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Ford Figo prices now start at Rs 5.23 lakh
It was only in March this year that Ford gave its hatchback, the Figo, a much-needed facelift, which brought styling in line with the Aspire compact sedan, added more equipment to the model and introduced new 1.2-litre and 1.5-litre petrol engines. Now, Ford has revised prices for the hatchback with effect from April 1, 2019. The base petrol Figo Ambiente is now priced at Rs 5.23 lakh, a hike of about Rs 8,000, while the diesel Figo Ambiente now costs Rs 6.13 lakh, representing a Rs 18,000 increase. Interestingly, while prices for the base variants have gone up, prices for the higher Titanium and Titanium Blu variants have decreased by a larger margin. Petrol Titanium variants, which are available with 1.2-litre-manual and a 1.5-litre-automatic options, now costs Rs 39,000 less than the before– while its diesel sibling sees a downward revision of about Rs 29,000. Coming to the sportier top-end Figo Titanium Blu variants, the petrol and diesel versions are now priced at Rs 6.65 lakh and Rs 7.55 lakh, respectively – a reduction of about Rs 29,000 and Rs 19,000. As before the Figo facelift is available with three engine options – a 96hp, 1.2-litre petrol and 100hp, 1.5-litre diesel paired to a 5-speed manual gearbox, along with a more powerful 123hp, 1.5-litre petrol unit offered with a 6-speed torque converter automatic gearbox. The Figo facelift rivals the likes of the Maruti Suzuki Swift, Hyundai Grand i10 and Volkswagen Polo. Here is look at the variant-wise revision in prices: 2019 Ford Figo variant-wise pricesVariantNew pricesOld pricesChange1.2P Ambiente MTRs 5.23 lakhRs 5.15 lakh+ Rs 8,0001.2P Titanium MTRs 6.00 lakhRs 6.39 lakh- Rs 39,0001.2P Titanium BluRs 6.65 lakhRs 6.94 lakh- Rs 29,0001.5D Ambiente MTRs 6.13 lakhRs 5.95 lakh+ Rs 18,0001.5D Titanium MTRs 6.90 lakhRs 7.19 lakh- Rs 29,0001.5D Titanium BluRs 7.55 lakhRs 7.74 lakh- Rs 19,0001.5P Titanium ATRs 7.70 lakhRs 8.09 lakh- Rs 39,000 All prices are ex-showroom, India Click here for Ford Figo facelift prices, reviews, videos, images and more [...]
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Volkswagen’s Chakan plant produces its millionth car
Volkswagen India's plant in Chakan, Pune has rolled out its millionth car, 10 years after operations began. The 1 millionth model, the Volkswagen Ameo, was rolled off the assembly line in the presence of Gurpratap Boparai, managing director, Volkswagen India; Steffen Knapp, director, Volkswagen Passenger Cars India, the top management of Volkswagen Pune Plant and some of the oldest employees who have been part of the production department since a decade at Volkswagen Pune Plant.   The manufacturing facility became operational on March 31, 2009 – the first car that it produced was the Skoda Fabia. Three more models – the Volkswagen Polo, Vento and Skoda Rapid – soon started rolling off the production site by end of 2010. The plant, which was initially set up to cater to the Indian market, also began exporting cars to international markets such as South Africa in 2012. Mexico went on to become one of the most important destinations for the made-in- India cars and the Vento quickly became the highest-selling Volkswagen in that market. Today, more than 4,00,000 cars manufactured at the Volkswagen Pune Plant have been exported to over 50 countries in Asia, Africa, North America and South America. India 2.0 project to drive future growth As we had reported earlier, the Volkswagen Group is looking to strengthen its commitment to the domestic market through its regional India 2.0 project. The focus of this project is to develop more cars that are relevant to the requirements of the Indian market on a platform that has been localised. The Volkswagen Group is investing a billion Euro (about Rs 8,000 crore) in this project and has already set up a Technology Centre at the Pune Plant for local development to begin. The brand is laying the foundation for development of products based on a heavily localised MQB-A0-IN platform tailored to the needs of customers in India.  Earlier this month, the Volkswagen Group announced its intent to merge its three Indian subsidiaries – Volkswagen India, Volkswagen Group Sales India and Skoda India. The Volkswagen Group brands – Volkswagen, Skoda, Audi, Porsche and Lamborghini – will maintain their individual identities, dealer network and customer experience initiatives. The brands will work under the leadership of Gurpratap Boparai with a common strategy for the Indian market. Click here for Volkswagen India models, prices, reviews, videos, images and more [...]
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Analysis: Hyundai Venue – Still want that Creta?
At the end of a series of teaser videos and a fairly long wait, the Hyundai Venue compact SUV finally made its global debut yesterday. While potential buyers know exactly where the Venue fits into Hyundai’s scheme of things, a lot of people were left wondering – does the Creta still have something unique to offer? And if the Venue can do it all, does one really need to stretch their budget for a Creta? This is a question that’ll be on the mind of every individual who has either of the two SUVs on their shopping list, so we’ve tried to answer all your questions and tell you what both SUVs have to offer. Is the Hyundai Venue an alternative to the Creta? In case you’re wondering, the Venue is not intended to be an alternative to the hot-selling Creta. What it is, is Hyundai’s first-ever compact SUV, one that will enter what is possibly the hottest segment in the Indian passenger vehicle market today, and will go up against established rivals such as the Maruti Suzuki Vitara Brezza, Ford EcoSport, Tata Nexon and the Mahindra XUV300. It is now the smallest SUV in Hyundai’s global line-up. How much of a size difference is there in between the Venue and the Creta? Being a sub-four-metre SUV, the Venue is decidedly more compact than the Creta, which is a proper midsize SUV and sits a segment above. Overall length is where the biggest difference lies between the two Hyundai SUVs. The Creta is a full 275mm longer than the Venue that has been tailored to fit into the sub-four-metre bracket (and consequently enjoy tax sops extended to ‘small cars’). The Creta is also a good 75mm taller, overall, than the Venue, and while the Venue is nearly as wide (1,770mm) as the Creta (1,780mm), the Creta has a 90mm longer wheelbase, which makes a clear difference in terms of interior space. The Venue’s rear seat is significantly down on space to the Creta’s, which has a good amount of room. Hyundai hasn’t yet revealed the exact capacity of the Venue’s boot, and while it is spacious and well-shaped for a compact SUV, it will most certainly fall short of matching the Creta’s 405-litre boot. Ultimately, for someone who needs the extra space, the Creta will still be the SUV to pick. How do the Hyundai Venue’s engine and gearbox options compare to the Creta’s? When it comes to petrol engines, the Hyundai Creta has only one option on offer – a 1.6-litre, four-cylinder unit that produces 123hp and 151Nm of torque. Gearbox options for the Creta petrol include a 6-speed manual and a 6-speed torque convertor automatic. The Venue offers more in the way of choice when it comes to petrol engines. On offer with the Venue are a 1.2-litre, four-cylinder unit – the same as on the i20 – that makes 83hp and 115Nm of torque, and a brand-new, 1.0-litre, three-cylinder T-GDI turbo-petrol churning out 120hp and 172Nm. An interesting point to note is that the Venue’s turbo-petrol engine makes more torque than the Creta’s 1.6-litre unit, and being the smaller of the two, the Venue is likely to be a sprightly drive. While the 1.2-litre petrol variant can only be had with a 5-speed manual, buyers can pick either a 6-speed manual or a 7-speed dual-clutch gearbox for the 1.0-litre turbo-petrol. Do remember, the Venue is the only compact SUV to currently get a dual-clutch gearbox, and that the Creta doesn’t get a DCT. What the Creta does get, however, is a bigger diesel engine. Yes, it does have a smaller 1.4-litre unit available too (making 90hp and 220Nm of torque), but the one that sees most takers is the 1.6-litre diesel that makes 128hp and 260Nm of torque. In comparison, the Venue diesel borrows the 1.4-litre diesel from the Creta in the same state of tune. Where the Creta pulls out an advantage is in the gearbox options – while a 6-speed manual is standard for both SUVs, the Creta also has the option of a torque convertor automatic gearbox available with the 1.6-litre diesel engine. Yes, there is no automatic option offered with the Venue diesel – at least at launch. By default, the Creta will be the pick of the two, for those looking for the convenience of a diesel-automatic.  Does the Hyundai Venue have more features than the Creta? It would be incorrect to say the Venue gets more features than the Creta, but it does pack in most of what its bigger sibling does. The biggest differentiator for the Hyundai Venue is its BlueLink infotainment system, which, with an embedded SIM card, offers 33 connectivity features, including giving owners the ability to track their vehicle, remotely switch the engine and air-conditioning on or off and more. The Creta does not have this feature, and will only get it when the new-generation model arrives later in 2020. The Venue’s floating 8.0-inch touchscreen unit is also bigger than the 7.0-inch screen in the Creta. Both SUVs get projector headlights with LED DRLs, allo [...]
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Honda Accord recalled in India to replace Takata airbags
Honda Cars India has announced a recall for the Accord in order to preemptively replace the faulty front airbags inflators sourced from Japanese company Takata. The recall issued in India is part of a precautionary global recall campaign by Honda. The recall will affect 3,699 units of the Accord manufactured between 2003 and 2006. The replacement of the faulty part will be carried out at Honda dealerships across the country from April 18, 2019, and at no cost to owners. While Honda will get in touch with the 2003-2006 Honda Accord owners directly, they can also check if their cars are affected by the recall by submitting the 17-character alpha-numeric Vehicle Identification Number (VIN) on the brand's microsite or by getting in touch with dealers. This is the second recall announced by Honda India in the recent past, to fix an issue pertaining to the Takata airbags; the first was in January 2018 and affected 22,834 units of the 2013 Accord, City and Jazz.  Many carmakers including Tesla, BMW, Mercedes-Benz, Volkswagen, Subaru, and Ferrari have announced recalls to replace the airbag module. In February this year, about 1.7 million models in the US were recalled due to the same issue. The model that has been recalled is the eighth-gen Accord and not the ninth-gen model that is currently on sale in India as the Accord Hybrid, which is priced at Rs 43.21 lakh (ex-showroom, Delhi). The 10th-generation model is already on sale in international markets and is likely to come to India later. Unlike the current gen, which has been brought in as a CBU, Honda is expected to local assemble the new Accord in India. Click here for Honda Accord prices, reviews, videos, images and more [...]
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PhotoGallery: Mercedes-AMG GLC 63 image gallery
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KTM hikes prices in India
We recently told you about KTM increasing the price of the 125 Duke in India, but going by the company’s latest price list, it appears that the entire range has received a price hike. This includes the likes of the 250 Duke, RC 390 and the 390 Duke. The price hike ranges from as little as Rs 2,000 on some models to up to Rs 9,000 on the RC 390. The company’s most expensive offering, the 390 Duke, has gone up in price by around Rs 4,000. Interestingly, this makes the 2019 390 Duke Rs 10,000 more expensive than the 2018 model and more than Rs 20,000 pricier than the 2017 model. A number of reasons could be responsible for the price hike, the most common of which would be the increasing costs of raw materials and fluctuations in foreign exchange rates. These also happen to be the reasons for which we saw Kawasaki hike prices for its entire line just last month. Here is the entire list: Model Price (old) Price (new) 125 Duke ABS Rs 1.18 lakh Rs 1.25 lakh 200 Duke ABS Rs 1.60 lakh Rs 1.62 lakh RC 200 ABS Rs 1.88 lakh Rs 1.90 lakh 250 Duke ABS Rs 1.93 lakh Rs 1.97 lakh RC 390 ABS Rs 2.35 lakh Rs 2.44 lakh 390 Duke ABS Rs 2.44 lakh Rs 2.48 lakh All prices, ex-showroom, Delhi. [...]
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Geometry A sedan by Geely unveiled in Shanghai
China's biggest car manufacturer, Geely, has launched its new electric-only brand, Geometry, with a model that will rival the Tesla Model 3. The new car, called the Geometry A, is on display at the Shanghai motor show. The Geometry A sedan is claimed to be capable of 410km in Standard Range form and 500km in Long Range form (both figures measured under the old NEDC cycle). The former variant uses a 51.9kWh lithium-ion battery pack while the latter uses a 61.9kWh unit, both provided by Chinese firm CATL. In comparison, the Tesla Model 3 Long Range has a 75kWh battery with a 544km range in the more realistic WLTP test. The Model 3 Standard Range, with a 50kWh battery, is predicted to manage around 354km WLTP. Geely says the A can be fast-charged from 30-80 percent in just half an hour. However, the carmaker hasn't specified how many kW is required from the power supply to achieve that charging speed. Drive in the Geometry A is supplied by a permanent magnet synchronous motor with a maximum output of 163hp and 250Nm of torque, resulting in a 0-100kph sprint time of 8.8sec. The A is claimed to be the safest car in its segment. It offers a host of active safety technology, including automatic emergency braking with pedestrian detection, automatic high beam control, front and rear moving object detection, blind-spot monitoring, lane-keeping assistance, adaptive cruise control and a 360-degree parking camera. The car follows on from the Geely GE11 concept, which was unveiled in February under the 'Geely New Energy' brand. The five-seater Geometry A's design was penned at Geely's studio in Shanghai and is described by the firm as "minimalist and avant-garde" with a focus on aerodynamic efficiency. Indeed, its drag coefficient is 0.24Cd – just 0.1Cd behind that of the Model 3. Both the Standard Range and Long Range versions of the A will be offered in three trim levels – 2, 3 and n. Explaining the new brand's unusual name, Geely has stated, "It gets its name from mathematical geometry, which emerged thousands of years ago to describe the world as humans saw it. The Geometry brand is Geely's vision of the future in which technology is used to create a sustainable environment and safe mobility, leading to a harmonious relationship between humanity and nature." Geometry has already taken more than 27,000 orders for the A, of which around 67 percent have come from outside China, with buyers in Singapore, France and Norway. Geely plans to launch 10 new electric models, including SUVs, sedans and MPVs, under the Geometry brand by 2025. These will use "exclusively developed platforms" and be sold through Geometry-specific distribution channels. In addition to Geometry, the Geely group comprises Geely, LEVC, Lotus, Lynk & Co, Polestar, Proton, Smart and Volvo. Hardware and technology developed by Geometry could, therefore, be shared across these multi-national brands. [...]
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Mahindra Thar special edition with ABS to mark end of current generation
The Mahindra Thar was originally launched in 2010 and, in 2015, it received a mid-life facelift. The current-generation Thar will soon be discontinued, as it does not meet the upcoming crash-test regulations that will come into effect from October 1, 2019. And so, to bid adieu to the first generation, we can now confirm that Mahindra will give the Thar a special edition that will, most likely, be the final version of the SUV in its current avatar. While the name of this special edition has not been announced just yet, this final version will have one feature that no other Thar has had so far – anti lock brakes or ABS. The special-edition Thar is also said to get a set of decals on the exterior that will help differentiate it from the standard car, and it is likely to come only in the top-spec CRDe engine option. It will also get a slightly different interior package with optional extra bits. The standard car comes with a set of steel wheels with wheel caps, while the special-edition Thar gets a set of alloy wheels as part of standard equipment. The next-gen Thar is said to be bigger, more powerful, more fuel efficient and more comfortable. However, if the current-generation Thar, with its traditional MM540-like design, is what you prefer, this final special edition could very well be the best one for you, especially due to the addition of ABS. While the current-gen car will not meet crash-test regulations, the next-gen Thar will meet the upcoming safety norms and BS-VI regulations when it launches in 2020. It will also get a more powerful 140hp 2.0-litre engine paired to a 6-speed manual gearbox. The new Thar will be based on Mahindra’s Gen3 Chassis that is derived from the likes of the TUV300. The car will also get airbags (which the current generation does not have), rear parking sensors and a speed warning. Click here for Mahindra Thar prices, reviews, images, videos and more Click here for Mahindra India models, prices, reviews, videos, images and more [...]
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Kush Maini secures podium finish in Formula Renault Eurocup debut
Indian racer Kush Maini impressed on his Formula Renault Eurocup debut – securing 3rd place and 5th place for the M2 Competition team in the two races of the series’ 2019 season-opening round at Monza. Starting the first race at 4th on the grid, Maini survived contact with polesitter Lorenzo Colombo to move up to 3rd place on the opening lap itself. The safety car was employed soon after to collect Colombo’s car and once the race restarted, Maini found himself under pressure as Oscar Piastri, Victor Martins and Federico Malvestiti caught up to him. Piastri briefly managed to pass him around the outside at Turn 1, but Maini was able to re-take the position at the second chicane. He then started closing the gap to 2nd-placed Leonardo Lorandi, who went wide at the second Lesmo. Despite making several attempts, Maini was unable to overtake Lorandi and ended up finishing the race in 3rd place, with Ugo de Wilde taking victory. He then survived the tricky conditions in a wet Race 2 to cross the finish line in 5th place – having started the race from the same position. The result made him the highest-place rookie racer in the second race. Alexander Smolyar won the race, with Victor Martins and Lorenzo Colombo completing the podium. “We had good pace in being consistently in the leading group during the pre-season collective tests. We expected to run up front, but last month I never thought that we would finish third in our first race, then win the rookie category. This gives us a solid foundation and I hope that we can continue to get stronger as the season progresses,” said Maini, who moved to Formula Renault Eurocup after securing 3rd place in the overall standings of the British F3 championship, last year. The series will now make its way to Silverstone for Round 2, which will take place from May 10-12, 2019. The 2019 season of the Formula Renault Eurocup also marks the debut of the new Formula Renault FR-19 racer. [...]
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Rome E-Prix: Evans earns Jaguar its first Formula E race victory
Mitch Evans helped create history for Jaguar Racing after defeating DS Techeetah driver Andre Lotterer to clinch the team’s first-ever Formula E race win at the Rome E-Prix. This makes Evans the 7th different driver to win a race this season in just as many races – with all the race winners belonging to different teams. It was a chaotic start to the race with damp conditions making it tricky for the drivers. Lotterer, who started the race from pole position, managed to make a clean getaway with Evans and Jose Maria Lopez behind him. But, further down the pack, Max Gunther clipped the wall after sliding sideways through Turn 8, his car suffering bodywork damage in the process. Just moments later, Lopez made contact with Sam Bird, seemingly bringing the latter’s race to an end. But miraculously, Bird found the chance to continue on since the race was soon red- flagged after a massive pile up blocked the track. Lopez crashed into the wall at the Turn 17/18 chicane, catching out Gary Paffett, Jean-Eric Vergne and some other drivers behind. The lengthy red flag period gave teams the chance to work on their cars, however the incident did bring an end to Paffett’s race. Once the race restarted, Evans spent several laps right on Lotterer’s tail. He finally managed to overtake Lotterer with 16 minutes left on the clock, using the Attack Mode to overtake him at Turn 11. Lotterer attempted to move back into the lead by engaging his second Attack Mode, and for a moment, it looked like the race could play into his hands as Evans failed to activate his for a second time. However, the Jaguar Racing driver managed to keep Lotterer at bay, but with his car running out of energy, he had to back off in the final few laps – bringing back memories of his disappointing Rome E-Prix last year, where poor energy management strategy forced him down to the back of the pack from the lead. However, it was a different story this time around, and he ultimately held on to win the race, crossing the finish line with just two percent of usable energy left. Vandoorne finished the race in 3rd place for HWA, claiming both his and the team’s first Formula E podium after what has been a challenging start to the season. Robin Frijns took 4th place after using Attack Mode to pull off a late move on Sebastien Buemi. Buemi’s Nissan teammate Oliver Rowland finished just behind him in 6th place, followed by Lucas di Grassi. Vergne was handed a drive-through penalty for overtaking Antonio Felix da Costa under a full-course yellow, dropping him down to 14th place, but he did earn a point for setting the fastest lap. This promoted Jerome d’Ambrosio to 8th place, the Mahindra Racing driver managing to climb up the field after starting the race all the way down from 19. This handed him enough points to take the lead in the drivers’ standings once again, albeit by just one point from da Costa, who finished the race in 9th place. Mahindra Racing’s other driver, Pascal Wehrlein rounded up the top 10.  Bird managed to complete the race in 11th place after Virgin Racing was able to repair his car under the red flag. Both Venturi drivers – Edoardo Mortara and Felipe Massa – had to retire from the race after suffering transmission problems. Race results POS DRIVER TEAM CAR GAP 1 Mitch Evans Jaguar Jaguar 1h33m51.140s 2 Andre Lotterer DS Techeetah DS 0.979s 3 Stoffel Vandoorne HWA Venturi 6.399s 4 Robin Frijns Virgin Audi 9.181s 5 Sebastien Buemi e.dams Nissan 9.778s 6 Oliver Rowland e.dams Nissan 11.262s 7 Lucas di Grassi Audi Audi 24.340s 8 Jerome d'Ambrosio Mahindra Mahindra 28.633s 9 Antonio Felix da Costa BMW BMW 30.651s 10 Pascal Wehrlein Mahindra Mahindra 30.735s 11 Sam Bird Virgin Audi 32.272s [...]
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RIP George Francis
“I wanted to be a priest.” Scrutinise the speaker of these words and you wouldn’t think that such would have been his career of choice. His ponytail and a few distinguishing scars give George Francis the air of an intrepid traveller, not the look one would expect of someone who wanted to join the seminary. George is a permanent fixture at motorsport events in the country. Whether it is circuit racing at the Kari Motor Speedway and Madras Motor Sports Track or rounds of the Indian National Rally Championship, you’re sure to see him clutching his camera and walking about. And on the rare occasion when he isn’t present, you’ll see a couple of cameramen wearing blue T-shirts with ‘Scorp’ emblazoned on them. They’re photographers from Scorp News, the private news agency that George set up, which specialises in motorsport photography. What Keith Sutton is to Formula 1, George Francis is to Indian motorsport, and it goes without saying that he wouldn’t have got there had he not picked the camera instead of the cassock. George discovered his love for writing and photography when he was in college studying literature. And he liked speed too. His proximity to Sholavaram meant the stage was set for one of the longest-running lliances in Indian motorsport – 25 years and counting. “Sholavaram 1984 was the first race I attended,” George says. He liked what he saw too – cars and bikes rip-roaring down the T-shaped track. He was smitten. The shutter clicked several times, chemicals swished over film in the dark room, developed photos were mailed (as in posted) to magazines, and a paycheck was received. He was smitten some more. From then on, George made sure he was present at all the races that took place. He began covering rallies as well. And this was in a day and age when there were no arrangements made for the media. “I’ve travelled with Rs 200 in my pocket, including my bus fare from Chennai to Bangalore to cover the South India Rally. And with no transport available to get to the special stages, I hitchhiked.” He’d travel any which way to get to a rally, a sure-fire recipe for adventures and misadventures alike. George recalls the Indian leg of the 1993 London-Sydney Rally when he travelled from Chennai to Delhi in an unreserved train compartment to cover the flag-off. “I’d decided, transport or no transport, I was going to cover the rally somehow,” he says. After the flag-off, he hopped on a state transport bus to take him to the next leg in Shimla and onwards to Chandigarh. And just how did he cover the various stages in Chandigarh? “I was on a Vespa scooter that I borrowed from my brother-in-law.” Of course, that is not all. The London-Sydney Rally is a journey of epic proportions and it is only fitting that George had some epic escapades. “I returned to Delhi for the restart of the rally, then caught a bus to Rajasthan where the following leg was being held. With some difficulty we managed to find our way from Ajmer to the village where the special stages were being held. We waited in the sun for four hours, and finally the news came through that the stage had been cancelled due to an accident. By then I’d had enough. I travelled to Udaipur on the roof of a bus, since all the seats were reserved. Another bus journey to Bombay followed, and with my luck we got stuck in the ghats which meant the 12-hour journey was further delayed. But that was it for me in the London-Sydney rally. Ten years later when there was another edition of it passing through India, things were very different. We were transported from place to place in a special van arranged for the media.” “Motorsport is dangerous,” say signboards at most racetracks. No one knows this better than George. To begin with, he is infamous for ignoring pleas that photographers stay behind the Armco barriers. “I trust the ‘animals’ on track, more than I trust the snakes and other creatures that lurk in the foliage behind the barriers.” And he’s had more than a couple of close shaves too. In the 1999 Mill and Monsoon Rally in Coimbatore, George had Jagat Nanjappa’s car neatly framed in his Canon’s viewfinder. As the car went around the corner though, something looked odd. George lowered the camera only to find that the car looked set to turn turtle, and take him out with it! Thankfully, Jagat managed to gain control of the car and George was safe, with some great photographs to boot. Spookier perhaps was when in 1994 he was trying to get a head-on shot of rallyist Hari Singh. The car was framed nicely but just when he was about to press the trigger, it vanished from sight altogether. A perplexed George lowered the camera, and looked heavenwards only to see the Gypsy sail clear over his head. “We’ve survived despite mo [...]
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Review: Alturas G4 vs Endeavour vs Fortuner vs MU-X comparison
First off, apologies for taking time with this comparison. In an ideal scenario, you’d have read the Autocar India verdict on the best of the ladder-frame SUVs to buy soon after the Mahindra Alturas G4’s launch in November last year. But with info on the imminent arrival of the updated Ford Endeavour, it wouldn’t have been right to rush into a time-bound result. The updated Endy is finally out and so it’s all systems go. The centre point of this comparison is the Mahindra Alturas G4. First impressions of Mahindra’s grandest SUV yet were exceedingly positive but we’re just as curious as you to know if it can rub shoulders with the toughest and best of its rivals. Competition for the Alturas G4 comes from the Ford Endeavour that’s fresh from a nip and tuck, the Isuzu MU-X that received a makeover of its own a few months back and, of course, the Toyota Fortuner that is the default choice in the segment. To maintain a level playing field, we’ve considered the top-of-the-line versions of each of these SUVs. In these avatars, each of these SUVs comes powered by a big diesel engine, gets the convenience of an automatic transmission and also the added ability of a proper four-wheel-drive system. Driving experience and off-road ability aside, we’ll be talking looks, interiors and comfort. Enough of the introduction. Let’s get to the main event. The big show Let’s face it. In India, the size of your vehicle determines right of way. And when you are behind the wheel of any of these hulking SUVs, you’ll find traffic parting to let you through. Seeing these four in a convoy is sure to have made some road users a bit uneasy. The Alturas G4 is the newest SUV here and it looks unlike anything we’ve seen from Mahindra before. There’s a reason for that. The Alturas is, in essence, a Mahindra-badged version of the fourth-gen (hence the G4 in the name) SsangYong Rexton. Yes, the toothy grille is classic Mahindra but the rest of the design is new-age SsangYong. The Alturas G4 is smart and well turned out but it’s not quite got the road presence of an Endeavour or Fortuner. Of the other things, the massive wheel arches make the 18-inch rims look smaller than they are, and the chunky D-pillar also has implications for third-row passengers. We’ll get to those in a bit. At first glance, the updated Ford Endeavour’s Diffused Silver paint and slick diamond-cut alloy wheels are all that’s new about it. But if you really study photos of the Endys old and new, you’ll find a marginally revised front bumper and grille too. The styling tweaks might be subtle but there’s nothing subtle about the design. The high bonnet and block-like shape make the Endeavour look bold and armour-protected, almost. The Isuzu MU-X doesn’t have the same visual mass as the Endy but the Japanese SUV stands more confident than before on its larger 18-inch wheels. The 2018 update also brought with it reshaped bumpers and more detailed lights at the front and rear, which have done their bit to add some glamour to the Isuzu’s design. In all, the MU-X is a neat SUV but one that’s perhaps a bit too conservative in looks too. ‘Conservative’ is not a word you’d use to describe the Toyota Fortuner’s look. The second-gen Fortuner is quite rad as Toyota SUVs go and the beak-like nose, slim headlights and kinked glasshouse give it a unique visual identity. It stands out in this company but with so many Fortuners on Indian roads, it doesn’t feel exclusive enough, in case that matters to you. DimensionsMahindra Alturas G4 4x4 ATFord Endeavour 3.2 TDCi Titanium+Isuzu MU-X 4x4 ATToyota Fortuner 2.8 4x4 ATLength4850mm4903mm4825mm4795mmWidth1960mm1869mm1860mm1855mmHeight1845mm1837mm1860mm1835mmWheelbase2865mm2850mm2845mm2745mmTyre size255/60 R18265/60 R18255/60 R18265/60 R18 From the captain’s chair All four SUVs sit high off the ground and it’s a step up into their cabins. Oddly enough, a footboard is not standard fit but a must-have paid accessory on the Alturas G4. Open the Mahindra’s driver door and the seat will automatically slide back to ease ingress. This welcome gesture is one among many elements that make the Alturas feel properly luxurious. There’s quilted leather on the neat dash and well-cushioned seats, the window switches are rich in look and even the multi-info display in the instruments with its switchable themes does its bit to up the ambience. If you poke around, you will find hard plastics and some less special materials but the overall sensation is of being in an expensive SUV. The Endeavour’s cabin might not be as plush as the Alturas’ but its forte lies in making you feel cocooned from the outside world. You just can’t tire of that reassuring thunk on door shut, and everything on the inside has a built-to-last look to it. Fr [...]
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Goa Vintage Cars and Bikes Festival 2019 to be held on April 14
The third edition of the Goa Vintage Cars and Bikes Festival will be held on April 14, 2019. The event, organised by Goa Tourism, will be held in Panjim and will have participants coming in from Mumbai, Pune and Bengaluru to be part of this celebration of classic automobilia. With over 75 vehicles expected to make it to the rally, the Vintage Cars and Bikes Festival will be a major draw for tourists who come to Goa for its great food, beaches and relaxed atmosphere. Goa has been an epicentre of car culture in the past as its status as a Portuguese colony allowed import of cars from different parts of the world. The rally will be flagged off at the Inox Courtyard in Panjim and will run a 7km route along the iconic Mandovi river, going all the way to Miramar Circle before looping back to the start point. Classes for four-wheelers will be split into Vintage and Classic Cars up to 1988, modern classics up to 1994 and future classics ranging from 1994 to 1998. The two-wheeler category will showcase bikes and scooters up to 1988. There will be no entry fee for participants who wish to enter into the Goa Vintage Cars and Bikes Festival 2019. And those interested in participating can write to goavintage2019@gmail.com or Whatsapp on 9371677604/ 9850077993. On April 14, participants will be required to register from 9am onwards, after which, the rally will flag off by 11:30am. After a two-hour lunch break (from 1pm to 3pm), all the models that are participating will continue to be kept on display until 6pm.  Goa Vintage Car & Bike Festival 2019 scheduleActivityTimeRegistration & allotment of Display Spot9:00amFlag-off rally11:30am (approx.)Lunch1:00pm-3:00pmDisplay open to all3:00pm-6:00pmEntertainment show6:00pm-9:00pm Also see: 2018 Goa Vintage Bike and Car Festival wows crowd 2018 Goa Vintage Car and Bike Festival video 2018 Goa Vintage Bike and Car Festival image gallery [...]
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Bajaj Pulsar NS160 ABS to launch soon
Manufacturers are no longer allowed to produce two-wheelers without CBS/ABS, following the April 1, 2019 deadline, which made it mandatory. The ruling brought into question the future of a few motorcycles; and while most have been updated with the appropriate safety feature, there are still a handful whose updates have not yet been officially announced. The Bajaj Pulsar NS160 is one of these motorcycles. Over the past few months, a number of Bajaj offerings including bikes from the Avenger and Pulsar line-up were spotted and updated with ABS. The NS160 wasn’t one of these motorcycles. But now, we have received information that the Bajaj Pulsar NS160 ABS is in the works and it’s only a matter of time until the bike reaches dealerships. The NS160 is powered by a 160.3cc single-cylinder motor that makes 15.5hp at 8,500rpm and 14.6Nm of torque at 6,500rpm. It’s likely that the bike won’t receive any mechanical updates apart from the addition of a single-channel ABS unit. Currently, the Bajaj Pulsar NS160 retails at Rs 85,939 (ex-showroom, Delhi). The Pulsar NS200 saw a hike of Rs 12,000 with the inclusion of a single-channel ABS unit and we expect a similar or slightly lower increase when the system is brought onto the NS160. The non-ABS Pulsar NS160, just like other non-ABS bikes, will be available a a select dealerships until stocks last. Also see: 2017 Bajaj Pulsar NS160 review, test ride [...]
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Honda, Yamaha, Suzuki, Kawasaki to work on unified standard for electric bikes
Sources in Japan claim that the big four Japanese motorcycle brands – Honda, Yamaha, Suzuki and Kawasaki – plan to form a consultative body to discuss details about a unified standard for batteries, charging stations and more. This gathering is substantial because this move could dramatically increase usability of electric products to come from the brands. A unified standard of batteries doesn’t mean that the four big brands will use identical batteries on their products; it only means that the batteries on these products will have the ability to be charged by the same power source. Speaking of which, the likes of a unified standard for charging stations would prove to be monumental in increasing the reach and convenience of an electric two-wheeler. Moves like these could promote and speed-up the spread of electric motorcycles on an international scale. Given the size and popularity of these four Japanese giants, we could also see other electric two-wheeler brands from around the world adapt this unified standard. We witnessed a move similar to this in the mobile phone industry, where manufacturers went from having their own numerous individual charging pins, and settle on three as standard – micro-USB, Apple’s lighting port and the USB Type-C. We are now at a point where it appears that the USB Type-C charger will take over the other two and be the standard for charging every mobile phone in the future. On a related note, Taiwanese-giant Kymco launched a platform that provides tailor-made arrangement of electric vehicles, charging facilities and removable batteries, last year. Called Ionex Commercial, the platform or ecosystem claims to provide various charging solutions including standard charging, fast charging, battery swaps, or any combination of these. To read more about it, head here. While we haven’t seen any high-powered electric two-wheelers from the big four in production-ready form, Kawasaki was recently in the news as patents of its upcoming air- and oil-cooled e-motorcycle recently made an appearance. Also see: Evoke Motorcycles to enter India with electric motorcycle Ultraviolette F77 electric bike caught testing undisguised AI-enabled Revolt electric motorcycle to launch in June 2019 SOURCE [...]
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ABS-equipped Royal Enfield prices listed
Now that we are past the April 1, 2019 ABS/CBS deadline that made the safety tech mandatory, we have received Royal Enfield’s updated price list. This list mentions all the company’s models and their variants – the Bullet 350, 350 ES, 500,Classic 350 and Classic 500 – with prices starting at Rs 1.21 lakh (Bullet 350) and going up to Rs 2.14 lakh for the Thunderbird 500X. Interestingly, only the Royal Enfield Bullet 350 and Bullet 350 ES get a single-channel ABS, while the other models gets dual-channel ABS. We believe the company has done this in order to keep the price hike of its entry-level models to a minimum. Compare the new prices to the old ones and it shows that single-channel ABS only adds a little more than Rs 3,500 and Rs 1,400 to the price of the Bullet 350 and Bullet 350 ES, respectively – a surprisingly minimal hike compared to the premium of around Rs 11,000 on the models with the dual-channel system. Here is the price list: Prices (ex-showroom, Delhi)ModelPrice (ex-showroom, Delhi)Bullet 350 ABSRs 1.21 lakhBullet 350 ES ABSRs 1.35 lakhBullet 500 ABSRs 1.88 lakhClassic 350 ABSRs 1.53 lakhClassic 500 ABSRs 2.04 lakhClassic 500 Chrome ABSRs 2.12 lakhThunderbird 350 ABSRs 1.56 lakhThunderbird 350 X ABSRs 1.63 lakhThunderbird 500 ABSRs 2.06 lakhThunderbird 500 X ABSRs 2.14 lakhHimalayan ABSRs 1.80 lakhHimalayan Sleet ABSRs 1.82 lakh   Also see: Heavily updated Royal Enfield Classic 350, 500 spied Next-gen Royal Enfield Thunderbird 350, 500 spotted Royal Enfield Bullet Trials 350, 500 launched, priced from Rs 1.62 lakh [...]
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Review: 2019 BMW 8 Series Convertible video review
2019 BMW 8 Series Convertible video review  [...]
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Hyundai Venue connectivity features explained
Hyundai is betting big on connectivity features being a differentiator in India. As has already been announced, the upcoming Hyundai Venue compact SUV will be the first model to feature its Blue Link connectivity technology. Also, of the 33 features included in the Blue Link system, 10 are exclusive to India. Earlier today, Hyundai detailed all the features that come under the Blue Link technology umbrella. Hyundai broadly classifies the features under the heads of safety, security, remote, vehicle relationship management, location-based services, alert services and artificial intelligence. Read on to know what to expect. Safety Safety features on Hyundai Blue Link include Auto Crash Notification (similar to Ford’s Emergency Assistance System) that will automatically notify emergency services in the case of a collision. Further, a button on the Hyundai’s internal rear-view mirror can also be pressed to trigger an SOS message, summon roadside assistance or send a panic notification to registered family members or friends. FeaturesDescriptionAuto Crash NotificationIn case of an accident, a call will be placed to the Blue Link call centre to assist occupants with contacting emergency services.SOS/Emergency AssistanceBlue Link Call centre will assist occupants with contacting and getting help from emergency services in case of an accident.Road Side AssistanceIn case of a breakdown, the call centre will contact road side assistance services.Panic NotificationBlue Link app will send SMSes to the registered contacts in case of an emergency. Security Hyundai’s Blue Link technology will also allow for remote monitoring of the vehicle’s security. On activation of a Vehicle Burglar Alarm, the owner will receive a notificiation in the event the vehicle is stolen. The system also allows live tracking of the vehicle providing location information that will undoubtedly aid quick retrieval of the vehicle. The owner also has the option to request the Hyundai call centre to immobilise the vehicle entirely. FeaturesDescriptionStolen Vehicle TrackingBlue Link Call centre can assist the police/owner to track a stolen vehicle.Stolen Vehicle NotificationOwner will get a notification on the activation of the vehicle's alarm.Stolen Vehicle ImmobilisationCall centre can remotely immobilise the vehicle in case of theft. Remote Via the Hyundai Blue Link mobile phone app, users can remotely lock/unlock their cars, turn the horn or headlight flasher (helpful to locate your car in a dark parking lot) or check vehicle status. The app will also have a Find My Car feature that will lead you to your car and owners also have the option to provide Blue Link feature access to another user. Interestingly, 1.0-litre turbo petrol powered and dual-clutch transmission-equipped Venues will also give owners the option to remotely switch their car on and also start the climate control system– a smart way to pre-cool (or pre-warm) your car in India’s extreme weather. FeaturesDescriptionRemote Engine Start/StopRemotely start the car via the Blue Link smartphone app. (DCT model only)Remote Climate ControlRemotely set desired temperature for the climate control system via the smartphone app. (DCT model only)Remote Door Lock/UnlockLock/Unlock vehicle via the smartphone app.Remote Horn Honk and LightActivate the horn and blinkers of the car remotely via the app.Remote Vehicle StatusProvide real-time information on various parameters including AC, engine, doors etc.Find My CarLocate car via the app.Share My CarCar owner can share Blue Link services with family or friends to use. Vehicle Relationship Management Even in terms of vehicle status reports, Blue Link goes a few steps up on Hyundai India’s current Auto Link technology. Aside from providing info on driving behaviour and a monthly vehicle health report, Blue Link will also provide diagnostic options. The owner will be automatically informed in case of a malfunction in the mechanicals, and there’s also the option to run a manual diagnosis to check the functioning of other components. Further, Blue Link will also prompt messages when it’s time to replace consumables such as engine oil. FeaturesDescriptionAuto DTC CheckReal-time notification if malfunction in components such as engine, gearbox etc.Manual DTC CheckThe owner can run diagnostics to check for any malfunctions in systems such as the airbags etc.Monthly Health ReportThe owner can check monthly driving statistics and real-time vehicle health information.Maintenance AlertProvide real-time alert for oil change etc based on odometer.Driving Information/ BehaviorProvide daily trip information along with driving behavior for each trip. Location-based Services Hyundai says it has partnered with a global mapping firm for real-time traffic updates and live car tracking. It will also be possible to feed a destination to the car direct from your phone or remotely from a call cent [...]
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Mercedes-AMG CLA 35 revealed ahead of Shanghai debut
Mercedes-AMG has unveiled its latest model, the CLA 35, which will make its debut at the upcoming Shanghai Motor show. The recently-revealed CLA is the third of Mercedes-Benz’s latest generation of compact models to receive the AMG treatment, following the A35 4Matic hatchback and the recently announced A35 4Matic saloon. The new CLA 35 is planned to be positioned beneath the six-cylinder C43. Despite being close in conception to the four-door A35 saloon, AMG is banking on the more expressive design of the CLA 35 to find favour among particular customers. The new AMG model receives the same transversely-mounted 2.0-litre, four-cylinder, turbocharged unit as the A35 variants. Based around the M254 designated unit used by the CLA 250, it produces 306hp at 5,800rpm and 400Nm of torque at 3,000rpm. Drive is sent to all four wheels through a 7-speed dual-clutch automatic gearbox and a multi-plate clutch four-wheel-drive system – a combination Mercedes-AMG says can vary the drive split from 100 percent to the front wheels to 50:50 percent front and rear, depending on prevailing traction. The German carmaker quotes an official 0-100kph time of 4.9sec, or 0.1sec slower than the A35 4Matic sedan, as well as an electronically limited top speed of 250kph. Mirroring the visual changes already incorporated on the A35 saloon, the CLA 35 receives a heavily restyled front bumper featuring a front splitter element, larger air ducts and a revised grille. Further back, there are AMG door mirrors and more prominent sills beneath the doors. At the rear, it adopts a similarly sporting treatment and gets a new rear bumper with a multi-channel diffuser and twin chromed tailpipes, as well as a small lip spoiler atop its short trunk lid. It gets 18-inch wheels as standard, though 19-inch rims will be available in some markets as an option. Inside, AMG’s latest model comes equipped with Mercedes-Benz’s MBUX operating system, which works in combination with standard digital instruments and an infotainment display within a common panel within the top of the dashboard. The instruments can be customised with different modes, including a so-called Supersport mode that introduces AMG-specific data. As with the first-generation CLA, AMG plans an even more potent version of its new-style-led, four-door compact model in the form of a new 400hp-plus CLA 45 4Matic. There is no news of the new CLA making it to India anytime soon; however, Mercedes-Benz has been working on bringing the A-class sedan to our shores. Also see: New Mercedes-AMG CLA 35 image gallery Mercedes-Benz CLA revealed at 2019 CES   [...]
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PSA Group could be interested in JLR
The PSA Group is open to an acquisition or merger with troubled carmaker Jaguar Land Rover, with Group CEO Carlos Tavares suggesting it would be interested "as long as it's not a distraction". Speaking exclusively to Autocar India, Tavares said it will be good to have a luxury brand, something its portfolio currently lacks, and the company is "considering all opportunities".  However, he mentioned that there have been no discussions with JLR's owner – Tata Motors – yet. When asked about the possibility of having a luxury brand above DS, Tavares said, "Why not? Why shouldn’t we discuss it? It depends on what kind of value creation we could generate." He added that the Group’s immediate priority is to focus on the second phase of its ‘Push to Pass’ strategic growth plan, which aims to expand the company’s global presence, its product range and focus on electrification and digital technology. Win-win situation for both carmakers A PSA-JLR merger could be a win-win for both companies, especially for JLR, which is in the midst of a crisis and looking at all options to fund future investments. The Tata Motors-owned British carmaker has been saddled with plummeting sales and heavy losses, forcing the company to undertake drastic measures to cut costs. The firm sold 144,602 vehicles between October and December 2018, down from 154,447 units in the same period in the previous year. Jaguar Land Rover posted a pre-tax loss of £3.4 billion (Rs 31,389 crore) in the final three months of 2018, the biggest loss in Indian corporate history, caused by a massive one-off adjustment in the value of its investments. Excluding that one-off charge, JLR posted a £273 million pre-tax loss as against a £90 million loss in the previous quarter of 2018. Tavares suggested that the experience in transforming the PSA Group from near- bankruptcy into one of the world's most profitable car companies would be an asset in turning around a loss-making acquisition. “With Opel, we have demonstrated that we can turn around a company that was in the red for 20 years, in 12 months. So this is something we know how to do.” However, Tavares did add that, "We don’t have a specific target but if there are opportunities, of course, we will consider it.” For PSA, JLR would fill a crucial gap important gap in its portfolio and give the French carmaker access to the global luxury market, which witnessed sales of over 8 million vehicles in 2018. The fact that there would be no brand overlap between its premium marque, DS, and JLR, also strengthens the case for PSA to explore possibilities with JLR.   Also, Tata Motors is no stranger to PSA and both companies have had several dealings in the past. In 2001, Peugeot and Tata Motors conducted a feasibility study (Project T53) to manufacture the 307 hatchback and notchback in India but the cost structure of these models was just too high to be viable for the Indian market and, after 18 months, the project was scrapped. In 2014, Peugeot began negotiations with Tata Motors for a partnership to jointly manufacture cars on a common platform but again these talks fell through due to challenges surrounding costs. Currently, the PSA Group has outsourced a substantial chunk of the design and development of its India product line-up to TCS, the Tata Group’s flagship technology company, with an aim to keep a tight lid on development costs. Tata Motors has, however, categorically stated that JLR is not for sale. In an email response to Autocar India, a Tata Motors spokesperson said: “There is no truth to the rumours that Tata Motors is looking to divest its stake in JLR.” While the Tata Group maybe vehemently opposed to relinquishing control of one of its crown jewels, the unprecedented challenges facing the industry and the eye-watering investments needed to meet future regulations, may leave JLR with no option but to join forces with another manufacturer to spread the risk and cost. HORMAZD SORABJEE & NISHANT PAREKH [...]
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Honda develops climate-controlled bike seat
Climate-controlled seats are found in almost every premium car today. In fact, due the high demand they are in, they are making their way to more affordable models as well. Now, a leaked patent application reveals that Honda thinks it’s time for bikes to also get the much-loved feature. Not only does the patent image reveal that the climate controlled seat is being readied, but a document also confirms it’s already been designed and successfully tested. The image further reveals that the temperature on the seat can be adjusted from the switchgear on the handlebar. While the motorcycle used in the patent application appears to be a previous-gen CBR1000RR, Honda will be able to adapt the tech to any bike. The company appears to have a duct running underneath the fuel tank to the seat, which we believe will pipe the warm or cool air. What the patent application also suggests is that the bike will use a revised seat material, which will be made of a plastic-mesh material to allow air to flow through it while still being resistant to the elements. The company has carried out wind-tunnel tests as well, where the seat reached ‘target’ temperatures. All that’s left to know is when Honda will debut its new seat and on what motorcycle. The Japanese manufacturer can be expected to offer this tech with its 2020 Gold Wing, among other long-distance models. Though the tech’s added weight makes it highly unlikely, Honda could even surprise us by offering it with a few of its sportier models. SOURCE [...]
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Review: Harrier vs Compass vs XUV500 comparison video
Tata Harrier vs Jeep Compass vs Mahindra XUV500 SUV comparison video [...]
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Toyota to share electrified tech with other carmakers
Toyota will offer other car companies royalty-free use of nearly 24,000 patents it holds for electrified vehicle technology, in a bid to accelerate the development of such machines. The royalty-free technology licences relate to systems including electric motors, power control systems and system controls. While the bulk has been developed for Toyota’s hybrid technology, the firm says they can also be applied to plug-in hybrid and fuel-cell vehicles. Toyota will also offer fee-based technical support to firms producing electrified vehicles that feature the company's motors, batteries, power and electric control systems. It says the guidance will allow firms to “achieve high levels of vehicle performance.” Toyota executive vice-president Shigeki Terashi said: “Based on the high volume of enquiries we receive about our vehicle electrification systems from companies that recognise a need to popularise hybrid and other electrified vehicle technologies, we believe that now is the time for co-operation. “If the number of electrified vehicles accelerates significantly in the next 10 years they will become standard.” In total, Toyota will offer licences to 23,740 patents, with the grants available to firms from now until the end of 2030. The firm has been offering 5,680 similar licences for fuel cell systems since 2015.  Toyota has invested heavily in hybrid technology since the launch of the Prius in 1997. The new Corolla gets two hybrid powertrain options, and there is also a hybrid option for the new RAV4 SUV. It is currently developing its first pure electric cars, with the aim to offer 10 such vehicles by the early 2020s. Toyota’s move echoes an offer by the Volkswagen Group to licence its new MEB electric architecture to other car manufacturers. It is another example of car firms aiming to pool resources to accelerate the development of EV systems, which is crucial as firms face increasingly tough CO2 emissions targets from legislators. Toyota has already established partnerships with Suzuki and Mazda. The former deal involves Toyota producing Suzuki-badged hybrid models based on the RAV4 and Corolla Wagon and co-producing bade-engineered Maruti Suzuki cars and SUVs with a Toyota badge. Click here for Toyota India models, prices, reviews, videos images and more [...]
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Choosing the best luxury brand to buy below Rs 50 lakh
Which is the best luxury brand to buy under Rs 50 lakh – BMW, Mercedes-Benz, Audi, Jaguar or Range Rover? Can you please specify the model?                                                                        Dhyan, Kozhikode AAA There’s a wide range of vehicles to choose in that budget and it all depends on what your preferences and usage pattern are. However, the one car that stands out is the new 2019 BMW 3 Series, which is yet to come to India but is expected by the middle of this year. If you can wait that long it will be worth it, as the new 3 Series has upped the game in every respect and it comes with the latest technologies. [...]
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Maruti Suzuki Celerio, Celerio X get more safety features
Maruti Suzuki has updated its budget hatchbacks, the Celerio and Celerio X, with added safety kit to conform to the new safety norms that are in place and to those set to roll in in the coming months. Prices for the updated Maruti Suzuki Celerio range from Rs 4.31 lakh for the base LXi trim and go up to Rs 5.48 lakh for the top ZXi (O) AMT. Prices for the updated Celerio X range from Rs 4.80 lakh to Rs 5.57 lakh (all prices, ex-showroom, Delhi). The Celerio and its crossover-styled sibling now get ABS with EBD, a speed alert system, driver and co-driver seat belt reminder and rear parking sensors as standard. The hatchbacks feature no other changes, in terms of cosmetics or equipment. Both cars were previously available with only a driver airbag as standard. As before, both models share the same 68hp, 1.0-litre three-cylinder petrol motor, with the standard Celerio additionally offered with a factory CNG kit. The engine is paired to either a 5-speed manual or an AMT gearbox (CNG is manual only). These updates make the Celerio and Celerio X the latest cars from Maruti Suzuki to offer the additional safety systems. The carmaker had previously updated the Eeco people mover with the same set of safety systems as well as a driver airbag. In recent weeks, Maruti also updated the Ciaz diesel, with the old ubiquitous Fiat-sourced 1.3-litre diesel making way for the brand’s own in-house developed 1.5-litre diesel unit. Click here for Maruti Suzuki models, prices, reviews, images, videos and more [...]
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BMW F 850 RS confirmed via patent
Back in May 2018, BMW Motorrad unveiled a concept motorcycle, the 9cento (pronounced 'nove cento') at Concorso d’Eleganza Villa d’Este in Italy. Now, a patent filed in the National Institute of Industrial Property (INP) in Brazil confirms that a production-ready version is already in the pipeline. A 2019 BMW Motorrad brochure, meanwhile, had the F 850 RS listed, and the manufacturer claimed that this was a typo, but that doesn't seem to be the case now. Our source claims that the bike is listed as the BMW F 850 RS in the patent filing. The F 850 RS is expected to be powered by the same 853cc, parallel-twin engine used on the F 850 GS and the F 750 GS, but most likely in a different state of tune. This is further backed by the fact that the header pipes look identical to those on the GS bikes. This engine delivers 77hp and 83Nm of torque in the F 750 GS and 85hp and 92Nm of torque on the F 850 GS. It will be interesting to see how BMW tune this engine for the F 850 RS. The patent image also reveals what the production F 850 RS will look like, and it’s evident that BMW hasn’t strayed too far from the original 9cento concept on which it is based. It looks like the BMW S 1000 XR sports-tourer and will likely be a touring-biased, partly faired version of the mid-capacity GS bikes. BMW uses the 'RS' (Reisesport, which translates to travel sport) suffix to identify its sport-tourers and the R 1250 RS is currently the only bike in the line-up using the nomenclature. It’s also clear that the bike will sport alloy wheels and a suspension setup that is more in tune with its sport-touring intent. There is also a possibility that the BMW F 850 RS could be a replacement to the F 800 GT in international markets, but that remains to be seen. [...]
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New Mach 1 is a Ford Mustang-inspired EV
Ford has revealed that its upcoming Mach 1 electric crossover will have a WLTP-certified range of 600km (370 miles) between charges. The brand's first all-new battery-electric vehicle, a 'performance utility vehicle' that it says is "inspired" by the Mustang, is set to make its debut later this year. Named in reference to its Mustang-derived styling features, the Mach 1 has been confirmed as a globally engineered model, with UK deliveries starting in 2020. Few other details of the car have been released at this stage. Ford is also working on an electric crossover, codenamed CX430, which will be built on the C2 platform used for the new Focus, and is a model that has been in Ford’s product plan for several years. The CX430 will be in addition to the Kuga and, since it is based on the front-wheel-drive C2 platform, it is expected to be conventional hatchback-like, with a slightly raised driving position. Ford has identified ‘white paper’ models like the CX430 to replace sedans and hatches in its US line-up. Further crossovers with Mustang design cues and front-drive chassis are a strong possibility because they combine “the best attributes of cars and utilities, such as high ride height, space and versatility”. And if the vehicles are sized appropriately, European sales are likely. Ford's push into EVs followed news that Ford is dropping the Fiesta, Focus, Fusion and Taurus from its North American line-up. The end of the Fiesta in the US had been rumoured for some time now, and it's due to the fact that fuel prices have dropped and the economy has recovered, allowing US buyers to return to their preferred larger vehicles. In the Indian market, Ford has begun working with Mahindra to develop a new SUV that will share its platform and underpinnings with the next-gen XUV500. The upcoming model, which will slot below the Endeavour in Ford India’s range, will be built at the Mahindra’s Chakan plant. Click here for Ford India models, prices, reviews, images, videos and more [...]
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Ford aims to attract more women car buyers
Days of car ownership being a largely male-dominated area are long gone. Combined with changing lifestyles and higher spending power, more and more women in India are buying cars. It’s a fast-growing section of the market, and carmakers across the board are witnessing an increase in the number of women buying their cars and SUVs. The same is true for Ford, another carmaker that has identified the women car-buying population as a fast-growing one, and is gearing up to better address their needs. Speaking to Autocar India at the second edition of the #SheDrives pro driving school, Anurag Mehrotra, Managing Director, Ford India, said, “Going forward as OEMs, we'll have to start thinking about crafting and designing products that keep the sensibilities of women at the fore, and addressing the different orientation or utility women may be looking for.” Mehrotra mentioned the opportunity Ford sees as the number of women car buyers continues to increase steadily, and also shared which Ford models are the most popular among them. “There are more women buyers coming into the marketplace. We knew women were driving cars more, but the ownership pattern was still largely male-dominated. Today, across the industry, 8 percent of car ownership is with women. We believe over the next few years that figure will rise to 12 percent. The good thing as far as Ford is concerned is that women constitute 15 percent of all EcoSport buyers, and 25 percent of all Freestyle buyers”, said Mehrotra. Explaining the reason behind the Ford Freestyle being chosen by a higher ratio of women car buyers, Mehrotra said, “With the Freestyle, the points that have resonated with women car buyers are the high ground clearance, given the conditions of roads in India; it's safe with six airbags, and finally, they do not want to compromise on the fun-to-drive factor. I'm happy to see that shift in women ownership increasing and going after attributes beyond price and cost of ownership and really valuing the experience.” After getting off to a rollicking start in Mumbai, the #SheDrives pro driving school moved to Gurugram for its second outing. Over 200 women from different age brackets registered for the Gurugram leg and picked up valuable driving tips from Asia Pacific rally champion Gaurav Gill. Click here for Ford models, prices, reviews, images, videos and more [...]
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