Tuesday, December 18, 2012

“Remapped KTM Duke 200 Review” plus 6 more Motorbeam

“Remapped KTM Duke 200 Review” plus 6 more Motorbeam

Link to Motorbeam.com

Remapped KTM Duke 200 Review

Posted: 18 Dec 2012 03:30 AM PST

What Went Wrong With Ford India In 2012?

Posted: 18 Dec 2012 02:30 AM PST

2014 Ford Fiesta

After the success of the Figo, Ford became extremely bullish about the Indian market, announcing they will launch 8 new products by 2015. The first product was launched last year, the latest generation Fiesta, which got a PowerShift automatic version earlier this year. While details about the rest of the products remain sketchy, we can confidently say that product 2 is the EcoSport, while product 3 is mostly going to be the new Endeavour. The rest of the launches are likely to include a small car positioned below the Figo, MPV (possibly the Kuga), Focus, Mondeo and the Fiesta hatchback.

With such good products in Ford’s line-up, why did the company go slow in 2012. This year, the American automaker did not launch any new product in India. While they refreshed the Figo, re-positioned the old Fiesta as the Classic and altered pricing and variants of the new Fiesta, there was nothing substantial in terms of product launches. Ford did turn its focus on service by launching the first QuickLane centre but we feel atleast one new vehicle should have been launched this year.

The company has missed a big opportunity with the Ford EcoSport in 2012. While we all know this compact SUV will set the sales chart on fire when it is launched in February 2013, we feel Ford’s strategy went astray. Firstly the company unveiled the EcoSport at the 2012 Auto Expo and grabbed quite a few eyeballs, then they went ahead and showcased the vehicle at various locations too (including malls). Surely, that led to even more interest amongst prospective buyers, but wait a second, where is the EcoSport? It’s still not launched and will only hit showrooms 14 months after unveil!

Any person looking to buy the EcoSport is unlikely to wait 14 months for it. The campaigns run by Ford to promote the EcoSport to prospective buyers was too premature, it should have been done when the launch was just around the corner. By boldly going and unveiling the product way in advance, Ford only woke up competition and voila, within a few months we see the Chevrolet Trax and Volkswagen Taigun appear out of nowhere. Honda, Skoda, Maruti Suzuki, Fiat and Nissan are all working on their EcoSport rival. Meanwhile Renault took advantage of being the first mover, selling more Dusters last month than Ford sold Figos! Mind you, the Duster costs twice as much as the Figo.

Till now we have heard Ford make ambitious plans and announcements. It’s high time the company gets moving and becomes quick with launching new products. Ford has been present in India for quite a long time and it has only four products on offer, while car makers which entered much later have a bigger portfolio already. The new Ford Fiesta’s poor sales are a result of over zealous pricing and a price correction hasn’t helped matters either. The company needs to get its pricing spot on the very first time and hopefully the EcoSport is able to pull back the sales decline Ford witnessed this year.


Is China GM’s Trump Card?

Posted: 18 Dec 2012 02:01 AM PST

Shanghai GM Sail Springo EV front

Even though General Motors is the largest car manufacturer in the world currently, it is facing losses in various markets. With a general decline in car sales all over the world especially Europe, GM with all companies under its control are facing loss in market share. It is only in China that GM is making profits resulting in its irreversible dependency on the Chinese market. GM was saved from bankruptcy recently and many analysts say that it was only due to the sales in China that GM could float its boat.

GM sold 2.5 million vehicles in China in 2011. Now even the Chinese market is facing a minor slowdown, with sales not growing as fast as expected resulting in lower production and sales than the capacity. GM China is now seeing an overall reduction in profits due to the slowdown. Furthermore, yhe Chinese currency too is at such a juncture with its value against the Dollar that GM is not making as much profit as expected.

Due to lower sales and increasing competition, the pricing of cars has to be cut down further reducing profits. With times in the automotive market more desperate than ever, GM needs to buckle up for a bumpy ride. GM has to make intelligent investments and come up with strategies to increase sales and get more profit from all its markets and reduce dependency on any particular market. If these measures do not work for the American car company, it will become very difficult for GM to maintain its market share.

2013 Chevrolet Beat Facelift

Source – The Truth About Cars

BMW Unveils Refreshed 2014 Z4 Roadster

Posted: 18 Dec 2012 12:12 AM PST

2014 BMW Z4 Roadster

BMW has announced details of the new 2014 BMW Z4. This Z4 will be showcased at the Detroit Motor Show in January 2013 and will begin production in March. Many Z4 enthusiasts were expecting this version to be based on the Zagato roadster concept from last year, but BMW have disappointed so far with no influence at all of the aggressive concept and have just subtly facelifted the Z4. BMW will get the updated Z4 to India within the next 18 months.

The engine options remain the same on the 2014 BMW Z4. The sDrive28i is powered by a 2.0-litre four-cylinder engine producing 240 HP of power. Two versions of the 3.0-litre in-line 6-cylinder engines are on offer, the sDrive35i with 300 HP and the sDrive35is with 335 HP. BMW has introduced a new engine variant in most markets except USA called the sDrive18i which uses a 2.0-litre 4-cylinder engine producing a meager 154 HP of power and 240 Nm of torque. This engine gets the same 6-speed manual and 8-speed automatic gearbox.

The performance is limited with the manual managing 0 to 100 km/hr in 7.9 seconds and the auto sprinting to the ton in 8.1 seconds. The top speed is 221 km/hr. However this version is pretty fuel efficient and delivers and overall mileage of 14.5 km/l.

Coming to the exterior, only minor chances are seen. The headlamps get a new 3-dimensional design of the LED rings and BMW lettering on the LED accent lights on the top. The side indicators get a new tapered surround. New alloys are on offer with an option of 17 and 18-inch size with a new design. For the interiors, BMW has introduced a new styling package called the Hyper Orange package. It is available with three colors – Mineral Grey metallic, Glacier Silver metallic and Valencia Orange metallic.

What this pack includes is the whole interior is covered with black leather and Alcantara with orange stripes on the dashboard, special orange stitching and orange door panels. Also this package has a metal weave trim for the dash and high gloss black for other trim pieces like the door openers and gear lever. Most other things are the same with the standard iDrive system that folds into the dash as well as many new trims as well as upholstery options. A new navigation system using the same folding screen of the iDrive is available as an option.

2014 BMW Z4 Roadster dash

2014 BMW Z4 Roadster interior

2014 BMW Z4 Roadster front

2014 BMW Z4 Roadster side

2014 BMW Z4 Roadster rear

2013 European Car Of The Year Nominees Shortlisted

Posted: 18 Dec 2012 12:04 AM PST

2013 Volvo V40 front

The 2013 Car of the Year nominees have been announced and owing to stiff competition, the slot has been extended from seven cars to eight. This final list of eight cars was derived from an earlier queue of thirty four cars in for the competition. Last year the Chevrolet Volt/Vauxhall Ampera had taken the title home. The Chevrolet Volt was praised for its range-extending hybrid technology. Giving tough competition to the Volt were the Volkswagen Up! and the third generation Ford Focus.

The most important eligibility criteria is that the car must be launched within the twelve month period prior to the awards. The awards are not only limited to European cars, but the overseas manufacturer must be present in at least five European countries. The jury are auto journalists from various publications around Europe. The competition is not segment specific and there will only one winner among the competitors. The initial shortlist included 34 cars.

2013 COTY Shortlisted Nominees Are –

  • Ford B-Max
  • Hyundai i30
  • Mercedes-Benz A-Class
  • Peugeot 208
  • Renault Clio
  • Subaru BRZ/Toyota GT86
  • Volkswagen Golf
  • Volvo V40

The initial shortlist had an Indian car in the list, the Tata Vista. It is surprising not to see the BMW 3-Series in the final shortlist, while even the Fiat 500L being missing seems to come out as equally shocking. We have a strong feeling, the 2013 European Car of the year award will be heading to Germany and to be specific, Wolfsburg and not Stuttgart.

2013 VW Golf BlueMotion

BMW Contemplating Manufacturing Cars In India

Posted: 17 Dec 2012 11:34 PM PST

2012 BMW 7-Series

BMW announced recently that only after they reach a target of selling more than 30,000 cars per year in India, they will set up a factory in India for localized manufacturing. Till then cars will be imported as CKD units or direct imports depending on the models. BMW are currently building a plant in Brazil with a capacity of 30,000 units per year owing to increase in demand from the South American country. Just recently Tata Motors ruled out local manufacturing of Jaguar Land Rover vehicles.

The iconic German car manufacturer said that they will launch the new BMW 7-series as well as the 1-Series by end of next year. This will help them gain more volumes towards the goal of 30,000 units per year. BMW also said that they will not offer any discounts on their cars. Any luxury brand should sell for the exclusivity and luxury provided by the brand and not due to lower costs. They will lure customers to their products due to their high levels of professionalism and exclusive treatment at the dealerships along with high quality products and world class luxury.

BMW announced that they will be opening exclusive dealerships for MINI and will not sell MINI vehicles at BMW dealerships. Customers that buy a MINI product are not typical customers and are buying the car as a lifestyle product. They are attracted to the MINI brand and the fashionable stylish image of the car. So they must get a special treatment accordingly, the company feels. Currently MINI has two dealerships in India, one each in Mumbai and Delhi.

So BMW have an expansion plan in place that includes more number of dealerships and differentiation of models plus the cost effective and efficient 1-Series. The company will be concentrating on giving the customer a feeling of occasion when they buy a BMW product. When the demand rises in India and crosses the 30,000 mark they will start production of their cars locally, which should make BMW cars more affordable. Presently they have a unit in Chennai that assembles CKD units of the X1, X3, 3-Series and 5-Series.

bmw concept active tourer

Source – Business Line

Datsun To Unveil Upcoming Cars In July 2013

Posted: 17 Dec 2012 10:22 PM PST

2012 Datsun Logo

Renault-Nissan will unveil the prototypes of future Datsun cars in India by end of July 2013 in Delhi. The CEO of Renault-Nissan, Carlos Ghosn, will unveil these entry level cars for the first time.. Datsun is a brand being resurrected by the French-Japanese collaboration as a budget car brand for developing countries with low cost, value for money products to capture higher volumes. Their main target markets will be India, Indonesia and Russia.

The first prototype to be showcased will be the K2. This is a 'B plus' segment car meaning a bigger hatchback, and will compete with the like of the Maurti Suzuki Swift, Toyota Etios Liva, Honda Brio and Ford Figo. The cost of this car will be Rs. 4 lakh and upwards. Next is the I2 prototype which is the smallest hatchback category. This car will be priced at around Rs. 2.5 lakh and will compete with the likes of Maruti Suzuki’s Alto 800 and Hyundai’s Eon. Another prototype to be showcased will be the K2 MPV. This will be an MPV based on the K2 platform and compete with the Maruti Suzuki Ertiga.

Further down the line Datsun will also be developing a small SUV which will be aimed at the Russian market. These cars are expected to reach production by 2014 and will be officially launched by mid-2014. With the whole world downsizing in terms of cars and engines the need for car companies to have smaller and more cost effective products has escalated. Renault-Nissan are taking many steps in the same direction and are making India their base for developing these products.

Nissan will slowly launch these lost cost products to the rest of the world using knowledge acquired in India. The products in India have to be as cost effective and fuel efficient as possible but at the same time offer class leading comfort, safety and equipment without obvious cost cutting which is the main challenge faced by any new company entering India.

Datsun NKD2196 Sedan

Source – Business Line

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