Looking at the rapid dieselification of Indian market, Audi India launched an entry level diesel variant of the A6 with a 2.0L TDI engine. Earlier, the A6 was only available in 3 engine options 2.8 TFSI, 3.0 TFSI and 3.0 TDI. Thus, if you wanted a diesel Audi A6, you had no options but to buy it in a 3.0 TDI which was a bit expensive.

Audi A6 2.0 TDI

However, Audi India has realized the potential of the entry level diesel executive sedan market and has dropped the 2.0L TDI from the Q5 in the A6. This 2.0 TDI does its duty in a lot of VW and Skoda models as well. This 4 cylinder oil burner produces 177 hp and has a fuel efficiency rating of 18.96 kmpl. Nothing else has been changed on the A6 spec sheet.

The new 2.0L Audi A6 will give a tough competition to the rival brands. It will go head to head with BMW’s 520d and Mercedes’s E-Class diesel in India. The company has priced this new A6 at an ex showroom Delhi price of Rs 37.7 lakhs. The BMW 525d starts at Rs 36.9L (ex-Delhi) and the Mercedes E220CDi starts at 38.74 lakh (ex Ahmedabad). Just like the brand positioning, Audi is also pricing their cars in the middle.

An unidentified IndianAutosBlog.com reader sent us snaps of the upcoming Hyundai Eon. Hyundai will launch the Alto slayer on the 13th of this month with a 814cc three-cylinder petrol engine producing 56 PS @ 5,500 RPM and 75 Nm @ 4,000 RPM.

These images could have been snapped as the vehicle was being unloaded from a truck on a public road. But let’s move our attention from the location of the car to the car itself.

Hyundai Eon front leftHyundai Eon rear

The Eon does not look or feel like three lakh rupee car. Add a slightly more powerful engine and the Eon could give a tough fight to the i10 category players. The quality, fit and finish are unreal for a car at this price point. Maruti has to be worried until their new 800cc car is ready.

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After a successful launch of the Nissan Sunny in India, Nissan is contemplating on exporting the midsize sedan to various countries. The company has already placed its orders for UK and Spain. Now, Nissan is looking forward to export the Sunny to West Asia and Africa from their Chennai plant.

Nissan Sunny BlueMost of the exports would happen from their 2,00,000 capacity plant in Oragadam near Chennai. The idea is to develop that plant as a global supply chain management hub that will export cars to the many overseas countries.

There is definitely a strong case to export the Sunny sedan in many countries. So called as the ‘Global Sedan’, the Nissan Sunny can be easily customized to meet any requirement of any market. Being a successful product in USA and China – two major automotive markets – the Sunny will be well accepted in any market in the world.

Having said that, Nissan is also focusing on the domestic market.

Nissan has realized that the only chink in the armor is the lack of dealerships and service centers in India. The company is planning to expand its dealer networks to 60 members by next year from the current 45. By 2013, the carmaker plans to take it up to 100. This dealership network will come in real handy for the future products of Nissan India such as the NV200 MPV and a proposed small car in the future.

We expect Nissan to launch the diesel Sunny in the last quarter of 2011 and price it at around 75-80k over the petrol.

2012 Toyota AvanzaWhile there are many rumors floating around the internet on the Avanza’s Indian journey, the fact is Toyota will not bring all-new models till the end of 2012. Their energy is concentrated on seeing off the Etios twins and bringing in IMV platform (Innova and Fortuner) facelifts.

Currently TKM is discussing the matter with Toyota Motor Corporation and there is no better stage than Auto Expo 2012 to launch one of them. As the Innova is the older of the two and fresh competition is here in the form of the Maruti R3 MPV and Nissan NV200, it is a good ploy to upgrade the Innova simultaneously.

Leaving out the CBU-route next gen Camry, in 2013 Toyota is likely to bring its next (completely) new product to the Indian market. We don’t know which one it is, but the MPV segment has caught the fancy of TKM.

We spoke to Mr Sandeep Singh during the launch of the Etios Liva earlier this year and asked him about their participation in the Qualis segment which they exited with the launch of the Innova.

Mr Sandeep Singh, DMD Toyota Kirloskar Motor to Indian Autos Blog back in June 2011 –

We know that the segment (immediately below the Innova) is very important for us, we would like to enter into that segment. But as of now we don’t have any products that fits in well. We have many products, but we don’t have any product that fits in very well as per Indian conditions. You will not see us in that segment with any product at least for the next 2-3 years. We have not taken a decision if not we would have entered in the next two years. We are looking at that segment, we know that segment very well, we have done very well (with Qualis). We are in the upper end of that segment with the Innova.

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Nissan India has upgraded the Micra with new features and improvements. As these are not segment-breaking changes, the company has chosen not to advertise them.

The model seen here at a dealership has new rear seat supports with integrated head rests. PureDrive badges adorn the tailgate of the diesel models along with a louder horn. Both diesel variants (XV and XV Premium) have these features.

Nissan Micra rear seatNissan Micra Diesel PureDrive

Nissan has revamped the rear seat after having seen the rear seat travel habits even on A and B segment cars. The more powerful horn is present as Nissan fully understands that Indian drivers love to communicate with each other.

The diesel model now accounts to 8/10 Micras sold in India. The PureDrive technology is Nissan’s BlueMotion, signifying sophisticated technology that saves the environment and the seams of your wallet. We expect to see Nissan promoting PureDrive on its advertising campaigns. It could be a regular feature on future Nissan vehicles as well as fuel economy is of paramount importance in any and every passenger segment.

Mahindra REVA Gio Compact Cab EV front rightSpied here is the electric version of a production-ready Mahindra Gio Compact Cab. The vehicle has ‘Mahindra-REVA’ and ‘Electric Vehicle’ badges on its body and on the interiors as well. This means the motor, batteries and controller are sourced from REVA.

In our chat with Mr Rajan Wadhera, Chief Executive of technology, we understood that REVA will supply powertrains for jointly developed electric vehicles while vehicle building technology will be Mahindra’s contribution. While Mr Wadhera was not specific about which vehicles will get electric counterparts, from this spyshot it is clear that Gio is among them.

The vehicle spied could be a prototype undergoing evaluation and feasibility. It has a top speed of about 50kph and shares many soft components with its diesel-engined sibling. Mahindra has also shown a rolling prototype at the Auto Expo last year of the Maxximo load carrier and has recently initiated projects on transferring electric technology from REVA on to its existing product portfolio.

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Skoda RapidAn anonymous IAB reader snapped up the Skoda Rapid from what he describes as a ‘special unveiling.’

While we aren’t in the know of specifics we have a sneak peak of the vehicle unmasked giving away many new details.

The C-Shaped tail lamps are new, the rear bumper projects out a bit more than the Vento but the side profile is ditto. The Rapid comes across as a facelifted Vento with Skoda badges. There are a few trademark Skoda design touches and signature elements but the similarities are too close for comfort.

Skoda has to play a flawless marketing game to differentiate the two products as the powertrains (1.6 petrol, 1.6 diesel with manual and automatic) are again same, albeit with different state of tune.

Indians are used to driving cars from different brands having the same engines, same platform and even the same controls. But this is the first time they will drive exactly identical products with different badges. In our view, the Rapid’s biggest plus is its price expected to undercut the Vento by a few thousand rupees.

As part of the Rise philosophy, Mahindra could sell the newborn XUV500 to the Chinese and Russian car buyers. With several controversial design touches, the first thing XUV will accomplish on touch down in these two growth markets is make everyone talk about it. While we can’t wait to see if its all positive praise, the Russian and Chinese public will get new features and mechanical components.

Mahindra XUV500 cream

At the Pune press conference held for announcing the XUV500’s prices, Mahindra said Ssangyong petrol engines are being considered for the XUV500. Selling the XUV500 petrol in India is like setting up a shop for selling typewriters along the IT Corridor – not only will people laugh at you, you’ll go bust in days.

The SUV may not run under the same branding in another country. The prices of the vehicle in the Indian market will not be the starting point for deciding its overseas country’s positioning or pricing. It will ultimately depend on what the competition is offering and at how much.

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