicles to the State Disaster Headquarters located in Dehradun. These include 13 4WD Bolero Pick ups for each of the 13 districts in the state, one Scorpio, three 25 seater buses, one 25 ton MTBL truck and a Bolero fitted with a 20KVA Mahindra Powerol DG Set. The vehicles were donated by the Mahindra Foundation which was established to provide medical relief to the poor and underprivileged. The Foundation also contributes and mobilizes resources to help rebuild the country in the aftermath of natural calamities

In addition to this 150 solar street lamps and 300 solar lanterns will be handed over to the most severely hit villages which have been deprived of electricity.

New Bolero Maxi Truck Plus

The vehicles and solar street lights/lanterns were handed over to the Chief Minister of Uttarakhand, Shri Vijay Bahuguna at the CM house on December 30, 2013 by Mr. Rajeev Dubey, President (Group HR, Corporate Services & After-Market) & Member of the Group Executive Board, Mahindra & Mahindra Ltd.

Other senior Mahindra officials present included Mr. Vijay Kalra, Senior Vice President – Manufacturing Operations, Automotive Division, Mahindra & Mahindra Ltd., Mr. S K Dubey, Head of Mahindra’s Rudrapur Plant, Mr. Satyavir Singh, Head of Mahindra’s Haridwar Plant, Ms. Sheetal Mehta, Chief CSR Mahindra, and Managing Trustee, Mahindra Foundation and Mr. Sushil Singh, Vice President, CSR, Mahindra & Mahindra Ltd.

“At Mahindra, we have consciously pledged to go beyond monetary help when it comes to relief efforts and we hope our donation will contribute to the rebuilding efforts in the State and help restore its infrastructure,” said Mr. Rajeev Dubey, President (Group HR, Corporate Services & After-Market) & Member of the Group Executive Board, Mahindra & Mahindra Ltd.

In addition to collecting one day’s salary from employees, the Mahindra Group had also donated a sum of Rs. 1 crore to the Chief Minister’s Relief Fund, Uttarakhand to provide urgently needed relief to flood affected victims in the state.

Mercedes-Benz India Overview 2013

2013 has been Mercedes-Benz India’s ‘Year of Offensive’. This year we focused on a strong, profitable and sustained growth that would strengthen the robust foundation that the company has built in the Indian market. We sharpened our focus on the four pillars of Products, Network, Cost of Ownership and Brand experiences. These four pillars are pivotal to our growth and we are happy that we have been able to deliver on our customer promises of providing the best of products and services. We have significantly consolidated our position in the market for a long sustained growth.

Products: The Year of Offensive 2013 kick started with successful launch of eight new products across categories.

  • G 63 AMG- Combines ultimate off- road capability with a high-performance engine
  • GL class – Full-size luxury crossover SUV
  • A-Class – Introduced “Compact Luxury” to India
  • B-Class- Diesel Variant – Introduced Luxury Touring to India.
  • E-Class -Changed the Mid-Size Luxury Segment
  • E 63 AMG -The best combination of a Luxury sedan & Sports car
  • Edition C-Class – Celebrated 10 million C-Class’s sold globally
  • •SLK 55 AMG-   A new chapter to performance driving

Mercedes-Benz India Overview 2013

Network Expanded Quantitatively & Qualitatively: We expanded the network aggressively with 9 new touch points in cities like New Delhi, Baroda, Coimbatore, Noida, Gurgaon, Rajkot, New Mumbai, Lucknow and Pune. With to a total of 58 outlets located in 32 Indian cities, Mercedes-Benz has the largest touchpoints in Luxury segment.  Mercedes Benz also inaugurated the largest luxury car showroom in India at Delhi. There was an equal focus on increasing customer experience at our dealerships & by introducing iPad based applications such as iSales, which is an auto industry first in India.

Low cost of Ownership initiatives: ‘My Mercedes’ program combines some of the industry’s best initiatives and service products which aim at enhancing the overall Customers’ Ownership Experience while maintaining minimal Cost of Ownership. ‘My Mercedes’ combines some of the most innovative After-Sales initiatives like launching a National Remote Diagnostic Centre, reinvigorating the 24hours On-Road Assistance with the addition of a fleet of 20 B-Class service support vehicles and also launching Mercedes-Benz Online Service Booking even through smart phones and tablets using scanned QR codes which is again an industry first. Additionally, comprehensive service packages like the Star Care, Star Care+ and Star Ease will provide an absolute hassle free experience of owning a Mercedes-Benz vehicle.

Mercedes-Benz India also offered highly affordable service packages and Extended Warranty Programme which are most competitive. Under STAR CARE programme warrantable repairs up to 3 years is without any mileage limitations, as standard. Star Care Plus also offers 4th year extended warranty which enhances resale value. Mercedes-Benz India is the only luxury car maker to offer Road Side Assistance (RSA) Packages as a standard offering for 3 years and can be purchased for 4th and 5th year individually.

Mercedes-Benz financial offered ‘Flexinomics’ which gave tailor made financial solutions, while innovative products like ‘STAR Supersonic’ provided extremely fast loan approval in merely 30 minutes. STAR Agility is yet another unique and innovative product from Mercedes-Benz Financial Services which enhances the flexibility and affordability of owning a Mercedes-Benz.

Brand Experience:

Mercedes-Benz received various awards & accolades during the year establishing that it was the most Favorite luxury brand in India

  •  “The most exciting brand” in India by Brand Equity AC Neilson survey.
  • “Most admired brand” by Fortune magazine.
  • “Most preferred Luxury automobile” of key Decision makers – by Bloomberg – A.C.Neilson

The year 2013 also witnessed the launch “Mercedes-Benz Performance Drive”. The entire platform had various initiatives like “Stardrive” “AMG Driving academy” “Corporate Star Experience” “SUV offroad experience” & “International winter driving”. All these programs received tremendous response and were filled up in no time through online bookings.

Mercedes-Benz India has also initiated a new avenue for young racing talents in the country by giving India its first ever Young Star Driver program in association with the Federation of Motor Sports Clubs of India (FMSCI). This also received an overwhelming response with more than 3200+ applications and the winner emerging from Aurangabad in Maharashtra.

As the year 2013 concludes Mercedes-Benz India inaugurated its state-of-the-art ‘Centre of Excellence’ located within the company’s production facility in Pune. Created especially for its exclusive customers,

‘Centre of Excellence’ is a magnificent showpiece of modern luxury and creates a new benchmark in luxury car experience. The Centre of Excellence features a dedicated helipad that will be used by exclusive set of customers who want to fly-in and fly-out, providing them highest level of convenience and ease in purchasing their desired specialty car.

All the four pillars contributed to a successful ‘Year of Offensive’ and as we approach to the year 2013 we are delighted to register a growth of around 30% compared to last year & estimated to retail over 9000 units and surpassing our projected targets.

Mercedes-Benz is uniquely poised to start 2014 with exciting launches and commence the ‘Year of Excellence’.

Porsche Clock App by Gaspertrix for Blackberry Z30

Those who love Porsche a lot more than anything else in their life, carmaker from Germany has gifted them a bouquet of good-time this Christmas. But let’s be clear before hitting the point, the gift from Porsche is applicable only for those who own a “Blackberry Z30”.

Yes, that’s true, an app for blackberry Z30 has surfaced on internet which titles as “Porsche Clock” and shows the time in true “Porsche” style. Gaspertrix developer of Igrann is the face behind development of the application. And needed to mention, the clock features fully functioning alarm (no quick alarm toggle), full timer and full time display as per specific location.

Hope so, it is a nice goodie to flash on the phone during night mode and such.

Porsche fans can fill in their excitement by downloading the said clock at the link here: http://www.igrann.com/gaspertrix.clock.bar.

Porsche Clock App by Gaspertrix for Blackberry Z30

Important note: After downloading this watch, one has to then sideload it on the device.

Porsche Clock App by Gaspertrix

Audi Soon to Get Android On-Board

Smart goes the smartest, now that’s Audi who is been partnering with the Google for acquiring the Android for its lineup, claims a report on internet. The hand-shake between IT and Auto giant is said to take place at CES 2014. Getting the Android on-board means a better connectivity of customers with their Audi, and also the ease in usage of car’s infotainment system. Report further claims, the Ingolstadt based carmaker too will be associating with other tech-giants for getting the Nvidia installed in its central console. Hope so, it is now safe to utter that infotainment in the Audis will never be the same again; hopefully the four-ringed carmaker is the first one to do so with “Android”.

In competition, Apple too recently announced its collaboration with the Mercedes-Benz, BMW Honda for the “iOS in the car”. This initiative of Apple allowed user to access their in-car infotainment system via their apple devices; unlikely the case with Android is where one is not needed an Android device to control its car system. An access to Android on Audis will allow owners to access navigation, music, and apps too. it will be definitely exciting to see how the auto companies are going to shape-up this competition in the future.

2013 Audi A8 Center Console

Source: WSJ

Bugatti Belt Buckle Costs a Whopping $84,000!

Bugatti Veyron is the world’s fastest car which we bet has no competition till date. While confirming its exclusivity once again, it came to our knowledge that the French supercar maker has also dwelled a 44-unit limited edition belt buckle for pants which is priced at $84,000.

However, some days back we learnt the Bugatti shown off the $100,000 limited edition hookah, restricted only for 60 buyers. Now the buckle of a belt which seems costing almost similar to a Porsche 911 has taken up the limited-edition competition more seriously.

The Bugatti buckle is built by Roland Iten, a famous boutique owner in Geneva, Switzerland. He used the Swiss watch making technologies for making this buckle, doling in the 100 handmade components made from stainless steel, solid gold and titanium. Distributed in the series of 11, first series was built with white gold finish, the other one with rose gold, and the rest of them are yet to be produced. Smoked sapphire crystal is placed on the front for displaying all its components, which the maker says is adopted delving technologies like one of the Bugatti cars.

Bugatti Belt Buckle Costs a Whopping $84,000
Hope so, the only ultimately rich would be able to buy a one of the ‘Roland Iten built Bugatti belt buckle’. While the commons would be drooling over either to buy a Porsche for the same cost, or hold up their pants with one of the most mechanized engineering marvel from Bugatti.

Bugatti Belt Buckle Costs