Wednesday, October 31, 2012

“Honda To Unveil Brio Sedan Soon” plus 8 more Motorbeam

“Honda To Unveil Brio Sedan Soon” plus 8 more Motorbeam

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Honda To Unveil Brio Sedan Soon

Posted: 31 Oct 2012 10:05 AM PDT

2013 Honda Brio Sedan

Honda will unveil the Brio sedan to the public in the next couple of weeks time. The vehicle which has been codenamed Honda 2TP will go on sale in India by mid-2013. It will also be the first Honda car in India to feature a diesel engine, which is currently under testing in the Brio hatchback. As we had imagined earlier in our rendering above, the Brio sedan is indeed a Brio with a boot. The Brio sedan has identical width and height as the Brio hatchback.

The Honda Brio sedan measures a tad below 4-meters (3990 mm), with the wheelbase of 2407 mm (the Maruti DZire has a wheelbase of 2430 mm) being 62 mm more than the Brio hatchback. The longer wheelbase lends the Brio sedan more space at the rear, which will be crucial in the Indian market. Rest of the interiors will remain more or less the same as the Brio hatchback, although Honda might just play around a bit with the colors to distinguish both the cars. The boot capacity is a good 420-litres.

The Honda Brio sedan weighs around 25 kgs more than the hatchback, which is not much considering the addition of a boot. This results in the vehicle maintaining a healthy power to weight ratio. Performance of the Brio sedan with the 1.2-litre i-VTEC mill is almost similar to the hatchback. Naturally Honda has tweaked the suspension of the vehicle to take the additional weight and one can expect the Brio sedan to offer a good balance of ride and handling.

Honda Brio Interiors

Honda Brio Sedan

Isuzu Testing Alterra SUV In India

Posted: 31 Oct 2012 08:33 AM PDT

Isuzu Alterra India

From the first sound of it, Isuzu is related to mostly heavy and medium commercial vehicles and is also operational in India through a joint venture with Swaraj-Mazda limited (now SML-ISUZU). Isuzu is a Japan based company which is known for heavy duty trucks and also for their equally heavy duty diesel engines. Isuzu's India entry was also based on the same grounds that it powered the Swaraj Mazda trucks with their diesel engines. But the Japanese automobile company is now set to launch a utility vehicle in the Indian market soon.

Spotted testing around Pune was the Isuzu Alterra. The Alterra is based on the same platform as that of the Isuzu pick-up truck Dmax. First launched as the MU-7 in Thailand, the same is also on sale in the Phillipines as the Isuzu Alterra. The test mule in discussion was wearing an MU-7 badge, although this doesn't confirm whether the Indian version will be called the MU-7 or the Alterra. These versions feature both a 4×2 and 4×4 drive options which we too can expect it here in India.

Speaking on the lines of design, the Isuzu Alterra looks big at the front with generous chrome work. There is a huge grille with equally huge headlamps and also a big air scoop on the bonnet. Personally I am a big fan of the front part of the car. The side profile of the car looks way similar to the Force One except the One is not so extended at the rear. The overall length is somewhat weird but in a way it could be providing a lot of space in the third row. The chrome work continues on the side at the door handles and at the bottom. The rear is quite decent with big vertical oriented tail-lights and a chrome strip at the centre. At the first look of the rear, I thought it was a Santro Xing, does it?

The Alterra possesses a 3.0-litre CRDI, four-cylinder diesel engine with turbo intercooler which churns a peak power of 161 BHP and a peak 360 Nm of torque. The Alterra will be offered with a four-speed automatic transmission in a 4×4 variant and an automatic or five-speed manual transmission with the 4×2 variants. The Isuzu SUV will be in competition with the Toyota Fortuner and the Ford Endeavour considering the 3000cc displacement they too provide. Initially the Alterra will follow the CKD route and eventually increased localization will reduce the prices. Although this may prove a bad start for the SUV on pricing grounds. Isuzu is a new name in the passenger car front and for it to get established in India it is the pricing which must be given utmost importance.

Isuzu MU7 India

Isuzu Alterra Spied

Isuzu Alterra MU7 India

Source – Autocar India

Ford India Increases Focus On Service

Posted: 31 Oct 2012 06:19 AM PDT

Strengthening its focus on customer service, Ford India recently launched Quick Lane service center in Bangalore, which is the first such outlet by Ford in India. Ford’s Quick Lane service focuses on ‘No Appointment Necessary’ and ‘While You Wait’ service, which ensures quick service and utmost transparency. The company feels that new car buyers would prefer to watch their car getting serviced and Quick Lane offers such an opportunity to them. 65% of Ford Figo car buyers are first time owners.

At the launch of Metro Ford Quick Lane service center, we had a round table conference with John Cooper (executive director, customer service operations, Ford Asia Pacific and Africa) and PK Umashankar (VP, customer service operations, Ford India). Quick Lane offers Ford customers quick regular service and thus diagnostic work is not done at such outlets. With regular service being the main focus, Quick Lane service centers have better inventory management, reduced material movement and higher productivity. This results in cars getting serviced in quicker time, enabling owners to wait in the WI-FI enabled customer room, which also offers a view of the car being serviced. Owners can also talk to technicians.

What is more important is Ford’s focus on customer care and reducing cost of ownership. Scheduled maintenance of Ford cars is cheaper than its competitors. Ford has adopted the use of child parts, which enables lower cost of repairs. So in case of a mirror damage, one can simply replace the mirror or body covering, rather than replacing the complete assembly, resulting in much cheaper repair costs. The same has been adopted on the doors, starter motor assembly and various other parts of Ford cars. The American automaker is also focusing on localization to reduce cost of spare parts. The EcoSport will have 85% local content.

Car ownership is a complete experience and good after sales service plays a pivotal role in ensuring customer satisfaction. Ford plans to increase its outlets to 500 units by 2015. Quick Lane service centers are planned for more cities in the near future. These outlets will be opened in major city areas, resulting in a hefty investment in real estate. This shows the commitment of Ford in the Indian market and we expect the company to launch 100 more Quick Lane outlets in the future.

Bajaj Pulsar 375 To Be A Pocket Rocket

Posted: 31 Oct 2012 05:10 AM PDT

Pulsar 200 NS Ownership Report

KTM will unveil the Duke 390 at the ECIMA Motorcycle Show which takes place from 15-18th November 2012. The Duke 390 will be launched in the Indian market by March 2013 and will be priced around the Rs. 2 lakh mark. Bajaj Auto has already confirmed a bigger Pulsar is in the works, which will be launched by the middle of 2013. This new Bajaj Pulsar could be called the Pulsar 375 and will share most of its parts with the KTM Duke 390. Just like the Pulsar 200 NS and Duke 200, the upcoming Pulsar 375 and Duke 390 will have minor differences in technology and pricing.

The Bajaj Pulsar 375 will be a pocket rocket, as the company plans to price it around Rs. 1.5 lakhs (ex-showroom). The Pulsar 375 will use a single-cylinder engine, with power output being around 40 BHP and torque output being 30 Nm. It will weigh around 165 kgs and should reach the 100 km/hr from standstill in less than 7 seconds. Top speed is expected to be around 180 km/hr, making the Pulsar 375 the fastest Indian motorcycle by a good margin.

The Pulsar 375 is most likely to sport triple spark plugs but will share quite a few engine parts with the Duke 390. Bajaj will focus on value for money and class leading mileage to differentiate the Pulsar 375 from the KTM Duke 390, which is expected to be a hooligan of sorts. The styling of the Pulsar 375 will be quite similar to the 200 NS and there are no plans for a full faired model just yet. We hope Bajaj Auto offers ABS (atleast as an option) on the Pulsar 375 and KTM Duke 390.

Fiat Plans To Topple VW With Opel-Peugeot Alliance

Posted: 31 Oct 2012 04:38 AM PDT

2013 Fiat 500 Abarth Fuori Serie Paris Motor Show

The crisis situation in Europe has hit automakers hard. Companies are doing anything and everything to bail themselves out of this situation. Earlier this week, GM and Peugeot, announced an alliance. On the other hand, Ford has shut down few of their plants. Perhaps, the only company to have remained profitable is the Volkswagen group. Fiat's Chrysler too has shown considerable amounts of profits, not letting down the parent company. The others are making all the strategies to out-compete Volkswagen.

Well, it is now clear that taking this storm all alone is not the best of the solutions. Thus a collective approach is what many of the companies are looking out for. A joint venture will help them to sustain lesser injuries and perhaps help in sharing the pain. Fiat in such a move has approached PSA Peugeot Citroen and General Motors earlier this month to create a pan-European collaboration which could have the potential to push Volkswagen down. This is not the first time, when the Italian car-maker has approached the duo for a sustainable relationship. Earlier this year, the talks did not yield a positive outcome.

As per the new proposal, Fiat is willing to buy Opel from General Motors if they get US $5-7 billion to restructure the German automaker. The approach seems perfect as, if the trio get into an agreement, together they can make up to a market share of 25 percent which is just above the current market share of Volkswagen Group which stands at 24.8 percent. However, it is still a cloudy situation as GM might not accept the proposal because of its past broken relationship with Fiat in the year 2009. Will the companies prefer to sail through the storm all alone or will there be collaboration?

Piaggio Flyer Launch Around The Corner

Posted: 31 Oct 2012 03:50 AM PDT

piaggio fly India

We were the first to bring out details about Piaggio’s mass market scooter, the Fly, when we reported on it being launched around October this year (HERE). The launch is likely to happen in the next couple of months, with the scooter already being tested extensively by the company. The Fly brand name is owned by Bajaj Auto and thus the upcoming mass market scooter from Piaggio will be called Flyer. It is undergoing homologation as we speak and could shake the scooter segment completely.

Read the Piaggio Vespa LX125 Test Ride Review

The Piaggio Flyer will be priced very aggressively to take on market leaders like the Honda Activa and Suzuki Access. It will use the same engine as the Vespa LX125 but instead of 3-valves, it will have 2-valves. Engine power will be around 9.9 BHP from the LEADER engine (Low Emission Advanced Engine Range). The 2-valve engine will also help in reducing costs of the scooter. The Piaggio Flyer is expected to be priced around Rs. 54,000/-, which is way cheaper than the Vespa LX125.

Piaggio initially opened sales of its first scooter, the Vespa with around 50 dealerships. The company has since then expanded it to almost 100 outlets. The Vespa was launched as a premium lifestyle product, to help the Italian automaker develop a brand in the country. The company has set up a 3-lakh unit per annum manufacturing facility in Baramati. The Piaggio Flyer will role out from this factory with localization levels being close to 95%.

piaggio fly 125

2012 piaggio fly scooter

Tata Nano To Get A Boot In 2013

Posted: 31 Oct 2012 03:30 AM PDT

2012 Tata Nano Facelift

Tata Nano's journey in the automobile industry has been very upside down. The car had always been in news from its development stage to the current day. One of the other bad news was the Nano catching fire. However, the company is taking all the efforts to bring a positiveness around the car. Recently the car was in headlines for its CNG, which according to Tata Motors, will be launched in the next 6 months. Now the car is under the spotlight again as according to the sources, the company might give the Tata Nano a much better boot. Tata launched the Nano basically for the nuclear families. Tata Nano is a fantastic car for its price bracket, although it has some small bits which limit it as being a proper family car.

Tata Nano’s boot had been one of the concerns which was pointed out as one can access the boot of the car only from inside the car and it has no hatch like door with opens from outside. This is because the engine is placed at the rear of the car. But now the engineers at Tata Motors are planning to give the Nano a boot which can hold one or two suitcases. They are also looking at the space in the front where the wheel is stored currently. They are planning to redesign it to create some more storage space. The company may redesign it in some way to give it a door so that one can access the boot from outside.

Tata Motors has done their best while marketing the Nano. The company promoted the car with some focused advertisements and even launched merchandises of the Nano like key chains, t-shirt and so on. The company wants to achieve more sales and for that a CNG version and a diesel engine of the Tata Nano is in the pipeline. The new avatar of the Nano with a boot may arrive sometime in 2013 with some engine tweaks as well. On the other hand, Tata Nano is being redesigned for the European as well as American markets.

Source – MyDigitalFC

- Kanishk Arora

Fiat 500e Electric Car Confirmed

Posted: 31 Oct 2012 01:18 AM PDT


A press release from the Los Angeles auto show has prematurely revealed two new models. The Fiat 500e electric car and Fiat 500 Abarth convertible will debut at the L.A Auto Show in late November. The Fiat 500e has been rumored for a long time; last month the car was revealed at a Chrysler group dealer meeting in Las Vegas. It makes sense for Fiat to create an all-electric version of the tiny Italian hatchback: the car's low weight will help keep driving range relatively high, and the model will compete with the promised Chevrolet Spark electric.

As per the L.A Auto Show release, the Fiat 500 Abarth convertible will have a turbocharged 1.4-litre 4-cylinder petrol engine with 230 Nm of torque and 34 miles per gallon highway rating, the specifications are very similar to Fiat Abarth hatchback which cranks out astonishing 160 hp. Adding a convertible makes sense as Fiat tries to broaden the appeal of its go-fast Abarth models. After the Fiat 500e electric and Fiat 500 Abarth convertible make their public debuts next month at the L.A. Auto Show, expect them to go on sale in spring or summer of 2013.

Fiat has been gradually expanding the 500 line-up. The Fiat 500 was initially re-launched last decade as a retro vehicle to compete with the likes of the Volkswagen Beetle and MINI Cooper. However BMW has expanded the MINI line-up dramatically, adding vehicles in various segment. Now Fiat seems to be following a similar strategy. The company recently launched the Fiat 500L and is working on bringing the Fiat 500X (crossover) and Fiat 500XL (7-seater MPV) to the market. The 500X and 500XL have huge potential in the Indian market.

- Prashant Tomar

Fiat To Sell Two-Lakh Engines By Mid-2014

Posted: 31 Oct 2012 12:04 AM PDT

Fiat 500 TwinAir Engine

The Indian arm of the Italian automaker, Fiat, has shifted its focus towards production of powertrains. The company has decided to manufacture more than 2,00,000 engines in the next 12-18 months. This would mean that the number of engines that would churn out from the production mill will be much more than the number of vehicles the company would roll out from the facility. Currently, Fiat manufactures engines under a joint venture with Tata Motors. The company hopes to recover its losses through the sale of these engines.

“The realizations out of engines are one-fifth to one-sixth of the total cost of the overall car. And if you have five times more engines being sold than the number of cars, for sure the engines will make up the lion’s share,” a Fiat executive said.

The plan of action is to supply 1,00,000 diesel engines to Maruti Suzuki, another few thousand units to Premier and around 50,000 units would be exported. The rest of them would obviously sit at the heart of Fiat and Tata vehicles. This would ensure a 80 percent plant capacity utilization. It was only last year, when Fiat had talks of supplying 70,000 engines a year to its Chinese subsidiary. While the engine production is on, the company’s Ranjangaon plant will also churn out 14,000 Fiat cars and around 40,000 Tata cars.

Currently, Fiat’s Multijet diesel engines are being used in the successful Maruti Swift and DZire models. They are also powering Premier’s compact SUV Rio. Perhaps, the shift towards the engine unit might help the company to reach its cash break-even before the end of this fiscal year. The company is also expecting higher sales of its vehicles with the opening of new Fiat dealerships across few more locations. The strategy just seems fine. Let’s see if this really helps them to recover from the losses incurred.

Source – Economic Times

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