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In conversation with Steve Zanlunghi, Head of Jeep (APAC region)

We speak with Jeep’s Head of Asia-Pacific region and discuss the success of the Compass, their future products and more.

Renuka Kirpalani: We've just experienced the Rubicon Trail in the new Wrangler, but is that solid off-roading capability always going to be the Jeep DNA, or do you feel compelled that because of how markets are changing, you might need to move towards a soft-roader at some point of time?

Steve Zanlunghi: Yes, absolutely. The Jeep brand was born and raised off-road; it is the brand's DNA. Every Jeep that we build will have our functional pillars – freedom, passion, adventure and authenticity. I think the Rubicon Trail absolutely magnifies what the DNA is, which is that authenticity of being off-road. So yes, we'll have the Jeep Wrangler, which will always be our icon, but then we'll also have other variants in the Jeep line-up that may not be the full four-wheel-drive, go-across-the-Rubicon-Trail type, because we do cater to a growing SUV market, and we understand people might not always want that capability. The Jeep Wrangler, however, will always have that capability and functionality.

Q: For decades, Jeep has been a very strong American brand. What is your strategy to make the brand more global?

SZ: If you look back to 2014, we were only building vehicles and industrialising in one country and that was the US; now, we've expanded to building in six different countries where we have assembly plants. So, what we're doing is we're getting into localisation. Obviously, now we're expanding from just building in the US to building Jeeps in Italy, Brazil, China, Mexico, and also obviously in India.

Q: Jeep has previously maintained that the Wrangler will only be assembled in the US but do you think that will change over a period of time because, to expand your footprint, you would need to localise, especially in markets like ours.

SZ: Yeah absolutely, you need to localise, but the Jeep Wrangler in particular will always be built in the US because that is our icon. And for certain markets where you have high duties, like in India, the Wrangler becomes an icon or a halo vehicle. We obviously did the research and the Jeep Compass has been very well received in the Indian market, and we do have an assembly plant there, and we are looking at and studying other projects too.

Q: What is your strategy to keep the Compass moving in India?

SZ: When we launched the Compass in India, it blew away all our expectations with how popular it was. And what we were doing – and it's part of the strategy – was a long-term strategy and not a short-term one, because we know we're building the brand in India. We weren't there two years ago, and I believe the Jeep brand there has big equity, so what we're doing is to keep the Compass fresh and alive, we're going to bring different variants; within the next six months, you will see a few other variants of the Compass that we've been working on for a while.

Q:  There's also been talk of a B-SUV, that it has been delayed or it may not come to India at all – what can you tell us about that?

SZ: We're not going to comment on future products. We are studying two additional vehicles for the Indian market – nothing's been confirmed but we are studying all the different options that we have that would be specific and would fit the Indian market. We also use the Indian market not just for local production but also as an export hub to right-hand-drive markets such as Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, UK, so we're very proud and happy to have that localised production for the Indian market as well as for export markets.

Q: When you're building future products, do you intend to build and assemble them in India and then use them for export as well?

SZ: It just depends on the type of product. If the product does fit other markets that are right-hand-drive, then we can export.

Courtesy:- AUTOCAR

Aug 18, 2018
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Mahindra Marazzo MPV launch on September 3

New Mahindra MPV will be offered in seven- and eight-seat configurations; expected to debut new 1.5-litre diesel engine.

The date is finally out: Mahindra will launch the Marazzo MPV on September 3, 2018.

Known as the U321 to most for the longest time, Mahindra's upcoming MPV finally has its official name - it's called the Marazzo. The Marazzo name has been derived from a word in the Basque language, which translates to ‘shark’ in English.

The Marazzo is the first Mahindra passenger vehicle to be co-developed by its Research Valley, in Chennai, and its North American Technical Centre, and has been co-designed by Pininfarina and Mahindra’s Kandivali design studio, in Mumbai. Ananthan Ramkripa, Chief Designer at Mahindra, says the design of the Marazzo is inspired by a shark, with several elements – inside and out – styled to mimic certain aspects of a shark.

The Marazzo MPV will be offered in seven- and eight-seat configurations. The seven-seat variant gets captain seats for the second row, while the eight-seater Marazzo gets a bench seat. To access the last row, the captain seats on the seven-seater can be flipped forward, and the same goes for the eight-seat Marazzo, as its foldable bench has a 40:20:40 split.

The Marazzo gets a black-and-beige T-shape dashboard with faux aluminium inserts, leatherette seat upholstery, a 7.0-inch touchscreen for the infotainment system, automatic climate control and AC vents for all three rows.

As is the case with other Mahindras, expect the Marazzo to be packed with creature comforts and equipment such as Mahindra's latest infotainment system with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, steering-mounted audio controls, automatic climate control with vents for all three rows, projector headlamps, daytime running lights and more.

The Marazzo will debut Mahindra’s new 1.5-litre diesel engine, likely to produce around 121hp and 300Nm. A six-speed manual will be the only gearbox available initially. All variants are expected to get airbags, ABS with EBD, rear parking sensors as standard.

Mahindra says the Marazzo does not replace any of its existing products, and is not a successor to the Xylo, but is instead a premium product positioned slightly above it. Size-wise, the Marazzo will slot in between the upcoming second-generation Maruti Suzuki Ertiga and the Toyota Innova Crysta, but will be closer to the former in terms of price.

What do you estimate will be the starting price for the Marazzo? Let us know in the comments.

Courtesy:- AUTOCAR

Aug 18, 2018
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Harley-Davidson starts buyback and exchange offers on Softails

The company will offer the entire ex-showroom value of the Street 750/Rod if the bike is less than one year old.

Harley-Davidson India has just announced a buyback offer on their Softail line. The company will pay back the purchase cost of the Street 750 and Street Rod, if one was to buy a new Softail model.

In an unprecedented move, Harley says that it will return the entire ex-showroom amount paid if the bike is not more than 12 months old. Judging by just how impressive the new Softails are, this will be a tempting offer for Street customers. In addition to this, if the Street 750 or Street Rod is between 12-24 months old, one can receive upto 75 percent of the ex-showroom amount paid for the bike.

At present, Harley has six Softail models on sale in India. The most affordable one is the Street Bob (Rs 12.59 lakh) and the most expensive model is the Heritage Classic (Rs 19.71 lakh); all prices, ex-showroom India. The other Softail bikes that sit between the two are the Low Rider, the Fat Bob, the Fat Boy and the Deluxe.

The American motorcycle maker was also recently in the news for the announcement of a radical new product plan that will see a sub-500cc Harley-Davidson for India, an adventure tourer, a Streetfighter and a range of electric bikes.

We've enjoyed every one of the new Harley Softails that we've ridden in India, so far. You can check out the links to the respective reviews below:

Courtesy:- AUTOCAR

Aug 18, 2018
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India-bound Honda Civic facelift revealed

The India-bound tenth generation Honda Civic has received a mild refresh. In the international market, the new Civic is available in a new Sport trim, while Honda Sensing active safety features are now standard across all variants and body styles.

Both sedan and coupe versions of the 2019 Civic get a piano black grille with redesigned lower fascia and a bumper with chrome accents and a full-width front splitter. The sedan gets chrome highlights on the rear bumper. Both versions are offered with a choice of halogen or LED headlights, while 18-inch alloy wheels are standard on the Touring trim. The Sport trim gets piano black inserts on the front, rear bumper with integrated diffuser, spoiler and polygonal chrome exhaust. On the inside, the car is offered with an updated 7.0-inch infotainment system with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto connectivity. 

Honda Sensing active safety features include Collision Mitigation Braking System (CMBS) with Forward Collision Warning, Road Departure Mitigation (RDM), Lane Departure Warning (LDW), Lane Keeping Assist System (LKAS) and Adaptive Cruise Control (ACC).

In the US, the Civic is offered with a choice of 2 engines paired with either a 6-speed manual or CVT. The 1.5-litre, 4-cylinder turbocharged petrol engine produces 172 BHP @ 5,500 rpm (6MT) / 6000 rpm (CVT) and 226 Nm @ 1,800-5,500 rpm (6MT) / 220 Nm @ 1,700-5,500 rpm (CVT). The 2.0-litre, 4-cylinder petrol unit makes 156 BHP @ 6,500 rpm and a peak torque of 187 Nm @ 4,200 rpm.

Courtesy:- TEAM-BHP

Aug 18, 2018
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50,000th Nexon rolls out of Tata's Ranjangaon plant

The Tata Motors plant in Ranjangaon celebrated a production milestone yesterday as the 50,000th Nexon rolled off the production line.

On average, Tata Motors has been selling around 4,200 units of the Nexon per month. In July 2018, the carmaker sold 3,840 units compared to 4,717 units in April 2018.

The Tata Nexon was launched in September 2017. It was initially offered with a 1.2-litre, 3-cylinder turbocharged petrol engine with 108 BHP and 170 Nm of torque and a 1.5-litre, 4-cylinder diesel unit with 108 BHP and 260 Nm. Both engines came with a 6-speed manual transmission. In May 2018, Tata introduced a 6-speed AMT on both petrol and diesel variants of the Nexon.

Courtesy:- TEAM-BHP

Aug 18, 2018
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