IAB Special- Nine new cars we look forward to in 2009

Shrawan

Shrawan Raja,

I’m the Founder & CEO of IndianAutosBlog.com. I love teamwork and talking about cars.

Car manufacturers in India are reeling in the wake of the economic crisis, but none of them intend to give it up anytime soon. Every car maker has its own strategy to deal with poor sales numbers which according to Auto experts continue till the end of this year for many.

Car makers know one thing- You can excite customers and bring them to showrooms only if you have something new to boast of. Listed here are nine glitzy cars that promise to draw the map to car dealerships for customers in India.

GM Spark

After receiving a clear majority of 1.9 million votes supporting the production of the Beat concept, GM decided to go ahead with the development of this car. The “Spark” as it will be referred to globally, carries all the design elements from the Beat concept. It will be positioned to compete with the likes of the Hyundai i20 and Skoda Fabia in India.

Manufactured at GM India’s plant in Talegaon, variants will use either a 1.0 or 1.2-liter four cylinder petrol engine coaxing 66 horsepower and 78 horsepower respectively when it rolls out by the end of this year

Tata Nano

India’s most awaited car, the 624cc 2-cylinder 33hp car isn’t what you will term powerful. Yet it has performance figures that match the original people’s car, the Maruti 800. The Tata Nano has one windshield wiper, no power steering, head rests integrated into the seats, three wheel lugs and one die hard attitude.

The term “Gandhian engineering” is apt describing the Nano as Indian innovation and smart packaging makes this the most fuel efficient car sold in the country. At 24 kmpl, it will cost you very little to run, and the 1-lakh price tag should be within your reach. Diesel and electric avatars will follow suit.

Maruti Suzuki Splash

Another car from Maruti, and how could it possibly be big? Jointly developed by Suzuki and Opel, Maruti will add another small car to its Indian portfolio with the Splash, which has shown its potential globally selling in big numbers. It will be priced above the newest Maruti, the A-Star.

Likewise it will use the state of the art 1.0-liter KB-Series engine. The 1.3-liter Multijet diesel in the Swift is a contender under the Splash’s bonnet. The Splash’s tall boy looks should make it a perfect replacement for the WagonR, but Maruti hates throwing its cars away. Expect it in June-July 2009.

Chevrolet Cruze

The 15-22 lakh D-Segment has only two popular names to boast of in India- Toyota Camry, Honda Accord. There seems to be a shortage of brands which customers would trust, the gap which GM will plug with the Chevrolet Cruze.

Initially thought as the replacement to the aging Optra, the Cruze will be positioned above the former, and will have both petrol (1.6, 1.8-liter) and diesel (2.0-liter) models. The Cruze has seen production lines in China and South Korea, and will be introduced in Australia and England when it reaches Indian shores in July.

Porsche Panamera

The dream Porsche for the family man. The 4-door, 4-seat sedan has stirred quite a controversy among sportscar fans who feel 4 doors are too many. The Panamera is scheduled for an Indian innings starting later this year.

It will be priced close the BMW 7 Series and Mercedes S-Class, so the roof should easily surpass a crore of rupees. The rear-wheel drive Panamera S has a 400-horsepower, 4.8-liter V8 engine that can take it from a standstill to 60 mph in 5.2 seconds on its way to a top test track speed of 175 mph. Diesels and hybrids will trickle in next year.

Tata Indigo 2nd gen

The next-gen Indigo as you would have guessed, is a boot attached to the Indica Vista. In fact that’s not what exactly describes the Indigo 2. The 2 will have a longer wheelbase and whole range of engine options compared to the hatchback. Sources and spy shots portray this car as better designed compared to the existing Indigo.

The Indigo 2 will have the 1.3-liter Multijet diesel, 1.2-liter Safire petrol and a 1.4-liter FIRE petrol in its roll call. Expect the Indigo in dealerships starting July.

VW Beetle

This is the second people’s car to feature in the list. The VW Beetle was the Tata Nano of Germany back in its day. After its phase out, VW worked on a Beetle with modern-day customers in mind and added the original flavour. Retro is cool, but it comes at a stratospheric price tag of 15 lakh+ in India, courtesy of excise duties.

Just like the Fiat 500, rhe Beetle is VW’s show car and celebrities will love it to bits. It was shown recently at an exhibition in Mumbai to gauge customer response, which led to the decision of introducing it in November 2009.

Fiat Grande Punto

Fiat’s not had the best of time in India, and with the Grande Punto works out their nightmare should come to an end. Earlier in the decade, the Grande Punto pulled Fiat out of a similar soup on an international scale. In India, it will be positioned as a premium hatchback at over 5-lakh rupees in both petrol and diesel avatars.

Why buy one?- Neat, plain styling and peppy Italian image; the award winning Multijet diesel engine; five-star NCAP crash test score; fun to drive, are some of the reasons. One million customers couldn’t be wrong, can they?

Honda Jazz

The Jazz is to the City, what the Indigo is to the Indica. The luxury hatchback, which sells at a premium over the City in countries overseas, has been in the Indian pipeline for a long time. Honda will eventually in August, release this car in India and price it at 6-lakh+ rupees. As a typical Honda, expect no diesel.

Should the 1.2-liter and 1.4-liter engines make it to India, this car will be earn fans in no time. Reports at this time say the Jazz will be manufactured in India for it to be exported as well.

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