Nearly a year after signing an MoU to form a business partnership, Japanese auto majors — Toyota Major Corporation and Suzuki Motor Corporation – have now concretised their wide-range collaboration for Indian and global markets, including selling of Suzuki’s India-produced vehicles (Baleno, Vitara Brezza, Ciaz, Ertiga) to Toyota for targeting the African market.
Secondly, leveraging Suzuki’s expertise in developing vehicles in India, new products are expected to be developed on Toyota’s C-segment MPV for the Indian market. Further, the partnership between the two automotive giants is expected to go beyond sharing of a few vehicles and exchange of platforms.
Toyota, which has its strength in electric vehicles-related technologies, will be supplying hybrid electric vehicle (HEV) technologies in India to Maruti Suzuki through local procurement of HEV systems, engines, and batteries. Currently, Maruti Suzuki uses mild hybrid and some plug-in hybrid for some of its models.
Also, while two of the compact vehicles built on Suzuki platforms (Ciaz and Ertiga) will be sold through (cross badge) Toyota in India, the production of the Suzuki-developed compact SUV Vitara Brezza will start at Toyota Kirloskar Motor (TKM)’s plant from 2022.
Both the rivals had earlier last year announced their plans for partnership by way of synergising the usage of the platform, technologies, product development, dealer network, etc. in India and globally. As per an estimate, Maruti-Toyota together sells about 55% of total passenger vehicles in India.
Commenting on the development, Toyota president Akio Toyoda in a statement said, “Through our new agreement, we look forward to the wider use of hybrid technologies, not only in India and Europe but around the world. At the same time, we believe that the expansion of our business partnership with Suzuki—from the mutual supply of vehicles and powertrains to the domains of development and production—will help give us the competitive edge we will need to survive this once-in-a-century period of profound transformation. We intend to strengthen the competitiveness of both our companies by applying our strong points and learning from each other.”
Suzuki chairman Osamu Suzuki on his part said that he appreciates the offer from Toyota to let Suzuki make use of their hybrid technology.
According to analysts, the business collaboration between the rivals is here to stay. Mahindra Group and Ford Motor Company last year announced to jointly develop new SUVs and a small electric vehicle. Both the companies had first gone into an alliance in September 2017. However, Tata Motors Ltd and Volkswagen group firm Skoda Auto’s collaboration ended even before it began in 2017. Both the companies said they have performed technical feasibility and commercial evaluation and later found that the envisioned areas of the partnership may not yield the desired synergies as originally assessed.
According to Sridhar V, partner, Grant Thornton India LLP, the cross badging or strategic alliance between the OEMs is not new and it is done with the intention of saving cost on new introductions, reduce time lag on such introductions, gain advantage of technology and increase capacity utilisation in some case.
“One needs to be wary of the right positioning so as not to cannibalise into each others market and optimise on the cost savings achieved through such alliances. We can see more such partnerships, especially, in the new era of electric vehicles (EV),” said Sridhar.
New Jeep 7-Seater SUV (Toyota Fortuner Rival) To Launch In H2 2020 in India
The seven-seater Jeep SUV could be named Grand Compass and it will reportedly rival Toyota Fortuner, Ford Endeavour and Honda CR-V
In the mid-term five-year plan revealed just over a year ago, FCA confirmed two new SUVs for India. One is a compact SUV sitting well below the Compass to compete against Maruti Suzuki Vitara Brezza, Hyundai Venue, Tata Nexon and Ford EcoSport while the other is a three-row UV waiting to be positioned above the Compass.
While the sub-four-metre SUV could be based on the Small-Wide 4×4 platform underpinning the Renegade, the upcoming seven-seater will have plenty in common with the Compass. Internally codenamed Low-D, the monocoque SUV will reportedly be a proper Jeep and thus a Trailhawk variant could top the range perhaps in a later stage.
It will likely go up against ladder frame based Toyota Fortuner, Ford Endeavour, Mahindra Alturas G4 and Isuzu MU-X alongside Honda CR-V and Skoda Kodiaq. Just as the compact SUV, Jeep could export the Low-D to several right-hand-drive markets across the globe as the Ranjangaon facility in Maharashtra will face expansion of 80,000 units to reach 2,40,000 annual production capacity.
Jeep could expand the presence of the nine-speed automatic gearbox in the regular variants before April 2020 when the 1.4-litre petrol and 2.0-litre diesel engines are upgraded to meet BSVI compliance. According to media reports, the Low-D is expected to launch in the second half of 2020 at the earliest or in H1 2021.
It will reinforce Jeep’s domestic portfolio and the project was said to be approved. It could be christened the Grand Compass and sit at the top of the range. The Compass has been facing major stumbling blocks in recent times as its regular monthly average of 2,500 units is nowhere to be seen.
The American manufacturer definitely needs to bring in the compact SUV and the seven-seater Grand Compass as soon as it could to steady the ship. Since the Low-D will compete against big guns like Toyota Fortuner and Ford Endeavour, the off-roading nature of the SUV will take the centre stage more than ever and this is where the brand’s expertise could come into play.
Maruti Suzuki offering discounts on Wagon R, Swift, Vitara Brezza and Baleno
Maruti Suzuki is offering an array of discounts across its entire range. The Alto800/K10 is available at a cash discount of Rs 18,000 and an exchange bonus of Rs 20,000. The Alto K10 AMT and the entire variant line-up of the Celerio is offered with a cash discount and exchange bonus of Rs 18,000 and Rs 20,000 respectively.
The Eeco attracts an exchange bonus of Rs 10,000 while the cash discount stands at Rs. 8,000 for the CNG variant and Rs. 3,000 for the petrol variant. The all new WagonR is available at an exchange bonus of Rs 15,000 while the company is not offering any discounts on the new Ertiga.
The Swift LXi comes with a cash discount of Rs 18,000 and an exchange bonus of Rs 20,000 while all the other variants of the Swift come with a cash discount of Rs 13,000 and an exchange bonus of Rs 20,000. Discounts on the Dzire include a cash discount of Rs 18,000 and an exchange bonus of Rs 20,000. The Brezza, on the other hand, comes with a cash discount and an exchange bonus of Rs 18,000 and Rs 15,000 respectively.
The Nexa chain of premium dealerships from Maruti is also offering discounts on all its models. The Ignis attracts a cash discount of Rs 20,000 and an exchange bonus of Rs 25,000 while the Baleno(facelift) attracts an exchange bonus of Rs 15,000.
The manual variant of the Ciaz in the Sigma, Delta and Zeta trims are available with a cash discount of Rs 15,000 and an exchange bonus of Rs 35,000 while the Alpha manual and automatic trims receive an exchange bonus of Rs 35,000. Discounts on the S-Cross include a cash discount of Rs 20,000 and an exchange bonus of Rs 35,000
2020 model year Audi Q7 fully revealed
Audi has upgraded its all-rounder family SUV, the Q7, with a host of design and tech updates. Besides a new look and more features as standard, Audi has also electrified the Q7 and made the SUV ready for the future. This new version of the Q7, of course, is headed for the Indian market and we can expect it to arrive next year.
The big mechanical update is the 48 volt mild-hybrid electric setup which will improve the real-world efficiency. It will be paired to the two diesel and one petrol engine options that will be made available to the buyers. What’s more, there will also be a petrol hybrid Q7 in the near future. To recap, then, all of the engines in the Q7 are coupled to an eight-speed tiptronic automatic and permanent all-wheel drive. A choice of two diesel engines will be available at launch. Shortly after the introduction in September, a petrol unit, followed also by a plug-in hybrid model, will join the line-up.
In terms of dimensions, the Q7 has now grown eleven mm to 5,063mm long. It measures 1,970mm wide and 1,741mm high. As for the interior, Audi has introduced new materials and added the latest version of their twin-touchscreen MMI infotainment system. The system gets a primary screen that stretches 10.1 inches.
Audi India is expected to launch the new Q7 next year. When launched, it will compete with the recently launched BMW X5, Volvo XC90 and the Mercedes GLS.
Hero Xpulse 200 Starts Reaching Showrooms, Delivery Begins
Launched last month, the Xpulse 200 Carburetor version priced at Rs. 97,000 (ex-showroom) and the fuel injected variant is at Rs 1.05 Lakhs (ex-showroom)
The bookings for the Xpulse motorcycles began as soon as they were launched in India on 1st May 2019. We have already reported earlier that Hero will begin the deliveries from the first week of June onward. The good news is that the Xpulse 200 and the 200T have finally reached the showrooms across India and the authorized Hero dealers have also commenced the deliveries of these motorcycles recently.
The recently launched Hero Xtreme 200S, Xpulse 200 and the Xpulse 200T are all powered by the same 200cc, single cylinder, 2 valves air-cooled engine. This unit paired with a 5-speed gearbox produces about 18.4PS of peak power at 8000 rpm and 17.1 Nm of peak torque at 6500 rpm. Hero also offers a fuel injected version of the Xpulse 200. All these three motorcycles also share the same frame with Xtreme 200R, launched last year in India.
The Xpulse 200 gets a high mounted mudguard at the front, engine bash guard, swept up exhaust, and knuckle guards that help in adding a proper off-roading experience to the motorcycle. The Xpulse 200 also has been fitted with a large 21-inch spoke wheels at the front and 18-inch spoke wheels at the rear fitted with proper dual purpose tyres from Ceat.
The Xpulse 200 features a 37 mm telescopic forks up front and a 10-step pre-load adjustable monoshock unit at the rear with 170 mm travel. The Xpulse 200T is the touring version has received a more road biased styling and components. The motorcycle gets a 17-inch alloy wheel on both ends wrapped with road biased rubbers.
The riding ergonomics of the motorcycle is also slightly relaxed as well. Both the versions of the Xpulse also share the same digital instrument cluster with smartphone connectivity feature via Bluetooth. The LCD instrument cluster displays turn-by-turn navigation system and call alert besides display some regular information.
All the three motorcycles depend on a 276 mm disc at the front and a 220 mm disc at the rear. A single channel ABS is offered as standard for the safety of the rider. The Xtreme 200S, on the other hand, is a faired variant of the Xtreme 200R and shares all its parts with the Xtreme 200 and the Xpulse 200T.
NX 100’s Green Diesel project to reduce environmental pollution by 70%
Jeep Compass Trailhawk launched in India; priced at Rs 26.8 lakh
The Jeep Compass Trailhawk has been launched in India and priced at Rs 26.8 lakhs (All-India ex-showroom). It is off-road oriented version of the Compass with higher ground clearance, diesel AT and Active Drive 4X4 technology.
Powering the Compass Trailhawk is a BS VI compliant 2.0-litre diesel producing 170bhp/350Nm and mated to a nine-speed AT. The Compass Trailhawk is a rival for the likes of the Hyundai Tucson(4X4 AT)
Commenting on the launch of the Compass Trailhawk, Kevin Flynn – president and managing director, FCA India said, “We are offering a lot more of the Jeep DNA in the Trailhawk which we hope Indian buyers will like and enjoy. Our Trail Rated All-wheel Drive SUV has all the core ingredients that a Jeep SUV should have, and additionally delivers to the Indian’s customer’s aspirations of intelligent driving aids and equipment for both the urban and adventurous, prioritises the safety of occupants and makes you a part of a long lineage that the global Jeep community is proud of.”
Kia Planning Low Cost EV For India With Hyundai
Kia displayed a huge lineup of cars at the 2018 Auto Expo promising a strong future in India. The Korean carmaker displayed Seltos in concept form, electric vehicles, hybrid cars among others at the exhibit. While their first product launch is around the corner, they are considering a low cost EV for India too.
Kia is planning to introduce a cost effective electric vehicle specifically for India. They will collaborate with their group Hyundai for the development of this low cost EV. Kia believes that personal usage for EVs should be included under the FAME II scheme for government support.
The Korean carmaker had announced that they’ll introduce a compact electric vehicle exclusively for India between 2019 and 2021. However, they believe the cost of EV is very high at present specially for the Indian market and without support of government.
Kia currently has a wide lineup of EVs, hybrid, plug-in hybrid and fuel cell cars globally. They are ready to introduce to introduce EVs in India but it depends on infrastructure and government support. Meanwhile, Hyundai is all set to launch their first EV Kona very soon that was all showcased at the 2018 Auto Expo.
Kia Low Cost EV
– Kia will collaborate with Hyundai for new low cost EV
– The new cost effective EV will be developed specially for India
– Kia believes personal usage for EVs should be included under FAME II scheme
Bajaj Dominar 400 Sales Up By 59 Percent Post 2019 Model Launch
Bajaj recently launched the new Dominar with some added features, design changes and new colour options, hoping to improve the sales of the otherwise dwindling market share. The gamble did work to some extent as new Dominar 400 clocked 1,346 unit sales in April 2019, a far better result than the previous quarter of 2019 as only 1,191 units of Dominar sold same month last year.
Now in the sales of May 2019, Bajaj Dominar has performed even better recording a growth of 59 percent as against May 2018 sales. Interestingly, Bajaj projected to sell 10,000 units of Dominar monthly initially, but the current sales figures are nowhere close to it.
The new Dominar 400 was given a couple of new colour options including aurora green and black dual-colour scheme and Vine Black colour which buyers can choose from. The Dominar also gets redesigned digital cluster to show the gear position, trip information and time.
The bike gets redesigned aggressive looking headlight cluster with LED lights, refreshed fuel tank pad decal, tail-tell lights, split seats with split grab rails and bungee straps tucked under the seat and new rear view mirrors.
New Bajaj Dominar 400 also gets a retuned liquid-cooled 373.33 DOHC engine which produces 40bhp with 35Nm of peak torque. The engine is said to more refined and is mated to a 6-speed transmission which has slipper clutch which prevents rear wheel lockup in case of engine seizure or failed transmission. It gets Dual channel ABS as standard.
The cruiser also have Upside-Down forks which offers great handling, telescopic suspension at the rear, revised digital cluster and dual-barrel exhaust system. Bajaj Dominar continues compete against the likes of Royal Enfield Classic 350, KTM Duke 390 and Jawa Motorcycles and BMW G 310 R.
Hyundai Venue Compact SUV To Become Segment Leader Soon?
Hyundai Venue has garnered more than 33,000 bookings and is offered with a choice of one diesel and two petrol engines
Hyundai Motor India Limited’s debut in the sub-four-metre SUV segment has been going in the right direction thus far. The Venue endorsed as “India’s first connected SUV” saw 2,000 reservations from customers in the very first booking day and by the end of May 2019, a total of 7,049 units were dispatched across the country from Sriperumbudur facility in Tamil Nadu.
Having been launched on May 21, the five-seater overtook Mahindra XUV300, Tata Nexon and Ford EcoSport in its opening month and was just over 1,700 units shy of the segment leader Maruti Suzuki Vitara Brezza. It was reported earlier that Hyundai would be planning to deliver 15,000 units of the Venue by July 2019.
The South Korean auto major is said to be targetting sales of 8,000-9,000 units of the Venue every month in its first calendar year as well and its momentum is expected to continue into the coming months. With a total of 33,000 bookings already, do not be surprised if the Venue takes the leading position from Vitara Brezza sooner rather than later.
The Venue is aggressively priced from Rs. 6.50 lakh (ex-showroom) and it made world premiere at the 2019 New York International Auto Show and concurrently graced the Indian media. Loosely connected with the Carlino Concept showcased at the 2016 Auto Expo, the Venue has its range-topping 1.0L SX+ DCT variant costing Rs. 11.10 lakh (ex-showroom).
The Venue carries design traits of the latest global Hyundai models with the presence of sharp cascading front grille and split headlamp cluster with LED turn signals on top and the projector headlamps surrounded by LED Daytime Running Lights. The set of 16-inch diamond cut alloy wheels and a compact rear end emphasise the overall youthful appeal.
Some of the highlighting features are eight-inch touchscreen HD infotainment system with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, cloud-based voice recognition, 3-year complimentary Blue Link connectivity with embedded Vodafone-Idea SIM card helping in gaining access to 33 in-car connective features, multi-functional steering wheel with mounted controls, electric sunroof, reverse parking camera with dynamic guidelines, and so on.
It powered by a 1.0-litre turbocharged GDI petrol engine making 120 PS and 172 Nm; a 1.2-litre MPI petrol developing 83 PS and 115 Nm and a 1.4-litre diesel kicking out 90 PS and 220 Nm. The more powerful petrol unit is mated to the segment-first seven-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission while the others can be had with manual gearboxes.
Four unique things about the Kia Seltos SUV
Kia Motors has recently shown the Kia Seltos. It unveiled the car globally in India and will pitch it against very competent rivals like the Hyundai Creta, MG Hector, Tata Harrier, Jeep Compass and Mahindra XUV500. Prices haven’t been announced yet but we hope it to cost between Rs 15 to 21 lakh, on road.
The Kia Seltos is one of the most attractive designs in this segment. It uses unique design elements like the chamfered exterior trim, the layered 3D effect for the LED lighting, the LED DRLs that sweep the width of the entire front, the cubed foglamps and many layers and surfaces on the front and rear fascia. All of this is packaged into a very well-judged footprint,
Four transmission options
For the first time in any mainstream car, Kia is offering the Seltos with three automatic options, aside from a six-speed manual. There will be a CVT, a six-speed auto and a seven-speed DCT. Buyers will be able to choose a transmission tailored to their usage. The CVT, paired with a 1.5 petrol will appeal to city-slickers while the diesel and torque converter will appeal to customers who run their car over longer distances
Hearteningly for enthusiasts, the Kia Seltos will come with a sporty top-of-the-line GT-Line version. This trim will get unique exterior trim and badging, a special flat-bottom steering wheel, red-accented wheels and calpers, and red-accented interior trim to depict its more aggressive nature. This will be the first time a mass-market SUV will come with such a version in India
Terrain and drive modes
While the Tata Harrier comes with a similar system, the Seltos pairs this with an auto for the first time. The system works with the car’s stability control, traction control and brake assist system to optimise grip in mud, wet and sand modes. Further, Eco, Normal and Sport modes are available, which optimize steering and throttle responses.
The Seltos will come with some new features previously unseen in this segment. You get a Bose sound system with mood lighting to suit the audio output, a colour HUD, and an in-cabin air-purifier. This is alongside other notable features like a sunroof, UVO connected car system, ventilated front seats, a 10.25 inch infotainment screen and large 7 inch MID.
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