From September to December, the festivities in India are on full swing. Car purchases peak in the months of September, October and November, with car makers eager to make best of the good cheer all around with plenty of launches. 2015 is no different and nearly 10 cars and SUVs are being lined up for launches during India’s festive season. Here’s a wrap.
On the 10th of September, Mahindra & Mahindra will launch the TUV300, a ladder frame equipped, sub-4 meter compact SUV. The first all-new car launch from Mahindra this year, the new vehicle promises to be affordable and hardy. To be sold with a 1.5 liter turbo diesel engine and a rear wheel drive layout, the TUV300 will feature a 5 speed manual gearbox, with an automated manual transmission also said to be waiting in the wings. If Mahindra manages a starting price of under 6 lakh rupees, the TUV300 could shake up the compact SUV market.
The Nissan X-Trail luxury SUV is a surprise festive season launch. The vehicle will be a completely built unit (CBU), which means that it’ll continue to be pricey except if Nissan can pull something dramatic out of its hat. The SUV is expected to be priced between the 30-35 lakh rupee mark. With 7 seats, new safety features, a brand new design and on offer, the X-Trail will be dangled at existing Toyota Fortuner and Hyundai Santa Fe owners. Will they bite? Time will tell.
Maruti Suzuki Baleno
The Maruti Suzuki YRA code-named premium hatchback will be unveiled at the Frankfurt Motor Show, with the Baleno name plate in tow. On whether the Baleno name plate will make a comeback into India is something we don’t know for now. What we do know is that the YRA/Baleno will be Maruti Suzuki’s first premium hatchback designed to complete with the likes of the Hyundai i20 Elite and the Honda Jazz. The larger Baleno will be priced higher than the Swift, and will have more features too. A launch during the festive season is anticipated.
The Chevrolet Trailblazer luxury SUV will be General Motors India’s big splash this festive season. The butch seven seater, which is one of the largest in its class, will use a large 2.8 liter turbo diesel engine that puts out a class leading 500 Nm of peak torque, while peak power is equally impressive at 200 Bhp. 6 speed manual and automatic gearboxes are likely to be on offer. Considering that the Chevrolet Trailblazer is priced under the Captiva in South East Asian markets, a similar strategy adopted here could give GM India a decent seller.
Ford Figo Hatchback
Ford India’s Nigel Harris noted that the Figo hatchback would follow the Figo Aspire compact sedan into the market before 2015 turns into 2016. This means that the Figo hatchback is another high voltage car launch from the Blue Oval this year. The Figo hatchback is essentially a hatchback version of the Figo Aspire, and is expected to share engines, transmissions, interiors and safety features. With the Figo hatchback, Ford is expected to continue its value pricing strategy that it adopted with the Figo Aspire.
Renault India is getting ready to launch another big volume car in India, in the form of the Kwid hatchback. A budget car that has SUV lines in its design, the Kwid is designed to be a frugal hatchback suitable for Indian conditions. The car will be exported to other parts of the world as well. The Kwid sold in India will initially be offered with an 800cc, triple cylinder petrol engine while a larger, 1 liter petrol motor is also in the works for later. In pricing terms, the car will be pitted against the Maruti Alto 800 and the Hyundai Eon.
Mahindra is expected to launch a micro SUV later this year, just before the festive season comes to an end. The S101 codenamed vehicle will compete with B-Segment hatchbacks. So, a very sharp price tag is likely. Estimates put the S101’s starting price tag to be close to the 4 lakh rupee mark, making the Micro SUV a cat among pigeons. We’re talking about hatchbacks of course. A unique six seat layout, with petrol and turbo diesel engines will be on offer in the monocoque bodied, front wheel driven micro SUV.
Fiat Punto Abarth
In October, Fiat India will unleash the Punto Abarth, an affordable high performance hatchback with class leading outputs. The Punto Abarth will feature a 1.4 liter turbocharged petrol engine, retuned to put out about 145 Bhp and 207 Nm. Stiffer suspension, Abarth inspired styling, distinctive alloy wheels and disc brakes on all four wheels will make the Punto Abarth stand out from the regular Puntos. The car is likely to duck under the 10 lakh rupee price bracket.
Fiat Avventura Abarth
The Avventura Abarth will gain the same engine as the Punto Abarth, with similar modifications made to the suspension, styling and braking departments. With these changes, the Avventura Abarth seeks to become the most aspirational hatchback based crossover in India. Pricing of the Abarth Avventura is expected to similar to that of the Abarth Punto. The launch could happen by the end of this year, close on the heels of the Punto Abarth’s market introduction.
Tata Motors’ next big thing is the Kite family of cars. The automaker is likely to launch the hatchback version of the car first. The Kite is intended as a replacement to the age old Indica. the car will sit in between the Nano and the Bolt in terms of price and positioning. The car could be launched by the end of this year, with a starting price tag between 3-4 lakh rupees. The Kite is likely to feature new, triple cylinder petrol and turbo diesel engine options. Manual gearbox and AMT options are also among expectations.