No less than five new cars debuted this week, ranging from a compact hatchback to a luxury van. Following the months of lacklustre retail demand, these launches are becoming a lifeline for the auto industry’s survival. Here is a look at all the major developments in the sector that made headlines during the week.
Tata Harrier launched at Rs 12.69 lakh
Tata Motors launched the Harrier after a four-year development schedule. The premium sports utility vehicle (SUV) is priced from Rs 12.69 lakh onwards (ex-showroom, Mumbai), and will be launched in four variants to begin with, with the top-end variant priced at Rs 16.25 lakh.
Though company officials are reluctant to position the five-seater SUV in any category, Harrier’s price band puts it in direct competition with the Mahindra XUV 500, Jeep Compass, Nissan Kicks, Hyundai Creta and the upcoming SUVs from Kia and MG Motors.
Royal Enfield commits investment of Rs 500 crore in Tamil Nadu
Eicher Motors-controlled Royal Enfield will invest an additional Rs 500 crore by 2021 to expand its three manufacturing facilities in Tamil Nadu, under a pact with the state government to receive fiscal and monetary incentives.
According to a memorandum of understanding (MoU) inked between the two, the state government will extend tax and monetary incentives to the leisure bike maker, subject to it investing Rs 1,500 crore over a period of five years beginning May 2016. Of the Rs 1,500 crore, Royal Enfield has already invested over Rs 1,000 crore.
Mercedes-Benz launches V-Class at Rs 68.4 lakh
German luxury carmaker Mercedes-Benz, launched its luxury van V Class in India with prices starting at Rs 68.4 lakh for the Expression trim. Offered with a configuration of six to seven seats, the fully imported V Class is the second longest and most spacious Mercedes-Benz on sale in India.
The Exclusive trim is priced at Rs 81.9 lakh (all prices ex-showroom, India). Unlike some of the other Mercedes Benz cars, the V-Class will be imported as a full unit from Spain. There will be two body styles: A long wheelbase and an extra long wheelbase.
Maruti Suzuki launches new Wagon R at Rs 4.19 lakh
Maruti Suzuki on January 23 launched a new version of its hatchback WagonR priced between Rs 4.19 lakh and Rs 5.69 lakh (ex-showroom). The new WagonR comes with a new 1.2 litre petrol engine option along with another choice of 1 litre powertrain.
It also comes with an automatic gear shift variant priced at Rs 5.16 lakh. The 1.2 litre variants are priced between Rs 4.89 lakh and Rs 5.69 lakh (all prices ex-showroom).
Maruti Suzuki to move entirely to rupee by 2022
Maruti Suzuki, the country’s largest car maker, will shift entirely to a rupee-denominated royalty pay system by 2022. This will help negate the vagaries in foreign exchange for the Indian entity as around 60 percent of its current royalty payment is made in yen.
All new models such as Brezza, Ignis, Ertiga, Swift and Dzire have moved to the rupee system. Since the next generation Wagon R features a new platform, it will also join the rupee pay system for royalty. Other models such as the Alto, Eeco, Baleno, Ciaz and Gypsy will progressively move away from the yen.
Nissan launches Kicks SUV at Rs 9.55 lakh
Nissan launched Kicks SUV at a price range from Rs 9.55 lakh to 14.65 lakh (ex-showroom) with two 1.5-litre engine options and four trim levels. The SUV is based on Renault-Nissan’s updated M0 platform and features a cabin which is larger than the international market.
The petrol engine produces 106 PS of power and 142 Nm of peak torque and is mated to a 5-speed manual transmission. The diesel powertrain on the other churns out 110 PS and 240 Nm and is paired with a 6-speed manual gearbox.
BMW launches X4 in India at Rs 65.9 lakh
German luxury carmaker BMW on January 21 launched its new X4 in India, a sports activity coupe, priced up to Rs 65.9 lakh (ex-showroom).The company is rolling out the new model from its Chennai-based manufacturing plant. The two diesel variants are priced at Rs 60.6 lakh and Rs 65.9 lakh, respectively, while the sole petrol trim is tagged at Rs 63.5 lakh. (All prices ex-showroom)