The 2012 Delhi Auto Expo has proven to be an excellent forum for showcasing products, both for the global as well as Indian car manufacturers, who are looking to create a significant impact with their vehicles and thereby a significant market share in the Indian auto market.
The trend that has been visible at this Expo is that the car manufacturers are taking a deviation from the tried and tested formula in the Indian market of offering cheaper and smaller cars. Hence, the 2012 Delhi Auto Expo has seen a lot of new releases in the more prominent segments including SUVs and MPVs. However, bucking this new trend, the auto show has also witnessed the launch of several new sedans and hatchbacks that are going to be significant additions to the vast multitude of choices that are already available.
Hatchbacks have religiously continued going about their task of expanding their footprints in this market. Adding to this segment is the latest version of the Chevrolet Sail and the Renault Pulse. The hatchback segment can now boast of luxury cars with BMW showcasing its Mini range of cars for its Indian consumers. Despite the fact that the Mini falls in the small car category, it has been provided with top end luxury features.
With the increasing list of consumers that the auto industry is now getting from the middle class segment, the sedans have turned out to be very popular cars. The charm of this segment has been further enhanced by new offerings from manufacturers like Fiat, Hyundai, Peugeot and Skoda. In fact, the Skoda Rapid has been particularly designed to cater to the special requirements of the Indian consumers. The other cars that have launched in the segment of sedans include the Fluidic designed Sonata from Hyundai, the latest version of the Fiat Linea and the Peugeot 508.
• Chevrolet Sail Hatchback:
General Motors has unveiled its hatchback, the Chevrolet Sail, at the 2012 Delhi Auto Expo. The car has been designed to be a successor of the Aveo U-VA, which has not been a very successful car from the global car maker. The Sail hatchback has been offered to the consumers in both diesel and petrol variants. In order to keep the costs of this car under control, the Chevrolet Sail has been provided with extensive parts from its predecessor, the Beat. The petrol variant of the Chevrolet Sail gets its power from a 1.2L engine, which has the capacity of generating maximum power of 80.5PS and peak torque of 108Nm. The diesel version is going to get its power from a Multi-jet 1.3L engine. The car engine is being manufactured locally at the Talegaon plant of General Motors, near Pune. The car is expected to be launched commercially within June and July 2012. GM has not gone for extravagance as far as the design of the Chevrolet Sail is concerned; it has rather gone for a conservative and safe styling. To enhance the security of this car, it has been provided with the safety of a cage body, which has been supported extensively by using high strength steel. Muscular cut-lines on its hood give the vehicle three-dimensional looks. The sporty styling tradition of Chevrolet is exuded by the interior and exterior of the Sail hatchback.
• Renault Pulse:
The Renault Pulse hatchback has been launched at the 2012 Delhi Auto Expo. The pricing of this car has been kept in the range of Rs.5.77 Lakh to Rs.6.25 Lakh (as per ex-showroom Delhi). Marc Nassif, the Managing Director of Renault India, has stated that the Renault Pulse hatchback is going to raise the levels as far as compact cars in the premium segment are concerned. The car has been provided with numerous features that are extensively focused on performance and safety and gives the car the combination of being fuel efficient as well as powerful. The Pulse gets its power from the K9K diesel engine by Renault, which according to the car maker is rated among top engines in its segment, both in performance and fuel efficiency. The car has been provided with a five-speed manual transmission gearbox. The 1.5L dCi engine of the Renault Pulse is able to generate power of 64PS at 4,000rpm whereas its torque figure is at 160Nm at 2,000rpm. As per test data of ARAI, the Pulse achieves a mileage of 23.08kmpl. The Renault Pulse has been built on the common V-platform as the Nissan Micra, but its front as well as rear has been revised completely from the Japanese car. Two variants of the Pulse (RxL and RxZ) are going to be sold in the Indian market, but the same diesel engine is going to power both. The top end variant, the RxZ is going to be provided with dual airbags enhancing the safety of both the passenger and the driver, illuminated start/stop button for the engine, automatic rear view mirrors equipped with sensors, air conditioner with climate control, gear knob and steering wheel wrapped in leather, rear defogger having timer, fog lamps at the front and roof spoiler.
• Mini Cooper:
The iconic Mini Cooper has been showcased at the 2012 Delhi Auto Expo. The Mini has been regarded as being one of the premier British cars, which brought forth a new motoring era during the 1960s, through its front wheel driving layout that helped in saving space. Its sporty and smooth design has been inspirational for a lot of car makers since then. The most popular variants of the Mini Cooper including the Cabrio, Clubdoor, Countryman and Cooper are expected to be launched in India in 2012. The Mini boasts of a sales figure worldwide of 2.34 Lakh units annually with the cars being sold the most in United States and then in Britain, Japan and Germany. The Mini Cooper has been able to dominate the segment of luxury small vehicles, where even cars like Fiat 500 and Volkswagen Beetle have not been able to register desired impact. The Mini Cooper S has been provided with a 1.6L 4-cylinder turbocharged engine that generates power and torque figures of 184Bhp and 240Nm respectively. It has been provided with six-speed manual transmission gearbox along with lower center of gravity. Just like the overseas markets, the Mini brand is going to have an independent identity in India. A retro concept has been portrayed by the car interiors. The car, though small in size, boasts of immense luxury.
• Fiat Punto and Fiat Linea:
The biggest change that can be seen in both the Fiat Punto as well as the Fiat Linea models is the beautiful Oceanic Blue shade that both the hatchback as well as the sedan has been provided with, which is clearly providing both the vehicles with a distinguished look. Ride height of both the cars has been enhanced to 185mm for increasing the stability on roads as well as improving driving comfort. Both the cars have also received brighter interiors thanks to the dual tone combo of grey and black. This has enhanced the class of the cabin and given it more of a premium feel. On the technological front, both the cars have been provided with enhanced features with the latest Punto being provided with a power packed air conditioner having the feature of climate control along with rear vents in the standard models also. Even the base model of the Fiat Punto has been provided with an excellent audio system along with the feature of central locking. The same three engine variants that had been present in the erstwhile models are going to be retained in the present version as well. As far as the new Fiat Linea is concerned, it is now providing safety features even to its base models by including the ABS with EBD along with air bags. Connectivity has been improved by providing the latest Bluetooth system in the medium range versions. It has also been provided with 16-inch alloy wheels and leather seats for enhancing stability and comfort.
• Skoda Rapid:
Skoda, the car maker from Czech Republic, which is also the subsidiary of German auto giant, Volkswagen has showcased its latest compact sedan at the 2012 Delhi Auto Expo. This is the first brand from Skoda that has been specifically designed to cater to the needs of its Indian customers. The Skoda Rapid is expected to provide strong competition to the Nissan Sunny, Toyota Etios, Maruti Dzire, Tata Indigo Manza and the Ford Fiesta Classic. The dimensions that have been provided to the car include 4.39m length, 1,70m width and a height of 1.47m. The Skoda Rapid has been made available in both diesel and petrol engine variants with the customers allowed to choose between automatic and manual transmissions. The starting price of the Rapid has been kept at Rs.6.75 Lakh for its base variant petrol engine car. The top end diesel specification model has, however, been priced quite high at Rs.9.19 Lakh.
• Hyundai Sonata:
The new Sonata having the latest Fluidic design of Hyundai Motors was unveiled by the car maker at the 2012 Delhi Auto Expo. The car is expected to be priced in the range of Rs.17 Lakh to Rs.20 Lakh. The car gets its power from a 2.4L GDI engine, which has the capacity of generating maximum power of 201PS. However, only a petrol variant of the car has been offered though the choice of manual as well as automatic transmission has been provided. Though Hyundai has not been able to create significant impact as far as big cars are concerned, the latest Sonata comes with the USP of its Fluidic design, which has been acclaimed globally. The Hyundai Sonata is expected to provide strong competition to cars like the Honda Accord, Volkswagen Passat, Toyota Camry and Nissan Teana. The car users have been provided with the option of choosing between six-speed manual as well as automatic transmission gearboxes. The car is also going to be provided with direct injection and VTVT for improving its performance and fuel efficiency.
• Peugeot 508:
The Peugeot 508 has been designed to serve the role of a huge family vehicle. Initially, the car maker from France is going to import this car on the basis of demand and in the future could explore the options of assembling the car in India. The car has been blessed with contemporary looks and its design is being considered to be one of the biggest factors that will enable this car to achieve huge sales figures in the Indian market. The car is expected to be offered at a price range between Rs.20 Lakh and Rs.25 Lakh. The Peugeot 508 is expected to provide a strong challenge to the already established cars including Honda Accord, Toyota Camry, Skoda Superb and Volkswagen Passat. The car maker claims that it has designed the Peugeot 508 in a manner to get optimum performance from its engines, improve its aerodynamics, reduce its weight and enhance the environmental efficiency. The interior of the Peugeot 508 is very spacious and it has also been provided with enhanced boot space. Peugeot has claimed that its 508 is going to have improved fuel efficiency and at the same time have much reduced emissions. The key features that have been provided to this car include keyless entry as well as starting, air conditioner having four zones, electrically operated parking brakes, daytime running lights, 156Bhp generating Turbo engine and its xenon headlamps.