Honda NSCThe Honda NSC sizzles at the Bangkok Motor Show

The Honda stall at the 31st Bangkok Motor Show was cornering eyeballs like no other. This is because Honda’s small car concept (codenamed 2CV), the same car displayed at the Auto Expo in New Delhi this year proudly adorned the stall.

Honda enjoys a great fan following in Thailand & is the second largest car maker of the country. Honda Thailand is gearing up for the launch of this new small car. This car will be positioned below the Jazz. Engine options include a 1.2litre i-VTEC engine, similar to the one that is available in India on the Jazz. are also speculations of a smaller 1.0-litre engine which could be for the export market.

The concept sits on a wide platform that Honda says gives it a stable centre of gravity, as well as helping to maximise interior space for the five-seat layout, increasing passenger comfort.

The car goes on sale in 2011 in Thailand. It should come to India before that.

It seems like the Honda small car will come sooner than expected

In the month of March while most of the auto companies showed a positive growth in the sales, Honda’s cumulative sales dropped by about 20%. There are cash discounts being offered on the Jazz thanks to its low sales, the Altis is clearly ahead of the Civic, the once popular Accord has been overtaken by the more value for money option-the Skoda Superb, the CR-V too is selling in minuscule numbers thanks to its steep price tag. It is only the city that is garnering sales for Honda.

This could have prompted Honda to rethink the launch of its small car (codenamed 2CV). If rumors are to be believed, Honda is planning to bring forward the launch of the small car. The company is aware of the fact that this car can fire up its’ sales charts.

The Beat has helped GM cross the 10k mark in cumulative sales, the Figo has helped Ford overtake Honda & Toyota in terms of sales, the Polo has been a huge hit for VW with 5,000 confirmed bookings. Nissan will roll out the Micra in July & Honda’s arch rival, Toyota plans to launch the hatch variant of the Etios in the month of December. Honda sure wants to speed up & does not want to be overshadowed by the bevy of hatches hitting the Indian market.

Even at the Auto Expo in January Honda brought in the small car concept at the last moment because it did not want Toyota to steal all the limelight with the Etios concept. This time around too Honda does not want to leave any stone unturned & is pulling up its’ socks for the launch of the car.

Sources say that Honda might just launch the car at the end of this year or early next year. The car will roll out from Honda’s Greater Noida Facility & will be powered by a 1.2-litre engine which would be a tuned-down version of the Jazz’s 1.2. Honda is targeting a price tag of 5 lakh or maybe even below as the starting price. Knowing fully well Honda’s frugal engineering skills, the car should be best in class in terms of fuel efficiency, refinement, ease of driving & reliability.

Posted on Apr 7 2010 - 11:18am IST

Audi Q7 4.2 TDIThe 4.2-liter TDI makes the Q7 the most powerful SUV in India

Audi has finally introduced the 4.2 TDI engine on the Q7 in India. The Audi Q7 4.2 TDI can sprint from 0-100 km/h in 6.4 seconds and achieve a top speed of 240 km/hr while still having a fuel efficient engine which consumes 9.9 liters/100km.

The Audi Q7 4.2 TDI will be available at a price of Rs. 58,68,000 (ex-showroom Mumbai) from April 2010.

click through for press release

The Mercedes E-Class Coupe lacks mass appeal but appeals to us!

Mercedes-Benz has launched the stunning new E-class coupe in India. Showcased at the Auto Expo in January, the car is powered by the same 3.5-litre V6 petrol as the saloon version.

The Mercedes E-class Coupe is priced at Rs 54.83 56.38 lakh (ex-showroom, Mumbai).

Update – Press release added after the break

Update – Press release added after the break

Hyundai i20 newThe new Hyundai i20 variants provide the customer with more options and features

Hyundai Motor India Ltd, today introduced two new variants on its i20 – the Era and the Sportz. The Era hcome in both petrol and diesel variants, and will form the entry-level range, while the Sportz variant slots between the Magna and Asta.

H W Park, managing director & CEO, HMIL -

We are pleased to announce the launch of the i20 with new features and two new additional variants. The new features will help improve the i20 and make it even more desirable for our customers. We are confident that with the new features and additional variants the i20 will become even more attractive and set new benchmark for this class of cars with improved styling, unique features and conformity with global safety standards.

The new i20 in the diesel variant comes with a six-speed manual transmission. The sixth gear will assist engine do its work at a low rpm making it more fuel-efficient and bringing down its NVH (Noise, Vibration & Harshness). Also, the wear and tear of the engine will be lesser.

The diesel variant, which comes in manual transmission will have shift indicators which prompts the driver to change gears at the right time. Apart from this feature, blue LED interior illumination, silver centre fascia and chrome finish on inside door locks are the in-cabin additions. On the outside, new chrome radiator grille and outside rear view mirrors with integrated turn indicators are the new additions.

Fully Automatic Temperature Control (FATC) system and in-built USB port (in Magna), burglar alarm, steering wheel with audio remote and passenger vanity mirror (in Sportz and Asta) are the features added to the new i20 variants which are BS4 compliant.

Prices (ex-showroom, Delhi) for the Era variant starts at Rs 4,51,816 while as the Sportz will be priced at Rs 5,31,817.

Posted on Apr 6 2010 - 9:42pm IST

2010 VW PoloThe Polo’s interiors and great looks have struck the right chord with Indians

Less than 45 days after its launch, the VW Polo has attracted over 5000 confirmed bookings. The amazing response for this vehicle, we think, is due to its sharp looks and great interiors.

Initially announced at Rs 4.34 for the base 1.2L petrol, VW revised the prices after the budget, and now prices start at Rs 4.42 lakhs Ex-Showroom Delhi for the base petrol. With just 42 dealers in India and signs of more demand, VW should ramp up their dealer network quickly.

Neeraj Garg, member of the board and director, Volkswagen Passenger Cars, Volkswagen Group Sales India -

Polo is having a waiting period of about three-four months currently and we are ramping up the production of to meet the demand accordingly. We have confirmed bookings of 5,000 units of the Polo, with 500 units already delivered. The response towards our car has really reiterated the trust and confidence that our brand and importantly our products have been able to build up in a short span of time.

The Polo is offered in both petrol and the diesel variants. Both the engines displace 1.2L and both produce 75bhp and both are offered in 3 variants – Trendline, Comfortline and Highline. Is the Polo the hottest hatch after the Figo in recent times?

2010 mercedes benz e-class coupeWe don’t know if the E-Class coupe is going to add volumes to Mercedes in India

Mercedes Benz will launch its E-Class Coupe in India today morning. The function will take place in Mumbai. The E-Class Coupe was showcased at the Auto Expo in January.

The new E-Class Coupe will use the current E350‘s engine. The E Coupe is expected to cost around Rs. 10 lakh more than the sedan.

It costs 10 lakh more but has only two doors. Is that unfair?

Not really. You get to enjoy an open-air theater like experience with that 3.5-liter V6 growl. That makes this car an orchestra on wheels.

Fully retractable side windows, sports radiator grille, bigger wheels, 3-spoke steering wheel, sports seats are on the options list. We’ll get you more details as soon as the launch happens. Stay tuned.

2010 Suzuki KizashiThe V6 and 4-cylinder turbochrged engine for Kizashi would come from VW

Japanese carmaker Suzuki could use VW’s powertrains for its latest model Kizashi. This announcement comes after Suzuki signed a partnership with VW last year giving rise to speculations of VW powertrains being adopted on some of its other offerings like SX4 and Grand Vitara.

Rumor has it that Suzuki will introduce the Kizashi in India by the end of 2010.

A team of Suzuki engineers were sent to Germany to study the possibility of VW powertrains in the Suzuki vehicle.

Steve Younan, director of product planning at American Suzuki Motor Corp -

We are looking at VW’s cost structure and their offerings. We want to keep our cars reachable to mere mortals. We would be happy with a small V-6 or a turbo-four. The Kizashi suspension is not at its limit. We are trying to be an affordable performance brand.

Is this the tip of the iceberg? We think so. Suzuki could use smaller VW diesels on its SX4 and Grand Vitara. Presently, it sources diesel engines from Fiat, but very soon this could change.