VW Passat BlueMotion rearIt’s hardly been a few months since the new Passat was revealed but the web is already buzzing with information and speculation on the next generation Passat (8th generation) expected to bow in before 2014.

With changes reserved to body panels, material switch and design changes in the cabin, the existing Passat (Passat Bluemotion for Indians) is not an all-new model or next generation model as Volkswagen proposes.

The 2014 Passat could be the first Volkswagen to use the new kit architecture as its underpinning. The current B7 Passat is based on the PQ47 platform. The 8th generation Passat will cease using the PQ47 and will instead be built using the Volkswagen MQB (Modularer QuerBaukasten in German and Modular Transverse Matrix in English). The platform relocation is interesting as the MQB will underpin a gamut of VW family products including the next generation VW Polo, Skoda Laura, Audi A3 and the Seat Leon.

The all-new architecture will cover pretty much everything in Volkswagen’s future, right from the Polo till the Passat. The MQB kit cars will share the same engine, front axle and pedal box location. The beauty of this platform lies in its flexibility – it will allow cars of varying wheelbase, track and length to be formed on it.

Posted on Jun 2 2011 - 9:57am IST

Automobile blogs based out of Thailand, a hot market for Honda products, have started reporting on the Honda City mild makeover expected to debut by October. To ensure no misinterpretation – there will be no drastic redo on the exterior.

Honda City conceptHonda City concept

Subtle changes to the front fascia, tail lights, bumpers and wheels are obvious. A display that gives out real-time fuel consumption data is expected to make an appearance. Other relevant additions will be appreciated, but we’re puzzled about which ones will make the cut. Interior upholstery can upgraded and minor changes to the dashboard is another prediction.

Honda revealed a City concept car two years ago in Australia sporting LED lamps and new wheels (pictured). Inspiration for the City facelift should most likely come from there.

Honda has said that its compact diesel engine won’t be seen till 2013 so that pretty much puts an end to the powertrain debate. The existing 1.5-liter petrol mill that drums up 118PS will remain shoe-horned under the City’ hood.

What do you think Honda should do with the new City?

2012 Mercedes Benz GL-ClassConstant developments are a part of Mercedes’s philosophy. The company works simultaneously on the future models on multiple products in its portfolio. Earlier we brought you a brochure scan of the Mercedes ML-Class and spyshots of it being tested in Germany. Now, we have its big daddy – the 7-seat 2012 GL-Class caught on cam at the Nürburgring.

The test mule is draped in a good amount of camouflage so details are hard to come by. But CarandDriver reports that the car will feature a rising beltline, blunt nose, larger windows, and a sloped stop light. The car is not expected to get any larger because it already quite a large vehicle only second to the R-Class MPV.

It is expected to be powered by the same 3.0-liter turbo-diesel V-6, which makes 210 hp and 400 lb-ft only the engine may get more fuel efficient. A hybrid also is likely down the road. The SUV is expected to debut early next year

Mercedes hasn’t been able to capture the fancy of the luxury SUV buyers in India. BMW and Audi still dominate this particular territory. Hopefully, with the all-new ML-Class and the GL-Class, Mercedes India will start climbing back to the top position.

The reason we are suddenly seeing so many spyshots of the Skoda Rapid is because the car is going to be unveiled at Frankfurt Motor Show this September. The Czech Automaker has confirmed that the preparations are in full swing on the completing formalities with the Rapid and the product will rival the likes of the Honda City, Hyundai Verna and the soon to come Ford Fiesta. It will go into production by the end of 2011.

Skoda Rapid 2011

Thomas Kuehl, board member, sales and marketing, Skoda Auto India –

India is also one of the first markets to get the car. Our new entry-level limousine would offer the best value for money in the segment and we are looking at topping the category in sales and leaving everybody behind. In every premium segment where we are present, the Laura and Superb give better quality, design, driveability and equipment over competitors and our new car would do the same in its segment

He also insisted that this is an ‘all new’ car and not an Octavia replacement. The Octavia brand, we suppose, will now be a part of the history books.

The thing that is puzzling us is the pricing. Clearly, if Skoda is targeting the Honda City and the Hyundai Verna, we are talking about the 7-11 lakh price bracket. If Skoda is planning to undercut its rivals, it also will undercut its sibling VW Vento.

What do you think should be the price band to launch the Skoda Rapid?

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Pagani HuayraWe saw Ferrari, we saw Aston Martin, we saw Koenigsegg, We even saw the mighty Veyron. Now, we might just be able to see Pagani.

According to AutoEvolution and RushLane, the Italian Supercar manufacturer Pagani is scouting for an importer who would help them set up a shop in India. Is Shreyans group and Mr Chordia reading this?

The company’s first product is expected to be the Zonda replacement – Huayra. Named after a South American wind god – Huayra Tata, this mighty beast has a bespoke heart made by AMG. It is a 6.0-litre V12 twin-turbo producing 730bhp and 811lb ft of torque. The whole car is made from carbotanium which is a mix of carbon fiber and titanium and the resulting kerb weight is only 1,350kg.

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Smaller and more fuel efficient Land Rovers are on the anvil for India starting with the Range Rover Evoque in the beginning of 2012 (Auto Expo premiere?) CAR India reports. The Evoque’ global debut will unfold in mid 2011 following which work will get underway for the India unveil. At this point, It isn’t understood if Tata Motors is planning to assemble the Evoque at its newly inaugurated assembly line near Pune.

Range Rover Evoque 5-door

It is common sense to assume that the 3-door model will not make an appearance here leaving market-capturing duties to the more practical and back-seat friendly 5-door version. If sold in the CBU form, it will compete with the LC Prado, BMW X5, Audi Q7 and Mercedes Benz ML-Class.

If Tata Motors wants this muscular SUV to be taken seriously by India and not just play the role of a brand shaper, assembling it in India will garner better response. CKDing permits them to take it a segment lower putting it the line of the Audi Q5’s fire.

A popular Japanese publication has written about Honda’s interest in reviving the HR-V, a compact Sports Utility Vehicle that sits under the CR-V in the international lineup. It was discontinued in 2006 following poor sales leaving the CR-V as the sole crossover model in the company’s current portfolio. Once voted as the best SUV money buys, the CR-V is near as dead in India with languishing sales thanks to discouraging trends in exchange rates. The CR-V is a fully imported car, the replacement model of which is expected in late 2011.

2014 Honda HRV

After having noticed the increased appetite for small crossovers in Europe and America, Honda is apparently planning to release one themselves. Crossovers usually combine the strengths of a sedan and SUV with an intermediate seating position, luggage volume comparable to a SUV, maneuverability of a sedan while somewhat being able to traverse rough terrain. The revival will be a larger product competing with the likes of the Nissan Qashqai and the Mitsubishi ASX. Mag-X has put some numbers on the table – 4350 mm long, 1745 mm wide and 1640 mm high.

As it is Honda we’re talking about, the word delay is inevitable in most sentences. Tentative launch date stands at August 2014.

Under the hood a 2.0 liter 4-cylinder petrol (presumably from the CR-V) and a 2.2 liter diesel is expected. It is said that a compact 1.5-liter diesel engine is being worked on for the entire range of compact Hondas which the future HR-V is part of.

Talking to IndianAutosBlog last month, Force Motors MD Prasan Firodia sounded very optimistic about the chances of his company’s new SUV in the affordable SUV-deprived Indian market. When quizzed about the striking resemblance this 12 lakh rupee SUV bears with the Foday Explorer of China he responded that there are imported parts coming in from both Thailand and China.

Force Motors SUV frontForce Motors SUV side

He pointed out that these were soft components which make up the vehicle’ interior to keep tooling cost from sky-rocketing. Key mechanical components have been developed by leading suppliers or by Force in-house.

Firodia confirmed that his SUV will have the same powertrain found on the Mercedes Benz C220 CDI (displacing 2,143cc). The power and torque ratings will vary as the application differs. Force is not worried about a delay in the launch considering the product quality was a top priority. IAB expects the product to be launched by the end of July. The company sells Traveller, Trax, Trump and its passenger application Trump Trip is expected shortly. Can we see a ‘T’ name on this product as well?