Blogs

Wed
Apr 19 2017
Sergius Barretto 
Suzuki’s diesel dilemma by Sergius Barretto 
Should Suzuki bother with its in-house programme or look elsewhere?

It’s June 2015. Suzuki has just achieved a significant milestone. The diesel Celerio has been launched with the company’s first (and so far only) diesel powerplant developed fully in-house. Until now, Suzuki has always relied on other auto makers for its diesel engine requirements in India and abroad. So Suzuki’s 800cc twin-cylinder engine has a lot riding on its little shoulders. It’s the company’s first step towards diesel self reliance, and this engine will power other Suzuki cars, a small commercial vehicle, and will also form the basis for a larger capacity four-cylinder unit.

 
Sat
Apr 8 2017
Shapur Kotwal 
Yellow fever by Shapur Kotwal 
Shapur Kotwal narrates an 'adventurous' tale about his ride with a cab aggregator and lives to tell about the driver’s F1-shaming road manoeuvres.

App-based taxi services today are all the rage. Friends who use them swear by them. The cabs are clean, the drivers are well-mannered and the best bit is that they go where you want them to. Must admit, I’m an unabashed admirer too, especially from the outside. Watching them drive is just so entertaining. Forget the thrills and near misses in Formula 1, if you want real seat-of-the pants excitement, watch a yellow plate driver take a ‘U’ turn on top of a flyover; traffic thundering past like a herd of wildebeests on either side. It’s terrifying. And what’s worse is that the driver always seems to be unsure of where he is going. So instead of looking at the oncoming traffic, with eyes like saucers, he’s far away in La-La Land, looking around like a confused chicken, waiting for his GPS to ‘catch up’. That vacuous look, however, isn’t to be laughed at; you’d be zoning out too, after 18 hours behind the wheel. Even the delivery boys are scared to death of them: “Bohot danger hai bhai, kabhi bhi turn mar sakte hai.”

 
Thu
Mar 9 2017
Sergius Barretto 
Back to life by Sergius Barretto 
While the Ambassador itself is unlikely to be revived, Peugeot could use the established name to build a new low-cost brand.

Pretty much out of the blue, Peugeot announced its purchase of the Ambassador brand in February. Ambassador? A car that for half a century refused to die could now be coming back to life. Or is it? In 2011, a few months after its comeback announcement, a severe financial crunch put paid to Peugeot’s India plans, but the French carmaker was adamant this was only a minor interruption and not a full stop to its Indian ambitions. So the return announcement this January with the CK Birla Group wasn’t totally unexpected. But an Ambassador? Peugeot did use it in an old 206 advertisement; but this, of course, is just an amusing coincidence.

 
Tue
Feb 21 2017
Sergius Barretto 
Letting Go by Sergius Barretto 
Legacy products are fine so long as they’re worth remembering, but I believe it's time Tata retires the Indica

I love the Indica, I really do. Back in college I tried to get my Dad to buy one, but failed. But today it’s a product that has run its course and is now well past its prime. The Indica ushered Tata into the passenger car segment and paved the way for future passenger vehicles, but now it’s time to let go and move on.

 
Tue
Feb 21 2017
Shapur Kotwal 
Micra management by Shapur Kotwal 
Is Nissan taking the right decision by not bringing the all-new Micra to India?

Dear Carlos (or should I say Ghosn San),

 
Thu
Feb 9 2017
Nikhil  Bhatia 
Boost is the secret by Nikhil Bhatia 
The Baleno RS’ launch is less than a month away. And I have big hopes for it.

What follows is an excerpt from what our colleagues at Autocar UK wrote about the 1.0-litre Boosterjet engine-equipped Suzuki Baleno. "The Boosterjet is a little cracker. It revs freely and pulls strongly from 2,000rpm, buzzing away pleasantly with an ever-present triple-cylinder rasp. Stretch it beyond 5,000rpm and it gets a little raucous but not enough to stop the enjoyment of giving it a darn good thrashing." Great, right? I, for one, am itching to get behind the wheel of the upcoming Baleno RS that will serve as the launch vehicle for Suzuki’s new turbocharged petrol engine in India. This BoosterJet engine is a 998cc, three-cylinder unit that, in international markets, makes 111hp and 170Nm. I mention international markets because leaked information of the Indian car put the figures at 102hp and 150Nm. A bummer, yes, but it still betters the standard Baleno petrol’s 84hp and 115Nm. But here are the facts of real interest. Turbocharging allows the RS’ engine make max torque from 1,700-4,500rpm while the naturally aspirated engine’s produces max pulling power only at 4,000rpm. A strong mid-range is what our colleagues liked about the BoosterJet engine and the strong mid-range is what I’m most looking forward to.

 
Fri
Jan 27 2017
Nikhil  Bhatia 
What could Peugeot bring to India? by Nikhil Bhatia 
You’ve read this before, but this time around Peugeot really is coming to India. Nikhil Bhatia has his wish list ready of the cars that it should get to India.

Will they? Won’t they? The saga of Peugeot’s re-entry into India has been ongoing for years now. But at long last the French carmaker seems ready and willing to take the plunge. Peugeot has just entered into a joint venture with India’s CK Birla Group for the assembly and distribution of its cars, and another one for the production of powertrains. With a planned manufacturing capacity of 1,00,000 vehicles per annum at the proposed plant in Tamil Nadu, Peugeot means business this time. The first Peugeots for India will roll out in 2020.

 
Thu
Dec 1 2016
Sergius Barretto 
Service – The new Sales by Sergius Barretto 
Will aftersales no longer be the poor country cousin?

It is often debated that marketing sells the first car and service sells the rest, and while that debate may never quite settle down in the automotive board rooms, the important ‘sales’ role that aftersales plays is quite clear. Despite this seemingly obvious piece of knowledge, it’s shocking to see how many brands get the all-important service vertical so wrong.

 
Wed
Oct 26 2016
Sergius Barretto 
Toyota and Suzuki – what brought them together? by Sergius Barretto 
An unlikely partnership and what it could mean for the companies.

Toyota and Suzuki want to get into bed together. The reasons stated are to explore the possibilities of working together in areas of environment, safety, IT and regular automobile R&D. This has many puzzled, as on the face of it, the two Japanese carmakers don’t seem to be very compatible. Toyota, the world’s number 1 manufacturer, has very little to gain from this partnership, as it possesses technology and products across various segments, including small cars with Daihatsu, a company it recently bought out fully. So what in the world brought them together?

 
Thu
Sep 1 2016
Gavin D'Souza 
Jeep: A different kind of obstacle course by Gavin D'Souza 
Three years later than promised, the iconic American brand enters India with the wrong kind of bang. Makes you wonder, has FCA really got a plan this time?

Just two days before Jeep made its long-overdue foray onto India’s challenging terrain, I found myself at the wheel of a Grand Cherokee Summit Diesel on some literal challenging terrain. There I was, tearing down an absolutely ruined country track that looked like it had been carpet-bombed back into the Jurassic Age by the monsoons. Craters that would give a geologist wet dreams, whose treachery was made just that bit more mysterious by the water that filled them. The perfect environ for something with the iconic seven-slat grille on its nose, then. The Jeep shone. It ploughed through without so much as a creak, rattle or whimper, and it felt like it could take a lot more. The criticisms I had earlier – poor interior plastics, heavy steering, clunky ride, ageing tech – all suddenly vaporised. This thing was a tank, and this is the battlefield it was made to conquer! I started to see the appeal now – this was not something that could merely be judged by the sum of its parts. Much of the draw is intangible, like the feeling of invincibility it gives you. A feeling that was rudely interrupted by one of my rather smitten passengers, inquiring about how much this Rolling Rambo costs. “Well...” I started, estimating prices in my head.

 
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Autocar Magazine

Issue: 212 | Autocar India: April 2017

Our reviews of the Tata Tigor, the Honda WR-V, the Audi A5 Cabriolet, comparison of the Audi A4 diesel and its rivals and plenty more await you inside.
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