Gujarat is the new automobile hub

Gujarat seems to be the hot spot in India this year. After all, this state boasts of building Tata Nanos. Now, it seems to be the apple of all eyes as all the automobile manufacturers are trying to set up their plants there. The latest to enter the bandwagon is Hyundai Motors India Limited. This news comes on the heel of Hyundai preparing to invest Rs 400 crores for manufacturing diesel power plants. Dholera is the place where a few of Hyundai officials were spotted visiting. Early on, another batch of Hyundai officials had visited this site and they confirmed to their affinity to this place, however they couldn’t commit to anything solid and said that talks are still going on. As of now, their recommendations and observations ahev already reached the Hyundai top brass and it is estimated that the company would take a decision by the start of the new year.

This particular area is spread over 80,000 hectares and is one amongst the special investment region (SIR) in Gujarat. To add to the convenience factor and to lure more investors, the Gujarat government are setting up a second international airport in the vicinity. This proposed Hyundai plant is just 92 kms away from the airport region. As of now, India’s second largest car manufacturer only has 2 manufacturing plants in India and both are located in Sriperumbdur in state of Tamil Nadu. Due to the heavy demand of its cars, they are thinking of ramping up production and so the need for one more production facility. As it is as of now, the company have to source their diesel engines directly from Korea. This is the reason why diesel engined cars from the Hyundai stables are a bit expensive. After this new facility is set up, Hyundai would be manufacturing diesel engines in India for their Verna, i10 and 120 range of vehicles. If the demand rises, they may even make the Hyundai Santa Fe in India.

Speaking of Gujarat market, there is one vehicle manufacturer, Mahindra and Mahindra who are yet to consider this area for sale of their Mahindra Reva-I vehicles. The reason given is that the Gujarat government’s total lack of apathy towards electric vehicles. However this hasn’t stopped the manufacturer from percolating its used electric vehicles into the used car market in Gujarat. Since the question of state government incentives doesn’t arise for the used car market, a Mahindra Reva-I vehicle would be a good choice for those looking for an electrical vehicle. On a single charge, the Reva-I runs for around 70-80 kilometers. This however depends on the way you drive it. It is thought, sufficient for those trips to the vegetable market. Some of the dealers quoted that they get about 10-15 enquiries per day however they can manage to sell only 2 or 3 cars. We had reported earlier this month that the Mahindra Reva-I was launched in the city of Pune and has a price tag of Rs 3.1 lakhs.

Interestingly, Mahindra sources say that they are hopeful of a good response for the Mahindra Reva-I in the used market since this car runs on a battery and this battery has a life of only 3 years and has to be replaced after that. The cost comes to approximately rs 50,000. All the current items in the used market have had their batteries replaced and are as good as new. In this way, One wouldn’t have to pay the price for a new car however still get one in mint condition at half its price. In the New Delhi market, the new cars are priced at Rs 2.7 lakhs whereas in the Bangalore area, the Mahindra Reva-I goes for only Rs 2.5 lakhs. The reason for this low cost in a new car is due to the heavy government subsidies chipping in. The price for a used Mahindra Reva car in Gujarat as of now is Rs 1.4 lakhs and would go up or down depending on the make and model.

After Mahindra and Mahindra picking up 55.2% stake in the Chennai based Maini Reva company, the latter has been growing in leaps and bounds. It also signals Mahindra’s presence in the electric car segment which not many of the major car manufacturers in India can boast of. After acquiring the majority stake, Mahindra and Mahindra formed a new company namely Mahindra Reva Electric Vehicle Company. This company would launch a 4 seater electric car early on  in 2011 and it would be named as the Reva NXR. To this very effect, Mahindra and Mahindra are also preparing a new plant in Bangalore. Mahindra and Mahindra also have got access to electric car technology from Maini Reva and would use it in their SUV range namely the Mahindra Scorpio, Mahindra Bolero and Mahindra Xylo. Whether it would be used in the Mahindra Renault Logan is doubtful however we can still keep our fingers crossed. Mahindra also plan to have a brand ambassador for the electric vehicles so that they have a new ad campaign to promote this vehicle. An electric car makes sense as a second car since it doesn’t pollute the atmosphere, there is no need to fill up petrol and all one has to do is charge it overnight, go for those small trips. Agreed it does have it disadvantages with the low range that they offer as of now and the expensive replacement for the batteries. Mahindra and Mahindra chairman, Mr Pawan Goenka had committed earlier this year that they are thinking of introducing cheap technology for batteries and ones which would have a higher replacement gap. They have already begun testing these batteries in prototypes and we do hope that this make to the production line up very soon.

All said and done, it seems that the state of Gujarat would definitely be a business center hub for automobile manufacturers as reports trickle in that even Ford Motors India are in the process of setting up a new plant there. Ford motors India only have a single manufacturing facility in Chennai and are looking forward to introduce about 8 new models in India by the end of 2015. For this goal, they want to increase production facilities and setting up a new plant is the only option since the existing one is already overworked.

Tips on how not to void your car warranty

Every new car comes with a warranty. Why even now, some used cars come with a warranty, provided you buy them from a reputed outlet or a used car facility. I have had some of friends who have new cars however due to some or the other reason lost out on their warranty thing. Taking a cue from their examples, I have conjured up a list of things that one can do to avoid voiding of their warranty. Before going ahead with the tips, I would like to elaborate on the benefits of warranty. Its not that, people wouldn’t know about it but its just that some of the new buyers may not be too knowledgeable about it. To start off with, it is an agreement or a bond between the consumer and the car manufacturer. The car manufacturer would take care of any hassles with the car provided those are listed in the agreement or bond. There are a certain list of dos and donts given in the user manual guideline as well. Warranty stands good for the various parts of the car and not on the car as a whole entity. In this case, if suppose due to your negligence, the car’s battery died, then the warranty for the battery would be void and not on the car as a whole. Listed below are some of the common errors that customers make and which can void the warranty.

Modifications for performance-

This was one of the reasons why many of the Maruti Suzuki Swifts of late and the first generation Honda City were denied warranty. Many of the customers wanted to make their cars racing machines and hence installed power chips or cold air intakes. This lead to some of the mechanical failure as was reported in the statistics. Even if you want to modify the vehicle, it is recommended that you do it after the warranty of your car ends. The other way round, if you cannot wait till then is to remove those extra mods before you check in the vehicle for service. Many of the modern tuning boxes like the Pete’s tuning box would hardly take 5 minutes to remove or attach and can be done at home. Though it is yet to be proven with proofs that these modifications do have a major contribution to the failure of the parts, the manufacturers do think otherwise. Out here in India, we don’t have much option but to follow their rules however in some markets like the US, you can invoke the Magnuson-Moss Warranty Act of 1975. This rule challenges the manufacturer to prove that the car or part of it was damaged due to the warranty. In India, you have the best option of going to a consumer court but that would still take eons.

Fluids-

All the necessary fluids should be replaced or topped up according to the manufacturer’s schedule listed in the owner’s manual. This is another thing which many of the customers conveniently fail to do. A friend of my friend brought a Maruti 800 way back in 2005 and didn’t even bother to check in for the first service. He was of the opinion that since he doesn’t use the car too often, it doesn’t need servicing. He had a bit of mechanical knowledge and he changed the engine oil himself however he filled in the same used engine oil again. This went on till 6000 kms and when he finally turned in his car for service at a authorized service station, they said that his car’s piston block has suffered damage and he had to fork out a hefty bill for repairing it. I suppose that the readers of this article wouldn’t be so negligent towards their vehicles. Also use the recommended grading oil or the one suggested by the manufacturers. This would be another reason to void the warranty if they find that the oil or fluid you have used isn’t to their specifications. Timely change is another required thing.

Unnecessary installations-

To give a sporty look to their cars, many of the owners go in for installing spoilers or to protect their vehicle from damage, bull guards. These are also abhored by the manufacturers since many consider the bull guards to be more damaging to the structure of the vehicle rather than induce safety. Some claim that installing bull guards cause the structural integrity to be damaged and doesn’t help in the crumple zones to absorb the energy rather than transmit it to the occupants or passengers. Installing a spoiler doesn’t amount to voiding of warranties. Earlier manufacturers used to cry hoarse about fitting in after market music systems if there are no electrical installation provisions given in the vehicle. However as of now, the modern vehicles coming in our way already have all these provisions. Moreover, even after market systems don’t require one to splice the electricals. Installing HID kits would also void the warranty in some cases if the bulbs used have a more wattage than what can be supported by the battery. Also thawing of the glass may occur which may cause it to become milky and hence come in the way of providing clear vision at night time.

Wheels and tyre size-

When manufacturers launch a car, they give it the best shot. They test a car for its correct tyre size, suspension set up and choice of wheels. It is best not to tamper with this configuration. If you have steel wheels on your car and want to go for alloy ones, its acceptable  but then upgrading the tyre size to something bigger would cause undue stress on the suspension components or sometimes on the steering wheel as well. There are many who put gum ball sized tyres just for the sake of looking good and make their car one of a kind. All these show offs can be done once the car is out of warranty. Before doing so necessary suspension modifications have to be done, only at a reputed shop. Improper suspension, tyre combination raises questions about the vehicle’s movements and stability. This may lead to accidents and one cannot blame the manufacturer for all this things. They would straight away deny the warranty on the entire vehicle. There have been many instances when the car’s steering wheel has got problems due to the fact that suspension was too cumbersome for it to handle.

These are just some of the tips and I hope that these do prove to be of use to you or any of your friends.

Car maintenance tips – Tyres, brakes and suspension

Driving to work is usually a chilled out process if you are an enthusiast however when you are driving just for the sake of reaching your office, then it is actually a chore. Enthusiasts would note even a slight dip in performance whereas the ones considering driving a chore would rather not take notice. The purpose for this article is that because you all know that we cater to both the segments even though we abhor the latter and are very much a part of the former. We have given you some of the car maintenance tips for your tyres, brakes as well as suspension components.

The first and foremost thing is to go through the owner’s manual. The owner’s manual is written keeping in mind the test results of the components used in making the aforementioned parts. The manufacturer actually test these materials under extreme conditions so that an average customer shouldn’t feel conned should his vehicle’s brakes pack up before the scheduled time frame. Tyres are one thing which every owner’s manual would ask you to check every 5000 kms and rotate them. This would make sure that the wear for the tyres is even. Also re-balance the tyres. This is important because when the tyres were fitted on to the car, they had a certain amount of rubber on them however as the time passes by, the tyres start losing that rubber on them. If you are more of the types using the launch control{found only in some Porsches and BMWs in India} in your car often, then your tyres would be eaten up at a faster rate. Balancing them allows to have a smooth ride whereas an unbalanced wheel would lead to pulling of the vehicle to one side of the road or a choppy ride quality. When you have a holiday, remove all those stones and rubble stuck in the tyres. This would be one way of ensuring that the tyres have a longer life span. Also, regularly ask the service technician to let you know if the tyres need to be changed. One more important thing to keep in mind is to even use the spare tyre while rotating. This would mean an even tread for it also. Check for the tyre pressure every week. If your tyres are of the tubeless variety, then stick to nitrogen. It is cold and helps get optimum performance from your tyres. If there is a sidewall which has burst, it would be best to replace the tyre and not wait for sometime.

Brakes are a vital and single handed way of bringing a vehicle to halt faster. These are life savers and need to be tended for carefully. The disc brake pads tend to function with lesser efficiency should they be wet and it is imperative that after washing a car, never try to speed. The disc brake rotor would have to first wipe the moisture and then apply pressure to the wheels to retard motion. Dirt and grime stick to the wheels and this also affects the brake application. If you would have ever noticed, try to stop a vehicle while you are in mud and it would take the  same time to stop it as you would take while in wet road conditions. The owner’s manual would also specify as to when to replace the brake drums or the disc pads. Many owners wouldn’t care to check the brakes as long as they are functioning. Few would think twice when they hear a grinding noise or even a squeal when applying brakes. Usually the squeal appears when there is dirt stuck inside the brake drums or even the disc rotors. Periodic cleaning of the brakes would eliminate this problem. The service personnel would check if the drums are worn out or even if the disc brake calliper needs a replacement. Resurfacing or polishing of the brakes would also help them in giving optimum performance.

Suspension is one component which enables a car to absorb all the shock waves transmitted from the road surface and cushion the occupants from the road harshness. Driving on rough roads leads to a premature wear for the suspension components. When joints and the suspension bushings wear out due to regular use, then it is best to get them replaced. If they aren’t replaced within time, the steering as well as the wheels also start wearing off prematurely. If these aren’t repaired in time, they would eventually make the vehicle lose traction, impede the braking abilities and also provide a harsh ride quality. Some ball joints from the steering system also tend to wear out because of a worn out suspension. When you hear a thud sound every time you go over a pothole means that one or more of the bushings have worn out and require your immediate attention. Small sounds are indicators of something going amiss in your car’s suspension. A suspension which hasn’t been maintained well would also lead to the cabin developing rattles. Some rubber parts which form part of the suspension components also start wearing off after some time and this would also lead to improper balancing of the vehicle leading to accidents. We may have seen many of the public transport buses on the roads with a saggy suspension. To maintain the suspension integrity, it is best advised to go slow over potholed roads or roads with bad infrastructure. Also don’t overload the vehicle than what it is supposed to be. In a routine checkup, always get the undercarriage inspected for any damage due to flying stones or debris. Watch out for any leak from the suspension.

Indian Car Of The Year {ICOTY} award 2010 report

Doing your bit in your respective field is a bit of achievement especially when no one has actually attempted it so far in their portfolio so far. But getting an award for it is a sure shot way of celebrating your success. Yes, the year 2010 is coming to an end and the awards for the cars and bikes launched this year was finally presented at a glittering ceremony held in Mumbai. Since we deal with cars as of now, we would be concentrating more on the 4 wheeled machines. First come the jury for these awards and they include the who’s who of the automotive world. Between them they have about 50 years of experience in the automotive sector. They are Gautam Sen and Bob Rupani of Auto India, Pablo Chaterji and Srinivas Krishnan of BS Motoring, Vikrant Singh and Yogendra Pratap of Auto Bild, Sriram Satyanarayanan and Girish Karkera from BBC Top Gear India, Aspi Bhathena of Car India, Bertrand D’souza and Sirish Chandran of OVERDRIVE.

Back to the awards function, it was sponsored by JK tyres. The cars which were in contention were the Ford Figo, Maruti Suzuki WagonR, Chevrolet Beat, Volkswagen Vento, Nissan Micra, Skoda Yeti, Volkswagen Polo and the Tata Aria. Unfortunately our favourite, the Toyota Etios couldn’t make it to the list since when the Toyota was launched, the final list of contenders was already made up. However it would definitely be one of the nominees for the next year’s award. There were many presentations from the various nominees listing their strengths of course and various other details. Well, the ICOTY award 2010 goes to the Ford Figo. The cars were judged on parameters like manoeuvrability, functionality, driver appeal, fuel efficiency, environmental concern, safety, design, comfort and finally price. The value for money proposition and also any new technological innovations on the way also add up as side kicks. Cars which have few mechanical enhancements didn’t make it to the list as the guidelines were quite clear that only new cars on new platforms would be eligible for the nomination process. The winner edged the others by 83 points. The Ford Figo was closely followed by the Volkswagen Vento which bagged 57 points, The third spot was shared by the Skoda Yeti and the Volkswagen Polo with 37 points.

A beaming President& MD, Ford India, Mr. Michael Boneham mentioned that the company is elated with the response given to its first small car in India and with over 60,000 Ford Figos on the Indian roads now, within less than 8 months of its launch, it is a great achievement. He also congratulated everyone involved in the development of the made for India car, the Ford Figo and also thanked the customers for their whole hearted support. Chairman of ICOTY, Mr Srinivas Krishnan, editor of BS Motoring said that it has been 6 years since the awards were started and now, it has become an industry benchmark with all the major car manufacturers vying for it. The Indian motorcycle of the year {IMOTY} went to the Honda Twister.

Tips for driving in fog

Winter has set in but where is the cold that we all want? From the past few days, all we have been experiencing is some cold wave with lots of fog. It makes driving or riding an uncomfortable experience. Especially when one is already late for their office or for any other purpose. The best option would be to park your vehicle at the side of the road  and wait till the fog lifts up. I don’t think that would be acceptable with many as this would mean waste of time. I have compiled up some of the tips for driving in fog.

    • First and foremost, the lights must be operational. Not many care for the maintenance of their lights as long as they work in nights. Other than that, they wouldn’t deserve a second glance. Before setting out on your journey, wipe the glass covering the head lamps with hot water. After doing this, use a simple newspaper to clean the glass area. This would ensure that there are no swirl marks. Also if the glass area is darkened, it would be wise to replace them and go for new ones. The ones you buy should also be original ones and matching the wattage of the lamps installed. This is advisable because the glass would then black out after some time of usage. The tail lamps would also have to be checked to see that they are working and also whether the brake lamps are in prime condition.
    • Before entering a fog filled area, slow down a bit. Often when in fog, you feel that you aren’t moving too fast as a slow motion effect is created. Don’t be deceived by it and go slow. You might reach your destination a bit late however in one piece.

    • Don’t try to overtake unless absolutely required. This is a strict rule to follow should you be driving in conditions of fog. Also, it is best to avoid even changing lanes. If you have a car moving ahead of you in a straight road, maintain a safe distance and follow it.
    • In foggy conditions, don’t keep your windows open. Instead turn on the heater and put it in recirculation mode. This would avoid the outside air from entering the car.
    • When driving in fog, be sure to turn off the high beam. Many people have this notion that putting on high beam would ensure that they get the maximum visibility. They couldn’t have been more wrong. Infact, high beam makes the driver coming from the opposite direction to be disoriented. The high beam also distorts vision. Putting on fog lamps{if you have one} or even low beam ensures that the road ahead is visible to you and at the same time, you are looking out for the safety of others.
    • Road marking are another important part which help in safe motoring in conditions of fog. Drive slowly and try to be as close to the road markings to ensure that you know where the road is leading to. This would keep your focus on the road.
    • Before going around a corner. Try the flash lights thrice so that vehicles from the other end know that you are going to corner. Also put on the indicators well in advance so that the one following you doesn’t bang into you. Also brake early so that the person behind has time to react. It is also advisable to turn on the wipers and defrosters to ensure maximum visibility.
    • If for some reason, you want to pull off the road, be sure to turn on the indicators well in advance so that even if the person following you is trying to overtake you, then he would be warned well in advance. In fog, other drivers also have the same problem of less visibility and if at all you want to brake, brake slowly. As far as possible, avoid urgent braking.
    • Last but definitely not the least tips for driving in fog is to keep your calm and cool even if there is traffic. This would ensure that you can concentrate on the road ahead and steer clear of any obstacles.

      Nanotechnology to be used in all Indian vehicles

      Why is the world going Nano? By Nano, we don’t mean our own homegrown small car from the Tata Motors stable. It means Nanotechnology. Now, nanomaterial based things can have many materialistic applications and some even have the potential to redefine energy. Even some of the Nanotechnology has replaced the expensive material namely platinum in fuel cells. These act by been more efficient and at the same time more of the eco friendly types. Various crystals come together to form a nano particle which in turn have its own properties.

      Lubrication by a special mechanism which consists of nested spheres reduces the wear, tear and even friction between moving parts in a car engine. One such example was discovered in Weizmann Institute of Science, Israel which was named Nanolub and had many nanotubes of inorganic compounds and nano-spheres. The great promise shown by these Nano particles help in the fact that they vastly reduce emission some times even to the extent of zero emissions. Newly developed materials, which with the use of Nanotechnology helps in getting electric, light weight, low cost and as always low emission vehicles.

      Another technology which is now widey used is nano coating. It helps in protecting the surfaces of automobiles, ships, gear boxes for all the vehicles, cement manufacturing process, mining and also paints. This increases the life span of an engine and also helps in reducing noise from it. This has another benefit of cutting costs and also generating higher revenue for the company. It is a known fact that in a big industry like cement or even automobiles, halting production work just for routine repairs would prove to be a very costly affair and moreover isn’t feasible. Nano materials help in cutting down the servicing time and also increase the service span so that this doesn’t hamper the usual production cycle in a industry. In India, many companies have adopted the Nanotechnology in their process however the one that stands out is Indian Oil. They have, in their lubricant process, used Nanotechnology. A recent survey also proved that Indian Oil’s products have the highest customer satisfaction ratings out of all the luricants in the Indian market. They have a higher thermal conductivity, reduced friction and enhanced reserve acidicity. While their use in the lubrication process is very small, akin the same to a catalyst, they cannot be discounted.

      Once the commercial aspects of the Nanotechnology are acknowledged by the electronic industry, its use would be widely accepted. It is estimated that about $100 billion would be the market size for all this Nano concept. Also the Indian automobile industry would be very much in the contention, with their 5 million vehicles per year consumption and high emission gases. The best use for nano particles is to reduce the emissions and also to resolve many of the industry’s energy consumption.

      Nissan Leaf launched in Japan

      Nissan Motor Corporation have a technological innovation with them and it is aptly named as the Nissan Leaf in keeping with the theme of it been a green vehicle. This vehicle was earlier launched in the US market to gauge its response and it passed with flying colors. So much so that within its launch, about 5000 bookings were received. Now, Nissan Motor Corporation have decided to launch this car in their hometown, Japan.  It has been launched in Japan on December 21, 2010. It has received 6000 bookings so far and the first vehicle would be delivered to its owner before the end of this year.

      For adding more convenience to this vehicle, the company has installed 200-volt normal chargers at their dealerships and mind you, there are around 2,200 Nissan dealers in Japan. 220 of this very high tech outlets will have a facility of quick chargers that can recharge the battery in about 30 minutes and upto 80% of its capacity. The next level for this company would be to get as many as charging outlets so that people buying this car wouldn’t have to worry about their charging points. Nissan Motor Corporation is also thinking of having a JV with Mitsubishi Motors who also have their new electric vehicle namely the i-MiEV EV for having quick chargers which would charge the vehicles for about 70% of their capacity. There are about 70 Mitsubishi dealers who would benefit from this venture. By this deal, the owners of both the Mitsubishi i-MiEV and also the Nissan Leaf would have a ease of convenience wherein which they can get their vehicles charged at any of the Nissan or Mitsubishi outlets.

      To enhance the appeal for their car, the company also has a navigation system installed on the Nissan Leaf which would give them direct routes for a charging point. For a flat monthly fee of $18, the company also provides for information about the charging facilities. Currently the Nissan Leaf only has a range of 200 kms on a full charge. The good news is that the Nissan Leaf would soon be launched in the Indian market as well. That they are already are on the thinking path of getting as many as of their vehicles in India is a sure shot way of garnering up their sales. They are also in the process of opening about 3 show rooms in various Indian cities in a month. The pricing of this vehicle would also hold a key since for the price conscious Indian market, it is a make or break for any car manufacturer.

      Mahindra Thar, the desert safari finally arrived

      Mahindra and Mahindra are famous for their jeeps and off road vehicles. Their recent acquisition of Ssangyong Motors has all the more given them access to international range of SUVs. However what surprised us was their recent launch in India on December 21, 2010. It wasn’t an international SUV but their very own old school SUV, the Mahindra Thar. It would be available in two variants and these are dependent on where you reside. If you reside in the urban areas, you would get the Mahindra Thar CRDe 4×4 version or even the Mahindra Thar CRDe 4×2 version. For the rural public, their off-roading set of wheels would be the Mahindra Thar DI 4×2 and Mahindra Thar DI 4×4 variants. The reason for this has got to do more with the emission norms rather than positioning of the vehicles.

      The Mahindra Thar vehicle takes its inspiration from its own range of vehicles namely the MM540/MM550. We do remember going on a safari in the Gir forests with the former and what fun it was. They are actually trend setters in their own category. They are quite reliable as well. The Mahindra Thar also wants to build up on its qualities and is thinking on attaining cult status as well. The Mahindra Thar has a short foot print at 5.25 meters of turning radius. Its departure angle is 30 degrees and its approach angle is 46 degrees. The seating capacity of this off-roader is 7 however the comfortability factor would have to be taken into count considering its an open top vehicle. It would most probably be used for all those filmi stunts wherein the goons are chasing the hero and he is running for his dear life. Jokes apart, it would be lapped up by the people who run desert safaris. The Mahindra Thar CRDe 4×4 version or the Mahindra Thar CRDe 4×2 version would appeal more to the urban hippies and hip hop crowd who would be looking for the cool quotient factor away from those crores that they spend on their set of wheels.

      The Mahindra Thar DI 4×2 and the Mahindra Thar DI 4×4 use a 1.5 liter diesel engine producing 63 bhp@ 3200 rpm and 182 Nm of torque at 1540 rpm. Since it would be used more for the rural usage, it is tuned for BS3 emission norms whereas the Mahindra Thar CRDe 4×4 version and the Mahindra Thar CRDe 4×2 version are tuned for BS4 emission norms and make do with a 2.5 liter engine which produces 105 bhp @ 3600 rpm and a cool 252 Nm of torque from as low as 1700-2000 rpm. The former engine is available in the Mahindra Bolero whereas the latter is offered in both the Mahindra Xylo and the Mahindra Bolero as well. The latter would also be one of the most powerful engines offered in India for an open top SUV.

      A novelty feature offered in the Mahindra Thar is the AC ducts, inner piping linings and also space for fitting in an AC. Unfortunately these would be after market stuff but wouldn’t void the warranty offered by the manufacturer. The soft top is also designed in such a way that it would be able to take in the load of the AC and wouldn’t allow air to pass through. The Mahindra Thar has been launched in the cities of New Delhi, Mumbai, Bengaluru, Mangalore, Jaipur, Chandigarh and Cochin. The rest of the country would have to wait till January 2011.

      The icing on the cake is that you are getting a true blue off roader at Rs 4.47 lakh for the Mahindra Thar DI 4×2 version and Rs 5.99 lakh for the Mahindra Thar CRDe 4×4 version. All these are ex-Mumbai prices.

      MAHINDRA THAR CRDE 4×4

      Displacement: I-4, CRDE, 2498cc
      Max power: 105 bhp @ 3800 rpm
      Max torque: 250 Nm @ 1800-2000 rpm
      Transmission: 5-speed manual

      STEERING

      Type: power assist with Rack and pinion
      Turning radius: 5.25 m

      SUSPENSION

      Rear: leaf springs with Semi-elliptical coil
      Front: stabilizer bars and independent with torsion

      TYRES: P 235/70 R16, tubeless

      BRAKES

      Front: Ventilated Discs
      Rear: self adjusting Drums

      DIMENSIONS

      L/W/H (mm): 3930/1720/1940
      Wheelbase: 2450 mm
      Track (F/R): 1445/1346 mm
      Approach/Departure Angle: 46 deg/30 deg

      Continuaton of the Nissan ULC project

      Earlier we had reported about the Nissan Motors India Limited’s plans about the low cost car. Well, now we have unearthed another part of a scoop wherein the company would not be parterning with Ashok Leyland, their old partner, for this project. The reason given is that Ashok Leyland doesn’t want to be a part of the project. The Hindujas feel that the segment in which they are trying to put their hands is highly competitive and they may end up burning their hands. For this very reason, Nissan Motors India Limited thinks that they may be looking out for a new partner or may even go solo in this project. This small car would be positioned below the Nissan Micra which is been projected as a more up market car. However the car in discussion now would be positioned above the ULC. It would be more on the lines of Maruti A-star, Maruti Wagon R, Maruti Estilo, Hyundai Santro, Hyundai I10 and the likes of Chevrolet and Ford small cars.

      This multi crore investment project is aimed at starting a new product range for India with the small car setting off the project. Apart from the Nissan Micra, the company also exports the Maruti A-star under a different name and nose job. This car is known as the Nissan Pixo. It is exported to Europe. As of now Nissan Motors India Limited are doing research, model positioning and product viability. They are also conducting customer clinics to have a view from across sections. Till now, the company has received positive feedback. They would also now have to check out for a new design for this car. For a small car, the quality of materials used and ones befitting the Nissan badge would also have to be adhered to. The new car would be priced between Rs.3.0 – Rs.3.5 lakhs. Watch out this space for more information.

      Tata Nano receives the best international design award


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      What a better way to receive appreciation than to be appreciated by an international personality. This is the same which happened with one of the Indian cars. Nah, it isn’t one of those big international names doing business in India. It is our very own Tata Motors and the product is none other than the world famous small car, the Tata Nano. This honor was bestowed on the Tata Nano by the Chicago Athenaeum: Museum of Architecture and Design with the European Centre for Architecture Art Design and Urban Studies.

      Tata Motors CEO Ratan Tata said in a press statement that this award was conferred on the Tata Nano due to the reason that even though what its small exterior dimensions may suggest, the car still has enough space to seat 4 inside with reasonable comfort. It also has one of the most fuel efficient engines in India. It is even more spacious than the other smallest car in India, namely the Maruti 800. Sales of this car were dented recently due to the car catching fire incidents and some reports of fuel efficiency been not upto the mark thing. However Tata Motors were quick to rectify this situation by adding a fuse to the electrical circuit and also a heat guard over the silencer. To improve the appeal of this small car, the company also recently started giving the car over the shelf and for those opting for finance, the company itself started dishing out a special finance scheme wherein which the prospect can get his/her loan approved within 48 hours.

      This is definitely a moment of pride for India wherein the designed in India Tata Nano gets such accolades.