Snapshot – Multiple car makers in India will unleash a bunch of affordable sedans priced under the 10 lakh rupee mark. Many of these sedans will give their makers the chance of operating in new segments. Naturally, the likelihood of success goes up with this strategy. In the next 12-18 months, five new affordable sedans are likely to be launched in India. Here’s the brief.
Ford Figo Aspire
The Ford Figo Aspire is weeks away from launch. The car will replace the Ford Classic full size C-Segment sedan, and will be positioned in the sub-4 meter compact sedan category. The Figo Aspire will be sold with many engine options, with the top-end variant to be positioned as a high performance offering. The top-end variant of the car will use a 1.5 liter Ti-VCT petrol engine with 109 Bhp-145 Nm outputs, and a 6 speed PowerShift automatic transmission, features hitherto unseen in the petrol powered compact sedan segment. Lower priced variants of the car will get 1.2 liter Ti-VCT petrol and 1.5 liter TDCI turbo diesel engine options, with 5 speed manual gearboxes. The Figo Aspire will roll out from Ford’s new Sanand factory, and will be followed by a hatchback sibling.
Tata Kite Compact Sedan
By the end of this year, Tata Motors is expected to replace the Indigo eCS compact sedan with a new sub-4 meter offering code-named the Kite. The automaker has been spotted testing the Kite compact sedan on Pune roads, in the run up to the launch. The sub-4 meter Kite sedan will sit under the Zest in terms of pricing and positioning. The car is expected to use Tata Motors’ new design language with more aggressive lines seeking to make it stand out in its segment. Tata is also likely to pack the Kite compact sedan with features. Both petrol and diesel engines will be offered with this car.
Ford Fiesta Petrol Automatic
Recently, an automatic variant test mule of the facelifted Fiesta sedan was spotted at a Ford dealership. This isn’t all, the car featured a 1.5 liter Ti-VCT petrol motor, prompting speculation on Ford expanding the Fiesta Facelift range in India with a new variant. With many car buyers now preferring petrol powered sedans given diesel price deregulation, the Fiesta Petrol Automatic could prove to a good foil to the likes of the Volkswagen Vento TSI as the Ford car gains a quick shifting twin clutch automatic gearbox, just like the Volkswagen sedan. Buyers seeking a fun-to-drive car will be the target market of the Fiesta Automatic.
Volkswagen Compact Sedan
The compact sedan route is what Volkswagen will take when it brings in an India-specific vehicle meant to bump up volumes. The sub-4 meter offering will be based on the PQ25 platform that underpins the current generation Polo and Vento. However, a brand new top hat will differentiate the compact sedan from its hatchback and full size sedan siblings. The compact sedan will make use of the newly introduced 1.5 liter TDI turbo diesel engine. The 1.2 liter TSI turbocharged petrol engine could also be a part of the variant mix considering the excise duty benefits such an engine would give Volkswagen. A launch is 2016 is on the cards for the Volkswagen compact sedan.
The Vios will be Toyota’s C-Segment sedan for the Indian car market. The car has already been spotted testing on Indian roads, and 2016 is when the Vios could be launched here. For their part, rumours assert that the Vios could be launched here as early as the end of 2015, which seems a little too early for a car that needs to be sufficiently localized, not to mention dieselized, to suit Indian car buying sensibilities. For the record, the Vios sold in South East Asian markets is a petrol-only sedan, a status that Toyota needs to change to give the car a fighting chance in the hyper competitive Indian market.