The Truth About Cars » India http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com The Truth About Cars is dedicated to providing candid, unbiased automobile reviews and the latest in auto industry news. Sun, 30 Aug 2015 15:30:36 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=4.2.4 The Truth About Cars is dedicated to providing candid, unbiased automobile reviews and the latest in auto industry news. The Truth About Cars no The Truth About Cars editors@ttac.com editors@ttac.com (The Truth About Cars) 2006-2009 The Truth About Cars The Truth About Cars » India http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/wp-content/themes/ttac-theme/images/logo.gif http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/category/news-blog/india/ Suzuki: “I Feel Refreshed” After Win Against Volkswagen http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/08/suzuki-i-feel-refreshed-after-win-against-volkswagen/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/08/suzuki-i-feel-refreshed-after-win-against-volkswagen/#comments Sun, 30 Aug 2015 14:22:21 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1156202 Osamu Suzuki (middle right), chairman of Suzuki Motor Corporation, can finally celebrate his biggest win. After a failed alliance with Volkswagen put Suzuki — the chairman and company — on the back foot for almost four years, the International Court of Arbitration of the International Chamber of Commerce in London has decided in the Japanese company’s […]

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Volkswagen and Suzuki agreed to establish a comprehensive partnership

Osamu Suzuki (middle right), chairman of Suzuki Motor Corporation, can finally celebrate his biggest win. After a failed alliance with Volkswagen put Suzuki — the chairman and company — on the back foot for almost four years, the International Court of Arbitration of the International Chamber of Commerce in London has decided in the Japanese company’s favor. Suzuki will purchase back their own stock from Volkswagen.

Suzuki received news of the ruling Saturday and filed the information with the Tokyo Stock Exchange on Sunday.

“It’s good that a resolution came. I feel refreshed. It’s like clearing a bone stuck in my throat,” said to reporters gathered at a news conference in Tokyo, reports Automotive News. “I’m very satisfied with the resolution. Through it, Suzuki was able to attain its biggest objective.”

In a statement released today, Suzuki Motor Corporation “requested Volkswagen AG to terminate their business and capital alliance through amicable negotiation. However, as VW failed to respond to Suzuki’s request, Suzuki served on 18 November 2011 a notice of termination of the Framework Agreement that was made with VW. Further, on 24 November 2011, based on the parties’ agreement, Suzuki filed a request for arbitration in London, which is the place of arbitration with the International Court of Arbitration of the International Chamber of Commerce.”

The tribunal found in favor for Suzuki in two areas: a termination of the “Framework Agreement” and Volkswagen’s divestment of shared in Suzuki.

From Suzuki:

The Tribunal found that the Framework Agreement was validly terminated by Suzuki’s notice of termination dated 18 November 2011 mentioned above, such termination being effective from 18 May 2012.

The Tribunal upheld Suzuki’s claim regarding VW’s disposal of its shares in Suzuki and ordered VW to divest forthwith those shares to Suzuki or a third party designated by Suzuki using a method which is reasonably determined by Suzuki.

Volkswagen’s 19.9-percent share in Suzuki will be purchased by the Japanese company through the Tokyo Stock Exchange.

However, Suzuki could still incur financial penalties later, as Volkswagen’s counterclaim of breach of contract was also partially upheld. That claim will be “addressed in a further stage of the arbitration,” stated Suzuki Motor Corporation. According to Volkswagen in a statement, Suzuki “failed to give Volkswagen last-call rights for the delivery of diesel engines. Volkswagen reserves the right to claim damages against Suzuki.”

The official end of the alliance will likely trigger more succession planning for the Japanese auto and motorcycle manufacturer. In June 2015, Osamu Suzuki appointed his eldest son, Toshihiro, to the role of president.

 

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Suzuki May Finally Climb Out From Under VW http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/08/suzuki-may-finally-climb-vw/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/08/suzuki-may-finally-climb-vw/#comments Tue, 04 Aug 2015 18:00:18 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1133577 Hedge fund investor Daniel Loeb has purchased a minority stake in Suzuki Motor Corp., which may mean the automaker could have a ruling on its nearly 5-year arbitration with Volkswagen, Bloomberg Business is reporting. The unspecified investment in Suzuki by the billionaire Loeb, who is one of Japan’s wealthy business elite, could be a sign […]

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2003 Suzuki Wagon R

Hedge fund investor Daniel Loeb has purchased a minority stake in Suzuki Motor Corp., which may mean the automaker could have a ruling on its nearly 5-year arbitration with Volkswagen, Bloomberg Business is reporting.

The unspecified investment in Suzuki by the billionaire Loeb, who is one of Japan’s wealthy business elite, could be a sign that a ruling following June’s completion of arbitration is imminent. For years, Suzuki remained “paralyzed” as the procedure slogged on.

Suzuki has a significant automotive presence in emerging markets and India.

Shares of Suzuki jumped in Tokyo trading on the news.

In 2009, when the alliance between Volkswagen and Suzuki was announced, both automakers stood to gain from each other — on paper. Volkswagen would benefit from Suzuki’s growth in emerging markets, including its relationship and distribution in India with Maruti Suzuki. The Japanese automaker could benefit from VW’s vast resources and technology. The relationship soured quickly after.

The remaining issue between VW and Suzuki could be the nearly 20-percent ownership stake the German automaker has in the Japanese automaker. According to Bloomberg, Suzuki may have enough cash on hand to buy back the remaining shares if a London-based arbitration court allows it, according to the Wall Street Journal.

Either way, we could be seeing a lot more of Suzuki — which is still Japan’s fourth-largest automaker, by the way — real soon.

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GM to Develop Global Car with China-based SAIC Motors http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/07/gm-develop-global-car-china-based-saic-motors/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/07/gm-develop-global-car-china-based-saic-motors/#comments Tue, 28 Jul 2015 15:00:53 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1126489 General Motors will invest $5 billion to build a global line of cars with Shanghai-based SAIC Motors that will be sold in Brazil, China and other emerging markets, the automaker announced Tuesday. The cars won’t be sold in the United States, according to the statement. The global vehicles will go on sale starting in 2019 and the automaker […]

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General Motors will invest $5 billion to build a global line of cars with Shanghai-based SAIC Motors that will be sold in Brazil, China and other emerging markets, the automaker announced Tuesday.

The cars won’t be sold in the United States, according to the statement.

The global vehicles will go on sale starting in 2019 and the automaker expects the line to eventually produce roughly 2 million cars annually.

GM said the new global architecture would replace several existing models, but didn’t specify what those outgoing models would be. The vehicles would be manufactured in China, Brazil, Mexico and India and exported to other countries. GM said they expect to source many of the car’s components from local suppliers.

“With a significant majority of anticipated automotive industry growth in 2015 to 2030 outside of mature markets, Chevrolet is taking steps to capitalize on that growth,” General Motors President Dan Ammann said in the statement . “Strengthening Chevrolet’s position through this major investment is consistent with our global strategy to ensure long-term profitable growth in the markets where we operate.”

In February, SAIC and General Motors (through its Shanghai General Motors Wuling joint venture business) opened a plant in Indonesia to build SAIC-branded cars. SAIC also owns British car company MG.

The GM-SAIC partnership has an interesting history, especially in India.

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Hyundai May Bring Subcompact Crossover, but It Won’t Be Creta http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/07/hyundai-may-bring-subcompact-crossover-wont-creta/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/07/hyundai-may-bring-subcompact-crossover-wont-creta/#comments Thu, 23 Jul 2015 21:00:43 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1124249 Hyundai is looking to jump into the subcompact crossover fold in the States with the Nissan Juke, Honda HR-V, Chevrolet Trax and everyone else, but it won’t be with the Creta, Edmunds is reporting. The Creta recently went on sale in India, but executives in America told Edmunds that it wasn’t the right fit for U.S. […]

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Hyundai is looking to jump into the subcompact crossover fold in the States with the Nissan Juke, Honda HR-V, Chevrolet Trax and everyone else, but it won’t be with the Creta, Edmunds is reporting.

The Creta recently went on sale in India, but executives in America told Edmunds that it wasn’t the right fit for U.S. buyers.

“We have decided to wait a little bit longer to get the right vehicle,” said Dave Zuchowski, president and CEO of Hyundai Motor America.

The Creta would enter an already crowded field of subcompact crossovers that’s getting more crowded every day. Already the HR-V, Trax and Juke duke it out with the Jeep Renegade and Subaru XV Crosstrek, with the Mazda CX-3 on its way this year. (EcoSport, Ford?)

According to Zuchowski, the Creta was too conservative for the segment and too closely resembled a smaller version of the Santa Fe.

“In our opinion, as we go into this segment, it is a great segment for Millennials, for Gen Y. It is a good youth vehicle and we think in order to tap that market, the thing should be styled less conservatively and more aggressively,” he said.

Last month, Hyundai released a rendering of the Creta that would have fit the “aggressive” bill, but as always many features didn’t make it into the production version.

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Jeep Points to Map of India, Says Let’s Print More Money Here http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/07/jeep-points-to-map-of-india-says-lets-print-more-money-here/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/07/jeep-points-to-map-of-india-says-lets-print-more-money-here/#comments Wed, 01 Jul 2015 19:00:11 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1104881 More and more automakers are looking at exotic locales to produce their wares (us Canadians can consider Mexico exotic thanks to its ice-free beaches) as they expand their brands and explore in-roads to untapped markets. For Jeep, that means investing in a shared money-printing press with an unlikely partner: Tata, the parent company of Land Rover. FCA […]

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2015 Jeep Renegade

More and more automakers are looking at exotic locales to produce their wares (us Canadians can consider Mexico exotic thanks to its ice-free beaches) as they expand their brands and explore in-roads to untapped markets.

For Jeep, that means investing in a shared money-printing press with an unlikely partner: Tata, the parent company of Land Rover. FCA will put $280 million USD into joint venture Fiat India Automobiles Private Limited which, since 2007, has solely produced Fiat models.

The investment will “support the production of a new Jeep vehicle and is expected to begin production in the second quarter of 2017,” according to statement released today by FCA. Jeep did not give further details on the new model.

With Sergio Marchionne’s hunger for consolidation, this could be seen as a sign of interest in a more formal arrangement between FCA and India’s Tata, especially when you consider the FCA executive’s desire for a Range Rover-esque model.

“We are pleased that this investment will strengthen FCA presence in India and are confident in the ability of the joint venture to produce world class products like those carrying the legendary Jeep nameplate,” Marchionne said.

This announcement is part of a wider expansion by Jeep into new markets. From The Detroit News:

FCA plans to produce 1.9 million Jeeps by 2018 at 10 plants in six countries: the U.S., Italy, China, Brazil, India and one other yet-to-be-announced country. Two years ago, only 798,000 rolled out of four plants in the United States.

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Mahindra-Pininfarina Deal Rejected By Creditors http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/06/mahindra-pininfarina-deal-rejected-by-creditors/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/06/mahindra-pininfarina-deal-rejected-by-creditors/#comments Tue, 30 Jun 2015 17:00:07 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1102857 Mahindra’s attempt to buy Italian design firm Pininfarina collapsed over the weekend due to opposition by the latter’s creditors. According to Italian newspaper Il Messaggero, three or four banks holding Pininfarina’s €87 million ($97 million USD) debt rejected a deal by the Indian company to buy the design house with the idea of writing off […]

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Mahindra XUV 500 W6 2013

Mahindra’s attempt to buy Italian design firm Pininfarina collapsed over the weekend due to opposition by the latter’s creditors.

According to Italian newspaper Il Messaggero, three or four banks holding Pininfarina’s €87 million ($97 million USD) debt rejected a deal by the Indian company to buy the design house with the idea of writing off half of said debt, Reuters reports; Mahindra and Pininfarina had worked on SUVs and concepts in the past. Pininfarina will now seek a new debt restructuring agreement.

Had Mahindra’s deal been approved, the company would be the latest to acquire ownership of an Italian company in a series of foreign takeovers, such as ChemChina’s purchase of tire manufacturer Pirelli earlier this year, amid Italy sorting itself and its economy out.

(Photo credit: RL GNZLZ/Flickr/CC BY-SA 2.0)

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First Rendering Of Hyundai Creta Subcompact CUV Revealed http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/06/first-rendering-of-hyundai-creta-subcompact-cuv-revealed/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/06/first-rendering-of-hyundai-creta-subcompact-cuv-revealed/#comments Tue, 09 Jun 2015 17:00:17 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1088209 Recently announced for production with the Santa Cruz to possibly be made as well, the Hyundai Creta was revealed in rendered form Tuesday. The new subcompact crossover boasts a so-called premium look based on Hyundai’s “evolved design philosophy,” with details such as the blacked-out A-pillar reminiscent meant to evoke “an open and airy cabin,” a […]

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Hyundai Creta Rendering

Recently announced for production with the Santa Cruz to possibly be made as well, the Hyundai Creta was revealed in rendered form Tuesday.

The new subcompact crossover boasts a so-called premium look based on Hyundai’s “evolved design philosophy,” with details such as the blacked-out A-pillar reminiscent meant to evoke “an open and airy cabin,” a “bold” front section with the automaker’s newest corporate grill — already on the new Tucson — embrasure side windows, and a rearward swooping slash along the beltline.

The Creta will soon appear in showrooms sometime during H2 2015, with India being the first on the subcompact crossover’s list of global markets to visit. Whether the North American market is on said list — where it would face the Honda HR-V, Chevrolet Trax and Mazda CX-3 among others — is up for Hyundai to decide.

[Image credit: Hyundai]

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Will the GenX Nano Erase Tata’s ‘Cheapest Car’ Stigma? http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/05/will-genx-nano-erase-tatas-cheapest-car-stigma/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/05/will-genx-nano-erase-tatas-cheapest-car-stigma/#comments Mon, 25 May 2015 13:26:09 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1071194 It’s not often a car company, or any group of people for the matter, will admit mistakes – particularly billion dollar mistakes. That’s why the launch of the all-new Tata GenX Nano is refreshing. Based on former CEO Ratan Tata’s dream of moving Indians who transport their entire families on scooters and motorcycles into safer […]

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It’s not often a car company, or any group of people for the matter, will admit mistakes – particularly billion dollar mistakes. That’s why the launch of the all-new Tata GenX Nano is refreshing. Based on former CEO Ratan Tata’s dream of moving Indians who transport their entire families on scooters and motorcycles into safer – albeit, basic – four wheeled automobiles, the very fact the original 2009 Nano was the least expensive car on sale anywhere in the world proved to be an albatross around the Nano’s tiny neck. Even Indians aspiring to the middle class of a developing country, it turns out, aspire to be seen in something other than the cheapest car in the world. They’d rather buy a used Maruti Suzuki Alto 800, the hatchback that more or less defines India’s entry level car segment. In recognition of that reality, the new GenX Nano will now be positioned as an entry level hatchback to more directly compete with the Alto 800, Hyundai Eon and the newly announced Renault Kwid.

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While some saw the Nano as India’s Model T, prompting comparisons of Ratan Tata to Henry Ford, the historical reality is while Henry Ford had a great idea in making cars for the average consumer, not just the wealthy, the Model T was far from the cheapest car on the market when it was introduced. While it’s true that productivity and cost improvements allowed Ford to eventually drop the price of the T to less than $300, that was in 1924. When the Model T was introduced in 1908 (as a 1909 model) it cost $850. By comparison, a Brush Runabout cost less than $500 in 1908. Henry Ford didn’t face the stigma of selling the cheapest car in the world when he launched the Model T.

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In a 2013 interview, while claiming it was never his personal goal, Ratan Tata admitted it was a mistake for his company to market the Nano on price.

“It became termed as a cheapest car by the public and, I am sorry to say, by ourselves, not by me, but the company when it was marketing it. I think that is unfortunate,” Tata told CNBC.

Around the same time, which would have been while the GenX Nano was being developed, brand positioning guru Jack Trout publicly suggested that Tata kill the Nano. But, in launching the GenX Nano, Tata Motors Senior Vice President for passenger vehicle product and chief Nano engineer Girish Wagh said, “Never did we have discussion about killing the brand.” Wagh admitted the company erred in not recognizing the “societal status” needs of those upgrading from a two-wheeler to an actual automobile and that the launch of the GenX Nano meant creating a “perception change” for both the Nano and for Tata as a maker of passenger cars. Wagh told the Economic Times, while they haven’t yet discussed killing the Nano, the relaunch is indeed a “make or break” effort for Tata’s sub-brand.

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When the original Tata Nano was launched, the “cheapest car in the world” was big news globally, even though it was designed primarily for the domestic Indian market. The Nano’s existence persuaded some very big automakers to reexamine their plans concerning low cost passenger cars and their strategies about export hubs and the developing world.

 

Bajaj Re60

Bajaj Re60. Image: Bajaj

In the Indian market a number of companies started developing low cost cars, with Maruti introducing the Alto 800, the latest version of the Suzuki Alto with a smaller, older engine. Scooter and three-wheeler maker Bajaj, working with Renault-Nissan, introduced their first four wheel vehicle, the RE60, a low cost, low speed car for the commercial autorickshaw market. The French-Japanese automotive alliance revived the Datsun brand with the $5,000+ Go for the Indian market. The Go hasn’t exactly gone as well as Mr. Ghosn had hoped, so Renault itself just introduced the $4,700 Kwid to India. The GenX Nano will be priced from $3,150 to  $4,550.

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For all that news and influence, Nano sales have been disappointing for Tata. Tata has sold only as many Nanos in six years, about 250,000 units, as they had hoped to sell in the first two years of Nano production. Currently, the factory in Sanand, Gujarat is operating at just 15 percent capacity and sales this year are down 20 percent from last.

 

Original Tata Nano instrument panel

Original Tata Nano instrument panel. Wikimedia commons photo

Tata acknowledges they misjudged just how aspirational Indian consumers are at even the lowest entry level of car ownership and they are now relaunching the Nano for the third time. It’s really more than a relaunch, though. The Nano has been substantially rengineered and equipped with features to reposition it as a city car, an entry level hatchback, hopefully removing the stigma of being the cheapest car in the world. That’s a stigma the corporate owners of one of the world’s storied luxury automobile brands, Jaguar, can’t really afford to have.

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After collecting consumer impressions from over 1,000 Nano owners and half again as many of owners of other entry level Indian cars, Tata is hoping that a safer, all-new design and features like an automated transmission and Bluetooth connectivity (not earlier available at the price point) will allow it to more directly compete with other small hatches like the Chevrolet Beat, Hyundai Eon, and the Maruti Alto 800. The Eon and Alto 800 each sell about ten times as many units per month as the outgoing Nano. Even the highest priced GenX Nano will still undercut comparable Maruti Altos by 50,000 rupees, or about $800 at current exchange rates.

 

Renault Kwid

Carlos Ghosn introducing the new $4,700 Renault Kwid. Round trip Business Class airfare on Air France for Paris-Mumbai starts at $2,500. Kinda puts global business into perspective. Renault photo.

There is talk, not denied by Tata, of a bigger 1.0-liter engine to be offered a year down the road in addition to the 660 cc twin that currently powers the Nano, along with a possible diesel option. Right now, the GenX Nano has about half of the power to weight ratio of the Alto 800, which has, as the name indicates, a 796 cc engine. Because the engine is relatively loaded down, the GenX Nano is projected to get slightly worse fuel economy than the Alto 800, about 21 km per liter of petrol vs 22.7.

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The Tata Nano began as Ratan Tata’s dream of getting Indians who sometimes transport entire families on motorcycles and scooters into an unquestionably safer, enclosed, four-wheeled vehicle. It then became what, I think, was a rather impressive feat of engineering to a price point, removing all but the essential. That price point was “one lakh” or 100,000 rupees, the equivalent of about $2,000 US when the Nano was launched in 2009. The project had setbacks from the beginning, with farmers and politicians protesting the original factory location, delaying production. And because we’re in the internet age, fires in a small number of early production Nanos went viral around the world, harming the car’s image. Then Ratan Tata’s dream ran into the fact the families riding on motorcycles had aspirations greater than owning the world’s cheapest car. Indians would apparently rather drive a used example of a more expensive car.

 

Original Tata Nano

Original Tata Nano. Wikimedia commons photo

The first relaunch stressed the value of the Nano by emphasizing low monthly payments, but that only reinforced the image of the Nano as a cheap car. A second relaunch of the slightly more upscale Nano Twist models ran into the fact that, by then, competitors in India had products like the Beat and Alto 800 on the market.

 

Tata Nano Twist

Tata Nano Twist

This time, Tata has abandoned the cheapest car in the world scheme and decided to make a better Nano. As mentioned, much of the design and engineering of the original Nano was about taking things out, like using three lug nuts instead of at least four. By comparison, the GenX Nano’s development was more about putting things in than taking things out.

 

Maruti Alto 800

Maruti Alto 800

Tata says with the use of more high strength steel, crush zones, and side intrusion beams, the Nano’s body is much stronger and safer. It now also has a functional hatch with up to 110 liters of cargo space in the trunk. The original Nano was a four door, not a hatchback. Though the engine has been more or less unchanged, it’s been recalibrated for better urban fuel economy based on Tata engineers’ real-world observations of driving in major Indian markets. Mechanically, the biggest change is the availability of an automated manual transmission. While Tata is no longer marketing the Nano as the cheapest car in the world, the launch publicity did mention that the GenX Nano will be the “most affordable” car with an automated manual transmission.

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In addition to the structural and drivetrain changes, the GenX Nano has a new instrument panel, a stronger air conditioner (something very important with India’s climate), power steering, modern connectivity, and better NVH performance. While the overall silhouette hasn’t changed, the GenX Nano has a new face and rear end, with new bumpers, lamps and a honeycomb grille. The changes are intended to appeal to young, aspirational Indians, particularly women who will like the “Easy Shift” automated manual. Women take a targeted role in the GenX Nano’s marketing and dealers report 20 percent of those who have already booked a GenX Nano – which is already on sale with deliveries scheduled in about two months – are females.

Click here to view the embedded video.

When the original Nano was introduced in 2009, I saw more than a couple of online comments from consumers in North America wondering why a car that cheap couldn’t be sold on this continent. As it turns out, a car that cheap can’t be sold in great numbers on the Indian sub-continent, let alone in North America, where something as relatively advanced and luxurious when compared to the Nano, like the Mitsubishi Mirage, struggles in the market. In time, the Nano project may turn out to be a success. But, whatever success it will have will now be based on its virtues as an automobile compared to competing products, not by being the cheapest car anywhere on the planet.

Ronnie Schreiber edits Cars In Depth, a realistic perspective on cars & car culture and the original 3D car site. If you found this post worthwhile, you can get a parallax view at Cars In Depth. If the 3D thing freaks you out, don’t worry, all the photo and video players in use at the site have mono options. Thanks for reading – RJS

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Renault Kwid Unveiled, Ready To Battle Maruti Suzuki Alto In India http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/05/renault-kwid-unveiled-ready-to-battle-maruti-suzuki-alto-in-india/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/05/renault-kwid-unveiled-ready-to-battle-maruti-suzuki-alto-in-india/#comments Wed, 20 May 2015 17:00:03 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1071530 As the Datsun brand stumbles in India, Renault-Nissan unveiled the Kwid Wednesday to take on the challenge of beating the best-selling Maruti Suzuki Alto. The Kwid hatchback is underpinned by the alliance’s Common Modular A Family platform, boasts a ground clearance of 7.1 inches, and has a starting price of ₹3,00,000 ($4,700 USD), Automotive News […]

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Renault Kwid 01

As the Datsun brand stumbles in India, Renault-Nissan unveiled the Kwid Wednesday to take on the challenge of beating the best-selling Maruti Suzuki Alto.

The Kwid hatchback is underpinned by the alliance’s Common Modular A Family platform, boasts a ground clearance of 7.1 inches, and has a starting price of ₹3,00,000 ($4,700 USD), Automotive News Europe reports. Power is set to come from an 800cc unit, though no other powertrain information was announced at this time.

Like the Tata GenX Nano announced Tuesday, the Kwid has a feature set normally found on more upscale vehicles for the Indian market, including hands-free voice-calling with Bluetooth, 7-inch touchscreen display with navigation and infotainment, and optional airbags.

Renault-Nissan CEO Carlos Ghosn said the Indian market was not an easy one during the Kwid’s unveiling in Chennai, and expects the city car to be “a game changer for Renault India.” The alliance’s current attempt to crack the market — the Datsun Go — sold 16,000 units since its introduction in 2014. The Alto manages to sell over 16,000 units per month in comparison at a starting price of ₹2,46,163 ($3,865).

Renault India also plans to expand its dealership network from 157 to 280 by the end of next year, though the target still pales to Maruti’s 1,500 stores.

The Renault Kwid is expected in those showrooms in September upon leaving the assembly line in Chennai.

[Image credit: Renault]

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Tata GenX Nano Latest In Low-Cost Line Of Nano City Cars http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/05/tata-genx-nano-latest-in-low-cost-line-of-nano-city-cars/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/05/tata-genx-nano-latest-in-low-cost-line-of-nano-city-cars/#comments Tue, 19 May 2015 16:00:16 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1070802 Hitting showrooms Tuesday, Tata Motors announced its latest variant of the Nano city car: the GenX Nano. Starting price for the four-passenger GenX ranges between Rs1.99 lakh ($3,000 USD) for the XE trim, to Rs2.89 lakh ($4,535) for the XTA model. Power comes from a 624cc two-cylinder with multi-point injection, and is good for around […]

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Hitting showrooms Tuesday, Tata Motors announced its latest variant of the Nano city car: the GenX Nano.

Starting price for the four-passenger GenX ranges between Rs1.99 lakh ($3,000 USD) for the XE trim, to Rs2.89 lakh ($4,535) for the XTA model. Power comes from a 624cc two-cylinder with multi-point injection, and is good for around 38 horses and 38 lb-ft of torque. A four-speed manual and a five-speed “Easy Shift” automated manual route the power to the back, with the latter providing enhanced acceleration and traffic-friendly features.

Other features available include: smoked headlamps; 24-liter fuel tank for longer trips; electric power steering; 110 liters of luggage room; connected-vehicle system with Bluetooth, CD and USB/AUX ports; “SUV-like ground clearance”; and structural safety enhancements.

The GenX Nano will be on sale at all 450 Tata showrooms Tuesday, with the XE, XM, XT and XTA models available immediately; the XMA trim will arrive made-to-order beginning in August. Its competitors include the Hyundai Eon and Suzuki Alto.

[Photo credit: Tata]

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Mahindra & Mahindra In Negotiations To Buy Pininfarina http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/03/mahindra-mahindra-negotiations-buy-pininfarina/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/03/mahindra-mahindra-negotiations-buy-pininfarina/#comments Thu, 26 Mar 2015 13:00:37 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1029785 Pininfarina designs many things: Ferraris, scissors, Coke machines. Now, Mahindra & Mahindra wants the Italian house’s talents. Bloomberg reports the Indian manufacturer — known in the United States for its tractors and its attempt to bring its trucks over to these shores — is close to closing the deal with Pininfarina after weeks of negotiation, […]

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Pininfarina Sergio Concept

Pininfarina designs many things: Ferraris, scissors, Coke machines. Now, Mahindra & Mahindra wants the Italian house’s talents.

Bloomberg reports the Indian manufacturer — known in the United States for its tractors and its attempt to bring its trucks over to these shores — is close to closing the deal with Pininfarina after weeks of negotiation, though those negotiations still have a chance to collapse.

If successful, Mahindra could use Pininfarina to add more style to its and subsidiary Ssangyong’s offerings. The design house has worked with the manufacturer in the past, helping to develop its SUVs and designing its Halo electric sports car that was unveiled at last year’s Delhi Auto Show.

Mahindra’s bid for Pininfarina follows ChemChina’s bid for Italian tire manufacturer Pirelli in a series of foreign takeovers of Italian companies as Italy slowly emerges from its cycle of recessions.

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Mahindra Buys Majority Stake In NEVS http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/12/mahindra-buys-majority-stake-nevs/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/12/mahindra-buys-majority-stake-nevs/#comments Tue, 02 Dec 2014 15:00:55 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=954745 Ever wondered what Indian curry and Swedish meatballs tasted like together? You will soon enough, thanks to a new deal between National Electric Vehicle Sweden and Mahindra. SaabsUnited reports Mahindra & Mahindra purchased a majority stake in NEVS in an agreement that keeps Mahindra’s identity secret until the agreement is made final. Though NEVS’ administrator […]

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Ever wondered what Indian curry and Swedish meatballs tasted like together? You will soon enough, thanks to a new deal between National Electric Vehicle Sweden and Mahindra.

SaabsUnited reports Mahindra & Mahindra purchased a majority stake in NEVS in an agreement that keeps Mahindra’s identity secret until the agreement is made final.

Though NEVS’ administrator Lars Eric Gustafsson wouldn’t confirm Mahindra as the party purchasing the stake, he said the deal would finance operating costs — to the tune of €5 million ($6.2 million USD) per month until the agreement is finalized, which is expected to occur February of 2015. Gustafsson added that NEVS was in talks with another Asian manufacturer about the possibility of a joint venture.

Meanwhile, the company is still undergoing reorganization, granted by the Vänersborg District Court in Vänersborg, Sweden late August of this year. NEVS petitioned for an three-month extension Monday.

As for the Saab name, NEVS plans to renegotiate the brand agreement with owner SAAB AB once its finances are more stable. The company lost the name after filing for creditor protection.

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Datsun Dealing With Low Sales In Emerging Markets http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/10/datsun-dealing-low-sales-emerging-markets/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/10/datsun-dealing-low-sales-emerging-markets/#comments Wed, 15 Oct 2014 10:00:34 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=931346 Last year, Renault-Nissan resurrected Datsun, positioning the brand for emerging markets — like India, Russia and Indonesia — with a portfolio of models that would attract new, young consumers whose wallets were a bit thin. It’s not quite working out thus far. Bloomberg reports deliveries of the Go hatchback in India have fallen in three […]

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Last year, Renault-Nissan resurrected Datsun, positioning the brand for emerging markets — like India, Russia and Indonesia — with a portfolio of models that would attract new, young consumers whose wallets were a bit thin.

It’s not quite working out thus far.

Bloomberg reports deliveries of the Go hatchback in India have fallen in three of the previous four months through this August, with only 607 units leaving the lot in July, briefly dipping below the sales rate of the Tata Nano in the same month. Further, from its debut in March through August, a total of 9,557 of the ₹312,270 ($5,100 USD) Gos found their way into Indian garages.

Meanwhile, Russian sales will take a hit thanks to the ongoing geopolitical Cold War retro revival delivering a two-pronged attack upon the market, with sanctions by Western states on one side, the spectre of recession along the other. According to IHS Automotive, sales may fall to a decade-low of 9 percent by the time 2015 rolls around.

Finally, Datsun has moved 6,400 Go+ Pancas thus far in FY 2014, with the goal set for 40,000 units sold by the end of March 2015. The brand recently began accepting orders for the Go hatch, while Nissan believes it can hit the mark within the year.

India may prove to be the toughest market for the upstart brand, as those interested in a new car would rather pay more than be seen in something considered “cheap.” That said, sales could pick up during the country’s festival season, which began last month and is set to end in November. Additionally, Datsun corporate vice president Vincent Cobee acknowledged that it would take a while for a new-car buyer to consider a new brand over an established one, even if they are paying $10,000 or less for the vehicle.

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Mahindra Seeking Alliances With Global Players http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/09/mahindra-seeking-alliances-global-players/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/09/mahindra-seeking-alliances-global-players/#comments Tue, 09 Sep 2014 11:00:27 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=909098 Despite its struggles in its native market — and, perhaps, because of said struggles — Mahindra & Mahindra is seeking to build alliances with a trio of automakers to develop its global presence. The Economic Times reports M&M is joining up with its South Korean brand Ssangyong Motor in their entries into Russia and China […]

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Despite its struggles in its native market — and, perhaps, because of said struggles — Mahindra & Mahindra is seeking to build alliances with a trio of automakers to develop its global presence.

The Economic Times reports M&M is joining up with its South Korean brand Ssangyong Motor in their entries into Russia and China as part of a “coordinated global branding strategy” between the parent company’s two brands. The United States — where Mahindra has had a difficult time selling more than tractors — and Europe — where Ssangyong lost some of its footing prior to M&M’s purchase in 2011 — are also on the radar.

Speaking of Europe, M&M is in alliance talks with both PSA Peugeot Citroën and SAAB AB as far as branding and technology-sharing are concerned. Regarding the former, Mahindra is interested in PSA’s diesel- and compressed air-hybrid technology, with the aim of jumping “into the future generation,” according to French analyst Gautam Sen. In turn, PSA could piggyback on Mahindra into the Indian market it had abandoned in the 1990s. The company attempted to return in 2011 by breaking ground on a new factory in Sanand, only to be undermined by financial difficulties.

As for SAAB, Sen says Mahindra would like to acquire the Saab brand and resurrect it as another way to enter markets in Europe and the U.S. The strategy would involve rebranding and redesigning Mahindra and Ssangyong products into Saabs, but only if “quality and design can come up to the expectations of the typically discerning Saab enthusiast.” That said, he adds that relaunching the Saab brand would be easier said than done, as both Spyker and National Electric Vehicle Sweden can attest.

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Tata To Enter Global Passenger Market With Help Of Jaguar Land Rover http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/07/tata-to-enter-global-passenger-market-with-help-of-jaguar-land-rover/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/07/tata-to-enter-global-passenger-market-with-help-of-jaguar-land-rover/#comments Wed, 23 Jul 2014 10:00:44 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=871890 Having done well with Jaguar Land Rover in its portfolio, Tata Motors is now turning to its premium subsidiary for its own foray into passenger cars and SUVs. Drive.com.au reports the parent company is using the technical and design know-how JLR to begin growing its passenger vehicle line in Australia and beyond, though Darren Bowler, […]

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Having done well with Jaguar Land Rover in its portfolio, Tata Motors is now turning to its premium subsidiary for its own foray into passenger cars and SUVs.

Drive.com.au reports the parent company is using the technical and design know-how JLR to begin growing its passenger vehicle line in Australia and beyond, though Darren Bowler, managing director of importer Fusion Automotive, assures that no badge engineering would occur between the two brands.

What would be shared, according to Bowler, would be platforms and engines, such as the global platform underpinning the upcoming Nexon SUV that could “be used as an Evoque… a Tata, [or] a Jaguar,” as well as the Ingenium family of four-cylinder engines that will soon turn up under the bonnet of many a JLR product.

In the meantime, Tata Australia plans to tackle the medium- and heavy-duty markets with the Ultra and Prima, both joining the light-duty Xenon.

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Akerson: Barra Did Not Know About Ignition Defect Before Becoming CEO http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/05/akerson-barra-did-not-know-about-ignition-defect-before-becoming-ceo/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/05/akerson-barra-did-not-know-about-ignition-defect-before-becoming-ceo/#comments Thu, 29 May 2014 13:00:03 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=834025 Automotive News reports former General Motors CEO Dan Akerson proclaimed in an interview with Forbes magazine that current CEO Mary Barra had no knowledge of the out-of-spec ignition switch that led to the February 2014 recall of 2.6 million vehicles, going as far as to bet his own life on the statement. Barra added the […]

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Dan Akerson

Automotive News reports former General Motors CEO Dan Akerson proclaimed in an interview with Forbes magazine that current CEO Mary Barra had no knowledge of the out-of-spec ignition switch that led to the February 2014 recall of 2.6 million vehicles, going as far as to bet his own life on the statement. Barra added the fallout from the recall is a chance for GM to not only “do the right thing and serve the customer well through” the crisis, but “to accelerate cultural change” within the company. Akerson passed the torch to Barra in December 2013 to take time to care for his ailing wife, and has since rejoined Carlyle Group as vice chairman on its board of directors.

Within the company, Detroit Free Press reports morale is up despite the numerous recalls levied upon the automaker, according to global product boss Mark Reuss. He states the results of an internal survey among GM’s global employees are higher than those found in 2012, citing a renewed focus on corporate transparency since the recall crisis began. Finally, Reuss told reporters at an event focused upon this weekend’s Detroit Belle Isle Grand Prix that the C8 Corvette is now being developed, and did not rule out the possibility for electric and/or hybrid power for the upcoming sports car.

Speaking of GM’s recall parade, Ward’s Auto says the automaker released a document of its recall activities thus far in 2014, which is available to interested parties through a special site set up by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. The document focuses on recalls in the United States and North America through Q1 and Q2 2014, with the current totals as of May 21, 2014 standing at 13.8 million in the U.S. and 15.8 in North America.

In compact car news, Automotive News reports GM India will begin exporting compact and subcompact vehicles during the second half of 2014 to help better use capacity of the Talegaon plant as the local market slows down. LHD variants of the Chevrolet Beat — Spark in the U.S. — will be the first to see a trip to the docks, destined to arrive in Chile Q1 2015, a reflection of the boosted confidence in quality at the plant, according to president Arvind Saxena. GM’s utilization rate is the lowest among all automakers in India at 28 percent, contributing to an overall local industry total of 55 percent production capacity used in 2013; the automaker’s two factories produce a combined capacity of 282,000 annually.

Finally, CarNewsChina has new spy shots of the upcoming Chevrolet Aveo hatchback set to enter the market July 10. The automaker’s best-selling compact will retain the 1.4- and 1.6-liter engines of the outgoing models, with five-speed manual and six-speed automatic transmissions available to deliver between 103 and 121 horsepower to the front wheels. The hatch will follow the redesigned sedan, the latter due next month.

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GM Moves EV Pack Production In-House, Almost Had A Commodore EV http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/05/gm-moves-ev-pack-production-in-house-almost-had-a-commodore-ev/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/05/gm-moves-ev-pack-production-in-house-almost-had-a-commodore-ev/#comments Thu, 15 May 2014 13:00:21 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=820874 Automotive News reports General Motors will bring production of the Chevrolet Spark EV’s battery pack in-house to its Brownstown Township plant in the Detroit metro area, having already moved the subcompact’s 85-kilowatt electric motors to White Marsh, Md. in 2013. The pack was originally assembled by A123 Systems before Wanxiang Group picked up the torch. […]

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Automotive News reports General Motors will bring production of the Chevrolet Spark EV’s battery pack in-house to its Brownstown Township plant in the Detroit metro area, having already moved the subcompact’s 85-kilowatt electric motors to White Marsh, Md. in 2013. The pack was originally assembled by A123 Systems before Wanxiang Group picked up the torch. No new jobs will be created as a result of the move, spokesman Dave Darovitz stating GM would add jobs “if consumer demand requires it.” The packs for the 2015 Spark EV — whose market will expand to include California and Oregon later this year — will be 86 pounds lighter than the outgoing units, and will have a storage capacity of 19 kilowatts held within 192 lithium ion cells.

Speaking of GM EVs, GoAuto reports the Holden Commodore almost had an EV variant that would have been priced for $10,000 AUD ($9,400 USD) less than the Volt. Only seven pre-production units made it out of the joint venture between Axiflux, EV Engineering, Bosch Australia, Better Place, GE Finance and Air International before Holden announced it would end all local production by 2017. The announcement, along with the collapse and withdrawals among a majority of the project’s partners, led to Axiflux acquiring EV Engineering’s assets. The company plans to focus on industrial applications for the developed technology until the right partner comes along to pick up where the project left off for an automotive joint venture.

The Detroit Press says GM’s board of directors has retained New York-based Wachtell, Lipton, Rosen & Katz to give an “independent assessment” of the automaker’s inner workings. An unnamed source familiar with the announcement says the decision “was a good governance practice” aimed to deliver sound advice to GM’s senior management. The firm is the latest third-party to join GM’s cadre of attorneys, including Anton Valukas and Ken Feinberg, as the automaker navigates the legal waters in the wake of the February 2014 ignition switch recall.

Finally, Just-Auto reports GM is planning to expand its Indian operations into a global base of operations for small-car exports to Latin America and beyond. The exports will begin with 2,000 to 2,500 Beats to Chile in October from the automaker’s factory in Talegon, with some 30,000 to 33,000 units to leave annually for Latin America within two years. GM expects Mexico to receive the biggest imports from India, with over 12,000 units shipped annually.

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TTAC Salutes The Maruti 800 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/02/ttac-salutes-the-maruti-800/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/02/ttac-salutes-the-maruti-800/#comments Tue, 11 Feb 2014 13:00:11 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=738721     Despite an ailing presence in North America, Suzuki has been a pioneer in the Indian marketplace, with its Maruti Suzuki subsidiary selling over 10 million vehicles since inception in 1981, with the Maruti 800 serving as its core product. Based on the tiny, Japanese-market Suzuki Fronte, the 800 used the Fronte’s chassis, with […]

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Despite an ailing presence in North America, Suzuki has been a pioneer in the Indian marketplace, with its Maruti Suzuki subsidiary selling over 10 million vehicles since inception in 1981, with the Maruti 800 serving as its core product.

Based on the tiny, Japanese-market Suzuki Fronte, the 800 used the Fronte’s chassis, with the body of a second-generation Suzuki Alto and a diminutive 800cc engine. For a low cost car in a developing country, this was fairly advanced, given that the Fronte was powered by a two-stroke engine at one point in its life.

By Western standards, the 800 is laughably spartan, packing just 37 horsepower and devoid of air-conditioning, power features, an automatic transmission, side mirrors or any hope of surviving a traffic accident. But it was the 800, not the Hindustan Ambassador, that mobilized India’s middle class, with many 800s serving as driving school vehicles, family transportation and in many cases, a step up from motoring on two wheels. Before the Datsun Go and Dacia Logan, the Maruti 800 was the original low cost car.

Like many other antiquated designs, the Maruti 800 has fallen victim to stricter standards, specifically emissions regulations that would require expensive upgrades to its powertrain. Given the substantial amount of road deaths in India, the chance for a safer alternative to take its place isn’t such a bad thing either.

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Datsun Go Production Launched In India http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/02/datsun-go-production-launched-in-india/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/02/datsun-go-production-launched-in-india/#comments Thu, 06 Feb 2014 15:35:54 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=734889 Just in time for the 2014 Delhi Motor Show — where the above Datsun Redi-Go concept made its debut this week — Renault-Nissan launches production of the revived brand’s Go subcompact at their plant in Chennai, India. Datsun returns from a three-decade absence on the global stage with a market debut in the Indian market […]

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Just in time for the 2014 Delhi Motor Show — where the above Datsun Redi-Go concept made its debut this weekRenault-Nissan launches production of the revived brand’s Go subcompact at their plant in Chennai, India.

Datsun returns from a three-decade absence on the global stage with a market debut in the Indian market featuring the five-door, four-passenger vehicle, set to go on sale in late February 2014. The Go will be sold at Nissan dealerships at first until a separate Datsun network is established. The price of admission will be less than $9,300.

Two more Datsun models are in the offing in the next two years, while the brand will soon expand to Indonesia, South Africa and Russia by the end of this year. Datsun is expected to move 300,000 units annually by 2016.

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Tata Debuts Bolt, Zest Subcompacts http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/02/tata-debuts-bolt-zest-subcompacts/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/02/tata-debuts-bolt-zest-subcompacts/#comments Tue, 04 Feb 2014 19:30:45 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=732314 Debuting their first new cars in four years, Tata took the wraps off the Bolt and Zest subcompacts, which are designed specifically to sneak in under four meters in length, to get around vehicle taxation schemes.   While the Bolt hatchback is rather conventional looking, the severely truncated rear of the Zest sedan is evidence […]

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Debuting their first new cars in four years, Tata took the wraps off the Bolt and Zest subcompacts, which are designed specifically to sneak in under four meters in length, to get around vehicle taxation schemes.

 

While the Bolt hatchback is rather conventional looking, the severely truncated rear of the Zest sedan is evidence of Tata’s desire to strictly adhere to the sub-four meter rule. Tata is hoping that the new cars will lift slumping sales, which have been down nearly 40 percent recently. For more, check out our friends at Motorbeam.

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Ford Figo Debuts In India http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/02/ford-figo-debuts-in-india/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/02/ford-figo-debuts-in-india/#comments Mon, 03 Feb 2014 19:18:00 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=732178 Our friends at Motorbeam in India snagged these live shots of the Ford Figo, aka the sedan version of the next Ford Ka and EcoSport. Designed as a world car to be sold in BRIC markets, the Figo is officially a concept, but is as production ready as a concept gets. For more, check out […]

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Our friends at Motorbeam in India snagged these live shots of the Ford Figo, aka the sedan version of the next Ford Ka and EcoSport. Designed as a world car to be sold in BRIC markets, the Figo is officially a concept, but is as production ready as a concept gets. For more, check out Motorbeam editor (and TTAC contributor) Faisal Ali Khan’s take on the Figo.

 

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Datsun to Unveil Concept at 2014 Delhi Auto Expo http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/01/datsun-to-unveil-concept-at-2014-delhi-auto-expo/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/01/datsun-to-unveil-concept-at-2014-delhi-auto-expo/#comments Thu, 23 Jan 2014 16:32:14 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=706482 Should you happen to be in India two weeks from now, Datsun will unveil the above concept at the 2014 Delhi Auto Expo during a conference held by the offshoot automaker. The concept heralds a possible expansion of Datsun’s current lineup, aimed at the young customers in South Africa, Russia, India and other high-growth markets. […]

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Datsun Concept India

Should you happen to be in India two weeks from now, Datsun will unveil the above concept at the 2014 Delhi Auto Expo during a conference held by the offshoot automaker.

The concept heralds a possible expansion of Datsun’s current lineup, aimed at the young customers in South Africa, Russia, India and other high-growth markets. The concept appears to be a three-door hatch slotted just below the Go five-door supermini, with the Go+ MPV completing the future trio.

As far as production is concerned, the hatch will be underpinned by Renault-Nissan’s Compact Module Family platform. The flexible platform is expected to support up to 14 vehicles within the Franco-Japanese alliance’s complete range.

The concept will debut at Datsun’s press conference February 5.

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Indian Car Market Sees First Yearly Sales Decline Since 2002 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/01/indian-car-market-sees-first-yearly-sales-decline-since-2002/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/01/indian-car-market-sees-first-yearly-sales-decline-since-2002/#comments Sun, 12 Jan 2014 16:17:02 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=696641 For the first time in more than a decade, new car sales in India have failed to post a year-over-year increase. Instead, a sharp drop in sales spells bad news for carmakers with heavy investments in that important developing market. According to information released by the Society of Indian Automotive Manufacturers and reported by the […]

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For the first time in more than a decade, new car sales in India have failed to post a year-over-year increase. Instead, a sharp drop in sales spells bad news for carmakers with heavy investments in that important developing market.

According to information released by the Society of Indian Automotive Manufacturers and reported by the WSJ, passenger car sales declined by 9.6 percent in 2013 to around 1.8 million units. Total passenger vehicle sales were down 7.2 percent to 2.55 million units. Many factors contributed to the decline, but inflation is the primary culprit. This past year in India saw a slowing of economic growth as prices surged, squeezing the purchasing power of the burgeoning middle class. Besides the spike in new-vehicle prices, the general cost of ownership has also risen. The rollback of government controls on fuel prices has led to higher costs for gasoline. Loan rates have also risen, giving many consumers second thoughts about purchasing a new car. The decline of new car sales illustrates the pitfalls of investing in emerging markets, which demonstrate strong aggregate growth but are often volatile in nature.

Ford, Honda, Hyundai, and Suzuki have all invested heavily in the Indian market in recent years. If growth remains stagnant or declines, it could lead to retrenchment from manufacturers who previously bet big on the emerging economy. Instead of increased domestic sales, manufacturers may turn to exporting. Ford in particular has spent nearly a billion dollars to expand Indian manufacturing capacity in the anticipation of future growth. The introduction of the EcoSport SUV helped lift overall December sales for Ford India, with a 2.84 percent increase over the previous year. But that sales increase came from a nearly 10 percent decline in domestic sales a 22 percent rise in exports. If Ford’s (or any other company’s) plans for Indian domestic growth don’t pan out, it could lead to all kinds of interesting arrangements in an attempt to maximize sunk capital investments. Indian-built EcoSport for the American market, anyone?

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Akio Toyoda Sees Emerging Markets’ Growth Slowing, Uncertainties in China, Japan http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/01/akio-toyoda-sees-emerging-markets-growth-slowing-uncertainties-in-china-japan/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/01/akio-toyoda-sees-emerging-markets-growth-slowing-uncertainties-in-china-japan/#comments Thu, 02 Jan 2014 13:00:58 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=691122 Bloomberg is reporting that Akio Toyoda, president of Toyota Motor Corp. and scion of its founding family said that a slowdown in emerging markets and uncertainty over demand in both China and the Japanese home market makes 2014 “unpredictable”. While the weaker yen increased earnings for Japanese exporters, those profits are being offset by slowing demand […]

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Bloomberg is reporting that Akio Toyoda, president of Toyota Motor Corp. and scion of its founding family said that a slowdown in emerging markets and uncertainty over demand in both China and the Japanese home market makes 2014 “unpredictable”.

While the weaker yen increased earnings for Japanese exporters, those profits are being offset by slowing demand in India, Thailand, Brazil, and Russia. Japanese automakers also continue to face a potential repeat of Chinese consumers rejecting their products, as happened last year as tensions between those countries’ governments increased over who owns a group of Islands under dispute.

“It may be impossible” to shield against tensions between the two countries, Toyoda had told reporters earlier in December. “But we will work to minimize the impact.”

Slowing sales in emerging markets caused Honda Motor Co. to miss analysts’ forecasts for its first-half earnings this year. Nissan Motor Co., which is looking to make Mexico a hub for exports, reduced projected full-year earnings by 15 percent to reflect slower than anticipated sales in the developing world.

Toyota’s own operating profits were down in Asia, excepting Japan, in the third quarter, as Thailand ended government incentives for first-time car purchases. Akio Toyoda was pessimistic about Japan as well because of that country’s planned increase in the national sales tax rate from 5% to 8%. The Toyota president said, on behalf of JAMA, that automakers would like to see a stable yen since production cannot be shifted around the world as quickly as currency values change. The Japanese currency is currently at a five year low against the American dollar.

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Tata to Base “Global” Range of Cars On Advanced Modular Platform That It Says Will “Leapfrog” VW’s MQB http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2013/11/tata-to-base-global-range-of-cars-on-advanced-modular-platform-that-it-says-will-leapfrog-vws-mbq/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2013/11/tata-to-base-global-range-of-cars-on-advanced-modular-platform-that-it-says-will-leapfrog-vws-mbq/#comments Thu, 14 Nov 2013 18:00:49 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=651002 According to Tata Motors’ managing director, Karl Slym, the company is developing a new modular platform, to be the basis of a “global” range of vehicles that it claims will “leapfrog” VW’s MBQ technology. The new vehicles will be rolled out over the next six years. Though Tata has had more success selling commercial vehicles […]

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Tata-Manza-Karl-SlymAccording to Tata Motors’ managing director, Karl Slym, the company is developing a new modular platform, to be the basis of a “global” range of vehicles that it claims will “leapfrog” VW’s MBQ technology. The new vehicles will be rolled out over the next six years.

Though Tata has had more success selling commercial vehicles than cars, Tata says that it is going to build a family of world class passenger vehicles based on what it’s calling the Advanced Modular Platform (AMP). Tata badly needs new product to replace an ageing lineup of cars which has been doing poorly as the Indian market has experienced a downturn.

Tim Leverton, Tata Motors’ head of R&D, told the Sydney Morning Herald that it had taken VW “six or seven generations” of products to get to MBQ, but that Tata would “go directly to a very interesting solution” and “leapfrog” the Volkswagen group. Leverton said that the AMP is scaleable in both length and width, making it possible to use the platform for a variety of size vehicles, from subcompacts to crossovers.

The Indian press is reporting that Slym said that the company began planning to make Tata a global automotive brand last year and that all of the cars in the pipeline based on the AMP are being designed for sale globally and will meet applicable emission and crash standards.

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