Compact Sedans in India go head to head

Auto manufacturers have found a way to avoid the brunt of shelling out money on excise duty; all they need to do is take a sedan cut its boot shorter and voila! You have a sub-4-metre car that saves on excise duty.

Tata Motors and Maruti Suzuki have already exploited the compact sedan segment. Now Mahindra and Hindustan Motors (HM) too seem to have decided to chop of the boot of their cars a little.

Maruti Suzuki Swift Compact:

Maruti Suzuki India (MSI) is planning to cut short the Swift Dzire sedan’s boot making its length come under 4 metres liberating it from excise duty sops.

new maruti dzire photo
Photo: Maruti Suzuki Swift Dzire

The current excise duty on cars with lengths of above 4 meters is 22% and below 4 meters is 10%. Hence, when Maruti Swift Dzire compact sedan (CS) is launched, the price would be reduced by Rs. 40,000 approximately.

The only drawback of Swift Dzire compact sedan will be reduced boot space. Maruti will likely launch the shortened Dzire after the 2011 Swift’s launch in April/May 2011. Related: New Maruti Dzire to be cheaper, shorter

 

Tata Indigo CS:

The Indigo CS is the shorter version of Tata’s Indigo sedan. Like in the Swift compact the chopped off boot here will mean a little less boot space, but the length means you get a much lower price due to less duties.

Photo: Tata Indigo CS

The Indigo CS LX TDi version is priced at Rs. 4.63 lakhs, while the DiCOR version is priced at Rs. 5.10 lakhs. The petrol Indigo CS version – the GLX – is priced at Rs 4.08 lakh ex-showroom Delhi.

The Indigo CS GLX (petrol) offers 65 PS of power at 5200 rpm, and 105 Nm @ 2600 RPM torque while the TDi and DiCOR (diesel) engines offer70 PS of power at 4000 RPM, and 140 NM at 1800-3000rpm.

Mahindra Verito/Logan CS:

The Logan CS or the Verito CS as it is now called will cost Rs. 30,000 – 50,000 lesser than the Logan/Verito sedan. Mahindra will likely plunk in Nissan’s 1.2L 80bhp petrol engine in the Logan/Verito CS. If not the Verito/Logan CS will have the same 1.5-litre diesel motor that powers the present Logan. Related: Mahindra Logan now to be launched as Verito

mahindra verito photo
Photo: Mahindra Verito

The Renault-sourced engine produces 65 hp of maximum power at 4,000 rpm and 160 Nm of maximum torque at 2,000 rpm and is known for its fuel economy and respectable performance. The petrol variant is powered by a 1,390 cc, 4-cylinder, 8 valve engine that produces 75 hp of maximum power at 5,500 rpm and 1110 Nm of maximum torque at 3,000 rpm.

The present Mahindra Logan BS IV costs Rs. 5.61 lakh for the base diesel version (1.5 DLE), Rs. 5.91 lakh for the mid-variant (1.5 DLX) and Rs. 6.47 lakh for the top-end variant (1.5 DLSX).

The Logan petrol base version is priced at Rs. 4.69 lakh and the top-end variant is priced at Rs. 4.94 lakh (All prices are ex-showroom, Delhi). Mahindra also offers the Logan in a CNG variant which is available to customers at an additional price (added to the petrol version) of Rs. 56,000 (only in Mumbai & NCR).

Hindustan Motors (HM) Ambassador:

This is probably one car we weren’t expecting to see…ever. The HM Ambassador or the Amby CS as it will be fondly called will follow the ‘cut-boot and sell’ theory to the tee. It will have virtually no changes as far as exterior styling is concerned and will be more or less the same as the existing sedan model.

2011 ambassador photo
Photo: Hindustan Motors Ambassador

The Ambassador sedan houses a 1.5 diesel motor under its hood. The engine produces 35.5bhp of power and 13.7kgm of torque. We expect the Amby CS to sport the same or a slightly tweaked engine. The car will likely be showcased at the 2012 Auto Expo and may go on sale soon after.

Most compact sedans in the Indian market are designed for functionality and will not win any design awards owing to their awkward shape. That will not discourage auto-manufacturers as these models sell surprisingly well, since the average Indian consumer care more about price and affordability than aesthetic appeal.

We expect upcoming compact sedans to pull volumes for their respective manufacturers just like the Swift Dzire sedan did for Maruti and the Indigo CS did for Tata Motors.