Sunday, October 28, 2012

“Jaguar XF To Shake Segment Completely” plus 3 more Motorbeam

“Jaguar XF To Shake Segment Completely” plus 3 more Motorbeam

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Jaguar XF To Shake Segment Completely

Posted: 28 Oct 2012 10:00 PM PDT

2012 Jaguar XF

The Jaguar XF is one of the best cars in its segment. However the vehicle doesn’t sell as much as it should mainly because of two reasons. The Jaguar XF is imported as a Completely Built Unit (CBU), thereby attracting a hefty excise duty. The XF’s main competitors (from Germany) are all locally assembled through the CKD route. This gives them German trio a massive price advantage, resulting in more aggressive pricing. All the luxury car makers are slowly and steadily expanding their dealership network.

Read The Jaguar XF Review

The second reason for lower sales of Jaguar XF can be the engine it is being offered with. While the complete competition has 4-cylinder diesel engines on offer, Jaguar offers the diesel XF with a V6. The Jaguar XF range starts at Rs. 52.96 lakhs for the base Diesel S variant. The base BMW 5-Series (520d) is priced at Rs. 41.92 lakhs, the base Mercedes E-Class (E220 CDI) is priced at Rs. 41.43 lakhs, while the base Audi A6 (2.0 TDI) is priced at Rs. 39.98 lakhs (all prices ex-showroom, Mumbai). The prices mentioned above for the German cars are for diesel variants. The base petrol variants (4-cylinder engines) of the above mentioned German cars are priced lower. The base petrol Jaguar XF is priced at Rs. 69.78 lakhs (ex-showroom, Mumbai). However the petrol XF is powered by a V8 engine.

Jaguar plans to counter its German rivals by bringing in a cheaper 4-cylinder diesel engine. The 2.2-litre Jaguar XF is already on sale in Europe and produces 200 PS of power and 450 Nm of torque. The British automaker will also start local assembly of the Jaguar XF in Pune (where the Freelander 2 is already being assembled). Both the 2.2-litre diesel engine and CKD operations will happen in 2013. So we can expect Jaguar to shake the segment completely, with more aggressive pricing.


2012 Jaguar XF 2.2L Diesel

Smart Forvision Electric Car Concept Makes India Debut

Posted: 28 Oct 2012 09:30 PM PDT

Smart Forvision Eco Friendly Electric Car

There is yet another addition to the green way of cars and this time it's the brainchild of a joint effort by BASF and Daimler AG. Proudly named as the Smart Forvision, it is a green concept car which was unveiled in India at the Indo-German Urban Mela currently being held in New Delhi. BASF is a Frankfurt based company with expertise majorly in the chemical industry apart from its operation in plastics, performance products, oil and gas and a few more. With BASF's knowledge in material and sustainable systems and Daimler's automotive expertise, the Smart Forvision was created unveiling future eco-technologies and electric-way of commuting. Fully equipped with solar cells, O-LED's, lightweight body and all-plastic wheels showcase a perfect example of a modern environment-friendly car.

Built over a theme of Sustainable Urbanization, the researchers have worked upon a number of smart materials and technologies for utmost sustainability. The vehicle is centered around energy efficiency and lightweight design. The roof is fitted with power generating solar cells which can be used to power the electronics of the car. Organic light-emitting diodes (OLED's) are used for lighting purposes. The solar cells on the roof also add to the design aspect of the small wonder. An efficient temperature management system uses insulating materials and reflective polymer window films to reflect thermal radiations. By doing so lesser energy would be consumed in order to heat or cool the vehicle.

An overall lightweight body and frame have been worked upon by BASF to draw lesser amount of energy from the electric motor while pulling the car. Developments are in place to replace as many metal components with composite plastic materials possessing similar properties to metal. The Smart Forvision sports an all-plastic wheels made by high performance materials worked upon by BASF. This material is as stable as metal and has helped in an enormous thirty percent weight reduction. The innovative design and mobility aspects from Daimler and BASF's immense resources in chemical engineering and plastics have made the Smart Forvision a lightweight, distinctive, eco-friendly possibility.

This concept is definitely a look into the future electric cars. The important role of chemical industry in the automobile world is evident from this joint venture concept. More research is being done to come up with new technologies and materials that can be implemented in electric cars. Electric cars are green but they are even more efficient and sensible when the energy drawn is obtained highly efficiently with sustainable resources and with minimal CO2 emissions. Research is on by these two companies to attain electric energy from solar and wind energies.

Frequent Launches Reducing Life Cycle Of Cars

Posted: 28 Oct 2012 09:00 PM PDT

1999 BMW 740i

India is one of the fastest developing economies in the world. In the past one decade, the car makers in the country have produced a number of vehicles and owing to this, the aspiration of the customers has also increased. This has lead to the shortening of the life cycle of a car, bringing it to almost half of what it used to be and thus it is just 3-4 years now. The used car segment has seen a good demand due to this. It’s a pretty unorganized sector, but it is now an integral part of the automobile world. Now a days, the trend to use the car for a brief period of 3-4 years and then selling it off is noticed. On the contrary, ten years back, a car would have been used at least for 5-8 years before being sold.

This change in the usage is mostly due to the launch of newer models by car makers, even within a segment. Customers like to upgrade the models regularly. Market gurus estimate that the sales of used cars may beat that of new cars. The organised segment of the market is pegged at 13%, while the rest of it is dominated by the unorganized players. Many factors like the after sales service, finance non-availability and warranty issues hinder the growth of this market.

Some used car companies claim that customers have the choice to buy a used car in a higher segment compared to a new car in the lower segment. The current laws for taxation in inter-state transfer of vehicles is affecting the sales. Issues like octroi and transfer charges affect the business a lot. Lack of co-ordination amongst the states is yet another issue and thus a uniform system across the states will benefit the business. Many manufacturers have a used car arm in India, including Maruti, Hyundai, Mahindra, Toyota, Honda and Ford.

Source – EconomicTimes

Tata Motors Full Throttle Nilgiri Experience

Posted: 28 Oct 2012 02:16 AM PDT

Tata Motors Full Throttle Nilgiri Experience

Tata Motors Nilgiri Experience – Click above for high resolution picture gallery

Tata Motors Full Throttle comprises of trails, rallies and experiences. There are four experiences in a year, which consists of a road trip spanning various locations across India. We participated in the Nilgiri Experience which was a 4-day event. Our drive was the Tata Aria 4×2 (Pleasure variant). These Full Throttle events are open to all owners of Tata utility vehicles – Sumo, Safari, Xenon and Aria. It is organized in association with Cougar Motorsport.

The Nilgiri Experience started from Bangalore. All participants gathered at NICE toll road at the Mysore exit. The first day we drove to Ooty, where we halted for the night. The 258 kms drive involved a mix of road conditions, including ghats with 36 hairpin bends. The weather was splendid and so was the scenery. Most of the roads were smooth while very few of them showcased the after effects of the monsoon. The drive from Bangalore to Ooty was around 10 hours (including breaks).

On the second day, we drove from Ooty to Munnar, a 246 kms journey. This took more time than we expected. Roads are quite narrow and local buses usually end up blocking the roads, urging you to park your vehicle slightly off-road. At the Kerala border, we encountered numerous police check points, where one needs to enter vehicle details and sign. The roads are in good condition with the occasional bumps. The ghat section near Munnar is quite long with blind turns. It is however immensely fun to drive on and the view is breath taking.

The third day was rest day, wherein we got a chance to do some local sight seeing. We were put up in a Bungalow on the hill, the road to which was 3-kms of single, narrow, broken tarmac. Only one vehicle can pass through so if anyone comes from the opposite direction, you will have to reverse all the way back!

On the fourth day we proceeded to Kochi, which was a 138 kms journey. Roads are very narrow on this route and one needs to be very careful. There are a lot of ghats too and bus drivers drive like crazy, with an aim to reach their destination in the quickest possible time. Around 40 kms away from Kochi, there is quite a bit of traffic and one needs to wait patiently for an overtaking opportunity. Most of the turns are blind and people pop out of no where. It took us 5 hours to do Munnar-Kochi, which is an average speed of less than 30 km/hr!

The Tata Aria pleased us throughout the 700-kms we put it through. The Pleasure variant has many features which we found very useful throughout the journey. While the Aria doesn't score highly on styling, it is a very practical vehicle. The projector headlights work well and kept the roads illuminated across the narrow ghats in the night. The reverse parking sensors help tremendously when we had to reverse more than 200-meters on narrow bridges to let on-going traffic clear.

What really pleased us about the Tata Aria was the comfortable seats (thanks to the adjustable lumbar support). The distance to empty meter isn't too accurate in the Aria and keeps fluctuation showing a vast range difference at times. The vehicle showed a mileage of 11 km/l in-spite of being driven in second gear most of the time (most part of the hill section we were redlining the vehicle). We even like the follow me home headlamp activation through the key.

During the Niligiri Experience we encountered highways, crowded city traffic and high altitude climbs. The Tata Aria felt at home in all these conditions. The 2.2-litre DICOR engine produces ample amount of grunt for cruising comfortable on the highways and overtaking vehicles is just a downshift away. On incline hairpin bends, one has to shift into first, due to the turbolag present in the Aria's 2.2-litre DICOR diesel engine. Keep this engine in the turbo band and it responds beautifully. Smack the throttle through the turns and the rear wheel drive Aria's tyres start to screech.

The Tata Aria feels well settled at high speeds and one feels comfortable pushing the vehicle on the straights. Body roll is present but well contained for a vehicle of this size and weight but the steering is not very precise. Braking performance is good too and so is the ride quality. Overall interior quality is one of the best we have seen in a Tata vehicle but there is still scope for improvement on that front. Many of the interior bits were not in the same condition as a brand new Aria, although to be fair, our vehicle was the one which was used in the Goa rally and thus severely abused. Boot capacity is very good, even with the last row of seats up the boot can swallow good amount of luggage. However, the dead pedal was sorely missed.

Throughout the Experience, leading the pack was a Tata Safari (lead car) and trailing the pack was a Tata Xenon (sweep car). They ensured no one got lost. Service and medical back-up were present as well. All the cars moved in a convoy. One need not worry about anything and can concentrate on the thing that matters – driving. Thus we recommend adventure seeking Tata utility vehicle owners to participate atleast once in such events when it comes to a place near. It indeed is a memorable one.

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