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The 10th Auto Expo Overview

7th Jan 2010 8:00 am

Small affordable cars were the central theme of the Expo.

India’s status as the small car manufacturer of the world got a major shot in arm at the 10th Auto Expo, with all major manufacturers showing production ready cars or concepts headed for production.

Toyota’s global debut of their Etios small car and sedan set the ball rolling at the Expo and this was followed by Honda’s small car concept as well, the production version of which will hit the roads in 2011.

Volkswagen India’s much awaited Polo and Chevrolet’s fantastically priced Beat (Rs 3.30 lakhs, ex-showroom, Delhi) represented small cars the Indian customers will be able to buy in the next few months.

However, missing in action were Nissan and Ford. Both companies also plan on introducing new hatchbacks into the Indian market this year, the all new Micra and the Figo respectively, but were absent from the show.

Indian carmaker Tata Motors had no new small car but showcased their luxury MPV the Aria. Built on an all-new platform (code: X2), the Aria will be Tata’s most expensive and luxurious model and is really worth a close look for the concept car’s excellent interior quality. Hope Tata can keep the production versions quality as good as well. Aria is powered by the Safari’s 140 bhp motor and will be the first of Tata cars to offer Electronic Stability Programme (ESP).

Maruti wowed audiences by showing the RIII people mover concept, engineered on the SX4 platform. It’s likely to be powered by Fiat’s 1.3 Multijet diesel, but don’t expect all of it’s radical design clues to make it to the production car. Suzuki will also take on the entry luxury car market with the Kizashi, which is somewhere in between the size of Civic and Accord.

Renault caused a considerable amount of flutter by showcasing their very attractive Fluence sedan and Koleos SUV ( Indian customers aren’t used to attractive Renaults) and competitive pricing should help them making a dent in our market.

Skoda’s SUV the Yeti caused considerable flutter as well. It’s a car that has been in the minds of Indian car buyers ever since Skoda have talked about bringing it to India and many see the car as just right for our conditions.

Further up the price brand are a whole host of cars to excite and titillate. Audi’s very sharply styled A7 or sportback concept is one of the most attractive looking concept saloons at the show and the presence of the stunning vintage roadster make their stall
unmissable.

BMW’s 5 Series GT is a unique take on modern luxury and their new entry SUV, the X1 should prove to be very popular as well. Both cars are headed for sale here, and the X1 will be assembled in India and will be BMW’s cheapest car yet.

One of the stars of the show is Mercs stunning gullwing SLS AMG, one of the hottest supercars at the show. This retro carbonfibre beauty can do a 0-100Kph sprint in 3 seconds and has interiors to die for. On the other end of the weight scale is the massive GL off roader. It’s not pretty but it can bulk out almost anything.

Jaguar’s showed their low slung Merc S Class competitor the massive new XJ. Toyota hopes to sell a good amount of Prius sedans starting at Rs 26 lakh and almost everyone wants a Harley Davidson Sportster.

Electric cars made their presence felt as well. Chevy showcased their soon to be on sale Spark electric, Tata showed an electric Indica Vista and Hyundai had an electric i-10 as well.

Though the rockstar ferver created by the preview of the Tata Nano at the last expo was absent, the plethora of exciting cars shown more than made up.

Copyright (c) Autocar India. All rights reserved.


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