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Renault Kwid, Bajaj Pulsar RS 200 win top honours at Autocar India Awards 2016

The Renault Kwid has won the 'Car of the Year' award at the Autocar India Awards 2016 held at Taj Lands End, Mumbai on January 29, 2016. Apart from the top award, the Kwid also drove away with the title of 'Hatchback of the Year'.

In the two-wheeler category, the Bajaj Pulsar RS 200 was adjudged the 'Bike of the Year'. The RS 200 not only impressed the eminent jury but also our readers, as it won the 'Readers' Choice Bike of the Year' award as well.

The Kwid fought off tough competition from the likes of Maruti Baleno, Honda Jazz and even the Hyundai Creta. In fact, the Creta walked away with three awards as it was pronounced the 'Readers' Choice Car of the Year', the 'SUV/Crossover of The Year' as well as the 'Premium SUV/Crossover of the Year'.

The country’s largest carmaker Maruti Suzuki won the 'Manufacturer of the Year' award with its newest hatchback, the Baleno, being adjudged 'Premium Hatchback of the Year' as well as 'Best Value for Money Car of the Year'.

The Autocar India Awards are highly prized by both car manufacturers and car buyers. It is the outcome of months of behind-the-scenes work, where the contenders are put through a series of rigorous tests by the most experienced jury members in the field.

Apart from the above winners, the BMW i8, Mercedes-Maybach S-class, Audi Q7, Ducati Scrambler Icon and Triumph Tiger 800 XCx were some of the other models that earned a spot in the roll of honour.

1. Car of the Year - Renault Kwid
2. Bike of the Year - Bajaj Pulsar RS 200
3. Readers' Choice Car of the Year - Hyundai Creta
4. Readers' Choice Bike of the Year - Bajaj Pulsar RS 200
5. Best Design & Styling - BMW i8
6. Best Value for Money Car of the Year - Maruti Baleno
7. Variant of the Year - Fiat-Abarth Punto
8. Manufacturer of the Year - Maruti Suzuki India Limited
9. Technology and Innovation Award - BMW i8 Hybrid
10. Engine of the Year - Mercedes-AMG 4.0 V8 petrol
11. Performance Car of the year - Mercedes-AMG C63 S
12. Hatchback of the Year - Renault Kwid
13. Mid-size Hatchback of the Year - Ford Figo
14. Premium Hatchback of the Year - Maruti Baleno
15. SUV/Crossover of the Year - Hyundai Creta
16. MPV of the Year - Renault Lodgy
17. Luxury Car of the Year - Mercedes-Maybach S-class
18. Premium SUV/Crossover of the Year - Hyundai Creta
19. Luxury SUV/Crossover of the Year - Audi Q7
20. Sportscar of the Year - Audi TT Coupé
21. Scooter of the Year - Vespa SXL 150
22. Premium Bike of the Year - Ducati Scrambler Icon
23. Import Bike of the Year - Triumph Tiger 800 XCx

Courtesy : Autocar

Jan 30, 2016
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Auto Expo 2016: Maruti Baleno RS concept to be showcased

The Baleno RS concept will likely be shown with the new 110bhp 1.0-litre Boosterjet turbo-petrol engine.

A sportier version of the Maruti Baleno, dubbed Baleno RS concept, will be displayed at the Auto Expo.

The concept is expected to get minor styling tweaks to make it look sportier, and will be powered by a new engine.

The concept will likely be equipped with the 1.0-litre 110bhp Boosterjet turbo-petrol motor that made its debut under the hood of the iK-2 concept at the Geneva motor show, early 2015. It was later showcased in the Baleno at the Frankfurt motor show in the same year.

The manufacturer is expected to launch the motor in India though no official date has been revealed yet. The manufacturer has already started testing the engine on Indian roads with pictures of test mules seen on the internet.

Maruti will also showcase a near-production version of the Ignis hatchback as a precursor to the production-spec model that is likely to be launched later this year. Also to be revealed is the all-new Vitara Brezza compact SUV that will rival the likes of the Ford EcoSport and Mahindra TUV300 and sit below the S-Cross in the carmaker’s line-up.

Courtesy : Autocar

Jan 29, 2016
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Delhi Auto Expo 2016: Five cars to look out for

Ford, Honda, Maruti Suzuki, Mercedes-Benz and Volkswagen are all showcasing important new models to the Indian market in Delhi

Over 65 exhibitors will attend this year’s Auto Expo in Greater Noida from February 5-9, making it the biggest in its history. These are five important cars that will be on display, showcasing the future of the Indian car market. 

Ford Mustang

Ford is looking to improve its sales in India, and while the Mustang won’t shift in big numbers it will help raise the manufacturer’s profile in the country. The American icon is coming to India in right-hand drive for the first time and will be a big draw for snap-happy punters at the Auto Expo. While other international markets can opt for a 2.3-litre Ecoboost-engined Mustang, India is expected to only get the full-blown 437bhp 5.0-litre V8 with a six-speed automatic gearbox.

The sixth-generation US-bred performance car gets a change in suspension to improve its ride, as well as a bigger cabin than the model it replaces, with a big boost in interior quality.

Honda BR-V

There’s lots of excitement over Honda’s bike line-up at the Auto Expo, and its cars deserve a look as well.

The manufacturer isn’t bringing the HR-V to India, but it’s instead looking to capitalise on the rapidly growing small SUV segment by launching the Brio-based BR-V.  It will be against rivals like the  Renault Duster and Hyundai Creta, but the Honda BR-V has one-up on them in terms of practicality thanks to a third row of seats that will mean it can accommodate up to seven passengers. Production will take place at Honda’s Tapukara factory in Rajasthan.


Maruti Suzuki Vitara Brezza

Following successful launches of the Baleno and S-Cross last year, Maruti Suzuki will kick-off 2016 with the Vitara Brezza compact SUV.

Borrowing from the styling of the Vitara, which is sold overseas, the smaller Vitara Brezza has been conceived, designed and developed entirely by a team of in-house Maruti engineers. Thought to be powered by Maruti’s current crop of engines, which could include the 1.2- and 1.4-litre petrol and 1.3-litre diesel engines motors, an AMT-equipped model could eventually join the range. Hyundai is also rumoured to be plotting a compact SUV that could steal the limelight from the Vitara Brezza at the Auto Expo. 

Mercedes-Benz GLC-Class

The German manufacturer was the best-selling luxury brand in the country last year, and it will look to cement its place at the top of the sales charts in 2016. First up for this year is the launch the of GLC-Class crossover to rival premium offerings from BMW and Audi.

It’s available in two variants of the 2.1-litre diesel engine mated to the new nine-speed automatic gearbox and it gets a new name to go in line with Mercedes’ new SUV nomenclature. The GLC-Class is closely aligned to the C-Class sedan in terms of styling and interior features, but gets an increased ride height, longer wheelbase, and more space inside.


Volkswagen Ameo

The compact sedan has been made specifically for the Indian market and will be built at VW’s Pune plant in the first half of this year. VW has invested Rs 720 crore towards the development of the Ameo as part of its long-term investment in India and it’s thought the sedan will come packed with features, commanding a higher price than rivals like the Honda Amaze.

The compact sedan has been made specifically for the Indian market and will be built at VW’s Pune plant in the first half of this year. VW has invested Rs 720 crore towards the development of the Ameo as part of its long-term investment in India and it’s thought the sedan will come packed with features, commanding a higher price than rivals like the Honda Amaze.

Courtesy : Autocar

Jan 28, 2016
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Long wait for Baleno customers

Carmaker says six-month waiting period likely to remain for now. To commence exports to Japan and other countries this month.

Maruti Suzuki’s latest premium hatchback, Baleno, has received an overwhelming response since its launch in October 2015 and has clocked nearly 70,000 bookings till date. The huge demand, however, has resulted in a waiting period of around five to six months for the car and company officials do not see the long waiting period shrinking anytime soon.

“We did not anticipate such a response for the Baleno. The waiting period of close to six months is likely to continue. However, we are in talks with our production team to see how quickly we can ramp up the production,” Partho Banerjee, Senior Vice President (NEXA Channel), Marketing & Sales, told Autocar India today.

Maruti produced 11,203 units of the Baleno in December 2015. In fact, the hatch sold 10,572 units during the same month and toppled the Hyundai i20 (10,379 units) to become the top selling premium hatchback.

The carmaker plans to begin exporting the Baleno starting later this month, which is further likely to weigh on production. R S Kalsi, Executive Director, Marketing & Sales, Maruti Suzuki said,” We will export the Baleno to Japan. We also have plans to then export it to Western Europe, Latin America, some African countries.” The carmaker has export orders from more than 100 countries, he added.

S-Cross price cut

Maruti Suzuki recently cut prices of the S-Cross premium crossover, by up to Rs 2.05 lakh in an attempt to boost sales. The prices of the car now start at Rs 7.79 lakh and go up to Rs 11.69 lakh for the top-spec variant. Both prices are for ex-showroom, Delhi.

Kalsi added that bookings have already increased following the price cut and the carmaker anticipates a pick-up in sales in the near term. “In India, the customer compares price to value proposition. The gap between prices of the 1.3-litre variant and 1.6-litre variant was perceived to be high by the customer, hence we have done price correction in line with market expectation,” he said, commenting on the move.

Maruti Suzuki today inaugurated its 100th Nexa premium dealership in the country in Thane, Mumbai. It has plans to ramp up the number of outlets to 140 by April this year, and is targeting 250 showrooms by April 2017.

Courtesy : Autocar

Jan 23, 2016
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Maruti opens 100th Nexa premium dealership

Nexa showrooms said to have recorded sales of 40,000 units since its July 2015 launch.
Maruti's Nexa premium dealership count in the country has reached 100 with the carmaker opening an outlet in Thane, Mumbai. The milestone has been accomplished in just six months since the launch of the first Nexa dealership in July 2015.

The Nexa premium dealership has its presence in 55 cities across the country, with the carmaker planning to up this number to 140 by April this year.  The carmaker plans to take the count to 250 by April 2017. To improve the quality of service, Maruti will also increase the number of customer relations managers from 2,500 to 5,000.

“We are delighted to omega replica watches start the 100th Nexa showroom ahead of our plan. Through Nexa, we want to meet the diverse expectations of our customers. Customer feedback and surveys show us that there is a growing segment of car buying Indians who value personal care, warmth and attention in their car buying and ownership experience. Nexa is designed for this segment of customers. It brings together people, technology, showroom ambience and processes to deliver the desired experience to this segment of customers,” said R.S. Kalsi, executive director (Marketing and Sales), Maruti Suzuki.

The Nexa showrooms have seen a fair amount of success having reportedly sold over 40,000 units in its six months. The launch of the new Nexa dealership is part of Maruti’s plan to achieve target sales of two million vehicles per annum by 2020. The dealership currently houses the fake omega watches uk Maruti S-Cross premium crossover and the popular Baleno premium hatchback with more models expected to join the line-up.

Courtesy : Autocar

Jan 23, 2016
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