Nissan Ultra Low Car {ULC} in India


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Nissan India are on a roll after the launch of the Micra. They now have firm plans to take more pie from the Indian car market. They plan on launching atleast 11 cars in the Indian markets by 2012. This means that we would get the whole SUV range from Nissan as well as few of their built for India and exported to the world cars. One such car would be the Nissan-Renault-Bajaj Ultra Low Cost car or code-named as the ULC. This car would compete with the Tata Nano and the Hyundai H800.

The Tata Nano was a revolution as far as automobiles were concerned. It pioneered a whole new concept that states that cars don’t have to be pricey to be high-tech. Affordable motoring is what Mr. Tata would have called it. The others are, we would say, inspired by his idea and are planning to launch their own versions of the Tata Nano with their own badges. Nissan is one of them. They have partnered with Bajaj to make this small car. Bajaj as we all know, makes exciting motorcycles and the icing on the cake is the affordability at which those are offered. Nissan couldn’t have found a better partner.

The Nissan Ultra Low Car ULC in India would be built, engineered and developed by Bajaj with inputs by Nissan. However the marketing and sales would be the sole bastion of Nissan and Renault alliance. The starting price point of this car is pegged at Rs 1.06 lakhs. That is really a tall order considering that Bajaj’s Kawasaki Ninja 250 bike retails for Rs. 2.75 lakhs. The Nissan ULC  will have a 2 cylinder petrol engine displacing around 634 cc and pumping out 36 Bhp. It would have a mono volume look like the Tata Nano. This actually works on the inside since it liberates much needed head room and in the process leg room for a small car. It is strictly going to be a 4 seater and would be front engined. Bajaj would provide for back-lit instrument switches while Nissan-Renault is said to supply them with engine technology.

Quality would be a notch higher than the Tata Nano as Bajaj would dig into its motorcycles bin and transfer them onto the ULC. Bajaj bikes have been regarded for their quality of workmanship and also reliability. The same should be with the ULC. It is rumored that there would be separate service centers for the ULC and would be managed by Bajaj.

The top speed is said to be limited to 80 km/hr. This means that it would be strictly for city use and can be used on the highway only if you have no other mode of transport and at your own risk. The car would be more efficient than the Tata Nano and would give about 30 kmpl in city use. Highway figures aren’t quoted as Nissan expects that the car wouldn’t be used much on highways. It would sport about 123 liters of boot space as well. This is something from which the Tata Nano shies away from and can be considered a USP of the Nissan Ultra Low Car ULC in India. For the time been, it would be first launched in India and then exported to other markets. It would be made at the Bajaj facility in Chakan, Pune.

This car is expected to be launched around 2012 however Bajaj and Nissan are facing some problem currently regarding the branding of the car and some technical details. Watch out this section for more news on the Nissan-Renault-Bajaj ULC.

Limited Edition Ritz Genus


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Maruti Suzuki India Limited launched the Maruti Suzuki Ritz with much fanfare in May 2009 and exactly after 18 months are celebrating the anniversary of the Ritz. There is a special edition of the Ritz which is launched and which would be called the Limited Edition Ritz Genus. It would be sold in 2 guises, the Maruti Suzuki Ritz Genus VXi and the Maruti Ritz Genus Vdi. The Maruti Suzuki Ritz has so far sold more than 86,400 units now in India. We aren’t counting the exports for this as of yet.

The Maruti Suzuki Ritz has been the best seller in its segment since the time it was introduced. The Limited Edition Ritz – Genus is expected to take this one step ahead and further boost sales. The Maruti Suzuki Ritz is built on the famous Swift platform and boasts of class leading space from the tall boy design, powerful yet efficient petrol and diesel engines and lots of features. However the Ritz missed out on some key features that buyers have always complained of.

Maruti Suzuki India Limited have now remedied that in the guise of the Limited Edition Ritz – Genus. The Limited Edition Ritz Genus would have a new body color `Emerald Blue’ , body colored outside rear view mirrors and door handles, mouldings for the body, body graphics, garnish for the rear doors and a Genus logo to distinguish the car.

On the inside, the game has been moved forward with a dual tone dashboard. This would have blue and gray shades{first seen on the Vdi Ritz version}. It would also have factory fitted radio and CD player with 4 speakers, a much needed rear washer and wiper, rear parcel tray, tilt adjustable steering wheel and keyless entry.

The Limited Edition Ritz Genus as well as the regular production car competes with the likes of the Ford Figo, Volkswagen Polo, Chevrolet Beat and the Hyundai I10 to name a few. The Ritz is the all rounder in this segment having top notch quality of materials plus a near perfect mix of ride and handling. Only 5000 of these special edition models would be made to commemorate the anniversary edition as well as to get the customers in the groove for the festival season.

The Maruti Suzuki Ritz Genus VXi is priced at Rs 452349 (Ex-showroom, Delhi) whereas the Maruti Suzuki Ritz Genus VDi is priced at Rs 531410 (Ex-showroom, Delhi). This is just substantially Rs.30,000 more than the regular production version.

Technical Specifications of Ritz GENUS VDi and VXi

Dimensions and Weights

Overall Length (mm): 3815
Overall Width (mm): 1780
Overall Height (mm): 1630
Wheel Base (mm): 2350
Ground Clearance (mm): 171
Boot Space (liter): 238
Kerb Weight (kg): 1120/1015
Gross Vehicle Weight (kg): 1520/1330
No of Doors: 5

Fuel Economy

Mileage Highway (km/liter): 19/17
Mileage City (km/liter): 14.5/13.3
Mileage Overall (km/liter): 16.75/15.5

Capacities

Seating Capacity (person): 5
Fuel Tank Capacity (liter): 44

Engine

Engine Type/Model: Multijet Ddis/ K20 B
Displacement cc: 1248/ 1197 c
Power (PS@rpm): 75PS @4000rpm/ 85PS @6000rpm
Torque (Nm@rpm): 190Nm @2000rpm/ 113Nm @4500rpm
Valve Mechanism: DOHC
Bore (mm): 69.6
Stroke (mm): 82
Compression Ratio: 17.6:1
No of Cylinders (cylinder): 4
Cylinder Configuration: Inline
Valves per Cylender (value): 4
Fuel Type: Diesel/Petrol
Fuel System: Common Rail/MPFi

Transmission

Transmission Type: Manual
Gears/Speeds: 5Gears

Suspensions

Front Suspension: McPherson strut with coil spring
Rear Suspension: Torsion beam & coil spring

Steering

Steering Type: Electronic
Power Assisted: Standard
Minimum Turning Radius (meter): 4.7

Brakes

Front Brakes: Ventilated Discs
Rear Brakes: Drum

Wheels and Tyres

Wheel Type: Tubeless tyres
Wheel Size: 14 Inch
Tyres: 165 /80 R 14

Maruti Suzuki Esteem maintenance tips

Car maintenance is one of the major aspects troubling new owners. People who cannot tell apart a carburetor from a fuel injection system. For such people we readily take up onus of educating them. The objection of our attention today is a Maruti, to be precise, a Maruti Suzuki Esteem. Here are the few dos and donts to look out for if you are buying a used Maruti Suzuki Esteem or even own one.

Engine:

This is the heart of a car and the one which requires immediate attention. Come to think of it, this car been a Maruti, shouldn’t have much problems with the engine department however checking it is your responsibility. When revving the all aluminium 1.3 liter engine, you would meet the rev limiter faster than when you would meet in any other car. The mechanical clatter that would be audible is often taken as the engine tappet noise however that is far from the truth. Going back to your physics class or even the basic 10th standard education, you can relate to the fact that aluminium is a good conductor of sound and hence can transmit the engine noise more pronouncedly. Since it is a Maruti, it is pretty reliable.

Body:

Rainy climate can induce moisture to accumulate in the window sills or even in the headlight or tail light assembly. Every car has a drain hole in the door sill and this ones should be kept clean or else the water would clog there and start nibbling at the paint or underpinnings of the car. The window winder is also another thing which requires attention since the glass movement is obstructed due to the stuck window channels. The glass movement is also sometimes hard and slow due to the power windows not operating properly. Try spraying some silicon spray on the glass which would eventually percolate into the window channels. This should grease up the glass a bit so that the movement isn’t hampered.

Clutch and gearbox:

This should be a relatively easy task to check and observe. If you know how to drive, then press the clutch and slot the car into gear. If the clutch play is anything more than 15-20 cms, then it is time to get the clutch adjusted. This would be hardly take 5-10 mins at an authorized service center or even a road side mechanic. The clutch life is estimated to be around 80,000 kms mark.However it totally depends on your usage. Particulary the rear gear should engage properly. If it doesn’t, then there is a problem with the clutch bearings. Getting them replaced shouldn’t be a big expense. Check the bivel and gear oil and if not upto the optimum mark, then get them replaced or topped up.

Air Conditioner:

This should be a troublesome spot for any Maruti Suzuki Esteem. This is because when you have already have had a stint in some other car, you would notice that the compressor of this aircon takes up some time to wind up as well as cool the cabin. They also require constant attention since the old compressor motor could hardly take up the load. It is advisable to get the aircon and the coolant fluid checked up every 10,000 kms.

Suspension:

The suspension of this car is softly sprung. You must have noticed the n number of Esteems having a bottomed out suspension. This is due to the excess load at the rear. This would also accelerate the wear of the rear tyres faster. Unfortunately there isn’t any other solution to this other than getting the suspension bushings checked. In anticipation of this, the company has already provided sturdy suspension components that could well last 60,000 kms. Mount the car on a vehicle jack and check if the suspension has taken some beating or not. This can be gauged by leaking suspension mounts of all other things period.

Brakes:

Usually when you start your car in the morning and go out for a drive, if you hear a screeching noise from the front tyres, it means that the brake rotors are jammed and they need your immediate attention. Any Maruti authorized service center should be able to check this for you and get the rotors replaced and sealed for you. This job would take some time however wouldn’t cost you much. Also the brake pedal modulation should be optimum or otherwise get it also aligned by the service personnel. Brake fluid can also be checked in the interim and topped or replaced as required. The Maruti Suzuki Esteem featured front discs and rear drums but those from the early ages had only drums at both the ends. Retrofitting discs to older models could prove painstaking as well as very costly. Also there would be no guarantee of reliability. It is better to stick with the all drum set up and replace the drum pads as and when necessary.

Steering:

Maruti Suzuki Esteems were offered both with manual as well as power steering. For the manual ones, a simple check can be done and this would confirm if the car’s steering has a play or not. All you have to do is hold the steering wheel and push it downwards as well later on, upwards. If there is any play detected, then your mechanic would tighten the damper rack nut and get the steering column back in ship shape. If your steering column is of the powered types, then the steering itself would tell you if it is good enough. Piloting the car shouldn’t seem a chore with the power steering since if it does, then it means that the power steering fluid has leaked out and it would need a filling. At every service, this one aspect should be checked to avoid any mishaps. If you car is one of those which has racked in high mileage, then you can also try replacing the rack bushes. Over a period of time, this tend to break and hence have to be replaced. Some play may also develop between the pinion and the steering column. This is nothing that a grease job can take care of.

Bodywork:

The body of the Maruti Suzuki Esteem is prone to rusting. Pre 2000 cars are more prone to this. A simple anti rust conditioning can solve this problem however to remove the rust components, a more detailed treatment would have to be carried out. The tail pipes for pre 2000 cars also had a problem of rusting and breaking off. The only solution is to get a new silencer fitted on or weld the existing one. Also check the boot as some of the linings do give way and allow water to percolate in between and start gnawing at the inners of the boot. This would also emanate a foul smell.The inner linings should be replaced at the earliest and then the boot should be treated with an anti rust solution. The wheels of the car are of the 13 inch types. There was no alloy wheel options offered then and so rusting of the steel wheels was a sort of problem if they haven’t been tended for carefully. Also check for bent rims and if the car pulls to one side it means that a wheel alignment job is on the cards. Also, all the wheels should be regulary rotated to ensure even tread. The tyres should last 45,000 kms however this depends how they have been driven.

Electricals:

The electricals of the Maruti Suzuki Esteem should wear well and would usually be trouble free. Check for the rubber melting on the AC vents as this is a sure sign of the circuits in need of new wiring. The switches should work with a precision and if not replacing the stalks would be the only option. Not many of the components would be readily available now since this car has been replaced by the Maruti Suzuki Swift which uses entirely new elements for the interiors. The head lamps for the post 2000 year featured clear lens and one can upgrade to this, if your car is from a pre batch. The upholstery is nothing to speak about and is a clinch to replace. The earlier white clothing used, was often dirty after the first use and so replacing this with a darker color would be a good choice.

Bosch’s recent contributions to Indian automobile scene

Various automotive component manufacturers abound in the competitive Indian market. A car manufacturer doesn’t build most of the components required to build a car. Infact, they hardly build any components except for a few parts in the engine. All this is outsourced to the automotive component manufacturers who win the bid. It is actually the most cost effective way to build up an automobile. This ensures that manufacturers can price their car effectively and competitively. One such component manufacturer which has been doing business in India since 1922 is the German automotive component manufacturer Bosch.

There are about 13 manufacturing plants which employ close to 20,000 people and cater to about 80% of the OEM market. The annual turnover for this company is Rs.6,800 crore. The company even exports 14-15% as exports. It is well known that Bosch in India started the trend of incorporating start/stop system on the Mahindra Scorpio MicroHybrid. Recently, the Tata Aria which was launched in India also had the latest of the ESP system made by Bosch in India. Since mention has been made of ESP, ABS is also another feature which was a first, introduced by Bosch in India. Continuous development work is been undertaken to make this system more effective. Moreover, these systems are also been made cost effective so that more and more of the cars can be fitted with this life saving equipments.

Speaking of development work, Bosch applies for about 15 patents a day, worldwide. Most of the components which went into the making of the Tata Nano was supplied by Bosch and hence it was made cost effective. Moreover, the diesel Tata Nano which is in the offing has also been widely developed in conjunction with Bosch. A diesel engine in a car weighing just 625 kgs was always a challenge and Bosch was actively involved in the development of the diesel motor from the onset. And mind you, this is a common rail diesel fuel unit, the smallest one in the world. Given for the fact was that this motor was been developed for the world’s cheapest car. The Mahindra Maxximo uses a slightly more advanced version of the same motor and is already proving its worth on the Indian roads. Making it to fit a small car and at the same time prove to be cost effective to live upto the task of been in the world’s cheapest car was a big effort by Bosch. Fuel efficiency was of prime importance while designing this engine. Some of the advances to this effect are the fuel pumps been lubricated with oil which ensures minimal damage to the fuel pump even if fuel used is of a lesser variety than what the car has been tuned for. This system is named as Low Price Vehicle or LPV.

Recent news percolated that Bosch in India are trying for a new stop/start mechanism for the Tata Nano and in short all the related small as well as large cars by the year 2013. They are even developing this for motor bikes. Seen testing not a long while ago was a Hero Honda Passion Pro bike fitted with this mechanism. Bosch claim to have achieved fuel savings to the tune of 18% on the motorbike whereas on small cars, SUVs it is 6 % and 11 % respectively. Bosch are also looking to diversify to the field of air bag manufacturing. They have already started development work towards this step. It is this small attempts as well as the larger ones by Bosch that we get value added products which are cheaper to buy, run and eventually use.

Concept cars in India

Fiat may have been done with the Fiat Uno in India however they are yet to close on its brand name even after so many years. This is quite evident from the fact that they had a display car at one of their show rooms in Italy. This display car was a cabriolet version of the Fiat Uno and it shows Fiat’s promise that even though the world may think that the Fiat Uno may be dead, its platform still holds promise. News is that this cabriolet version of the Fiat Uno is to be powered by the same 1.4 liter T-jet motor doing duties in India under the Fiat Linea. However this engine makes 152 Bhp as opposed to the 114 Bhp in the saloon.

What we would like from Fiat India would be to bring this Fiat Uno cabriolet for India as a brand building exercise. Something which even the Fiat 500 hasn’t been able to do as of now. If they want, they can even introduce the same T-jet motor in the Fiat Uno cabriolet for India. The interiors also reek of higher quality than all the other Fiat cars found in India. If Fiat India do bring this car and price it somewhat close to the Rs.5 lakhs mark, then they have got a sure shot winner in their hands. Seems that there would be many new concept cars in India.

Following on similar lines, a new Chrysler 200 is been introduced as a replacement for the Chrysler 300. If you thought that the Chrysler 300 was a car for the scary types, then the Chrysler 200 is one of those cars which would please their sons. The Chrysler 300 is designed to be in less intimidating It is still going to be a rear wheel drive and one which would have the 2.4 liter 4 cylinder as well as a 3.6 V6 engines in the offing. All these engines are petrol ones and the base engine would be offered with the option of a 4 speed automatic. Standard for both the engines however is the 6 speed manual. This car will try to take on the Mercedes, BMW and Jaguar cars with its rear wheel drive configuration. It would be priced also lower than its compatriots. However considering the financial condition that the company is going through, it would be noteworthy to see if they can bring up this launch.

That the Ford Focus in India would be a rarity until 2012 is well known however this same vehicle is not sold across the world as well. It is currently sold in the US as well as some of the European countries. It is one of the hottest hatchback on sale from the Ford stables. If and at all, Ford India plan to launch the Ford Focus in India before this time, it would create a mini revolt within the premium hatchback segment as apart from the Maruti Suzuki Swift, there is no other hatchback which has a great engine combination as well as fun to drive. Ford sells the Ford Focus in 3 trims across the world and those are the standard Focus, little spruced up ST version and the hottest Ford Focus RS version. For the European markets, the next generation ST would be out soon however it would carry a 4 cylinder 2 liter engine. However this engine would put out 247 Bhp, aided by EcoBoost, Ford parlance for turbocharging. It was also shown in a new concept form recently at one of the shows. The ONE FORD strategy would only be in effect by 2012 and hence the reason for delay in bringing this model to the Indian public. Under this strategy, the Ford Figo would also be marketed across the world and of course, India would be the one which would be building up majority of the export volumes for this small but capable hatch.

Ssangyong Motors, the wholly owned subsidiary of Indian car manufacturer Mahindra and Mahindra is known for making one of the world’s ugliest cars. Yes, if at all there was a survey for the world’s ugliest cars, the entire Ssangyong Motors range would sweep away all the awards. However recently shown as a concept, the new Ssangyong Korando car is one such car which begs to differ. It has a Maserati kind of nose and the rest of the body looks like the current generation Chevy Captiva in India. This should tick off one car from the Ssangyong Motors range from the ugliest cars in the world list. Ugly or not, almost all the cars in the manufacturer’s lineup are successful models and they sell really well. It should look beautiful since it has been designed by Italdesign Giugiaro, the one from Italy.

Honda is not one of the manufacturers to be left behind in this prototype race and they are building a new small car namely the Honda Brio for the developing market. This car had been displayed at the Thailand Motor Show and would most likely make it to production grounds soon. It is destined that this car would emphasize the quotient of space inside defined for a small car. It would have class leading space for a small car as well as one of the most fuel efficient engines. It would also have a quick motor for efficient performance. Moreover, it would be priced at a starting price of Rs.5 lakhs for the Indian consumer. Imagine, a Rs.5 lakhs new Honda hatchback. This would be a sure shot hit, the new concept cars from Honda.

To celebrate its 30 years of four wheel drive or Quattro as the company would like to call it, Audi have unveiled many new concept cars. It is based on an extended wheelbase of the Audi TT platform. It would have a new face than the Audi TT. It would have drilled aluminium alloy wheels and a kerb weight of just 1300 kgs. It would make about 408 Bhp from its 3.2 liter FSI engine. This concept took about 2 years of finessing before it was displayed to the world. If it would make into production lines or not isn’t quite sure yet however we do hope that it makes into production. Now we aren’t sure how many new concept cars in India would be launched however we can definitely cross our fingers on that.

Mercedes Benz CLS 500 in India

The coupe version of Mercedes Benz C class is out. Now why would Mercedes Benz India Limited think of launching the Mercedes Benz CLS 500 in India? Think about it, it is on a resurgent path to getting its numero uno position in India. The one which has been claimed by BMW India and with Audi India also closely snapping at its heels. Both the companies have a motto of getting in cars which were unheard of in India. This happens mostly with the cars been simultaneously launched both in India as well as foreign markets. So that we don’t get staid products in India. Now, Mercedes Benz India Limited always launched their products first in foreign markets and then after maybe 2-3 years, percolate the products down to India. Now, the top brass have realized that they need to change this and so they are also going the BMW and AUDI way of launching new products at the same time for foreign and Indian markets.

The latest car which is to be simultaneously launched is the Mercedes Benz CLS 500. It is a coupe form of the ever successful bread and butter model, the Mercedes Benz C-class. Now, why a coupe form when we know that those aren’t that successful in the Indian market. This car signals the quality levels that any Mercedes Benz car came to be known for however was lost somewhere down the plot. This is a good sign for the car buying public. The nose of the car signifies the corporate look of the company and has a mesh air dam just beneath it. This car looks more like the AMG version of some other car rather than the C class. It actually represents the SL AMG fighter car that was a craze in the late 80s. The fog lamps are fully LED. Speaking of LEDs, the Mercedes Benz CLS 500 in India would come with full LEDs for even the head lamps. Don’t believe it? Even more shocking is the fact that there are 71 LEDs in the head lamp assembly. And more so that 37 engineers from the company had to work on it to get it right. The company says that this is to improve night time driving and also for increased safety. Even the tail lamps are full LEDs. The bonnet is highly raked. The 17 inch bispoke alloy wheels add an element of cool quotient. Unlike BMW, Mercedes Benz prefers to go with high profile tubeless tyres. Anways, run flats aren’t suited for the Indian roads and it is high time that BMW India understood that.

The rear features Mexican wrestling mask type rear lamps. There are twin tail pipes and a LED stop lamp between them. Come to think of this, this car is a design revolution. Moving onto the interiors, it seems to be built more on the chassis of the E class rather than the C class. The interiors reek of quality from the much expensive S class. A new upholstery trim namely the Aubergine finds its way in. It is a sort of dark chocolaty. The steering wheel seems to be derived from the Volkswagen family since it has a chrome insert at the third spoke. It however is more artistically made than the Volkswagen unit. The positioning of the audio controls and other parnphelia is very clever. The multi media system is taken care by the latest generation COMAND system. The analogue dials are made to a good effect and the digital display in the speedo has a color variation to it and provides with much more info, so much so that it can be safely called as a second COMAND system. On to of the dash is an immaculately stitched leather. Also classily laid out is the matt silver inlays which can be found around the aircon vents. The Mercedes Benz special, Harman Kardon Logic 7 audio system has 14 speakers and sounds very good. The seats themselves are way too comfortable and the front ones have the massaging and pulse function in them. The rear two seats unfortunately make do without them. We would have preferred them at the rear, the most. There is an increased sense of space inside since this is a 4 seater. There is a huge central column running across and which features the controls for the rear passengers as well.

There is no skimping on equipment or even on the options list. This car has everything imaginable and some more.The Tronic and Assist suffix has been used for almost every feature in the cabin. It features distance control, traction control, lane departure, blind spot detection, night view, parking, climate control and ESP. There is a system that combines with ESP to brake the outside rear wheels. Speaking of the safety aspect, there is more safety equipment than others in its class and similar to a Volvo. On the short spin that we had on the car, we were assured of its chassis competency and the way it steers around corners. To keep the fun pure, this car is offered only in rear wheel drive. There is no option of 4 wheel drive. There are 4 engine options available on the Mercedes Benz CLS 500 in India. Starting the range is the 3.0 liter diesel which pumps out 264 Bhp and 620 Nm of torque. The 3.5 liter petrol V6 makes 300 bhp and 700 Nm of torque. The 4.6 liter V8 petrol makes 406 Bhp and a super car rivaling 720 Nm of torque. Wait, there is one more potent motor under the hood of this car and it is the 5.5 liter V8 AMG which makes 537 Bhp of power and 763 Nm of torque. The best thing is that all these motors, with the exception of the AMG version are quite fuel efficient than the others in their class. It literally translates to having your cake and eating it too.

To put words into figures, the Mercedes Benz CLS 500 in India with the base diesel engine would give 19.4 kmpl on the highway. The others would follow with figures of 16.3 kmpl, 14.5 kmpl and 10.6 kmpl respectively. Considering the performance on tap, these are more than acceptable figures. For all these engines, there is a 7 speed auto transmission with paddle shifts. The transmission worked well however was a bit lacking in the kickdown department. This was something which is can be easily overcome by the use of paddle shifts. This car also comes with springs as well as electric air suspension. Only outside the cabin would one find the engine singing. Inside the cabin, these was absent. Such is the kind of noise dampener used that not even wind noise percolates in. Cross country trips can also be undertaken without any kind of fatigue creeping in at the end. Truly a wonderful experience and we are awaiting for this car eagerly in India. Expect it to be launched by mid of May 2011 and Mercedes Benz CLS 500 price would hover around the Rs.53 lakhs mark for the base diesel version. A dose of exclusivity, definitely.

Technical specifications of the Mercedes Benz CLS 500 in India

Kerb weight: 2177 (kg)
Overall Height: 1821 (mm)
Overall Length: 4634 (mm)
Overall Width: 1876 (mm)
Rear track: 1525 (mm)
Wheelbase: 2830 (mm)
Boot space: 505 (Litre)
Front Track: 1517 (mm)
Fuel Tank capacity: 83 liters
Gross Vehicle Weight: 2870 (kg)
Ground Clearance: 207 (mm)

Front suspension: Semi-active air-suspension with ADS II, Integral support anti-dive control. automatic level control and stabilizer, 4-link suspension.

Rear suspension: Suspension, Semi-active air-suspension with ADS II, anti-squat / anti-lift, automatic level control,MB-Multi-Link independent rear and stabilizer.

Sales chart figures for the month of November

Sales figures always reflect a comparative figure about a company’s future and the automobile industry is no alien to this. Infact many of the companies gloat and inflate their sales figures to show that they are in the pink of health. Well, we have the actual figures from the show rooms. The top grosser no doubt was the Maruti Suzuki Alto and its K10 variant. It led the sales chart topping out at 32,612. The festive season added to the flair with the Maruti Suzuki Alto’s low pricing. The second one down the line is another stable mate Maruti Suzuki Wagon R. It seems that the K10 engine is making waves within the Maruti stable.

The third top grosser is Maruti’s closest rival, Hyundai Motors India Limited’s Hyundai I10 with 15,103 units. Launch of the newer variants and also engine change resulted in the high sales of the car. The resulting changes have made the car more fuel efficient and good to ride. Following it is a Maruti Suzuki, the Maruti Suzuki Swift. India’s favorite car since the last 5 years is due for a refresh soon and this explains the somewhat not so good sales figures. The 2011 Swift has been shown around various Motor Shows around the world and this would have the same engine configurations as the current ones doing duty in India. Tata Motors finished 5th with their Tata Indica range. This includes the newly launched Tata Indica Vista and also the older variants from the “BPO” range. The figures stood at 9,732. Tata Motors bread and butter model, the Tata Nano, surprisingly didn’t make it to the top inspite of the company’s new ad campaign and also assurance by the company in the form of installing new safety starter, catalytic converter as also a 4 years/60,000 kms warranty. However they were better than last months figures of 510. The new figures crossed the 5,000 mark. Adding to the dismay is the increase in the price of the Tata Nano by Rs.9,000. Next to come is the Maruti Suzuki Swift Dzire. It has been another favorite car from India’s largest manufacturer. It has been almost consistent on the sales chart’s top 10 since the time it was launched.

Maruti’s oldest work horse, the Maruti Omni has also been going back and forth in the sales chart. It just gets new graphics and the stuff. Rumor has it that it would also go the K10 way and this means a much more efficient engine with significant lugging power. It by the way notched up 8,564 unit sales for the company. Hyundai’s bread and butter model, the Hyundai Santro also gave it a tough fight with 8420 units. The Hyundai Santro would shortly receive a diesel engine which would also find its way under the hood of the new Hyundai I10. Another of Tata’s successful iteration from the Tata Indica, the Tata Indigo also ranked in 9th at the sales charts. It brought in numbers to the tune of 8,292 for its manufacturers. This includes the Tata Indigo XL, Tata Indigo regular sedan and also the Tata Indigo E-cs. In total, the entire Indica and Indigo range brought in 18,000 sales. Surprising but befittingly, the Mahindra Bolero also made its way into the sales chart by raking in 7987 units. Befittingly because it has completed a decade of its existence in the Indian market. Other models which barely missed the boat were the Ford Figo at 7,243 and the Hyundai I20 at 7,624 units. Speaking of the Hyundai I20, the company has so far sold 2,50,000 units since its December 2008 debut. This includes the exports which have been made from India.

Piaggio NT3 to enter the small car segment

Italian scooter maker Piaggio has presence in India but not for their scooters but for their three wheeler cargo loaders. Piaggio seems real serious about their Indian operations. Recently at the Milan Motorcycle Show in early November 2010, they showcased a low cost three seat city car. This is quite similar to the SmartFortwo car and features twin rear seats, front and ventral driving position. This concept is called Piaggio NT3. This car would feature a bike’s running gear.

This new Piaggio NT3 is based on the existing Piaggio Ape truck which is there in India. The engine options displayed were for 200cc, 300cc and also a 300cc hybrid engine. The novelty of these engines are that they are all Piaggio’s bike engines. This new car would squarely take on the Tata Nano however its length of 2.4 meters is smaller than even the Tata Nano’s 3099 mm, the Mahindra Reva at 2638 mm, Maruti Alto twins at 3620 mm and 3495 mm respectively. It would also compete with the upcoming Hyundai’s small car H800, Bajaj Renault small car as also Maruti’s small car namely the YE3. As of now the company has very big sales figures for the Indian market. The company’s primary target is to meet the price bracket so that it can have big sales figure as well as enjoy profits at the same time. There would be a heavy localization of components, actually about 93%. For this, the company are also trying to figure out an effective way of manufacturing process. The other challenge would also be to set up a nation wide dealer network. Since Piaggio are known more for their three wheelers, the company has to make an image for itself in the 4 wheeler segment. The aforementioned Piaggio NT3 would be quite spacious as demonstrated by the company’s top brass at the demo.

2012 Toyota Innova – Toyota’s future plans for India

')">Launching their made for India product, the Toyota Etios wasn’t a small task for Toyota Kirloskar Motors that they are planning on revamping the entire look of their favorite people mover, the Toyota Innova. Well, this change would only be in effect in 2012. Unfortunately the car would still be built on the same IMV platform on which the earlier Toyota Innova was based on. Toyota Kirloskar Motors is one company which regularly conducts customer workshops and clinics to ask them about their thoughts on the company’s new designs. For the Toyota Innova, almost all of the customers reported that they were very happy with the performance and looks of the car. So it is now decided by the company that they wouldn’t alter with the looks of the car majorly and anyways it is a major challenge to improve upon an already successful product.

It is rumored that the next generation Toyota Innova would have certain body panels which would be re skinned and also major styling tweaks. In all probability it would sport an aggressive front end look. Also most of the customers said that the new car shouldn’t be elongated more since driving it in the city proves to be a chore. Toyota engineers are looking at ways to improve the third row seating space without increasing the length of the car. This new car would also sport a more powerful engine alongside an automatic option as well. Moreover, the company is also planning to make a 5 seater MPV based on the now famous Toyota Etios platform. This is to plug in the gap between the Etios Q sedan and the Toyota Corolla. India’s largest car manufacturer, Maruti Suzuki India Limited are also planning on a 5 seater luxury MPV which would be code named R3 and would be launched at around 2012. Future variants of the same platform would however depend on the success of the Toyota Etios Q and the Etios Liva. The 2012 Toyota Innova would also be highly re-engineered for it to have a more flexible seating arrangement and also to have different interiors than the more up market Toyota Fortuner suv.

Hyundai Santro Xing diesel Review


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Hyundai Motors India Limited {HMIL} is the second largest manufacturer in the country, only second to Maruti Suzuki Limited. Hyundai first started their operations in India way back in 1996 but it wasn’t before 1998 that they launched their first car in India- the Hyundai Santro. The Hyundai Santro was an immediate success after its launch. It was a welcome change from the slew of Maruti’s small cars. The Hyundai Santro Xing has the reputation of been the first of the tall boy designs in India followed by the Maruti Suzuki Wagon R. The tall boy concept was demonstrated first in the Delhi Auto Expo in 1997 and then subsequently launched in 1998. Hyundai Motors India admits that its bread and butter model in India is the Hyundai Santro now christened the Hyundai Santro Xing erlx. Not content with its success, Hyundai announced that on the eve of its 10 th anniversary, it will sell the Santro car at the same price that it was when it was initially launched. The Hyundai Santro Xing has been discontinued in every other market, where it has been replaced by the new Hyundai I10 but in India, the I10 is one rung above the Santro. To catch a greater chunk of the Indian market, Hyundai Motors India Limited are all set to introduce a diesel version of its popular Santro Xing. Below is the Hyundai Santro Xing diesel review:

Looks of the Hyundai Santro Xing diesel

The looks of the Hyundai Santro Xing diesel would most likely remain unchanged from its petrol sibling. It would most likely sport a CRDI tag on its grill and also on the rear. The front looks typical Korean and over the years has evolved. The earlier Hyundai Santro isn’t something that you would call cute and neither is the current one however we still prefer the old one to the new one.

The new Santro has a V-shaped grill and features re ctangular head lamps.It has short bonnet overhangs and this makes it one of the compact cars in the market today. The silver Hyundai logo sits atop the grill. Two black bumper claddings adorn the space between the head lamps and the air dams. The air dam is a slightly wide affair with slots for the Fog lamps. The bonnet is devoid of any crease and is a plain thing. The outside rear view mirrors are not body colored but they are big and are a big help in the city and highway.

Moving on to the side profile, the car rides on 13 inch steel wheels with plastic covers and no option for alloys. The door handles are also not body colored. The wheels seem apt for moving around this car and it is recommended not to upsize tyre size. However you can definitely go for after-market alloys and one of the black variety. This gives the car an angry menacing look. The car also has a vertical quarter glass. Speaking of glass, been a tall boy design, it boasts of good visibility all around. In fact, it is rated as one of the easiest cars to drive around after the erstwhile Maruti 800.

The rear also has a huge glass area but without a rear wiper. It has vertically stacked rectangular tail lamps.A black cover helps in lifting the hatch. On the bumper,a black plastic cladding cover is prevalent. The stop lamp is amounted atop the rear spoiler.
Interiors

The Hyundai Santro Xing is one of the roomiest small cars in its category and the diesel is expected to be the same. The doors, unfortunately don’t open wide enough though. Its column mounted hydraulic assisted steering was earlier a two spoke affair but now it has become a 3 spoke affair. The meters are white in color and the Santro petrol sadly though, misses out on a rev counter. However expect the diesel to sport one and it would have an icy blue background color. Flanking it would be a digital instrumentation showing the fuel, temperature and other tell tale lights. The flat dashboard has two swooping inserts in it which can hold a bit of your change and papers.

The Hyundai Santro Xing diesel India would have steering mounted audio controls as well as one for the Bluetooth controls. This would a segment first and would make the Santro Xing Diesel pricier, but it would definitely be in the options list. The glove box would be a double door thing in the diesel and would be elegantly carved out. The AC vents would be the same old circular ones. The Hyundai Santro Xing was also the first car in its segment to sport a dead pedal for those long highway drives. The diesel would miss out on entertainment package as standard but it would be a 12,000 more options Pioneer package. The door pockets are deep and lined with some soft material that protects your fingers from getting scratched. The central console would feature two cup holders as well. The gear lever would have an aluminum cover to it.

Overall a cheerful place to be in, than some other hatches in its segment.

Hyundai Santro Xing diesel Photo Gallery

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Handling and ride quality

The Hyundai Santro Xing petrol was always a sweet handler and only let down by its slightly low rubber wear. Its tall boy design means that it is more at home in the city than the highways. It is buffeted by cross-winds on the highway and anything above 120 kmph looks scary. Since the Hyundai Santro Xing diesel would feature a relatively heavy motor, expect the front suspension to have more bush and strut mounts. They would also be of the aluminum type to save weight. The rear seats can comfortably seat 3 without rubbing shoulders but leg room would be a problem. The boot is also small however it is more than the competition at 220 liters.

The Hyundai Santro Xing diesel may feel nose heavy or show heavy pitch during hard braking. The ride is quite comfortable at low speeds however when the speeds rise, the ride of the car becomes nervous. It seems sort of choppy but never to the point of been uncomfortable. The ride used to be silent on the petrol motor however the diesel been a 3 pot motor may be noisy and been a cheap car, it would sport less of sound deadening material as opposed to the Verna.

Engine,Performance and fuel efficiency

The Hyundai Santro Xing diesel will sport a 1.2 liter 3 pot CRDi engine pumping out 75 bhp @ 4000 rpm and also putting out a maximum torque of 157 Nm @3800 rpm. This is one of the best figures achieved by a small Crdi engine. It would be a DOHC unit and one having 12 valves, 4 per cylinder. Hyundai Motors India is more famous for having launched the first Crdi engine in the Hyundai Accent and it has been a huge success. This would be the company’s smallest Crdi engine till date and will also perform duties in the Hyundai I10 later on. The gearbox would be a 5 speed manual with a 4 speed auto coming later on.

The diesel car would sprint from 0-100 kmph in approximately 16.4 seconds. Its fuel efficiency is pegged at around 18 kmpl in the city and this figure rises to 26 kmpl on the highway. This makes it one of the most efficient small diesel cars around.

Braking would be handled by up-rated discs on the front and bigger drums on the rear. Safety features would take on a new high with the Hyundai Santro Xing diesel sporting two air bags as standard and will also get ESP as an option. It also comes with 3 point ELR seat belts as standard.

Verdict

The Hyundai Santro Xing Diesel or Crdi would be a huge success when it would be launched. Indians are known for lapping up diesel motors in a jiffy. Hyundai Motors India have always got the pricing right for their cars and we expect the Santro diesel to be no different. It has got the best fuel efficiency of small cars, diesel running costs, Hyundai reliability and spacious interiors. The only things going against it would be the price point and staid looks. With Hyundai Santro Xing diesel price, it may cannibalize the sales of the Hyundai I10. Hyundai Santro Xing India is expected to be launched in January 2011 and would sport a price tag starting from Rs. 4.10 lakhs to 4.50 lakhs for the top end diesel version.

Engine specifications of Hyundai Santro Diesel Car are as follows:

Engine: 1.2 Liter 3 cylinder engine DOHC, 4 Valves per Cylinder, 12 Valves in all

Dimensions of engine: Bore x Stroke – 75.00 mm × 84.50 mm

Maximum Output : 75bhp @ 4000RPM

Maximum Torque : 157NM @ 3800 rpm

Top Speed : Approximately 158kmph