Free checkup camps by Fiat and General Motors

Following Toyota’s lead of launching a summer camp wherein all the Toyota vehicles would undergo a free checkup, other manufacturers are following suit. These summer camps are held with the lieu of understanding their customers better as also to prepare the vehicles for the rigors of long distance travel that customers usually undertake during the summer vacations. Starting from today, America’s leading automobile giant, General Motors are offering Free Mega Sales and Service Camp in India. However this venture would be limited to NCR and Delhi regions only for the time been. Like Toyota, General Motors service facilities across Delhi and NCR would be topping up the fluids like oil and coolants for free, free wash for all the cars coming in plus discounts on labor, parts as also other value added services done during this camp.

In its first of a kind initiative in India, Italian car maker Fiat automobiles are also conducting a free checkup camp for all its vehicles in India. Like the others, Fiat would also be offering a free top up of oil, battery fluid and coolant as also discounts on spares and labour charges. However unlike GM which has its service camps only in Delhi and nearby areas, Fiat has its camp all across the length of India. Also while General Motors would be conducting its camp only for 3 days i.e from 8th to 10 April 2011, Fiat’s campaign would start from 9th April and end on 30th April. Both the companies however are united in the fact that they would be offering assured gifts and discount coupons to customers walking in the service camps. Moreover both the companies would be offering test drives as also easy financing options for their customers at the service camps.

BMW X1 posts very strong sales figure

The BMW X1, which is the Bavarian’s cheapest car in India is also the most sought after BMW now. If sources or rather the dealers are to believed, the X1 has more conversions than any other BMW model. BMW dealers in Delhi as also Mumbai have confirmed huge bookings for the X1. The BMW X1 takes on the likes of other soft roaders like the Toyota Fortuner, Chevrolet Captiva and also Honda CR-V and Mitsubishi Outlander. The prospect of earning their way into the prestigious blue and white propeller badge has got many customers thronging into the show rooms. The cheaper petrol variant is what gets people excited however later on with some persuasion from the sales executive, they are willing to go in for the base diesel which promises much more than what the petrol variant can offer. Due to this very reason, the X1 diesel now has more than 70 percent share in the bookings of the X1 overall.

The diesel engined X1 commands a waiting period of well over 6 months whereas the petrol variant would make one wait less at 5 months. The reason why the base diesel variant attracts so many bookings is because it gets almost all the features that are present on the top end diesel except the Idrive system. Moreover brown and white are the predominant colors which are selected even though there are more than 8 other colors available. Dealers say that the X1 not only draws customers away from the other vehicles in its category but also from its own stable mate, the BMW 3 series. Typical customers want the bullish nature of an SUV and a bigger boot than the 3 series, at a lesser price and this is where the X1 scores. Now BMW India are saying that they are going to launch the BMW X3 SAV very soon in India. If sources are to be believed, the X3 would be launched as early as November 2011. The styling for this Sports Activity Vehicle (SAV) would mirror that of the smaller BMW X1 and also the bigger BMW X5. It is speculated that there would be two engines on offer initially and like the X1, would be a petrol and diesel.

Ford Fiesta Classic launched in India

Ford Motors India Limited have gone ahead with their plans of launching the all new 2011 Fiesta by launching its older generation Ford Fiesta renamed as the Classic. Michael Boneham, Managing Director of Ford India said that the Ford Fiesta Classic in India is a precursor to the all new Fiesta which would be launched soon here. It is said that the new version would be launched in May 2011. In the same vein, the company has stopped production of its decade long Ikon car in India. Lookwise, the Fiesta Classic looks similar to the older Fiesta but there are some subtle differences which differentiate it from its older version. Those are the new seats with a central console which has graphic metallic finish, headlamp surrounds which are blacked out and also Jasper Ebony Blue instrument panel with the Classic badge strewn all around.

As for the engines, they would still be the likes of a 1.6 liter petrol engine pumping out 101 bhp of power and a 1.4 liter diesel producing 68 Bhp. The new Fiesta Classic has now taken the place of the old Ikon. There would be only two trim levels for the Fiesta Classic and those would be the LXI and CLXI. Prices for the Ford Fiesta Classic have been slashed by as much as Rs 46,000 for the petrol whereas the diesel variant has got its price slashed by about Rs 38,000. Now, the new price of the Ford Fiesta Classic petrol starts at Rs 5.58 lakhs whereas the price of the diesel starts at Rs 6.05 lakhs. All these prices are ex-show room, Mumbai. The Fiesta Classic hasn’t been stripped down off any features from the existing model. Get latest prices of Ford Fiesta Classic across India.

Renault Fluence in India Preview


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Indiandrives had earlier carried on a few details about the launch of the Renault Fleunce in India, the first car from the French manufacturer which would make its Indian debut soon. It would be the first car if many are ready to forget the debacle named as the Mahindra Renault Logan. French flair is what Renault wants to aim at with the launch of the Renault Fluence in India. In a recent interview, the Renault Sr.VP, Global Marketing, Stephen Norman had said that Renault failed in its joint venture with Mahindra because Indian public perceived the French giant to bring out some beautiful car, the ones French are known for, and rather got a boxy Logan. Competition wise, the Renault Fluence in India would go head on with the Honda Civic, Toyota Corolla Altis and also the Skoda Laura. Here at Indiandrives, we have managed to have a sneak peek at the Renault Fluence bound for India and are sharing those with our readers.

For the looks of this car, frankly we are disappointed. If there is anything lacking, it is the French flair. It doesn’t boast of a radical styling like the Honda Civic or the bold in your face look of the Chevrolet Cruze. What it has is an ugly duckling of a face like the Porsche 911 cars. The oval head lamps combined with a not so longish snout would rather remind one of a Porsche. That ain’t bad for a brand image, is it? The grille is very narrow and similar to a hair comb whereas the bumper and air dam are a bit more expressive. The chrome ringed fog lamps also stand out on this car. The wing mirrors have a chip on them highlighting the turn indicators. Neat, we would say. Also the wheelbase of this car seems more or less the same as the Honda Civic. The door handles are chrome ringed whereas the wheels are 16 inch alloys with the same boring design found on other Indian cars. The coupe like sloping roofline blends neatly into a boot which is quite similar to that of the Fiat Linea in India. The tail lamps look more like a stone age monolithic and have a distinct character to go along with rest of the car. The tail pipe is chrome tipped and peeps out from under the bumper.

While the exteriors may promise big dimensions but it is the interiors which make or break a car. Moreso in the segment that the Fluence will compete in, it would be the quality of materials used. On this count, our source tells us that the Fluence would win hands down and even the quality of materials would eclipse that on the Laura and Jetta. That definitely speaks volumes of the commitment which Renault has for the Indian car buying populace. The dashboard is 4 tiered and the top tier has soft felt leather with two hoods, one bigger than the other. The smaller of the two, actually displays the temperature outside and the navigation system (which may not make it to India). The bigger of the two hoods is under which the three chrome ringed instrument cluster of the Fluence lies. The instrument however look a bit truck like in their execution. The white colored leather 3 spoked wrapped steering wheel is a joy to hold with only the audio and cruise control buttons on it. Rest for the navigation and Bluetooth are operated via a stalk behind the steering wheel. Storage spaces are aplenty inside the cabin with even a mobile holder in the central console. Wing mirrors have electrical adjustment and the inside rear view mirror has got auto dimming function. The door handles are aluminum finished. Build quality looks a wee better than its Germans and Japanese competitors. However we would reserve our final comments until we get to test drive or review the Renault Fluence in India. The upper middle layer of the central console also gets a wood trim whereas the lower one is beige and the last one is high quality plastic. Seats and their arrangement are spot on and even taller drivers wouldn’t have a problem adjusting themselves in the driver’s seat. The rear seats, even though have a coupe like silhouette hanging above them, have ample of head room as also leg room. This is because the seats are placed a bit low. Rear seat passengers get their individual AC controls. The middle passenger would however have to contend with the slight transmission tunnel hump. We would however have wished for a Honda Civic like flat place. Boot space is similar to the others in its class and is said to be a bit more deeper than what the competition has to offer.

The Renault Fluence in India would have a slight problem with its front overhang scraping over speed breakers. It is said that this softly sprung car would have a few centimeters added to its ride height so as to suit the Indian conditions. Ride quality, the single most thing which buyers in this category plonk for is said to be very sorted out. The electrical assisted steering wheel has also garnered high points for its ease of use as also the pretty much attached feeling that it gives on highways. The handling though a bit soggy would delight the “sometimes I feel racer” type drivers. NVH is said to be suppressed to a great extent however upping the speeds would bring on some aural interference. The low rolling resistance tyres also provide immense grip and are suited for most of the occasions.

Engine options are said to be available in the form of both diesel and petrol. Of greater interest would be the 1.5 liter diesel engine which would have a power output of 105 Bhp and 240 Nm of torque. It will be mated to a 6 speed manual transmission. This is the same engine which can be found under the hood of the Logan diesel and also the Micra diesel. Even though the power figures don’t suggest much on paper, it’s the 240 Nm of torque coming in at 1750 rpm and the linear manner that it is made, which makes all the difference. The petrol motor would be a 1.6 liter with an output of 140 Bhp and a 4 speed auto transmission for company. The 6 speed manual would also be available as an option. All wheel disc brakes, reverse camera, ABS, ESP and EBD along with 4 air bags complete the safety package. Fuel efficiency would be top notch like the Logan and in both the avatars. Moreover a LPG/CNG option would be offered later on in the petrol variant.

What Renault wants to achieve in the Indian context is to present the Indian public with a product which is far different from the public perception of the company’s Logan. The New Renault Fluence is one such product which is actually made for Europe and South East Asian countries. It is just being fine tuned for the Indian conditions. Stephen Norman says that Renault is planning to educate the Indian people about French cars since India has only been fed on a diet of homegrown, Japanese or German cars. Moreover he had also mentioned in the same interview that Renault would localize the engine as also some other parts and hence the price of the Renault Fluence can be kept at competitive levels. This car would be assembled in Nissan Renault’s Chennai facility. As far as estimates go, the Renault Fluence price in India would be around the Rs 13-15 lakhs. At this price, Renault have a fair chance of proving themselves again. Hope this wouldn’t be a case of “Once bitten, twice shy”.

2011 Bentley Continental GT unveiled in India

As soon as Maserati entered India, the Volkswagen owned company Bentley Motors also unveiled their 2011 Bentley Continental GT in India. Chris Buxton, Bentley’s regional director for India had mentioned in the press release that he thinks that the entire Bentley range would sell about 100 units in 2011-2012. He also mentioned that India is one of the fastest growing economies in the world with more emphasis on the sale of luxury cars. An average of 45 percent has been quoted for the rise of Bentley cars in India. For the global market though, Bentley are aiming at 7000 units for the year 2011.

The Bentley Continental GT 2011 model has been priced at Rs 1.9 crores. This price is ex-show room, Delhi. This new coupe will have a 12 cylinder engine and also achieve a top speed of 318 kmph, which only a few cars can claim to.

Maserati officially in India now

While we had made Maserati’s intentions of entering the Indian market clear earlier on, what was relatively unknown is that the Modena based company in partnership with the very successful Indian luxury retailer, Shreyans Group has already launched their range of cars in India. Yes, Maserati have begun their Indian operations and they have officially landed on Indian shores on 6th April 2011. The launch party was conducted in New Delhi. The Shreyans Group is no stranger to foreign brands having catered to various imported car and bike manufacturers. Mumbai would be the first city to have a Maserati show room in India in 2011 whereas New Delhi would be closely following with a show room opening there in 2012. Simone Niccolai , the Maserati Asia Pacific Managing Director who was present along with Ashish Chordia, the Chairman of Shreyans Group were both present at the unveiling of the Maserati cars.

Mr Niccolai said that Maserati, a Fiat owned company have a presence in as many as 63 countries now with Indian being the 63rd one. He also said that due to the rising income of the Indian populace as also the burgeoning sales of luxury cars in India, he is sure that Maserati brand would be well appreciated for its quality, performance and exclusivity. He also said that Maserati aims to sell atleast 100-110 cars in India by the next 4 years. He also said that the show rooms part would be multiplied to about 7 by the year 2013. Bookings have started and deliveries would be handled by Shreyans Motors. July-August is the time when customers can expect deliveries of their Maseratis. The company has 3 different types of cars in its range and those are the very famous Maserati Quattroporte  which would sport a price tag ranging from Rs 1.23 crores to Rs 1.45 crores, the Gran Turismo range would have a go from Rs 1.23 crores to Rs 1.43 crores whereas the GranCabrio range would be available in only one trim and that is Rs 1.43 crores.

Maruti Suzuki To Recall 13,157 Of Their Diesel Car Models Across India

In an important announcement from India’s leading car maker Maruti Suzuki, the company on Wednesday, 6th April 2011, proclaimed that they will be inspecting the “Connecting Rod Bolt” for 13,157 models of their of Swift (around 6841 cars), Ritz (around 1811 cars) and Swift Dzire (around 4505 cars) diesel cars, whose engines have been manufactured between November, 13th 2010 and December, 4th 2010.

In case the Connecting Rod for any of the cars of these models is found flawed, Maruti Suzuki will be replacing it without any charge. The good thing for the company is that none of the other vehicles of the line up or the models that Maruti Suzuki exports are affected by the problem.

Maruti Suzuki dealers across the India will be contacting the customers that have these flawed models. The company already has dispatched the new part to their dealer workshops.

In their statement company said, “Owners of these diesel cars from Maruti Suzuki which have been bought after November, 13th 2010, can visit company website www.marutisuzuki.com to find out whether or not the diesel model of Maruti Suzuki they are having is among the aforementioned flawed vehicles. Customers will have to put the engine number (D13A afterward 7 digits) on the screen of their computer, for ascertaining whether their diesel engine car is affected by the problem or not. The Engine Number for the car can be found on the registration document of the car and at the same time it’s imprinted on vehicle ID plate. Apart from this the Customers can also visit their Maruti Suzuki dealers’ workshop to find out whether or not their car is one of the flawed vehicles.

It should be known that Maruti recalled around 1 lakh Maruti A-star cars because of faulty O rings and fuel pump gaskets, last year.

Some of the major ways of saving planet Earth – the automobile way

It is the duty of every automobile owner to go in for some of the precious fuel saving or pollution reducing endeavors. Well, I am sure that most of you would be doing your bit to save the environment and not making our planet earth a dinosaur, which our kids, in the future, would only be able to read about but not see. That is something which would really hurt. Not that we would be alive to see it but then think about the future. The whole Indiandrives team has made up a few or rather many tips to save planet Earth. Well, since we are an automobile portal, it is more related to the way fuel and environment can be saved through automobiles.

  • Selection of size of car and fuel : Many people think that bigger the car, better would be the status symbol. However think it in this way. If you are living in a congested area or are going to spend most of your time battling the traffic, then a big car doesn’t make sense. Simply because it would be consuming more fuel and polluting the atmosphere all the more. Diesel fuel would reduce your fuel bills by a big margin however they are effective only if you login high miles each month. If not, then their higher purchase price cannot be offset. The best way out of this dilemma is to plonk in right for CNG, LPG, hybrid or electric cars. A smaller car would also help matters.

  • Selection of car versus money : If you have decided to go in for a Hybrid or electric car, you would be troubled by the higher price tag that some of these cars carry. However think over, you are doing a favor on yourselves by selecting these cars. Not only will they emphasize on your green credentials, they would also allow the future generations to breathe a bit cleaner and easier. The price increase of a hybrid car is usually 8-10 percent more than a corresponding petrol or diesel car.
  • Public Transport : If one is living in a crowded area or small cities, it is preferable to go for the public transport system rather than going on with one’s own transport. The Indian government really needs to concentrate on getting the road infrastructure right. By introducing Metro rail systems as also BRTS, it is aiming at reducing commuting times and at the same time getting many cars off the road, thus reducing pollution and dependence on fossil fuels. Car pooling is one of the most widely used methods to cut down the number of vehicles on the road plus consumption of fuel. Try and make people living in your area and traveling to the same destination to be a part of the car pool. If you can’t find anyone, try www.carpool.in or else even www.poolmycar.in

  • Quick starts : In this hustle bustle world, no one wants to be late however before stepping on the gas, the moment you start the car, think twice. The car’s engine uses engine oil so that each and every part in the engine is lubricated thus ensuring minimum friction. The moment you take off after a cold start, the engine oil is cold and can’t properly lubricate the engine. This also means more fuel is consumed to overcome the friction. Instead the best possible way is to idle the car for atleast 2 minutes before slotting it into gear and moving away.
  • Air, coolant and oil : Tyre pressure is something which all of us conveniently ignore. However an under inflated tyre increases the CO2 emission as also fuel consumption by a good 5 percent. If possible coolant as also oil level should be checked every week or atleast once a month. Tyre pressure is something which should religiously be checked each week. Top up or replace the oil or coolant if you find the levels less than what is recommended.
  • Servicing : If a vehicle is running properly doesn’t mean that it doesn’t need to be serviced at the specified intervals. A vehicle which is serviced at regular intervals wouldn’t create unnecessary problems or break down. Moreover, it would return optimum fuel efficiency figures. An ill maintained vehicle would return poor fuel efficiency as also lose out on its reliability factor. Even if you are planning to change the parts of your vehicle, fit only genuine spares since spurious parts would cause a harm to the vehicle in the long run. Ensure that you have the PUC certificate of the vehicle up to date.

  • Driving style : Accelerators as also the clutch pedals aren’t resting pads for your feet. You aren’t at a race track that you should be always keeping the rpm needle above the 5,000 mark. As they say, start early for your journey, always plan well in advance for the trip that you had in mind. This ensures that you have a calm mind and are more relaxed for the drive or ride. Take the help of navigation systems as they precalculate the distance and route for you. Moreover, modern navigation systems can well also divert you away from a traffic jam and select the shortest route possible. Driving at a constant pace below the speed of 100 with all the windows up, ensures that the vehicle is running at a good efficiency. However if you cut down on the speed and keep it at fair clip between 80-100 kmph, then your car is running at the best possible efficiency. Moreover, turning on the AC at this point of time doesn’t result in a huge dip in the fuel efficiency since the engine is running lean and is comfortably cruising.
  • Walking the length : If your office or choice of destination is closer to your home, it is advisable to give some exercise to your legs. Not only would you be saving fuel but also polluting the atmosphere less. Plus the health factor also comes into picture.
  • Cruise control : Most of the modern day cars have this feature. It is used for latching onto a set speed. Use it if your car has it. However be warned that it is advisable to use cruise control only on the highways with minimal traffic, unless your car happens to be a certain Volvo. A steady speed ensures that the vehicle is licking fuel at a slower rate. Also try changing to the higher gear only when the road permits. If you are on a highway, then try changing directly from 3rd to 5th or 2nd to 4th gear. This will help in reduction of the wear on the clutch as also would aid in better fuel efficiency.

  • Recycle : Well buying a used car is one way of depleting the natural resources. After all, you are saying no to a new product which would require energy as also more new raw materials. This is a way of automotive recycling. Another way is to ensure that your old engine oil isn’t poured down the drain. Instead give it to authorized service centers who sell it to vendors who use the oil for construction of buildings or otherwise. A liter of waste engine oil would contaminate million liters of water and so it isn’t advisable to throw it down the sink or in the gutter.
  • Weight shedding : A car carrying excess weight would require more energy to pull it and hence more fuel would be consumed. Hence if your car is carrying more of useless items in the dicky, better remove them. Also closing windows reduces air drag and hence aids in maximizing fuel efficiency. Don’t overload your car as this would lead to a higher fuel consumption.
  • Luxury comes at a cost : This adage is true however many would wonder that they have already paid for a luxury car and now what exactly do we mean here. Well, the reason why this phrase was used in this context was because in a luxury car, there are many luxury items which we rarely use. Moreover, just to show off, many people turn on the luxury items and then forget to turn them off. This wastes the car’s battery or even fuel(if that luxury item runs on fuel). Leaving on the fog lights reduces the battery power as also does the airconditioner, navigation system, mobile charger etc. Turning off the engine if there is a 30 second delay at the traffic light cuts upto 5 percent fuel wastage, not to mention the lesser emissions.
  • Noise pollution : Incessant honking of the vehicle’s horn or even the lesser tolerance to other drivers is also a major cause for pollution. Loud noise is said to be one of the major factors for temporary deafness in many motorists. So it is time to show some respect to fellow road users as also mother nature. Hosing down a car with a hosepipe consumes about 190 liters of water whereas a sponge and bucket wash would waste only 12 liters of water while giving the same effect.
  • Using gravity : If you are going downhill, never put the car in neutral, instead put it in second gear and balance clutch/accelerator to pull away smoothly. When you are going uphill and are not able to see the brow of the hill, then remove your foot off the accelerator pedal. This would slow the car and at the same time would be easier on the brakes as well. Brake pads wouldn’t fade as easily as they would if you were constantly hammering on them. This saves the environment from brake dust and carbon composites.

These are some of the tips and we do hope that all our readers find them useful and also inculcate them in your daily driving or riding.

Tata Nano sales pickup


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The Tata Nano which has been seeing dismal sales figures as also a pathetic response from the car buying public so far has finally got some of its pride back. The Tata Nano has started garnering sales figures close to the peak figures that it used to garner earlier. It was reported in some newspaper earlier that the Tata Motors had sold about 8707 units of the small car last month. The sales for the Nano had taken a big hit last year during September-November period and this is the reason why company had to resort to aggressive sales measures so that the car can bring in the volumes expected out of it. Some of the strategies involved were displaying the car at Big Bazaar outlets and also providing upto 90% finance on purchase of the Nano. Buyers had shied away from this very capable small car due to the reason that it had some niggling quality issues as also the images and reports of the car going up in flames in some cities.

Tata Motors were quick to address this issues by giving the Nano a 4 years/60,000 kms warranty as also fixing the burning issues. In a bid to attract new customers, the company is also offering a maintenance contract at an attractive price of Rs 99 each month. Gauging the positive public response, Tata Motors are thinking of increasing the production capacity of the Tata Nano. The current capacity of 10,000 units each month in the Sanand plant is ordered to be increased to its full capacity of 2.75 lakh cars every year. Most of the bikers are also now heating up to the prospect of owning a new Tata Nano for the price of a high end bike.

Price hike by many auto manufacturers

With the arrival of April 2011, many car manufacturing companies are making this as an opportunity to increase the prices of their cars and citing the reason as rising input costs which they no longer can afford to bear. The country’s biggest car manufacturer, Maruti Suzuki India Limited are the first to join the fray by announcing a price hike of upto Rs 9,000 on almost all the models. The price hike is done from the tune of 0.2 percent to 2.4 percent. This in monetary terms mean a hike of Rs 1,200, which is the minimum figure and the maximum figure in the hike would be Rs 9,000. It is noteworthy that this is the second time in this year that Maruti Suzuki have hiked their car prices. The earlier one was done in January 2011. At that time, the price hike was to the tune of Rs 8k. Exception to this price hike then was the Alto K10. The new prices for the Maruti cars are now effective from April 4th.

One of India’s largest car manufacturing company, Tata Motors have also reported an increase in the price of their vehicles to the tune of Rs 36,000. Tata Motors have hiked the prices of their cars from 1st April 2011. In the same vein Toyota Kirloskar Motors have also hiked the prices of their cars and the maximum amount is quoted as Rs 20,000. The Corolla Altis diesel version is now costlier by Rs 17,700 whereas its petrol sibling gets a price hike of Rs 14,500. The Toyota Innova gets costlier by a whopping Rs 18,434 while the Fortuner gets the highest price hike of Rs 20,000. Hyundai Motors are also set to announce their price hikes later on this week.