Upcoming cars in Indian Market

November 13, 2008 at 9:28 am (Latest News) (, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , )

Hyundai i20

Hyundai-i20

Hyundai-i20

Expected in Nov 2008
Estimated price: 5-6 lakh

“The i20 hatchback is an open secret” said HS Lheem, MD, HMIL, at the launch of the i10 Kappa. Open secret or not, it is one of the most awaited cars this year. It will give the Swift a run for its money, what with its looks and value for money. Judging from the i30 in Europe, it will show customers a whole new level of quality as well.The i20 is going to have the i10 Kappa’s 1.2-litre mill under its hood in the base model, and the range might top out with the newly developed 1.6-litre diesel mill under its hood. The i20 might turn Hyundai’s fortunes around in the large hatchback segment – something the Getz didn’t manage to do. Hyundai plans to manufacture the i20 solely in India and export it all over the world, so quality will be top-notch. We’re hoping for the customary aggressive Hyundai pricing as well.

Specs (Speculated)

Car Segment: Small-segment, premium hatchback
Fuel Type:
Petrol/Diesel

Personal Comments: The i20 might turn Hyundai’s fortunes around in the large hatchback segment.
Fiat Linea

Fiat-linea

Fiat-linea

Expected in Dec 2008
Estimated price: Rs. 7-9 Lakh

Biggies have been pouring in with well-packaged family sedans to lure the fancy of the Indians. It was Honda which came in with its City and then Ford introduced the Fiesta. Hyundai joined the bandwagon too and its Verna became instantly popular. The latest entrant in this segment has been Maruti which has hit the bulls eye with the hot-selling SX4.

Fiat on the other-hand has been miserable as far as sales chart and success in India is concerned. The Italian marque tried its hand at the C-segment with Siena and later Petra. Both did not sell. Now, with the new alliance in place in form of the JV with Tata, Fiat is thinking big for this segment. Thinking big in the shape of Linea.

A lot has been talked about this car internationally as well. The Fiat Linea has been designed from dot by Fiat Style Center. The main objective was to design a sedan which would appeal to all. So the car had to look uncluttered yet elegant. Sporty even, if possible! Which the Linea manages to look, with aplomb.

The Fiat Linea is not just a Grande Punto with a boot. It is a far cry from that! Linea sports smooth lines and there is a perfect harmony between the sharply raked windscreen, A, B and C pillars and it gives the car a uniform look from nose to tail. The front is characterized by large projector type headlamps which have a ‘Bravo-inspired’ look to them. The grille gives a stubbly look and helps the car look intimidating. The neatly integrated fog-lamps also add to the look. The rear is dominated by a simple yet attractive boot and those tail-lamps endows the behind with a luxury-car look. Standing at over 4.5m in length and 1.7m in width, the Linea is 1.5m tall and carries a wheelbase of 2600mm. It looks stunning, specially in profile. A gorgeous machine this.

Equally good looking is the inside of the Linea. The interior, as expected from Fiat, has a spacious and airy feel about it. The well-sculpted seats and ergonomically laid-out dash and center console speak of a focussed approach towards comfort and practicality. The quality of materials used is right up there with the best in the business and steering mounted controls will elevate the comfort factor all the more. The orange back-light looks super cool!

Fiat has always been known for good ride and handling compromise, so it will be business as usual for Linea as well. Expect comfy ride quality and dynamic handling with accurate steering response and a delightful gearbox. Hope Fiat has gained knowledge from its past experience and will offer the Linea with all the safety and luxury options like ABS, airbags, climate control, leather upholstery etc.

An array of engines are there in Fiat’s kitty that it could offer the Linea with. A 1.3-litre multi-jet diesel that already powers the Swift could come in as an entry-level diesel option which will be complemented by a 1.4L diesel and petrol option too. It is our personal wish that the Linea be powered with a 1.6L petrol motor in addition to the 1.9L diesel. Giving another petrol option might be a 1.4-litre, 78bhp engine.

The Fiat Linea is going to precede the Grande Punto as far as the launch date is concerned and should be here by mid next year. Expect a good-looking, well-behaved and comfortable sedan which would have all the ingredients to disturb the sound sleep of its rivals. A winner it can be for Fiat, provided the pricing is bang on with the adversaries.

Specs (Speculated)

Car Segment: Mid-sized sedan
Fuel Type:
Petrol/Diesel
Engine:
1.4L Petrol/1.3, 1.4L Diesel
Max Power/Torque:
Petrol – 78PS/115Nm, Diesel – 90PS/200Nm; 120PS/206Nm
Dimensions (LxWxH):
4560x1730x1494

Personal Comments: An extremely competent sedan which will have a very tractable motor in the diesel avatar. Build quality will be top notch and so will be the ride and handling characteristics. Grouch? It’s a Fiat!
Mahindra Xylo

Mahindra-xylo

Mahindra-xylo

Expected in December 2008
Estimated price: 6-9 Lakh

The Mahindra Xylo will be Mahindra’s first attempt at building an MPV (Multi-Purpose Vehicle). This MPV will compete directly with the Toyota Innova. This vehicle is expected to be launched in December this year.The Xylo will the same heart as that of the Scorpio, the 2.6 CRDe, as well as the 2.2 M-Hawk’s engine as options. However, the latter one will sport a higher price tag. Its performance will give the Innova a run for its money. As Mahindra is using the same engine as the Scorpio, the vehicle is expected to cost less than the Innova.

Specs (Speculated)

Car Segment: MPV, Hatchback
Engine: 2.6L, 2.2L Diesel
Max Power/Torque: 115bhp, 120bhp

Personal Comments: Worth the money.
Fiat Grande Punto

Fiat-Grande-Punto

Fiat-Grande-Punto

Expected in May-June 2009
Estimated price: 5-7 Lakh

Luca di Montezemolo had reasons to be worried. Not a man to get bogged down, he took the challenge of putting Fiat back from shambles to the peak of the mountain. For this, he needed a car, a good one at that. A car that would appeal to the masses and bring in good numbers. The Grande Punto was just that.

It turned around Fiat’s fortune in a way that could be possible only in dreams. The Grande Punto is the third generation of the Punto and was launched globally in 2005. Styled by Giorgetto Giugiaro, the Grande Punto has a beautiful body to exhibit with sloped back headlamps and muscular wheel arches which lends it a mean yet attractive look. The rear section integrates well into the bumper and the large tail lamps give added character to the overall stance of the Grande Punto.

The interior are also pleasing and compliment the overall aura of the car. The red coloured display on white dials look funky and the layout of the dash is neat. The ergonomically placed controls and knobs are within easy reach. The steering wheel sports buttons to control the audio system. The interior is airy and comfortable. Build quality is something that Fiat has always been appreciated for and the Grande Punto continues that trend. The plastics inside have a built-to-last feel to them and should age well with time.

The car is likely to offer a choice of three engines. A 1.2L and a 1.4L petrol that pump out 65 and 77 horses respectively will be joined in by a 1.3L multi-jet diesel engine that Fiat is now famed for. This engine is known for its tractable nature and delivers 88PS of power to the front wheels. Our speculation speaks that since a 1.6L motor is already on offer in the Palio Stile, something similar might be presented with the Grande Punto as well. The car will be packed with safety features like ABS and EBD, though the same cannot be said about the airbags as of now.

Entering the action-packed B segment, this car will be at war against names like the Maruti Suzuki Swift, Hyundai Getz and Chevrolet UV-A. Skoda will do its bit by making things interesting with the launch of the Fabia in this segment. The Grande Punto will roll out from the Ranjangaon facility of Fiat near Pune. The company revealed that it will have high levels of localization for the car and this should help as far as the pricing is concerned.

We suspect that the Fiat Grande Punto will be priced Rs.5 lakh onwards and might see the upper limit close to Rs.7lakh. How close are we in our guess? We’ll find out soon.

Specs (Speculated)

Car Segment: Premium Hatchback/Small-car
Fuel Type:
Petrol/Diesel
Engine:
1.2L, 1.4L Petrol/1.3L Diesel
Max Power/Torque:
Petrol – 65PS/102Nm; 77PS/115Nm, Diesel – 88PS/200Nm
Dimensions in mm (LxWxH):
4030x1687x1490

Personal Comments: Good-looking, spacious and solid hatchback which should deliver good performance. Typical Fiat strengths will be retained and the car will offer a well balanced ride and handling compromise.
Hyundai Santa Fe

Hyundai Santa Fe

Hyundai Santa Fe

Expected in End 2008
Estimated price: 23-26 Lakh

SUV. One term which not many will associate the Korean giant – Hyundai with. It is that segment of the auto industry which is tantamount with big, brawny, imposing looking machines to which the word ‘car’ will not really be able to do justice.

Hyundai was one of the first to sight the growing potential of the SUV segment and introduced Terracan. Result? It failed to capture the imagination of the buyer. Reason? Price and brand image. Also that it was not really all that great a car! Hyundai thought about it, phased it out, and drove in with another SUV – Tucson. A good car this, which was aimed at beating Honda’s CR-V at its game. Result? The same as Terracan’s.

Hyundai Santa Fe InteriorYou see, Honda has more snob value than Hyundai and at 12-13 lakhs, people become increasingly conscious about their image. Why else do you think that SUVs like Honda CR-V and Ford Endeavour have been selling more than Tucson? Your guess is as good as ours.

Terracan – the Pajero-based SUV is history, and so will be the Tucson when Santa Fe enters India to try its luck at establishing Hyundai with the image of a maker of capable and desirable SUVs.

Hyundai has no dearth of engineering capabilities and is one of the auto-makers which has been upping its ante all this while. The Santa Fe is a testimony to this statement. Alluring, in-yer-face, dynamic, aggressive are adjectives that will fail to describe the curves and flowing desing elements of this SUV.

Hyundai Santa Fe RearIt is big and that imposing grille with an “I-am-bored” look will only add to its character. The gradually rising waistline makes the rear look a little odd though. The flared wheel-arches will house massive wheels. Hyundai plans to import the Santa Fe in India and will offer a delicious 2.2-litre, 148bhp diesel motor which might be tuned to suit Indian fuel quality.

This SUV is going to be as bang up-to-date as the intelligence reports of the US of A! Expect some tension at Honda and Ford camps when Santa Fe comes in during the last quarter of 2008.

Specs (Speculated)

Car Segment: SUV
Engine: 2.7L Petrol/ 2.2L Turbo Charged Diesel
Max Power/Torque: Petrol – 188Ps/284Nm, Diesel – 150Ps/335Nm
Dimensions in mm (LxWxH)
: 4676 x 1890 x 1725

Personal Comments:

Segment is going to hot up with many entrants, all gunning for the CRV’s position. Not too much of an off-roader, this may work against Hyundai with the increasing demands of the rugged travel maniacs here. Hyundai need to think hard about the price.

Maruti Suzuki Splash

Maruti Suzuki Splash

Maruti Suzuki Splash

Expected in Early 2009
Estimated price: 4-5.5 Lakh

Splash all over the place. And I am not talking about some naughty little boy being the brat that he has always been going about his usual business and splashing muddy water everywhere. If all goes well for India’s largest auto-maker, “Splash all over the place” this statement actually can easily come true!

Maruti 800 started the bang and the very beloved Zen carried it forward. Wagon-R chipped in well too later on. And now that Zen has already received a make-over in the form of Estilo, it is the turn of her stable-mate, Wagon-R. Suzuki had showcased a concept based on this car in last year’s Paris Motor Show. Since then a lot of surgery has seen the Splash take its final form, the pictured of which we see here.

The styling is bold and is characterised by the massive headlamps at the fron. The rear is a result of some out-of-the-box thinking and has an inward tilt to it, something that the French have always had in their car designs. It does not look very nice, but every person has a right of thinking!

On the inside, you will notice the parts-sharing that Maruti has mastered now. The dash and the centre console shouts SX4 and Swift at its loudest. The rev counter placed on the dashboard is interesting though.

As far as engines are concerned, you won’t be disappointed. A very refined and fuel efficient 1.2L petrol and the award-winning 1.3L multijet (DDiS) diesel engines are planned for the car.

This car is expected to hit Indian roads early 2009.

Specs (Speculated)

Car Segment: Small Car, Premium Hatchback (B+ segment)
Fuel Type:
Petrol/Diesel
Engine:
1.2L Petrol/ 1.3L Diesel
Max Power/Torque:
Petrol – 85bhp/114Nm, Diesel – 75bhp/190Nm
Dimensions in mm (LxWxH):
3720x1780x1650

Personal Comments: Yet another cute-looking small car that will make things interesting in the segment. Expect good performance, credit – the proven engines. Bullet-proof reliability will add since it is going to be a Maruti.
Honda Jazz

Honda Jazz

Honda Jazz

Expected in June-July 2009
Estimated price: 5-6 lakh

HSCI has advanced the launch date for its premium hatchback, the Jazz, to June 2009. This is the first time that the company has spoken of concrete launch dates for this car. This much awaited hatch that shares its platform with the new Honda City is expected to be powered by a specially-developed 1200cc engine. Honda had showcased the Jazz as a concept at the Auto Expo 2008 in New Delhi. The sheer volume of inquiries proves that the Jazz is one of the most awaited Hondas to be launched in the country. Honda cars have become well-known to the Indian car buyer over the last decade with their reliability, economy and performance.

Going by the current trend amongst premium hatches, the Jazz will be competing directly with the Skoda Fabia, the yet-to-be-launched Fiat Grande Punto and the Hyundai i20. Honda had declared some time ago that from now on, all Honda cars in India will be powered by VTEC engines. Going by this statement, the new 1.2l engine will be something worth waiting for.

Specs (Speculated)

Car Segment: Small segment, premium hatchback
Fuel Type:
Petrol
Engine:
1.2L & 1.4L i-VTEC petrol
Dimensions (LxWxH): 3855x1875x1525

Personal Comments: This hot premium hatch from Honda is worth waiting. If it’s priced well, it will prove to be yet another winner for Honda.
Toyota Fortuner

Toyota Fortuner

Toyota Fortuner

Expected in Early 2009
Estimated price: 16-18 Lakh

The Land Cruiser is celebrated for being one of the very established genuine off-road vehicles the world has ever seen. And it still is. But this mean, mad machine will be yours only if you have pockets deep enough to shell out over 40 lakh of green paper, and that makes it out of reach of many. Oh, lest I forget, then there is the fuel efficiency, which at 6kmpl does not read very encouraging, does it? So what’s there that Toyota can offer which caters to not-so-rich boys, but lets them have them equally great fun? The answer is lies in the shape of Fortuner.

Looks form an important part of something as big as a SUV and this Japanese does not disappoint. The front looks butch (very uncharacteristic of Japanese) with that strong bonnet line and large head lamps taking the pride place next to the grille. The bonnet scoop looks menacing. The front appears dynamic yet simple. There is certain purpose of the roof rails and those massive wheel arches when you talk about the design aspect. The same purposeful look is retained at the rear with the large tail lamps adding a bit of liveliness.

Toyota Fortuner InteriorThe creature comforts will be bang on and the interior will be pleasing. Very Land Cruiser-ish, the interior will add a smile on your face every time you place yourself on those comfy seats. All the tech abbreviations like ABS, ESP etc will find their way into this 15 lakh plus SUV.

Toyota Fortuner Rear The engine options will include a 2.7L petrol and a 3.0L diesel engines. The VVT-i engine will have 160PS on offer while the 3.0L D-4D will have a thrust of 163PS. Being a Toyota, expect bullet proof reliability and brilliant off-road ability. It has long been coming, but sources say that this time round the rumours of the car getting launched in late 2008 are indeed true. Whether or not that happens remains to be seen. We for one, really hope it does! Toyota… listening?

Specs (Speculated)

Car Segment: SUV
Engine: 2.7L Petrol/ 3L Diesel
Max Output: Petrol – 160Ps/5200rpm; Diesel – 163Ps/3400rpm
Max Torque: Petrol – 241Nm/3800rpm; Diesel – 343Nm/1400 ~ 3200rpm
Dimensions in mm (LxWxH): 4695 x 1840 x 1850

Personal Comments: Would be a fine addition to the growing segment and gives an added option to off road junkies with dependable and on the dot Toyota performance that will never let you down. All rounder personified!
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Mukesh Ambani richest Indian Person

November 13, 2008 at 6:36 am (Latest News) (, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , )

Reliance Industries’ Mukesh Ambani has overtaken NRI steel tycoon Lakshmi Mittal as the richest Indian in the world, with a net worth of USD 20.8 billion, ‘Forbes’ said in its annual rich list for the country.

Mittal, who has moved to second position with a net worth of USD 20.5 billion (rpt) USD 20.5 billion, is followed by Mukesh’s younger brother Anil Ambani, whose wealth stood at USD 12.5 billion.

Telecom czar Sunil Mittal and realtor K P Singh are ranked fourth and fifth with net worth of USD 7.9 billion and USD 7.8 billion, respectively.

The magazine said that the combined net worth of India’s 40 richest has declined by 60 per cent due to weak stock markets amid depreciating rupee against the greenback.

Their total wealth is now USD 139 billion, down from USD 351 billion just a year ago, according to Forbes India Rich List.

“These are painful times for India’s tycoons. The country’s once soaring stock market fell 48 per cent the past year, the rupee depreciated 24 per cent against the dollar, and GDP growth is expected to slow by at least a percentage point, in part owing to double-digit inflation,” Forbes Asia said in a statement.

While all 40 tycoons listed last year were billionaires, only 27 have 10-figure net worths now. A net worth of 760 million dollar was needed to make to the list this year, 840 million dollar less than last year.

The Ruia brothers were ranked at sixth position with a net worth of USD 7.6 billion, followed by Wipro Chairman Aziz Premji, worth USD 7 billion.

The magazine states that the combined net worth of brothers Malvinder and Shivinder Singh increased by USD 550 million, thereby grabbing 13th place on the list.

Their combined net worth stood at USD 2.8 billion after they sold their stake in Ranbaxy Laboratories to Daiichi Sankyo.

The list says the major loser was property tycoon Ramesh Chandra, whose net worth dropped by 91 per cent to USD 1 billion.

Among the new entrants in the list are retailer Micky Jagtiani at 16th position with a net worth of USD 2 billion, followed by Divi’s Laboratories’ founder Murali Divi at 36th place with a net worth of USD 870 million. Also Akruti City’s Hemant Shah stood at 37th place with a wealth of USD 830 million.

* Following is the list of India’s top 40 richest people as compiled by US-based business magazine Forbes.

Rank – Name – Net Worth ($mil)

1. Mukesh Ambani: 20,800

2. Lakshmi Mittal: 20,500

3. Anil Ambani: 12,500

4. Sunil Mittal: 7,900

5. Kushal Pal Singh: 7,800

6. Shashi and Ravi Ruia: 7,600

7. Azim Premji: 7,000

8. Kumar Birla: 5,000

9. Adi Godrej: 4,000

10. Gautam Adani: 3,900

11. Dilip Shanghvi: 3,100

12. Savitri Jindal: 2,900

13. Malvinder and Shivinder Singh: 2,800

14. Anil Agarwal: 2,400

15. Shiv Nadar: 2,200

16. Micky Jagtiani: 2,000

17. Indu Jain: 1,800

18. Cyrus Poonawalla: 1,600

19. Uday Kotak: 1,550

20. Chandru Raheja: 1,500

21. G M Rao: 1,470

22. Vivek Burman: 1,300

23. Anurag Dikshit: 1,250

24. Kalanithi Maran: 1,200

25. Venugopal Dhoot: 1,100

26. Yusuf Hamied: 1,060

27. Ramesh Chandra: 1,000

28. Subhash Chandra: 970

29. N R Narayana Murthy: 965

30. Rajan Raheja: 950

31. Brijmohan Lall Munjal: 940

32. Baba Kalyani: 935

33. Tulsi Tanti: 930

34. Jaiprakash Gaur: 890

35. Niranjan Hiranandani: 885

36. Murali Divi: 870

37. Hemant Shah: 830

38. Gracias Saldanha: 825

39. Anand Jain: 810

40. Rahul Bajaj: 760

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‘Shaurya’ missile

November 13, 2008 at 6:29 am (Latest News) (, , )

India on Wednesday successfully test fired ‘Shaurya’, a medium-range surface-to-surface ballistic missile, to be used by its Army.

With a 600-km range, the missile is capable of hitting targets deep inside Pakistan and China.

The indigenous missile was launched from an underground facility with an in-built canister at 11.25 am from Complex-3 of the Integrated Test Range at Chandipur, DRDO sources said here.

The sleek missile, with a flight duration of 485 seconds, roared into the sky leaving behind a thick yellow and white smoke on a clear sunny day, they added.

The sophisticated tactical missile is capable of carrying conventional warheads with a payload of about one tonne.

“With longer shelf-life, as it is stored in a canister just like the BrahMos supersonic cruise missile, the Shaurya is easily transportable and user-friendly. This is a technology development project,” DRDO sources said in New Delhi.

Though there was speculation that the missile was a land version of the under development K-15 submarine launched ballistic missile, DRDO sources said the surface-to-surface missile had nothing to do with K-15 ‘Sagarika’ project.

“The missile was test fired from a 30-40 feet deep pit with in-built canister specially designed for the purpose. There was no water in the pit,” the sources said.

“The test was conducted to check some of the vital parameters of Shaurya missile,” the DRDO sources said.

The solid propellant, two-staged missile is little over 10 metres in length and about half-a-metre in width, they said.

During the test, the missile took off vertically and its entire trajectory was tracked through an integrated system of sophisticated radars, electro-optical tracking instruments, a chain of telemetry stations positioned in different points and two naval ships placed close to the impact point deep in the Bay of Bengal.

As a precautionary measure, the district administration of Balasore temporarily evacuated 364 families residing within two km radius of the launch site and took them to safety at a nearby shelter before the missile test.

The launch of Shaurya has come nearly nine months after India had successfully tested the ‘Sagarika’ missile under the K-15 project this February off the coast of Visakhapatnam from a pontoon simulating the conditions of a submarine.

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