Volkswagen to improve its dealership status

Volkswagen is one of the car manufacturers in India who enjoys a much loved and much praised status. This German car manufacturer has various plans to expand its business platform in India. Recently, they announced that they are planning to increase their dealerships in India. This means that, their aim is to increase the market share by improving their current dealership status. Their plan of action involves expanding their dealerships in tier III and tier II cities, which according to them, are still untouched by them. This in turn will result in a 20 percent increase in their dealerships. With the seven fold growth of the Indian automobile market, every car manufacturer in India is trying their stunt to remain in the loop. As far as Volkswagen is concerned, currently their aim is to establish their dealerships in four or five major cities in India.

When we talk about Volkswagen group, then we are talking about three major brands Skoda, Audi and Volkswagen itself. So as a matter of fact, Volkswagen will try to improve the dealership of all three brands in India. According to the company the eastern part of India including Silliguri, Patna and Asansol seems to be a really good place to start improvising with. Currently, this company enjoys a good score of 70 dealerships in India where as in its initiall phase in the year 2009 it had only 14 dealerships. But according to the director, Volkswagen group India, “the point is not how many dealerships we have, rather it is about how many cities we have conquered. If we have a humongous amount of dealerships but only in few cities, which is only 57 major cities for now, then I would say that we are losing out on a bigger chunk of cake”.

Tata Motors on Full Throttle

It looks like the Indian automobile companies are leaving no stones unturned. After raking the sales department and generating huge revenues, now, it seems that they are trying to grab the motorsports scene by its neck as well. Tata Motors is again in the news for their new initiative “Tata Motors Full Throttle”. We are sure that it’s not old enough to forget that recently Mahindra and Mahindra also joined Moto GP series competition, so how can the Tata Motors be left behind.

According to Tata Motors recent conversation with media, they said that surely, they are going to take part in this motor sports activity. As a part of the allied activity, Tata Motors will send two Tata Safari sand two Tata Xenon XTs, to take part in the forthcoming event ‘Desert Storm Rally’, which is going to take place on 22 February 2011 in Ahmedabad. They also said that after taking part in the ‘Desert Storm Rally’, they will also take part in various other events like ‘Raid De Himalayas’ and will trying to become a strong contender in all the racing circuits.

Tata started this initiative as a part of their new strategy, so that they can show the world what Tata is made up of. To add to the same the vice president of the commercial car manufacturing unit of Tata group, Mr. R Ramakrishnan said, “We have the best technologies in hand and we want to show the world what we are, that too in Full Throttle”. We really don’t doubt any of that for sure, because after acquiring JLR Tata motors, they are sure one notch above the rest. Aren’t they?

Different types of Audio System in the current market

‘Dude, you have a CD player in you car, turn it on”
“Sure”
“What’s that irritating sound?”
“That’s my CD player, cool na”
“What?”

If you have ever come across such situation then I guess now you will have a reason to be happy about. Today, I’ll be sharing you the important aspect of enjoying the ride either alone or with your family or friends. Yes, you guessed it right, today I’ll be talking about the in-dash CD players. I know it is so frustrating when you have an audio system that is as good as the old radio set your dad just sent to the junkyard. It produces a lot of crash sounds rather than producing the sweet harmonious sound. You have tried everything even hurling abuses at your audio system but nothing works and now, you think it will cost you more than the total maintenance cost you pay for your car per month. Then, sit back relax and read this article because you don’t need 20,000 rupees in order to get a good sound, what all you need is an in-dash CD player.

I know how important it is to give a treat to your ears while your eyes are fixed on the road continuously. I also know that a perfect environment for listening music is your car, as you are on your own. As soon as you get inside the car and turn up the volume, you are absorbed in your own environment. Nothing matters to you except the road ahead. So, the best way to start entertaining yourself is by introducing your car to the in-dash CD player. Many people choose the old bulky CD player for their cars. Maybe, because of the reason that they come at a relatively cheaper price than the in-dash CD players. But to tell you honestly, besides the fact that these old bulky CD players capture a lot of space on your dock, it also provides you with old rusty quality music.

I know purchasing a new in-dash CD player might be a pain in your bums but then just imagine about the positive aspects of the same and I’m sure your pain will vanish in a jiffy. See till now, you thought that in order to get a quality sound out of your Audio Player you have to spend thousands of rupees but now you don’t need to. So, I don’t think you should mind paying a bit more money than you paid for your old CD player. Now, the question remains which one to purchase which one to avoid. So, here I proudly present you with my list of the existing in-dash CD players in the market and which one has what quality and which lacks what.

BLAUPUNKT SANTA FE CD31

According to me, this is the prettiest in-dash CD player from the lot I will be talking about in this article. The clean and the elegant body of this CD player is really distinctive than any of the CD players. One thing that surely caught my attention is the distinctive display. Buttons are placed very elegantly on the player. It looks like as if the button has emerged out of the player and not fitted in separately. With that well built looks one can easily figure out how to handle the same. This system basically gives more emphasis to fun.  Performance is really impressive. But the problem is that the CD changer is really confusing as there are a lot of steps involved in it especially when increasing or decreasing volume. Anyways, there are various positive factors in it which works totally for it. I will give it 4 out of 5 points.

KENWOOD KDC 5018

Personally, I like this CD player not because of the performance but because of its looks. This CD player has the best looks (according to me). It’s clean, classy and elegant. The black colour adds to the beauty of this player. All the features are really simple and there is nothing to get confused about. The screen might not be bigger but then it again is elegant to not to make you complain against it. Now the problem comes when we talk about the performance of this player. Sound quality is average and that is the only negative aspect according to me but then it is one of the major issues. So, with a heavy heart I would give it a 2 out of 5 points.

ALPINE CDM 7870R

I would say that this is the only good CD player this company has ever produced. Seriously, all the rest of the CD players from this company were a mess especially their controls. Even though this CD player still has some of the trade mark features of it ancestor, it still is good enough to add in my list. Sound quality is good; buttons are placed on the right position. So all in all would give this CD player a decent score of three out of five.

JVC KDS 600

Now, this is again one of the confusing CD players. Right from the screen to everything else this CD player is a mess. Buttons are placed erratically everywhere possible. Quality is good but then the rest of the features don’t appeal to me so I won’t say much about it. Let’s just give my sincere rating to it which is ½ out of 5and I know I’m rude but at the same time I’m being honest.

MultiJet milestone

The famous MultiJet engine pioneered by Fiat has crossed 4 million units in the global market. It is a lesser known fact that Fiat Automobiles started the concept of CRDi systems way back in 1997. The MultiJet is just an evolution of the same over in time. To be exact, it came into life in 2003. The small 1248cc engine has catered to various cars globally as also in India. In India, it does duties in various power ranges in all of 9 cars.

It has got power choices from as low as 75 Bhp to addition of a variable geometry turbo charger spicing up things to 90 Bhp. In Italy, even the Fiat Panda and Punto are also fitted with the same engine. Also the Alfa Romeo MiTo as well as the Lancia Ypsilon are powered by this engine. A lucky French customer gets to drive the 4 millionth MultiJet engine and his drive would be a Fiat 500. In India, Maruti as well as Tata use the MultiJet engine under license from Fiat. Maruti have given it a different badging and call it DdiS whereas Tata Motors call it Quadrajet. Don’t they say that small things come in big packages?

Premier Rio in India – not sure of where it is

Its been 9 long year since anyone last heard of Premier Automobiles and their cars. Oh, yes, you get to hear about their cars namely the Premier Padmini taxis but even those are now been phased out. I very much remember the wheezy cab that I had to take when going to Gateway of India. For my 6 foot frame, I am amazed that it could accommodate me so easily. Its not about sitting in the front but in the rear. Anyways, all this gyaan about the company and its history is because of the very fact that Premier Automobiles are been resurrected now. Don’t believe me? They have launched India’s first compact SUV named the Premier Rio in India in the year 2009. Now this vehicle would also have the dubious distinction of been the first Chinese car to be sold in India. Premier’s liasions with Chinese car maker Zoyte has resulted in this launch. An interesting trivia is Zoyte has an alliance with Fiat and currently most of the Fiat vehicles which are out of commission elsewhere in the world are rebadged as Zoytes and sold in China. It would be prudent enough to say that Premier Automobiles have come a full circle. The Premier Rio is also a rebadged Toyota from Japan. Now, don’t ask me as to how I got hold of a Premier Rio for a testdrive. I am sure most of our readers wouldn’t even have heard of this SUV, let alone see it in flesh. Check on Road Price

Small is what the first impression of this SUV would be. It measures only 3.9 meters in length. It is a 5 seater. The face reminded me of the Hyundai Tucson minus some aggression. Even with the bonnet lid closed, the shut line felt as if it is still open. I am sure most of us Indians would have forgotten even the logo of Premier by now. The clear lens head lamps and the closely associated fog lamps make a style statement. The bumper is a black plastic one moulded onto the head lamps. The tyres are 205 / 70 R15 Tubeless Radials. For the top end variant which I had with me, it had alloys. The same bumper claddings cut across on the side profile as well. The wing mirrors are black in color and totally flat. The tyres are also of Chinese make. The rear also has a wide wind screen with vertically stacked tail lamps. Like the other Indians who are fast adopting the theme of single reversing light, the Rio also has one to the left. It is located on the blackened bumper. There is a chrome handle for the sideways opening rear hatch. The spare wheel is attached to the rear hatch. The single tail pipe is chrome tipped.

If you ever know why the Chinese are popular for apart from the tasty Chinese food and increasing population, it is for the cheap goods that they supply. Get into the interiors and you would notice it all around. I am sorry, I couldn’t get into the driver’s seat due to my XXL size frame and had to request my XL size colleague to step in. Even with my colleague seated in the driver’s seat, he barely had room to move his right arm as the door pad was snug against him. The instrument panel is one hell of a dated thing with the temperature gauge showing figures from 50 to 130. The RPM meter is also antique and would even look good in a Rolls Royce sans the cheapness. There are front power windows and also electronically adjustable rear view mirrors. The front passenger seat was also uncomfortable with the design of the dash playing spoil sport. The leather wrapped steering wheel felt good to hold though. The door pockets are so slim that apart from a few pieces of paper, there wasn’t any other thing that it could hold. There is a scoop on the bonnet but then it is slightly tilted which means that if the vehicle goes over a bump, everything inside would spill on the lap of the front passenger. Just below it is a glove box and just tugging at the mechanism made me wonder how it would work if I had to just remove something urgently. I had to tug at it many times to actually make the system work.

Circa the rear seats. They too were seriously lacking in the leg room as well as shoulder room department. The only good thing was that the rear head rests incline to a 120 degree angle and the backrest is also nicely angled. The rear seats also split 50:50 but then only mid sized individuals would be able to fit in. As far as boot space goes, it is a hatchback rivaling 320 liters. The space is very much usable and may be the only good feature in the Premier Rio in India’s interiors.

Having a small track means that the Premier Rio in India is blessed with a tight turning radius. To be exact it is 4.9 meters, just 0.1 meter more than the Maruti Alto. The steering wheel is very light and makes it very easy to chuck this SUV in the city. This light steering turned a curse on the highway with no feedback at all. It was utterly lifeless and was a scary experience as well. NVH is on the higher side with the diesel engine been an old school unit and not much present under the hood by the way of noise damping materials.This SUV is built on a ladder frame chassis with coil springs at the rear and MacPherson struts at the front. The good thing is that due to this chassis, Indians can expect the vehicle to be much sturdy than what its build quality would suggest. The ground clearance is befitting an SUV. Due to its high center of gravity, the SUV doesn’t have good handling characteristics. It rolls and then rolls some more while cornering. Moreover, power is sent to the rear wheels only as there are no differential locks or low gear ratio credentials to go with the SUV image. Ride quality, typical of cars with small wheelbase is bouncy at low speeds and somewhat stable at high speeds.

When Peugeot wrapped their Indian operations, they left behind their 1.5 liter TuD5 diesel engine. This engine was in use in old Maruti Esteems, Peugeot 309 and also the Maruti Zen. At its time, this engine was the best that was available in India until the Hyundai CRDI came into picture. But seriously using this engine now would be a crime and that is the same crime that Premier Automobiles have done.  The capacity of this 1.5 liter engine has been reduced somewhat with Premier Automobiles tinkering around with the engine a bit. The peak power that this engine develops now is 65 Ps at 4000 rpm whereas the torque of 152 Nm is generated at 2250 rpm. Premier have attached a fixed geometry turbo charger inside the engine to help it meet BS3 norms. Since it was a test drive, I couldn’t time the 0-100 kmp run but then it would be around the region of 19-20 seconds. The 5 speed gearbox has a nice action going its way but then the throws are long and at times or two, I even experienced gear teeth whining. It seems that Premier Automobiles, wants Indians to take a trip down memory lane as for the SUV, they have provided for glow plug switches. The top speed is expected to be in the region of 120-130 kmph. I would really pity anyone doing that speeds in this vehicle because of the engine noise. It is very intrusive as well as the vibes felt from the pedals would discourage any such action.

Brakes are discs in front and drums at the rear. Braking action left much to be desired but then there is ABS and EBD on the top variant as a consolation. As far as safety goes there are no air bags or modern gadgetry but only seat belts with pre-tensioners and side intrusion beams.

Fuel efficiency is another thing which I couldn’t check but then keeping in mind the performance aspects and the intended clientele, the fuel efficiency would hover around the 14 kmpl mark overall and been a diesel, it shouldn’t be a big thing.

Premier Rio Photo Gallery

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Now coming to the price, the Premier Rio price in India starts from Rs 5,61,234 and ends at Rs 6,33,979. The variants of the same are base Premier Rio EX, middle variant Premier Rio DX and the top of the line Premier Rio LX. The main question is who would go and buy the Premier Rio in India. There are no great creature comforts to speak of except for an AC and 1 CD music system. Not even proper space. Where are the service centers or for that matter outlets of Premier? Popping open the hood revealed a part named as Padmini. Are you kidding me? Premier is using the old cast and dies left behind of the Padmini and using it in this so called new vehicle. God save the buyer and Premier Automobiles company.

Audi to launch a new diesel variant of Audi Q5 in India soon

We at Indiandrives try to keep you updated on each and every single piece of information that comes across to us. We have been telling you a great deal about various car launches, updating you about their performance and everything else. The recent of all and trust me when I say recent it is actually recent, is the very news that Audi is planning to relaunch its much acclaimed Audi Q5 in India again, but this time with a 2.0 litre TDi engine. This time there’s is no point of questioning this piece of news, as we got it right from the horse’s mouth. Currently, Audi Q5 in India is available with a 3.0 TDi V6 engine which comes for a price at Rs. 47.9 lakh and a 2.0 litre TFSI turbocharged engine at a price Rs 43 lakhs.

Since, nobody from Audi has said anything further than that, experts say that this move of Audi is because of the changing scenario of the Indian automobile market. Audi is trying to get hold of the market. Out of the two variants that are currently available in the market the one which is best selling is the diesel variant. So in order to generate more sales by capturing the maximum market possible, Audi has decided to launch a new diesel variant. Undoubtedly the price of this vehicle is also low so as to get a better hold of the competition. This new variant of Audi Q5 will flaunt a price tag of Rs 41.5 lakh very soon in the Indian automobile market.

Maruti SX4 in India review – Men are back

Maruti Suzuki India Limited, close on the heels of the launch of the Maruti Kizashi are planning to go for launching the Maruti SX4 diesel in the country. I am sure that we all are awaiting the launch of the same especially when we are sure what Maruti can do with some tinkering in the Fiat machines. As of now, I would have to wait till the SX4 diesel is launched but until then, it would be the petrol variant which has caught my attention. Especially when it was launched as well as showcased some 6 years back at some Auto Show. The launch incidentally was after 2 years in 2007. With a tag line of “Men are back”, this car captured the hearts of millions of people not only in India but also in the other markets like Australia and Japan. The particular ad in India where the man bows down for everything but not while driving in a SX4 is sure to have taken the pie as far as car advertisements in India go. But then my reason for harping about the Maruti SX4 in India is because I got a chance to review this car. Just before its diesel variant is launched. Check on Road Price

Looks

The Maruti Suzuki SX4 in India or for that matter, anywhere else in the world looks butch. It is actually a crossover sedan which has got an SUV stance as well as height whereas its other features suggest that it is a sedan. It has got that very Swift like grille with the Suzuki logo on it. The Maruti logo, after the 800 and Esteem now seems redundant. The head lamps are of the peeled back design and the area around the grille looks like the one from the Mitsubishi Cedia’s. The side profile at the same time brings in 16 inch wheels with a new multi spoke design. I definitely loved the old design of alloy wheels which were similar to the ones in the first generation Toyota Corolla in India. The quarter glass at the front as well as at the rear door enhance the look of this car.

I am sure many would have noticed that Maruti like the others is trying to go for a corporate face for all of its products, exception been the small ones. The bigger ones like the Kizashi, SX4, Swift Dzire, Grand Vitara and also the Swift look almost the same from the front. The side skirts at the sides made me feel as if I was driving a rally car or something. At the rear, expect for clear lens, nothing much has changed. Oh, the reverse light is now functional only on the left hand side of the car. This is a trend which actually started with the Fiat Punto car and now everyone seems to be getting on with it. The big “Bangle” boot is also the one and same. The tail pipe has a huge cladding over it and hence isn’t visible.

Interiors

The instrument panel of the Maruti Sx4 in India hasn’t changed much from the previous version and it still is the same tachometer to the left, speedo at the center and temperature, fuel gauges to the right. But then other things have changed including the now beige seats with leather as an option with the SX4 Royale variant. The interiors feel somewhat premium than the Ford Fiesta but not in front of its German competitors. There is automatic climate control as well as the dual din Kenwood audio system. Since I had all the time in the world to check out the features of this car, I played my favorite music from the AUX input. I could also pair my phone to sync with the car’s Bluetooth system. However one cannot attend calls or make one with the Bluetooth arrangement. Moreover the fonts of radio were small and in the irritating orange color.

Been a 6 footer, for me, the driver’s seat was some kind of bother especially with the steering also playing spoil sport. But then finally making myself comfortable behind the wheel, I found that the SX4 is quite a tight fit for tall people. Made my colleague to sit in the seat and he been more of the horizontally spread ones, also had a hard time. But then ignore the discomfort for the time been and you would notice the 3 spoke steering wheel with audio controls on it. The mix of circular as well as rectangular AC vents do a good job of directing the air flow to the desired regions. Build quality is strictly okay and you notice the cost cutting around the steering region as well as quality of some plastics. At the rear, seating is better than in the front but then you sit a bit upright rather than be in a relaxed position. The transmission hump poses a problem for the middle passenger but then it isn’t so huge like the Kizashi. The door handles also don’t seem to enjoy the good build quality parameter. The boot space is big at 504 liters and it can easily help anyone while moving their house, bag and baggage. There are no suspension intrusions and also the loading bay is flat.

Handling and ride quality

The ground clearance that the Maruti SX4 in India claims over its rivals is 190 mm. This is enough to even put some of the so called utility vehicles to shame. Due to this ride height, I didn’t have to think twice before putting the car through some rough treatment, neither did I have to slow down for those big speed breakers. The SX4 is also stiffly sprung just like the Maruti Swift. This means low speed ride quality is a bit stiff but then the car doesn’t bottom out with a full load of passengers. The Anti Roll Bars and Independent Gas Filled with McPherson Struts at the front and Gas Filled Shock Absorbers with Semi Independent Torsion Beam at the rear ensures a decent ride quality. What it set out to achieve for itself, namely the handling of the Swift hatchback is intact. The steering feel is excellent and bested only by the Ford Fiesta in terms of feel.

The SX4 boasts of a turning radius of 5.3 meters. This is marginally more than a small hatchback. But then reversing would take some time to master with that big boot hindering all view. Handling is tight and the SX4 would forgive you by allowing you to make last minute corrections. Sideways action is something which I enjoyed in the SX4. Give it the opposite lock and the car would be ready for some Gaurav Gill inspiring action.

NVH is something which is on the higher side in this car. After some time, I actually started wondering if I was driving a petrol or diesel car. Go past 100 kmph and the car would have that roaring sound but not as refined as the Ivtec unit of the Honda. The rubber beadings around the doors are also single layered and this may be the reason as to why all those engine noise comes inside the cabin.

Maruti SX4 Photo Gallery

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Engine, performance and fuel efficiency

During the recent face-lift, the Maruti SX4 in India also got VVT technology incorporated into its engine for better pickup, fuel efficiency as also complying to the norms. The power output has marginally increased but then it is the driveability which has gone up leaps and bounds. The 1.6 liter DOHC 16 valve engine now makes 104.68 Ps of peak power at 5600 rpm whereas the top torque of 145 Nm is generated at 4100 rpm. The transmission options are 5 speed manual and a 4 speed automatic. I had the opportunity to check out both the manual as well as auto option. Wish that the manual gear shifter was similar to the one in the Swift. The Swift’s gearshift mechanism is very smooth whereas that of the SX4’s feels somewhat notchy. Moreover, it has got long throws as well. Inspite of the VVT technology, the engine isn’t too eager to be revved.

The 0-100 kmph run was blasted in 12.1 seconds whereas the top speed that I attained was 178 kmph. This figures were for the manual one but then for the automatic variant, the 0-100 kmph run was completed in 13.8 seconds and the top speed was 173 kmph. I usually don’t like automatics but then the SX4 made me rethink it as its auto variant is a far better buy than the clunky manual. The driveability is good and the gear ratios have been nicely spaced out. Braking is good but then it would have been better if Maruti Suzuki India Limited would have provided discs at the rear as well. The current pair of discs at the front and drums at the rear showed some brake fade after repeated hard braking attempts. Maruti has generously kitted the car with ABS as well as EBD. This also ensures that the car is always in control even when the going gets tough.

Safety is one feature which has been amply taken care by twin air bags, 3 point seat belts with pretensioners, side impact beams and the collapsible steering column. Apart from these features, the car also comes with iCATS feature which is a security feature. Fuel efficiency of the earlier SX4 was widely criticized and Maruti have taken the right albeit small step to rectify this. The manual SX4 with careful driving in the city returned 11.4 kmpl in the city whereas the highway runs saw the figure climbing upto 15.7 kmpl. The automatic on the other hand boasted of 10.6 kmpl in the city and 14.1 kmpl on the highway.

Verdict

The Maruti SX4 in India is the replacement of the Maruti Baleno which incidentally didn’t do well. I remember writing in my previous article about the SX4 that it has to make do now with the scraps thrown by the Honda City. Inspite of the Honda been less on the VFM tag, people still buy it. But then the SX4 is something which cannot be ignored. If you live in India, you need to have a vehicle with good ground clearance, safety features, wide service network and good fuel efficiency. Apart from the last criteria, the SX4 ticks all the right boxes. Inspite of having the VVT tech under its hood, the car still isn’t a match to the stellar figures that the Honda City achieves. But then this car is way cheaper than the Honda and even offers more features. It has also got the Maruti brand tag to go with it and this means repairing a SX4 wouldn’t be a costly affair. The Maruti SX4 price in India starts from Rs 6,80,125 for the base version and moves to a lakh more for the topmost variant. There are 5 variants of this car and those are Vxi (base version), Zxi, Zxi automatic, Zxi manual with leather seats and the Zxi automatic with leather seats. Moreover, Maruti has launched a new CNG version of this car as well equipped with IGPi technology. As for me, I am waiting for the launch of the SX4 diesel. Let the car be a man or woman, I don’t care as long as it gives me the driving pleasure and be combined with an economical setup.

Technical specifications of Maruti SX4

Engine details: 1.6L, In-Line Engine, DOHC, 4-cyl. Variable Valve Timing (VVT
Maximum Power: 104.68 Ps @ 5600 rpm
Maximum Torque: 145 Nm @ 4,100 rpm
No. of Cylinders: 4
Valves Per Cylinder: 4
Fuel Supply System: MPFI
Valve Configuration: DOHC
Bore x Stroke: 78 mm x 83 mm
Compression Ratio: 9.01
Transmission details: 5 speed manual and 4 speed automatic
Front Suspension: Independent suspension with McPherson strut & anti roll bar
Rear Suspension: Semi independent torsion beam
Shock Absorbers Type: Gas Filled
Steering details: Electronic Power with Tilt function and Rack & Pinion
Turning Radius (wheel base): 5.3 m
Front Brake Type: Ventilated Disc
Rear Brake Type: Self adjusting Drum
Top Speed: 178/173 kmph
Acceleration (0-100 kmph): 12.1/13.8 seconds
Mileage-City (kmpl): 11.4/10.6
Mileage-Highway (kmpl): 15.7/14.1
Fuel Type: Petrol
Fuel Tank Capacity (litres): 50
Emission Norm Compliance: Bharat Stage IV
Tyre Size: 205/60 R 16
Tyre Type: Tubeless Radial Tyre
Wheel Size: 16
Seating Capacity: 5
No of Doors: 4

Tata Motors going overboard with JLR

We know how much you have been bored with the same old news of Tata Motors bragging about their latest acquisition of Land Rover. But now comes the latest of all, Tata Motors is planning to invest a huge sum into this British marque JLR ( Jaguar Land Rover). In one of the recent reports by the top most business magazine Business Standard, Tata Motors is set to invest a sum of Rs 7,300 crores (wait for it) only for the research and development part of JLR. The reports also quoted that this amount is 10-11 percent of the total revenue generated by both the companies annually.

Undoubtedly, Tata Motors has attached high hopes with this company and why not when the brand they have acquired is worth millions. But earlier when Fiat was enjoying its reign over JLR, it was only investing a sum of Rs 3,200 crore approximately (when converted to Indian rupees). Anyways, everything doesn’t end here, Tata Motors is further planning to increase the research and development sum to a height of £1.2 billion which when converted in Indian rupees turns out to be Rs 8,800 crore annually. Now this, I question whether is a wise decision or not?

Renault is back with a bang on Indian Soil

We all know how this French manufacturing unit came to the Indian shores. With the very first step in the Indian market, this company joined its hands with our very own Mahindra and Mahindra. Later on, this JV launched their only vehicle Logan which unfortunately turned out to be the product of the dissolution of the partnership. Now after taking a sad turn in the Indian automotive market this company is set to strike back but this time solo. This time it will enter the market with a renewed strategy, new focus with an independent approach. This company claims to be a new key ingredient in the market in coming years.

According to some of the reports released by various media sources, Renault has shifted its focus from the unpredictable turns it had to go through last year, to the emerging markets like any other automotive company. But in addition to that, this company is targeting mainly on the Indian terrain. It is expected that this company will gain 20 places across India, as India is set to become the 11th largest market by the year 2013. As per its new strategy Renault will launch its six new yet locally produced models by 2013. It is though quite clear that the company has overcome the various problems it had to go through in past couple of years. Also, Renault has already returned with a bang, as it is already set to launch two of its new product by this year itself.

Chevrolet Beat in Diesel Avatar


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It seems that the Indian subsidiary of General Motors is leaving no stones unturned. After announcing the LPG variant of its various best selling vehicles, Chevrolet has announced that in addition to that, they will also launch a diesel variant of their new, compact and most stylish hatch back, the Chevrolet Beat. Currently this cute car is available with a 1199cc petrol engine. This car is doing absolutely fine in the market and that is the reason why the company is thinking to introduce the Indian market with a 1 litre diesel engine of this car.

In one of the recent interactive sessions with media, P Balendran, Vice-President, General Motors India said that “yes, we are launching the diesel variant of the Chevrolet Beat in 1.0 litre diesel engine. It will be available by June in India”. With a heavy investment of US$ 230 million, this company is not targeting much of heavy profits out of it, as Mr Balendran added that, “currently we are not targeting it to bore us heavy profits as it won’t be a major player in consideration to volume. We are just planning to increment the current existing portfolio of Beat. We just want to offer more to our customers”. The manufacturing part of this new variant will be handled by the Talegaon manufacturing plant in Pune. With that heavy investment, this plant will manufacture an added 1.60 lakh units for this new car. There are also some rumours that GM has already invested US$ 1 million in this plant for the same.

Besides, the company is also trying to build a stronger figure of itself in front of the local market by introducing an engine manufacturing unit in the same plant as well. General Motors will also introduce a new variant Euro-IV to the existing SUV Tavera by the end of this year. It seems that the company is trying real hard to improve its image in the market. For the same purpose, the company has signed a joint venture with the Sonalika Group last year itself. Hope all those stunts work for this company.