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Updated Suzuki Gixxer expected next year
2019 is going to be a big year for Suzuki Two Wheelers. We recently brought you the exciting news that Suzuki will be launching a 250cc motorcycle next year – likely to be called the Gixxer 250. But the brand isn't stopping there, and it's also giving its much loved Gixxer range a big update next year as well. One good product can change a brand's perception; for Suzuki, no motorcycle defines it better than the Gixxer. It still remains a joyfully fun-to-ride motorcycle; but competition has begun to move on. After years of consistently topping the segment in all our tests, the Gixxer finally lost its crown to the recently launched TVS Apache RTR 160 4V a couple of months back. Next year, the Gixxer completes half a decade in the Indian market and an update is much-needed. Suzuki has confirmed with us that the Gixxer will receive a major overhaul and launched next year. For starters, the 2019 Suzuki Gixxer will receive significant cosmetic updates and we can expect it to look sharper and sportier than the existing Gixxer. It will still be identifiable as a Gixxer, albeit with a more spruced-up design. As part of this update, it’s likely that the new Gixxer will gain an LED headlamp, a more comprehensive all-digital display, the Suzuki Easy Start System and possibly even split-seats. The Gixxer has one of the best riding positions in its segment and we hear that Suzuki will be tweaking this slightly – fingers crossed that this riding position only improves. One of the few drawbacks of the Gixxer is its stiff ride quality. We understand that the Japanese brand will focus on improving this aspect in the 2019 Suzuki Gixxer without compromising on its brilliant riding dynamics. The existing frame and brakes are almost certain to be carried forward on the new bike – why mess with a good thing? On the engine front, the updates wouldn’t be too significant and at most you could expect a marginal bump in power – and perhaps some work into increasing the bike's refinement.  With all the updates, the 2019 Suzuki Gixxer will carry a slight premium over the existing motorcycle, which is priced at Rs 87,250 (ex-showroom, Delhi, ABS variant). Also see: 2017 Suzuki Gixxer SF ABS review, test ride 2016 Suzuki Gixxer SF Fi review, road test Suzuki Gixxer SF India review, test ride [...]
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Review: Forma Ice Pro Flow boots review
Having worn-out my four-year old Alpinestars SMX-6 (vented) boots to shreds – well, almost – I was looking for a worthy replacement. How exactly do you reduce a pair of boots to shreds? By wearing them every day for four years through sand, snow, dirt, slush and rain, and regular racetrack outings as well! As you can tell, I’m extremely demanding of my boots and, frankly, quite unapologetic about it, too. I was on the lookout for a more serious, racier pair of boots this time around. Our bikes are only getting faster (er, even if I’m not), and I’m riding more than ever before – touch wood! Naturally, I thought I’d end up with yet another pair of Alpinestars (my first road boots were SMX-5s), until I made the inevitable phone call to Vicky Jaising, an authority on motorcycling and gear, and the man behind the Performance Racing Store in Mumbai. A mention of ‘Forma boots’ was made and, tempted, I made my way to the store, a kaleidoscopic array of top-notch riding gear. Forma’s race-boot line-up includes the Ice Pro (non-vented; Rs 21,000), Ice Pro Flow (vented; Rs 21,000) and its rider replica versions (Rs 24,000; Danilo Petrucci, Karel Abraham, Lorenzo Savadori have one to their name). I was to try the Ice Pro Flow, which I eventually bought. Four months of use (or abuse, rather) later, I’m convinced I got a good deal. Coming from a more conservative league of boot design (courtesy Astars), I found the Formas loud and complex at first. The white-on-black exterior needs patient cleaning, courtesy the comprehensive racy layers it sports – namely the Flex Control System Pivot, the vented heel plate, the gearshift pad and the substantial toe slider. The interior gets a red, breathable ‘air-mesh’ lining which feels premium and comfortable, and unlike some other boot brands, Forma makes its toe-boxes generous, which is great for those of you with wide feet. Being a top-notch, race-spec boot means they aren’t as plush as my SMX-6s, but that’s a small compromise in exchange for far more serious protection. The Ice Pro Flow features three levels of fastening, primary being a zipper that leads to a Velcro mechanism running along the side of the boot. Secondary, but crucial to its design, is the FCS Pivot system, which tightens around the calf area using an easy-to-use and sturdy ratchet. This mechanism lends the boot a secure, snug fit, something that is further aided by the front-fastening system. This ‘system’ is no more than an adjustable rubber strap that extends over the top of your foot, but it adds to the sensation of security; I don’t know of its exact benefits in the event of a crash. So far, the Flow has fared impressively through daily wear. Its ventilation level is seriously good and I like the overall fit and comfort, even when I’m boot-bound for long days in the office. The steel-finish toe-sliders have picked up a few scuffs after chaotic stints in traffic but, that aside, the boots have held up well – even after two off-road stints (here we go again!). Priced at Rs 21,000, the Ice Pro Flow boots are certainly among the most affordable in this segment, and are a terrific deal. Let’s hope I can say the same, four years from now! Where: performanceracing.in Price: Rs 21,000 [...]
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1964 Aston Martin DB5: Lego model of Bond car released
Fans of the British spy, car aficionados and Mega-Lego-maniacs will want to get their wallets and credit cards ready, at this point. Lego is now selling a 1:8-scale model kit of James Bond’s iconic Aston Martin DB5 seen in the 1964 movie Goldfinger. The film stars Sean Connery as James Bond and was the third instalment in the Bond film series. The 1,290-piece model is being sold complete with 007's original gadgets from the film. Yes, the toy model comes with Bond’s bespoke additions, including an ejector seat, flipping number plates as well as the machine guns mounted on the car's front wing. And no, they did not forget the radar tracker, hidden telephone and wheel-mounted tyre scythes. Finished in Silver Birch, the model features silver wire wheels (just like the actual car) and is Lego’s take on the iconic British GT. Under the bonnet lies a six-cylinder engine, mimicking the 4.0-litre straight-six that powered the classic two-door performance model. The car is 10cm high and 34cm long. It's described by Lego as a “challenging and rewarding build experience full of nostalgia” that can become a “perfect display piece”. It's rated at Lego's 'expert' level – which means that it's among the most difficult Lego models to build. The kit is sold exclusively in Lego stores. It's availability in India is still uncertain, but it is priced at £129.99 (around Rs 11,700) in Lego stores across the UK. [...]
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Bombay High Court: State gov, BMC should act on abandoned vehicles
The Bombay High Court has revealed its decision on abandoned and dead vehicles left on Mumbai’s roads saying that the state government and the BMC should form a grievance redressal mechanism to ensure complaints about abandoned and improperly parked vehicles are addressed, and offenders are penalised. A division bench chaired by Justices Abhay Oka and Riyaz Chagla has taken this decision, concluding a public interest litigation filed by a Goregaon resident, Tekchand Khanchandani, on abandoned and illegally parked vehicles and other related issues. The mechanisms that are expected to be put in place for this before September 19, 2018 include a toll-free number and dedicated email address exclusively for complaints on abandoned/illegally parked vehicles, and SMS and WhatsApp facilities for citizens to report on these issues. Additionally, the high court has also directed the BMC and state government to maintain a register of the complaints received, provide a complaint number and note down the action taken. Those guilty of abandoning vehicles will also be booked under the provisions of the Motor Vehicles Act, the Motor Vehicles Rule, and the Maharashtra Police Act.   SOURCE [...]
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2018 Suzuki V-Strom 650 to launch next month
Shortly after the launch of the GSX-S750 and Burgman Street, Suzuki is gearing up to launch yet another motorcycle in India. August 2018 will see the launch of the company’s mid-size adventure motorcycle – the Suzuki V-Strom 650. Interestingly, India will likely only get the adventure-focused XT variant of the V-Strom 650. We expect it to be priced between Rs 7.5-7.7 lakh (ex-showroom). The V-Strom will be the third motorcycle from the bike maker to be locally assembled, after the Hayabusa and the recently launched GSX-S750. Internationally, the V-Strom adventure tourer is offered in two variants – the standard V-Strom, which is a more road-biased motorcycle, and the off-road-specific V-Strom XT, the version that is expected to be sold in India. The styling of the V-Strom XT is inspired by its larger sibling, the V-Strom 1000. The smaller engine motorcycle gets premium anodized wire-spoke rims shod with Bridgestone Battlax Adventure A40 tubeless tyres. The twin-spar alloy frame is suspended on a conventional telescopic fork at the front and a monoshock with rebound adjustment and a remote preload adjuster at the rear. The seat height of the V-Strom 650 XT is 835mm, as opposed to the 840mm of the its main rival, the Kawasaki Versys 650. The Suzuki’s fuel tank is quite generous at 20 litres and the motorcycle tips the scales at 216kg (kerb weight). The bike is powered by a 645cc, V-twin engine that makes 71hp and 62Nm of torque and is mated to a six-speed grarbox. Meanwhile, the Kawasaki Versys 650’s engine makes 69hp and 64Nm, but also uses a six-speed transmission.  The V-Strom 650 XT gets a three-stage traction control system (two levels and a disengage option). Other features include three-way height adjustable windscreen, Suzuki’s useful Easy Start System and standard ABS (off-road enthusiasts will be disappointed to know that it cannot be disengaged). The Kawasaki Versys 650 retails for Rs 6.69 lakh (ex-showroom), which is significantly cheaper than the expected pricing of the V-Strom 650 XT. However, the Versys 650 sold in India is a more road-oriented model and doesn’t come with the V-Strom's expensive wheels or electronic aids like traction control, which could work to Suzuki’s advantage. Also see: 2018 Suzuki V-Strom 650 XT showcased at the Auto Expo Suzuki Motorcycle at Auto Expo 2018 first look video [...]
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Mercedes-Benz India launches mobile service initiative
Mercedes-Benz India, today, launched the ‘Service on Wheels’ mobile service truck initiative, especially for Tier-II and Tier-III cities where the carmaker doesn’t have a direct presence. It comes equipped with tools and professional service personnel to cater to customer cars. On being notified, one of the many mobile service trucks will visit the customer’s area and carry out the inspection, repairs and service of the car. This initiative is part of Mercedes-Benz’s service differentiation strategy under the ‘My Mercedes, My Service’ umbrella, which was launched in July 2016. The company claims that ‘Service on Wheels’ is a first-of-its-kind initiative in the Indian luxury car industry, and is highly customer-centric and tailor-made for the country’s market. Phase 1 of ‘Service on Wheels’ will travel to 15 different Tier-II and Tier-III markets, undertaking service-related requirements of customers in the remaining months of 2018. Also see: 2018 Mercedes-Benz E 220d 4Matic All-Terrain review, test drive Mercedes-Benz E 220d All-Terrain image gallery Mercedes to launch BS-VI-compliant 4cyl diesel with E-class All-Terrain Fly by night: Mercedes-AMG GT R in Mumbai [...]
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Polestar 1 displayed in motion for first time
Volvo’s performance brand, Polestar, showcased its 1 electric sports coupe in motion for the first time at the Goodwood Festival of Speed. First revealed at the 2013 Frankfurt motor show as Volvo’s Concept Coupé, the car was reinvented and shown as the Polestar 1 in Shanghai late last year. The 1's online configurator recently went live and allows visitors to choose from a limited number of options, with exterior paint shades spanning metallic and matt shades of black and grey. Polestar has kept the customisation options for the model close to those shown on the concept. The first model from the newly spun-off performance hybrid and EV arm of Volvo will cost around €1,55,000 (approximately Rs 1.23 crore) in Europe when it goes on sale in the middle of 2019, although customers will purchase the car through a monthly subscription. The car spent much of its testing and development time within the Arctic Circle, where its drivetrain, batteries and torque vectoring system were placed under pressure in temperatures that reached -28degC. The 1 has an all-carbon-fibre body based on a shortened version of the Volvo S90's platform. It will produce 600hp from a front-mounted 2.0-litre turbo engine, plus twin electric motors on the rear axle, and is very much a halo car for the new Volvo performance brand. According to Polestar boss Thomas Ingenlath, the Polestar will become Volvo’s “technological spearhead” that, after the 1 hits the market, will make only electric performance cars. The company is preparing for an early 2020 launch of the 2 hatchback saloon, which bears a very close relationship to Ingenlath’s Concept 40.2 that has already been seen at motor shows. An SUV, the 3, will arrive after that. [...]
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NGT pulls up Volkswagen India on diesel car recall
In yet another development in the ‘Dieselgate’ scandal, the National Green Tribunal has questioned Volkswagen India, asking why the 3.23 lakh diesel cars with potential emission irregularities in India have not been recalled, as yet. Volkswagen India had issued a voluntary recall in 2015 following the Automotive Research Association of India (ARAI) findings of a large discrepancy between laboratory and on-road emission levels on cars with the EA189 family diesel engine. The recall in India included 1,98,500 cars from Volkswagen, 88,700 cars from Skoda and 36,500 cars from Audi, all across various models that were equipped with EA189 engines – which include the 1.2-litre, 1.5-litre, 1.6-litre and 2.0-litre diesels. However, the NGT has noted that only 64 percent of the affected cars have been recalled, so far, with action yet uninitiated on the remaining 36 percent. To make the engines compliant with prevailing emission norms, VW was to bring out software and hardware upgrades, developed in consultation with the ARAI. However, the ARAI has stated that Volkswagen has submitted upgrades for only 70 percent of the affected engines. SOURCE [...]
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TVS Apache RR 310 aftermarket exhaust system now offered by Akrapovic
You can now buy an Akrapovic Racing Line full system exhaust for the TVS Apache RR 310. This exhaust claims a power bump of 2.4hp and 2.7Nm of torque. Additionally, the bike will also shed 4.6kg thanks to the lighter materials being used. Akrapovic is one of the best known brands in the world for high-end exhaust systems and, like the rest of its products, this one doesn’t come cheap. This carbon-fibre exhaust you see in the photos retails for Rs 55,000 (inclusive of taxes) at the Performance Racing Store in Mumbai. This exhaust system is the same unit as the one made for the BMW G 310 R and G 310 GS. This doesn’t come as a surprise since they essentially share the same motor. The RR 310 with the stock exhaust makes 34hp and 27.3Nm of torque and this system should take the figures upto 36.4hp and 30Nm. Performance Racing Store states that the exhaust system doesn’t require an ECU remap. On a related note, we also recently rode TVS’ new RR 310 Cup race bike which was equipped with an aftermarket free flow exhaust. TVS claims that along with modifications made to the air intake and ECU the race bike gains four more horses, taking the total to a respectable 38hp. Read more about it here. Also see: TVS Apache RR 310 Cup race bike review, track ride 2018 TVS Apache RR 310 vs KTM RC 390 comparison video 2017 KTM RC 390 vs TVS Apache RR 310 comparison 2018 TVS Apache RR 310 video review 2018 TVS Apache RR 310 review, test ride   [...]
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Me and My Cars: Viveck Goenka
What are you driving and why? For its sheer luxury and presence, I drive a Cadillac Escalade to work. However, my favourite car for recreational driving is a left-hand-drive Jaguar E-type V12, for its raw power and beauty. What’s next on your wishlist? A military Humvee – the real thing. The most fun you’ve had in a car? That would be the off-road drive in my customised Scorpio, from Chandigarh to Spiti Valley. The magnificent scenery, the serene beauty, the amazing terrain, the tricky road along the Indo-Tibet border and the oxygen mask on my face made it an unforgettable drive. Favourite/Dream money-no-object car? A 1957 Mercedes 300 Gullwing. Who is your all-time greatest motorsport hero? Stéphane Peterhansel, for winning the Dakar Rally 13 times! And in different cars! Favourite road? From Chennai to Bengaluru, but in my 1961 Fiat. What’s on your automotive bucket list? A 1967 Mustang Shelby GT500, a brass-era pre-1915 Ford Model T Coupe, a 4x4 Lamborghini LM002, and a large V8 Trike. What would you do with your last litre of fuel? Without any hesitation, go off-roading – even if it lasts only a few minutes. Your ideal five-car garage would be? 1. My first car, a 1961 Fiat; 2. the reliable and go-over-anything-and-anywhere Toyota Land Cruiser series 80 3. my first vintage, a 1935 Derby Bentley Convertible 4. LHD Jaguar E-Type V12 5. a Land Rover Defender 90. I would love to squeeze in a Mercedes W111 Fintail, and park my Defender on the street. What was your first car? I was eight years old when I got my first car – a 1961 Fiat. I still have it, and in immaculate condition. My love affair with automobiles started with the Fiat. [...]
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Yamaha Ray ZR 110 Street Rally Edition teased
At the 2018 Auto Expo, earlier this year, Yamaha showcased the Ray ZR 110 Street Rally Edition concept. The Japanese brand has now shared a teaser video on its official YouTube channel signalling that it will be launching a new scooter soon. From the teaser video, we can identify the scooter in question as the production version of the Ray ZR 110 Street Rally Edition concept. The styling of the scooter will be similar to the concept showcased at the Auto Expo, including the quirky winglets on the headlight apron. In the teaser we can also see that it will feature redesigned graphics and will be offered in dual-tone shades, along with a red section below the saddle. The concept bike also had an all-digital instrument which will feature in the production version. The upcoming scooter isn’t an all-new product – it is a Yamaha Ray ZR variant. Yamaha has no plans to launch new products in 2018, as it is focused on the ABS and CBS upgrades to its line-up. The Ray ZR 110 Street Rally Edition will be powered by the same 113cc, air-cooled motor seen on all Yamaha scooters sold in India. The single-cylinder engine develops 7.2hp and 8.1Nm of torque. The scooter employs a telescopic front fork and a mono-shock unit at the rear. The two-wheeler runs on 10-inch alloy wheels wrapped around with 90/100 tubeless tyre on both ends. The teaser video also gives us a glimpse of the front disc brake and a drum unit at the rear. The upcoming Yamaha scooter will carry a marginal premium over the Yamaha Ray ZR, which retails for Rs 55,898 (ex-showroom, Delhi). The manufacturer will also launch the Yamaha R15 V3.0 MotoGP edition in India, soon. [...]
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Locally assembled Kawasaki Ninja ZX-10R sold out
Good value gets results. That statement holds especially true in a market like ours and the Kawasaki Ninja ZX-10R is testament to this. Less than fifteen days after Kawasaki first launched the locally assembled 10R at a tempting starting price of Rs 12.8 lakh ex-showroom, the company has issued instructions to all dealerships to stop accepting bookings. We are given to understand that in this short span of time, the company has received around 100 bookings. This is highly impressive for a litre-class superbike and it surpasses the total number of current-gen Ninja ZX-10Rs that have been sold in the country so far. Deliveries of the locally assembled bikes are yet to begin and they will pan out over the next few months. At the moment, it isn’t clear how long the wait will be before the ZX-10R becomes available for bookings again, but it’s fair to expect a period of at least three months. The ZX-10R has been highly successful in the World Superbike Championship, winning multiple titles at the hands of Jonathan Rea. It’s also among the quickest motorcycles money can buy with a 998cc, in-line four cylinder motor that produces 200hp and 113.5Nm of torque. The Ninja ZX-10R is packed with electronic rider assists such as traction control(S-KTRC), multi-level power modes, launch control (KLCM), ABS control (KIBS), cornering management (KCMF) and engine braking function (KEBC) – many of which are aided by an inertial measuring unit (IMU). It is worth noting that both the locally assembled ZX-10R and 10RR will be sold as single-seat versions. This helps the company avoid homologation requirements in terms of engineering a saree guard for the bike. As a result, the bike will ship with a rear cowl as standard and it will not have pillion footpegs. For those who would like the option of a pillion seat, a conversion can be made by buying the appropriate parts, which will cost around Rs 38,000.  [...]
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Suzuki Burgman Street to be priced from Rs 68,000
A week before the launch of the Burgman Street, dealerships have started displaying the new scooter and accepting bookings. Some dealers have also stated the upcoming 125cc scooter is likely to be priced from Rs 68,000 (ex-showroom, Delhi). Deliveries are expected to begin by the end of July or early August. At present, there’s no official word on pricing, but according to a dealer in Delhi, the Burgman Street is likely to be priced from 68,000 (ex-showroom, Delhi). We can expect Mumbai pricing to be slightly higher than that. The Suzuki Access 125 SE, on which it is based, retails for Rs 60,718 (ex-showroom, Delhi) for the CBS variant. The Burgman Street will compete against the Honda Grazia, priced at Rs 63,994 (disc brake variant), and the TVS Ntorq 125, which costs Rs 59,687. There's also the sporty Aprilia SR 125 that costs Rs 66,957 (all prices, ex-showroom, Delhi) The scooter was first showcased at the 2018 Auto Expo earlier this year. The Burgman Street uses maxi-scooter styling that’s inspired from the larger Burgman range sold in global markets. It’s also the first made-in-India Suzuki scooter to feature an LED headlight and an all-digital instrument console. In terms of features, the flagship Suzuki scooter has been equipped with a multi-function key slot, large underseat storage, a 12V charging socket (likely to be an optional extra), cubbyhole below the handlebar and an LED tail-lamp. Powering the scooter is the Access 125-sourced 124.3cc motor producing 8.6hp at 6,500rpm and 10.2Nm at 5,000rpm. Other mechanicals of the Burgman Street are also shared with its 125cc sibling. For braking, the upcoming scooter employs a disc brake unit at the front and a drum unit at the rear. Since the Burgman Street is an all-new product, CBS is standard.  Also see: Suzuki Burgman Street reaches dealerships prior to launch Suzuki Burgman Street India launch on July 19 2018 Suzuki Burgman Street: 5 things you need to know [...]
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Dani Pedrosa announces MotoGP retirement
Honda MotoGP rider Dani Pedrosa has announced that he will be retiring from MotoGP at the end of the ongoing 2018 season, bringing an end to an 18-year career in grand prix motorcycling. He broke the news in a special press conference at the Sachsenring, ahead of this weekend’s German Grand Prix. Pedrosa has been racing for the Honda factory team since 2006, but was left without a ride for next year, when the team signed Jorge Lorenzo as his replacement for 2019. He’s helped Honda to win seven MotoGP manufacturers' championships and has contributed to six team titles for the Repsol-backed factory outfit. After winning the 125cc title in 2003 and back-to-back 250cc titles in the two following seasons, Pedrosa has been an ever-present frontrunner in MotoGP despite frequent injuries, some of which had threatened to end his career early. He has so far amassed 31 wins and 112 podium finishes in the premier class, but has missed out on a MotoGP title, finishing runner-up on three occasions - to Ducati's Casey Stoner in 2007, and to Lorenzo in 2010. “Next year I won’t compete in the Championship, I’ll finish my career in MotoGP this season. It’s a decision I’ve thought about for a long time and it’s a hard decision because this is the sport I love but despite having good opportunities to keep racing, I feel like I don’t live racing with the same intensity as before and I now have different priorities in my life,” said Pedrosa. “I achieved way more than I expected and I’m very, very proud of what I’ve done in the sport. I’ve fulfilled my dream of becoming a racer and that’s something that I didn’t expect when I was a kid watching TV, watching riders in the World Championship.” [...]
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H5X SUV officially named Tata Harrier
We broke the news last Saturday, and now Tata Motors has formally announced it – the highly awaited production-spec H5X SUV is named the Tata Harrier. If you've been following the developments closely, you'll know the H5X was internally known as the ‘Harrier’, sticking to the carmaker's pattern of codenaming its models after birds. This time around, however, Tata Motors has gone a step further and finalised Harrier as the H5X's market name. Interestingly, Harrier will be the name of the five-seat version of the SUV. A seven-seat version that will come later will get a different name. The Harrier will be launched in January 2019 with a Fiat-sourced 2.0-litre diesel engine. If you're thinking you've heard the Harrier name before, it's because Toyota retails a mid-size SUV with the same name in global markets. However, the identical name will hardly be an issue in India, since the Toyota Harrier is not sold here. In the build-up to the Harrier's launch, Tata Motors is working on beefing up its sales network as well. It's also understood that customers will be in for a richer experience as the company is set to give its dealerships a premium makeover, with the possibility of an area specially designed to showcase the Harrier and other future premium models. The Harrier made its debut as the stunning Concept H5X at the Auto Expo earlier this year. Sketches of the production version suggest the car will stay largely true to the concept's and that the model will retain the high-set LED headlights. Other stylistic elements include a new, more defined interpretation of Tata’s trademark ‘humanity line’ that connects the headlights and grille. Do you like the Harrier name for the H5X, or were you expecting a different name? Let us know in the comments section below. [...]
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2018 to be the year of the 911, says Porsche India
SUVs may be all the rage right now, but Porsche India is all set to sell its highest number of 911’s this year. The company which has both SUV’s and sports cars are witnessing an uptake in 911 sales. Interestingly 65 percent of the 911’s sold are of higher variants, priced over the 2.5 crore mark with the GT3 in particular receiving a good response. While Porsche India have not revealed individual numbers, speaking to Autocar India on the sidelines of the GT2 RS launch in Mumbai Pavan Shetty Director Porsche India said “today the GT3’s are selling in two digits and we are still not able to satisfy the demand” with the company now already asking for a higher allocation for India. Porsche is also very upbeat on the GT2’s prospects in India and Pavan states that the demand for the 911 range topper is three times the amount that will be supplied. The company also claims that the overall share of sports car sales is increasing, where early it stood at 20% of total sales, today it stands at 35%. The 718 which was launched in 2016 clocked three digit sales in 2017 helping this achievement. However Pavan states that SUV’s have not de-grown but the overall pie has increased with the sports cars segment going up. The company sold 435 units in 2017, up 10 percent over the previous year. [...]
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Nissan admits to irregularity in emissions testing process
Japanese carmaker Nissan has reported that proactive initiatives by it to prevent testing irregularities have revealed just that – misconduct in reporting emissions data. The brand stated that there have been irregularities in its exhaust emissions testing procedure in Japan and submitted related information to the Japanese ministry of land, infrastructure, transport and tourism. The brand alleges to have discovered ‘nonconformities’ in its final inspection process back in September 2017 and has since carried out an internal investigation into how the discrepancies came about. Reuters reports that both Nissan and sister brand Renault's shares have fallen since the announcement. A statement released by Nissan admits that emissions and fuel economy tests “deviated from the prescribed testing environment” and the “creation of inspection reports based on altered measurement values”. The misconduct was discovered through “proactive initiatives to prevent recurrence of such issues”, although the company wouldn't explain why these initiatives were launched when they were. Nissan has commissioned a law firm to investigate the issue and implemented its own preventative measures to ensure that a similar issue doesn’t occur in the future. Nissan has clarified that none of its cars strays from its advertised fuel economy and emissions figures and that it will continue to search for areas of non-compliance, taking the necessary steps if more are uncovered. [...]
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2018 Hero Xtreme 200R deliveries commence
Soon after the launch of the Hero Xtreme 200R, its deliveries have commenced in select north-eastern states of India. Hero MotoCorp hasn’t revealed the timeline of the 200R’s availability in other markets as yet. The images you see here are from Guwahati, where the first lot of Xtreme 200Rs has already been delivered. The first buyer was also presented with a Xtreme-branded helmet, jacket and backpack. The Hero Xtreme 200R retails for Rs 88,000 (ex-showroom), which makes it the most affordable 200cc motorcycle on sale in India Displacement wise, the Xtreme 200R competes with the TVS Apache RTR 200 4V and the Bajaj Pulsar NS 200 priced at Rs 1.03 lakh and Rs 1.04 lakh respectively (for base variants). However, with respect to its pricing, the new Hero 200cc motorcycle rivals the Bajaj Pulsar NS 160, which retails at Rs 85,786, and the base TVS RTR 160 4V, which is priced at Rs 84,248 (all prices, ex-showroom Arunachal Pradesh). It's worth noting that neither the Bajaj nor the TVS offer ABS yet, while the Hero comes equipped with a single-channel ABS as standard. You can read more about the Hero Xtreme 200R in our first ride report. Image source     [...]
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Skoda hires outsider from Tata Motors as head of engineering for ‘India 2.0’ project
Following the official announcement of the ‘India 2.0’ project earlier this month, Skoda is all set to take charge of the VW Group’s India operations. A key part of the ambitious India 2.0 project will be establishing an engineering centre in India to locally develop products for both Skoda and VW brands. Skoda has roped in Gordon Calder, formerly from Tata Motors to head Skoda’s Engineering Centre in Pune. Calder’s appointment as vice-president and head of engineering is significant as Skoda has appointed an outsider for this key role and not someone from within the VW Group. “We needed someone who has good experience dealing with suppliers and understands the manufacturing ecosystem in India.” said a source. Calder comes with significant India experience having worked in Tata Motors since 2012. Calder led the body engineering team of Tata Motors’ passenger car division and was responsible for developing the Bolt, Zest, Tiago, Tigor and Nexon. He moved to a strategy role in 2016 and was briefly responsible for product planning of the company’s SUV portfolio, until he left the company a few months ago. Prior to Tata Motors, Calder has had stints all over the world with EDAG, Ford and Nissan, primarily as a body engineer. Skoda will be counting on Calder’s expertise to tailor the VW Group’s MQB-A0-IN platform to meet local requirements and strict costs targets, which is essential for the success of the India 2.0 project. The Czech car maker has committed an investment of one billion Euros (Rs 7,900 crores) for India 2.0, which will be used towards increase manufacturing capacity, localising  powertrains and developing an all-new product range. The first products from Skoda’s rebooted operations are expected in 2020.  Calder clearly has a lot on his plate.       [...]
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SCOOP! Market name for Tata H5X SUV to be Harrier
The production version of the Tata Motors’ H5X has been given the market name, Harrier. The model is already known internally as ‘Harrier’ which follows Tata Motors' trend of codenaming its models after birds before launch. However, this time round, Tata Motors has decided to finalise that as a market name and is expected to make an official announcement sometime next week. Tata’s chosen moniker for its newest SUV isn’t completely unique as Toyota already has a mid-size SUV called Harrier in its global portfolio. However, the identical name is unlikely to cause much confusion in India since the Toyota Harrier, which is available in markets including Japan and Malaysia, is not sold in our market. Tata Motors is beefing up its sales network ahead of the model’s launch in India, which is expected to take place in the first half of 2019. Interestingly, potential buyers will be in for a richer experience as the carmaker is planning to give its dealerships a premium touch, with a possibility of a demarcating a special area to showcase the H5X (and future premium models). Marking its debut at the Auto Expo 2018, the SUV concept grabbed eyeballs with its unique design, not seen before on a Tata model. In fact, pictures of a close-to-production test mule, scooped by Autocar India in February, revealed that design will stay largely true to concept and the model will retain the high-set LED headlights. Other stylistic elements include a new, more defined interpretation of Tata’s trademark ‘humanity line’ that connects the headlights and grille. The SUV will be the first Tata product to carry the new Impact Design 2.0 design language. Set to be built at Tata's plant in Chakan, Pune, the SUV is expected to be powered by a 2.0-litre diesel engine in two states of tune and the model will be offered in five and seven-seat configurations. What do you think of the Harrier name for the production Tata Motors H5X? Let us know in the comments section below. [...]
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2019 BMW G 310 R gets new colour options
As part of the 2019 update, BMW will offer the G 310 R in a new shade of Racing Red. The G 310 R also gets a HP Motorsport paint finish (pearl white metallic with "HP" lettering), while Strato Blue Metallic has been discontinued. Cosmic Black One will probably be carried forward to the 2019 range of the G 310 R. This announcement comes just a few days before the G 310 R goes on sale in India on July 18, along with the G 310 GS. It’s likely that the bikes launched in India will be offered with the new colour options. Apart from the two new colour options, no changes have been made on the G 310 R. The BMW G 310 R has been designed and developed by BMW Motorrad and is manufactured in India by TVS Motors. It’s the most affordable motorcycle in the German brands portfolio. It has been rather long wait for Indian two-wheeler enthusiasts as, despite being built in our country, the bike was never launched in our market. According to BMW Motorrad, the India launch was delayed because they wanted to expand the dealership network prior to the bike going on sale. The G 310 R was first unveiled to Indian audiences at the 2016 Auto Expo, while the G 310 GS made its maiden India debut earlier this year at the 2018 Auto Expo. Powering the BMW G 310 R, and its sibling, is a 313cc, liquid-cooled, single-cylinder motor producing 34hp of power and 28Nm of torque. Transmission duties are handled by a six-speed gearbox. Both bikes also get tubular steel frames, five-spoke alloy wheels and ABS. While there is no word on pricing, according to sources the G 310 R will retail for Rs 3.5 lakh, while the G 310 GS will be priced at Rs 4 lakh (both prices are on-road, India). As we will be reporting live from the launch event, watch this space for more details. Also see: BMW G 310 R, G 310 GS: 5 things to know BMW G 310 R, G 310 GS India launch on July 18 BMW G 310 R, G 310 GS bookings open on June 8 [...]
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Ducati announces DRE Off-Road Days
Ducati will be hosting the first edition of Ducati Ride Experience – Off Road Days in India on August 4-5, 2018. The DRE – Off Road Days event will be held at the Off-Road Adventure Zone (ORAZ) circuit in Gurugram and is open to both Ducati and non-Ducati owners. The event is free-of-cost for owners of the Ducati Scrambler, Multistrada and Hypermotard range of motorcycles. Non-Ducati riders (who own or ride a 500cc and above motorcycle) can avail the early bird passes for Rs 5,000 before July 15, after which a slot will cost Rs 19,500. Each riding slot for a non-Ducati entrant entails the rider a Ducati motorcycle for the event, the supervision of a DRE-certified trainer, breakfast, DRE certification and a goody bag. Participants can register themselves on the Ducati India website and 20 slots are available on each day (10 for Ducati owners and 10 for non-Ducati riders). The riders will be trained by certified DRE instructor Vijay Parmar, who is also the founder of the legendary Maruti Suzuki Raid de Himalaya rally. According to the organisers, the off-road course has been designed keeping in mind the varied riding skills of participants. So whether you’re a newbie or an old hand at off-road riding, the DRE – Off Road Days event will have you covered. All participants will also receive exclusive Ducati DRE merchandise and a certificate of completion. [...]
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Volvo Car India registers record half-yearly sales
The Indian subsidiary of Swedish carmaker Volvo has announced that it witnessed record H1 sales growth during the calendar year 2018. The carmaker delivered 1,242 units in Jan-June 2018, a significant growth of 33 percent year-on-year, albeit on a lower base. The capable XC60 SUV spearheaded sales for Volvo, contributing to 25 percent of the total sales volume. "Successful addition of S90 to local assembly and aggressive network expansion led to the best ever H1 (first half) sales performance for the company," according to the company statement. Moreover, the carmaker is set to witness a significant growth in sales with the roll out of its newly launched small SUV, the XC40. A new entry-point to Volvo's SUV line-up, the carmaker expects the model to bring new customers to its brand.   “We are extremely happy with our growth pace and intend to keep up the momentum for the rest of 2018. The recently launched XC40 is our first offering in the entry level SUV segment and we expect the XC40 to build a new customer base for us and drive sales,” Charles Frump, managing director, Volvo Car India said. India's luxury vehicle market has seen robust growth in the first half of 2018 as German luxury marques Mercedes and BMW reported record sales. Market leader Mercedes-Benz sold 8,061 units, registering a growth of 12.4 percent, year-on-year, while sales of BMW and Mini combined totalled 5,171 units, up 13 percent, year-on-year.  [...]
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BMW India registers record half-yearly sales
The first half of the calendar year 2018 brought cheer for German luxury carmaker BMW Group as the brand reported record sales for both BMW and Mini cars combined. Overall volumes in Jan-June 2018 touched 5,171 units, up 13 percent year-on-year. Of the total sales, BMW brand models accounted for 4,890 units (up 12 percent) and sales of Mini range of vehicles were at 281 units (up 30 percent). The growth came on the back of some big ticket launches such as BMW’s luxurious liftback , the 6-series GT and the X3 SUV. The latter led the sales charge for the luxury marquee, as demand for SUVs in India continues to be robust. In fact, the company said its SUV segment or SAV (Sports Activity Vehicle), as it calls it, has grown over 26 percent from last year. A rival to the Mercedes GLC and Audi Q5, the third-generation X3 was launched in April in two variants and a single diesel engine option. The 6GT was BMW’s answer to the popular Mercedes E-class, which has only been introduced in India as a long wheelbase for the standard, non-AMG variant. Both the 6GT and X3 models are locally assembled at BMW’s Chennai facility. “The BMW 6 Series Gran Turismo and the BMW X3 have already exceeded our expectations and we see remarkable sales contributions coming from both in the future. Moreover, introduction of Euro VI petrol engines in our product portfolio has played an important role,” according to Vikram Pawah, president, BMW Group India. The Mini brand saw the introduction of the Countryman in May 2018, which is expected to help double Mini's sales this year. BMW said that its two wheeler division, BMW Motorrad, has sold 208 motorcycles within the first half of the year. It did not disclose the percentage sales growth. Although India’s luxury vehicle market continues to record healthy growth – with most players having successfully overcome GST blues, the government's decision to hike customs duty in Budget 2018 is expected to keep sales under pressure. [...]
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Sponsored feature: Savsol takes an eco-friendly leap
The ‘Green agenda’ is in the mind of the entire automobile industry. While automakers are gearing up to meet stringent BS-VI norms, there is also a lubricant company that sees “going green” as a good differentiator from the competition. Savita Oil Technology is re-launching its 11-year-old motor-oil brand, Savsol, with the addition of what the company is calling a “Green Performer.” Gautam N. Mehra Managing Director and Sunil Aima CEO - Lubes division, give us an insight of how their new lubricating oil is eco-friendly and talk about their future plans. Savsol has been in the market for 11 years. What is the need of re-launching the brand? Mehra: We launched a Biodegradable Transformer Oil last year, which received a favourable customer response. Hence, we thought that we can launch a similar product for automobiles, too, which would be a good differentiator between us and other brands. So what exactly is a ‘green performer?’ Aima: We are now working on a farm oil-based product having two special attributes – first, it is renewable, coming from a farm; and second, these oils are also more biodegradable. Our first plan is to launch a biodegradable product in the Motorcycle Oil range. The push back is that they are expensive, so pricing is an issue. Still we hope that the trend will find favour with the customers. As you mentioned, the greener products also bring a cost burden, and in the motorcycle segment, penny saving is common. So are you targeting the more aspirational segment – which is 150cc and above – or is the commuter segment also on your mind? Aima: People skipping regular services is true but for many there are a lot of personal touches that go into motorbikes. These are the people who want the best for their bikes and are concerned about the environment. We got research done through an ad agency, the findings of which surprised us. We not only spoke to customers but also to local mechanics. Interestingly, mechanics who work at the lowest level were too eager for the product, as they are the ones most exposed to the pollution. On the other hand, the buyers whom we spoke to were also willing to pay a slight premium as their share for the environment. Talking about the premium, what would be the difference in the prices of a fossil-based lubricant and the Green Performer? Mehra: I guess it will be less than double, about 40-50 percent more. And when we are talking bikes, it’s just one litre while in cars it’s four litres, on an average. Trucks take around 11 litres. So in a motorcycle it’s still affordable, being just a premium of under Rs 200. Is their any emission advantage also? Since that’s the criteria to measure on a green parameter. Mehra: Strictly speaking, there will be lower emissions but the impact won’t be very dramatic. So the main greener effect comes from the fact that it’s more biodegradable. For example, if there is a leakage or if the mechanic, while changing the oil, spills some of it, it won’t impact the surface and will be less harmful for the environment. You earlier talked about being ready with products that will meet the requirements of mobility in the future. What are the kind of products you are referring to? Aima: We are soon going to launch a product for the diesel engine, which may not be a lubricant but something that will help meet the upcoming BS-VI emission norms. [...]
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Maruti Vitara Brezza sales crosses 3,00,000 unit mark
Maruti’s Vitara Brezza, which already enjoys the distinction of being India’s bestselling SUV, has added another feather to its cap by crossing the 3,00,000-unit sales mark. The carmaker says that this makes the Brezza the fastest SUV to reach this milestone in the country, achieving the feat in just 28 months. A regular in the list of the Top 10 selling passenger vehicles in India every month, the Brezza has not only boosted Maruti’s overall UV sales but also enabled the country’s biggest carmaker to dethrone Mahindra to become the largest UV maker. With sales of 2,53,759 units in FY2018, Maruti’s share grew to 27.53 percent from 25.69 percent, while Mahindra’s UV share (2,33,915 units) dropped to 25.38 percent from 29.20 percent in FY2017 when it was the market leader. Maruti recently updated the SUV, giving it an all-black interior, the option of a new orange paint and enhanced safety features. But the notable change was the option of AMT gearbox, which gave the Brezza's popularity a further boost. In fact, Maruti says the AMT has been well received, accounting for over 23 percent of fresh bookings since its launch in May 2018. We drove the Brezza AMT recently and found that the SUV was convenient and easy to drive around town with a linear creep function minus the jerk that is typical of most AMTs. “The contribution of the top variants in the total sales of Vitara Brezza has risen to 56 percent. Vitara Brezza continues to be the most loved SUV despite several new entrants in the segment,” R S Kalsi, Senior Executive Director (Marketing and Sales), Maruti Suzuki, said in a company statement. The Brezza sold 15,629 units in May, up 26 percent year on year, and 1,48,462 units in FY2018, recording a growth of 36.66 percent. [...]
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Suzuki Burgman Street India launch on July 19
Suzuki has announced the launch of the new Burgman Street on July 19, which was first showcased at the 2018 Auto Expo. In terms of pricing, the new Suzuki 125cc scooter is expected to cost Rs 5,000 to Rs 7,000 more than the Access 125 SE, which retails for Rs 60,580 (ex-showroom, Delhi). Suzuki sells the Burgman with various powerplants ranging from 125cc to 600cc in international markets. However, the Burgman Street, like the Suzuki Intruder, is an India-specific product. The Burgman Street takes design inspiration from its sibling sold in international markets and has a maxi-scooter styling. The design highlight is the imposing front apron with LED headlight (a first for any Suzuki scooter in India). Another Burgman family trait, wide and comfortable seat (with a minor step) has been carried forward on the new 125cc scooter. It gets features such as a multi-function key slot, generous underseat storage, a 12V charging socket and an LED tail-lamp. The Burgman Street is also the first Suzuki scooter in India to feature a fully-digital instrument console. It’s powered by the Access 125-sourced 124.3cc motor producing 8.6hp at 6,500rpm and 10.2Nm at 5,000rpm. Cycle parts are also similar with the new scooter employing a telescopic fork and a monoshock for suspension duties. Braking hardware consists of a disc unit at the front and a drum unit at the rear. Since it’s a new product, the Burgman Street will come equipped with CBS as standard, a feature that Suzuki recently introduced on the Access 125.   [...]
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2018 Toyota Crown revealed
Toyota brought out the latest generation of its flagship luxury sedan in the Japanese market. Currently in its 15th generation, the Crown is also among the first generation of cars that will be equipped with Toyota’s Data Communication Module as standard; the other car being the recently revealed Corolla Sport. The brand’s new connected car technology offers 24x7 connectivity services focused on safety, security, comfort, and convenience based on real-time driving data. The data communication module helps connect with other cars, and infrastructure as well, to aid in safer driving. The car also gets Toyota Safety Sense 2.0 – a suite of features that includes automatic emergency braking with pedestrian detection, intelligent cruise control, lane-departure warning, lane-keep assist, and even auto high beams. The Crown is underpinned by a new platform, which is based on Toyota’s New Global Architecture (TNGA) strategy. The powertrain options include two hybrid systems and a turbo-petrol engine. The 2.5-litre petrol-hybrid system has a combined output of 226hp, the bigger 3.5-litre V6 petrol-hybrid system puts out over 359hp and is mated to a 10-speed automatic transmission, while the turbo-petrol engine makes 245hp and 350Nm of torque. All the powertrains have been placed lower in the body to achieve a lower center of gravity. The ;models were tested on the Nürburgring circuit during its development. The car has a low slung nose and has a long sleek profile that runs all the way to the boot. There is also an RS variant on offer which offers 18-inch aluminum wheels, four exhaust tailpipes, a rear spoiler and black door frames. The interiors feature a clean design dashboard with dual displays. An 8-inch display sits at the back for viewing information while driving while a 7-inch screen is placed at the bottom for easier operation. There has been no official word about the Crown coming to India; however, the all-new Corolla which is based on the same TNGA platform will make it to our country. [...]
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