Preview of the Auto Expo 2012
Hyundai Motor India made quite a splash in 2011 with their fluidic design philosophy. And then the new Verna walked away with the Mid-Sized Car of the Year at the CNBC-TV18 OVERDRIVE Awards 2012. But making a bigger impact was the Eon which bagged the Micro/Mini Car Of The Year and is looking like a worthy challenger to the Maruti 800 and the Alto. Hyundai are looking to start 2012 with a bang at the Auto Expo. They will showcase the sleek Veloster, their three door (yes, three doors, the driver's side has just one door) crossover vehicle. There will be also be a concept compact SUV which will be unveiled in Delhi. We will also see the launch of the new Elantra (Avante) in its fluidic avatar. The last generation Elantra didn't do that well but the application of the new design philosophy should have its competitors, the Corolla, Laura and the rest getting worried. Another car that will be launched here is the next generation Sonata.
Audi is on a high having bagged two accolades at the CNBC TV-18 OVERDRIVE Awards â" the Premium Car of the Year for the A6 and the Import Car of the Year for the Audi A8. Riding that wave of success the German manufacturer is looking to further stamp their presence in the Indian market with a strong display at the Auto Expo. They will be showcasing the A3 sedan concept, a 408PS beauty that could be the forefather of a smaller four door sedan from Audi. They will have the facelifted A5 and they might also display the facelifted A4. They will also display the Q3, their answer to BMW's X1.
They will also have the R8 V10 Spyder, their electric sports car - the R8 E-Tron and their 2011 Le Mans winning machine - R18 TDI.
BMW is looking to turn heads with the launch of M5 at the Auto Expo. It's the same M5 which completed a lap of the Nurburgring's North Loop in under eight minutes, at 7min 55 seconds, a new record. But more interesting than that will be the launch of the Mini in India. BMW will be showcasing the Mini Countryman, the Mini Convertible and the John Cooper S. This ends a long wait for the Mini fans who have been eagerly awaiting for this legendary brand to land on the Indian shores. The German manufacturer will also have its electric cars, the BMW i3 and i8 on display.
The highlight of the Auto Expo for Ford will be the unveiling of the 2012 Ford Eco Sport, a compact SUV based on the Fiesta platform. The new Eco Sport which will be manufactured at Ford's Chennai plant is expected to be powered by a 1-5-litre diesel engine in India. The SUV is expected to be a sub-four metre vehicle to take advantage of the tax subsidies. The Fiesta automatic will also be on display. We are also expecting to see the facelifted Endeavour, a vehicle that really needs a refresh.
Jaguar Land Rover:
Tata Motors will be looking to grab eyeballs through their Jaguar Land Rover brand. The vehicle to watch out for will be Defender Concept DC 100. It has been 67 years since the original Defender was unveiled. The DC 100 is what the new Defender will look like when the production model rolls out in 2015. Jaguar will have the C-X75 and the C-X16 concepts on display. The C-X75 will reach production status only by 2015 but Jaguar already have orders for it.
Force Motors which launched the Force One in 2011 is looking to strengthen the brand and will display a 4WD Force One with ABS. There will also be a weekend getaway version of the Force One. Force Motors have announced that they will be launching a light commercial passenger vehicle though details about that are not yet available.
Honda will be looking to draw the customers back using this Auto Expo. They will be showcasing the facelifted City which they have launched at a very competitive price of Rs 6.99 lakh (ex-Delhi). They will also display the new Civic and their NSX supercar. They will also have their ASIMO robots on display.
The last car GM launched was the Beat diesel and the American manufacturer is looking to remind people of its presence with the Chevrolet Sail. GM is expected to launch the hatchback and the sedan version of the car in India in 2012. GM is also likely to also launch two models of its Wuling vans which they plan to sell under the Chevrolet brand in India starting 2012.
We've been hearing about and spying on the Mini Xylos so much over the past few months that it is finally a relief that the car will be officially unveiled at the Expo bringing an end to all the rumours of what it will be like. But that's not all. Rumours are rife about a more powerful variant of the XUV500 being on display in Delhi. Also making an appearance will be a shorter, sub four-metre version of the Verito. Mahindra will also display their Ssangyong range of vehicles like the Rexton and Korando SUVs. Also making an appearance will be the Verito electric and Reva NXR.
Peugeot is planning a big entry into the Indian market. In preparing for that, they are bringing three models to the Expo. First in line is the 208, Peugeot's new hatchback. The 208 is the car that the French manufacturer is looking at to bring it worldwide success, just like the 206 did. Following close behind will be the 508 sedan which was featured in our magazine in the July 2011 issue. Keeping these two company will be the company's hugely popular sports car RCZ. Quite a busy place this stall is going to be.
We all remember the RIII concept that Maruti Suzuki had showcased at the Auto Expo 2010. Now we hear that the car is finally nearing production ready status and has been christened the Ertiga. It will be featured at their stall at the Auto Expo. The MUV will be slotted below the Innova. That is not all that Maruti has lined up for the show in Delhi, their new compact SUV will also be on display. The concept will be based on the Swift platform and is expected to use the same visual cues as the Swift hatchback.
Renault will exhibit their entire Indian line-up which includes the Fluence, Koleos and Pulse. Its five seater SUV, the Duster will also be present at the stalls. Duster will be powered by a 1.5-litre diesel engine capable of generating 85PS and a petrol version with 135PS of power. But the biggest draw will be the Formula 1 car. Expect a crowd here.
A lot of action is expected at the Merc stall in Delhi this year with three important cars being featured. The centre of attention will of course be the SLS Roadster that will be on display. On one side of the drop top will be the brand new B-Class hatchback which we had featured in our December 2011 issue. The other side will of course be taken up by the all new ML-Class SUV. Also making its debut will be the A-Class concept.
Nissan will be showcasing their Leading Environmentally friendly Affordable Family car, aka the Leaf at their stall in Delhi. But that is not what is most interesting in Delhi if you ask us. On display along with the Leaf will be the GT-R in all its glory. Also accompanying the two cars will be the entire lineup of cars that is sold in India - the Sunny, the Micra and the like.
Skoda will be looking at their Mission L concept to draw people into their stall. This is a five-door sedan which will be a new C-segment model for Skoda. A concept car based on the Fabia RS, the Fabia RS2000, is also likely to be unveiled. The Fabia Scout should also be put into the mix by Skoda. Apart from this there will be the recently launched Yeti 4x2 and the Rapid. There is also news that they will be unveiling their new logo at the Auto Expo.
In the last edition of the Auto Expo, Tata Motors launched the Nano and grabbed the world's attention. But after that the Nano hasn't really been raking in the numbers. There's a dire need to inject some life into this product and what better way to do it than give the Nano a diesel engine. And Tata are going to do just that. Bosch has been working on a low-cost common rail fuel injection system for the Nano diesel. The engine will be similar to that in the Magic Iris (611cc, 11PS but with reduced torque). The Nano diesel will also have an opening tailgate. It should cost fifty to sixty thousand rupees more than the petrol. The other big draw will be the launch of the revamped Tata Safari or Merlin as the code name goes.
The Innova and the Fortuner have raked in the numbers for Toyota. But there was a need for a refresh especially in case of the Innova and Toyota have gone ahead and done just that and the result is impressive. The Japanese manufacturer will be displaying their facelifted Fortuner and Innova at the Expo. Toyota will also show the 2012 Camry which is expected to now be assembled in India. The Etios Liva racing cars will be there and expect an announcement about the one-make racing series too.
Volkswagen will showcase their environment friendly, fuel efficient cars at the 11th edition of the Auto Expo. The focus will be on the cars with their BlueMotion technology. The Up! was scheduled to make its appearance in India but there are some doubts regarding that. VW will also be launching the Jetta with a 1.8 TSI petrol engine, something that many enthusiasts are looking forward to. The biggest draw however will be the 21st century Beetle. That will see the maximum clicks.
The manufacturer that made a quiet entrance into the Indian market will only display their flagship RSV4 at the Expo. You just might see them officially announce their presence in India at the Expo.
Bajaj Auto has decided to only showcase their RE60, touted to be as a replacement for an autorickshaw at the Auto Expo 2012
We expect the H-D stall to be a fun place. Expect to see over 5000 parts and accessories to customize your ride and your look (H-D clothing). Also on display will be stock and fully customised H-D bikes.
Hero Moto Corp will exhibit the impressive Impulse, a bike which really excites us, in all its colours. Apart from Hero will also have the Maestro, Passion Pro X and the Ignitor on display.
For any biking enthusiast this is the biggest news of the Auto Expo. Triumph will launch seven models from its 2012 line-up at the Expo. This British premium bike manufacturer will launch its legendary Bonneville first followed by the iconic naked sports bikes Speed Triple and Street Triple. There will also be the off-roader Tiger 800XC, Supersport bike Daytona 675, Triumph Storm and Rocket III. "Our strategy for the Indian market will be well phased out. The first part of the roll-out plan will be a CKD assembly facility which will enable us to pass on duty savings to the customer," said Ashish Joshi, managing director, Triumph Motorcycles India. Do you hear a robust exhaust note ringing in your ears?
Honda Motorcycle and Scooter India (HMSI) is seriously eyeing the top slot in the country, especially ever since Honda dissolved its JV with Hero. At the Expo, HMSI is expected to unveil its new commuter motorcycle which could be a 100cc commuter to help Honda rake in the numbers. The Japanese manufacturer is also expected to showcase its new scooter, which will be based on the highly successful Activa, after the Dio and Aviator. Honda will also display a souped-up version of its CBR250R from Mugen, apart from new colour schemes for the CBR, and we hope we will finally get the CBR in HRC colours. From its international line-up Honda display the 2012 CBR 1000RR Fireblade, the new Cross-Tourer and probably the Fury.
RE will showcase their Desert Storm and the Chrome Classic alongwith their military models from the US market. They will also show the Cafe Racer. but apart from the bikes they will unveil their range of branded accessories.
While there are no bike launches planned by Yamaha, they will display their scooter range. There is talk about them launching them but no confirmed reports on that. Apart from that you will have Yamaha's 50th anniversary R1, the R15 V 2.0, Jorge Lorenzo's MotoGP bike and maybe one of the Teneres.
Suzuki will have on display the Hayabusa, Intruder M1800, GSX-R1000, GSR750, DL650A (V-Strom) and RMX450Z, while the Indian range would include SlingShot Plus, GS150R and Access 125.
TVS Motors are known to bring some interesting concepts to the Auto Expo. We expect this trend to continue. There will be a scooter concept which you can expect to turn into a production model next year.
Hyosung will have the 2012 650R and the 650N. They have said they'll be launching a 250cc bike in 2012, mostly the GT250R. That should here along with the ST7, the GV250R, GT250N and the Aquila 650.
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