Maruti Alto 800-Ownership Review

Take a walk¬†on a typical Indian road and you will find yourself catching the sight of this humble and cute looking car more than any other cars on the road ūüôā¬†Its the new Maruti Suzuki Alto 800. Maruti Suzuki India Limited most¬†commonly¬†know as Maruti¬†formerly¬†known as¬†Maruti Udyog Limited is an Indian automobile manufacturing company.

It is controlled by a holding company – a Japanese car manufacturing¬†establishment¬†Suzuki. Maruti Suzuki has a variety of vehicles available in the Indian market ¬†from the outset¬†level the¬†Alto, to the hatchbacks¬†Ritz,¬†A-Star,¬†Swift,¬†Wagon R,¬†Zen¬†and the sedans DZire,¬†Kizashi¬†and¬†SX4¬†etc.¬†to the ‘C’ segment¬†Eeco,¬†Omni, Multi Purpose vehicle Suzuki¬†Ertiga¬†and Sports Utility vehicle¬†Grand Vitara

Maruti Suzuki

Alto 800 is a¬†kei car( It is a¬†Japanese¬†categorization of small passenger cars )¬†engineered and manufactured by Suzuki.¬†The contemporary model is currently in its seventh generation.The first of its kind emerged in 1979 and was manufactured in several countries worldwide.The all new Maruti Alto 800 has undergone a lucid face lift with all new bodies and interiors.It replace’s its first generation Alto keeping the old 796cc engine. The most captivating fact is that, although being India’s best selling ¬†car, the price tag of Alto was also lowered with the change in the model. Several methods were implied to lower the price . These include lowering the weight of each and every part down by even a single gram and also including their own robots for manufacturing purposes.

Design and Looks:

EXTERIOR:

The all new Maruti Suzuki Alto 800 has an exemplary yet a smooth and glossy design that packs a punch.The smooth seamless long curves gives it a perfect side look and better dynamics, which means better performance and better looks.The prominent wheel lip add on to the side looks. All these make the Alto 800 the most desirable small car in the Indian market. The new Maruti Suzuki Alto 800 has undergone a face lift to give it an adorable hatchback look.( I love the new petal shaped head light ,gives it a better look.)

Maruti Suzuki

 

IMG_20140717_202425

 

Interior:

images_gearUp

images_inside-alto800

The cabin in the new Alto 800 is refined completely to give it an elegant look and feel.The result is superior interior quality and more comfortable environment and more space inside the car.Whats more is you get to choose between cool looking brown and grey interiors.

Performance and Specs:

maruti-alto-800-gear-087The latest remodeled Alto 800 arrives with a 796cc petrol mill which was also used in its  presiding models , with obvious tweaks over them.A  796cc , 3 cylinder petrol engine is the powerhouse of the Alto 800 that grinds out a maximum of 47.5bhp at 6000rpm at its peak of 69Nm of torque produced at 3500rpm.

What puts it aside from its predecessors is the fact that it maintains the Bharat Stage IV emission norms ( Which makes it one of the most Eco friendly kei cars in India ). Apart from turning down the emissions the MSI engineers have worked pretty well upon the NVL levels .The Alto comes with a 5-gear transmission, which gives a smooth gear shift and superior driving experience.  Taking into account the acceleration and pick up, Maruti suzuki is categorized under the small cars 796cc category and still packs a punch .The acceleration is excellent when compared to the rest of the small cars in the market. The new improved and face lifted power mill can accelerate you from 0 to a 100km within a time duration of 15 to 16 seconds, with the top speed of about 120 kmph .For the CNG versions the magic 100kmph from 0 takes about 17 to 18 seconds.This is clear-cut evidence that the performance has been modified brilliantly .

Mileage :

IMG_20140717_155120It is the typical Indian mentality that mileage is given preference over performance of the car . It is undoubtedly crowned as the peoples car of India .Alto 800 returns with the fantastic mileage of 22.74kmpl on petrol and 33kmpl on CNG making it  the most fuel efficient car in the present Indian automobile market .The new Alto maintains respectable performance without compromising on the mileage ,making it the most affordable car .If you want to go ECO friendly by using CNG and also get a car which is affordable and easy to maintain РMaruti Suzuki Alto 800 is for sure the best choice for you !

Dispiriting Facts about the new Alto 800 :

One of the most disappointing  factor I found  was the really weak body . Just the slightest of hits and bumps can result in great damage to the car ( A Scooter hit my Alto 800 from the back at a normal speed but the right back bumper of the car got destroyed)

If you are pure power aficionado it might be disappointing for you. The acceleration is considerably weak compared to other cars in the market .

The interior is considerably comfortable but it doesn’t have a ¬†lavish and and attractive look.

-When you run CNG the engine performance is reduced by a great amount, especially when you even have the AC turned on.

BOTTOM LINE :

 Without question, it is the most fuel efficient car available in the market. Maruti Suzuki Alto 800 has improved performance and mileage and also at a very affordable price tag.

There is this saying ” Two birds with one Bullet ” so running your Alto 800 on CNG saves you money and also reduce’s the harmful emissions !

Visit Maruti Suzuki India Website: http://www.marutisuzuki.com

A Guide to Valet Parking

header-valet

We all remember the horrific crash last week involving a white Lamborghini Gallardo Spyder at the Le Meridian Hotel in New Delhi that involved the¬†hotel’s valet driver losing control of the car and hitting the back of another car and crashing into a barrier at the end of the porch all while narrowly missing a staff member of the hotel. I am really quite sure that these star studded hotels have a large number of really expensive cars coming through the doors which would’ve given sufficient practice and experience to the drivers. So what happened on the day when this unfortunate driver crashed this Gallardo Spyder that cost the owner over half a million dollars to import ? ¬†In fact the whole world did not stop thinking¬†about how the valet or the other people involved in the crash fared.

Yes the car was expensive and had a massive crash, but are the damages being claimed with the insurance company Рworth more than a human life?

Assume it was your car that had crashed like that. It may not cost over “half a million dollars”, does not have scissor doors, a folding roof or a 5.0L v10 engine. I’m sure the trauma you undergo will be on par with what the owner of the Lamborghini. So what steps can you take to prevent your car from being involved in a crash like this?

Find your own parking spot

It isn’t always mandatory¬†to hand¬†your car at the valet. You can park it yourself too. As soon as you enter the premises, start scanning the area where you could squeeze in your car. In this way, you are in control of your own car. Even if you do shunt, the blame is on you and it is much easier to claim insurance.

I agree it’s not as glamorous as getting off your car with people opening the doors for you and a person quickly coming down to collect your key and only gives you a small token in exchange as a proof that the car belongs to you. But walking that few meters helps you keep your car keys in your pocket and not in a small box that is filed with keys of all the cars in the area. So it is a small price that you have to pay to ensure that your car is safe.

If you have no other option but to hand it over to the valet…

Brief him about the niggles in your car:

There must be some problem that you are aware of and the driver simply isn’t. He will not know about the problem until you tell him about it. So when you are handing him¬†your keys, give him a brief about the problem. This will reduce the chances of him messing up and he knows what to expect rather than it being a surprise.

If you have a really powerful vehicle…:

If you are one of those driving around in a really expensive and cool car and by the minutest of chances is reading my post, when you do give it in to the valet, tell him that the car is really powerful & expensive and ask him to be really light with the throttle. Tell him in a way such that you don’t scare him. Just give him a gentle reminder.

You can spot the experienced drivers:

When driving into the drop off zone, head to the valet where you feel have the most experienced drivers. If you visit a place often, request that the same valet who you know is experienced to pick up your car every time.

Tip Before and After:

We usually tip the driver only when we have received the car. Tipping before can also help, as the driver will tend take good care of your car. Paying a small tip running into a maximum of Rs. 50 will save you a bill of repairs that will run into thousands.

Keep that valet ticket safe:

Valet Parking

If you are unsure where to keep it and think it may fall off your pocket, keep it in your wallet.

Plan and take everything that you need before handing over your car:

Let’s consider a¬†scenario where you’ve forgotten something in your car. You call for the valet to bring out your car, you pick up what you need and ask him to park it again. Most of the parking lots used by the hotels involves multistory’s, a large number of pillars, and hundreds of other cars crammed into the tightest of spaces. What you are doing here is simply doubling the chances of your car being dinged.

Finally, Check your Vehicle:

When you receive your vehicle, have a quick walk around to check for damage on the vehicle. If you happen to spot the damage after you get home, it will be really difficult to prove negligence/wrongdoing by the hotel management.

AUTOBOTS Unmasked – the real automobiles behind the Transformers

Transformers Fan? No matter which side (autobots / decepticons) you are on. Read on, for the newer and revolutionary automotive casts that bring out newer identities that might have made you jump out of excitement.

Wouldn’t you love it if your car suddenly transformed into an Autobot? Well, we’ve all been there. Unfortunately, you’ve either got to be really drunk or dreaming high to see that happen. But, hadn’t it been for the expensive CGI’s and special effects, our favourite Autobots or decepticons might have been inanimate wallpapers on our screens (where’s the fun in that right?)

Let’s dig in a little deeper and uncover a few of the vehicles that put the previous Transformer films to shame.

THE SUPREME AUTOBOT:

Western Star Prototype a.k.a. Optimus Prime. Image Source: www.thebestwallpapersfan.com
  Western Star Prototype a.k.a. Optimus Prime.      Image Source: www.thebestwallpapersfan.com

Undeniably, the most loved (bulky yet effective) hero who has won millions of fans after the Transformers hit the big screens, Optimus prime, the virtual hero and the most loved character in the Transformers series, was formerly a Kenworth k100 cab-over truck (in the cartoon) that underwent a major overhaul by the Western Star Prototype, underwent major transformations, physically and digitally. Although the flaming paint job might have struck a certain amount of controversy, the all-new design would put all the issues at bay. Optimus Prime comes in a new avatar; flaunting huge chrome accents, exhaust stacks and a heart -throbbing look that put all the controversies at bay. The credits go to the prototype designed by Western Star Trucks (under the Daimler Auto Group)

BUMBLEBEE (Then and Now)

Introduced as Sam Witwicky’s (ShiaLeBouf) best friend, the 1967 Chevrolet Camaro that was later transformed into (then new) Chevrolet Camaro has a whole new look in the latest Transformers movie.

1967 Chevrolet Camaro SS Image Source: www.worldcarfans.com
1967 Chevrolet Camaro SS
Image Source: www.worldcarfans.com

The Autobot scout that cruised around with a retro look was shown in a sexier and orgasmic avatar, the Chevrolet Camaro 2014 Super Sport. This look is definitely to die for.

Image Source: www.michaelbay.com

 

Cross Hairs Sting Ray:

A perfect opportune to invade the skies and rule the racetrack, Chevrolet showcased the 2014 C7 Corvette Stingray; the autobot (abrasive with a cocky attitude) that transforms into Cross Hairs, a paratrooper that gives the Decepticons, a run for their bolts.  The lime green beauty that musters up its rage under the hood takes on the roads and skies.

Corvette Stingray. Image Source: www.corvette7.com
Corvette Stingray a.k.a. Cross Hairs. Image Source: www.corvette7.com

 

DISGUISED “DRIFT”

An Autobot by heart, and a decepticon by looks, meet the street legal Bugatti Veyron Grand Sport Vitesse 2013, an expensive (US $ 2.25 million) addition, a breath taker and a conqueror of the actual roads that smashes its rivals black and blue, this bolt of lightning goes by the name ‚ÄúDrift‚ÄĚ in disguise. Watch this Autobot with an unfinished business and a thirst to regain its lost honor, avenge its enemies with its massive (1200) horse power and a 253.81 mph speed.

Bugatti-Grand-Sport-Vitesse-Transformers-4
Bugatti Grand Sport Vitesse 2013 a.k.a Drift.  Image Source: www.wallpaperstoday.com

THE ‚ÄúHOUND‚ÄĚ READY TO POUND:

Another elephantine sized heavy duty vehicle after Optimus Prime, The movie brings you up close and personal with the Autobot commando, Hound, transforms from an Oshkosh Defense Medium Tactical Vehicle which in reality belongs to a family of heavy duty vehicles that are currently manufactured by the Oshkosh Corporation. Hound was formerly a Jeep (in the cartoon series) but the movie has given a newer definition to Hound by changing the complete look and transforming it into a decepticon pounding commando.

Oshkosh Defence Medium Tactical Vehicle. Image Source: www.automoblog.net
Oshkosh Defence Medium Tactical Vehicle a.k.a. Hound. Image Source: www.automoblog.net

Saved by RATCHET

Playing the role of a medical officer in the transformers movie, ratchet transforms into a green rescue Hummer H2 and also into a red and white striped ambulance with flashy lights that looks like a cargo van.

Ratchet. Image Source: www.tfwiki.net
Ratchet a.k.a Hummer H2                                Image Source: www.tfwiki.net

A TWISTED “LOCKDOWN”:

Sleek, slender and possessing sinister traits, ¬†‚ÄúLockdown‚ÄĚ the grey 2013 Lamborghini LP 700-4 Coupe, disappointingly is not an Autobot, neither is it a part of the Decepticon‚Äôs army. A bounty hunter replaced the previous ‚ÄúLamborghini Murcielago‚ÄĚ with ease. With only 4000 units made, Lamborghini proudly flaunted the Aventador, best in its class and a fame that makes you‚Äôd still love this legendary bull albeit it‚Äôs twisted role in the movie.

Lamborghini Aventador. Image Source: www.picthewall.com
Lamborghini Aventador. Image Source: www.picthewall.com

STINGER

Possessing gory colors, a Decepticon that was supposedly built by a human specializes in spying and sabotaging all good that Autobots stand for, the 2013 Pagani Huayra (Pronounced ‚Äúwai-rah‚ÄĚ) might lack the looks of a Lamborghini, but it is the epitome of pure bred speed infused with state of the art technical aerodynamics. Being one such car that provides flawless handling is definitely a dangerous demon on wheels for the Autobots. Pagani motors, an Italian Premium car Manufacturer is also known for cars such as its popular ‚ÄúPagani Zonda‚ÄĚ.

JUNK HEAP

The obvious, Decepticon which transforms into a Waste Management Truck, Chevrolet trax has been recruited to do the dirty yet effective job. Playing villainous roles, the Jukheap is featured in a differently colored Chevrolet Traxes on screen. These vehicles are also supposedly made by humans (in the movie) and later join the decepticons. This perfectly sized crossover is an offering from Chevrolet motors, sports its rally car which has an impressive design, nimble and confident handling capabilities, and goes easy on your fuel.

Chevrolet Trax. Image Source: www.yjcool.blogspot.com
                           Chevrolet Trax a.k.a Junk Heap.   Image Source: www.yjcool.blogspot.com

THE DECEIVING DECEPTICON

Freightliner Argosy cab-over-trailer. a.k.a Galvatron. Image Source: www.screenrant.com
                                Freightliner Argosy cab-over-trailer. a.k.a Galvatron.                              Image Source: www.screenrant.com

Another human made transformer that becomes the Decepticon overlord. GALVATRON, transforms into an impressive looking 2014 Freighliner Argosy cab-over-trailer. The black and grey colored definer of doom looks very impressive. The Freightliner Argosy trucks are extremely agile and immaculately structured.  The North American descendant looks evil yet breath-taking.

Bottom Line: These vehicles might have played different roles in the movie, yet they have impacted our hearts – a lot ūüôā

Also,

Visit the Western Star Website: www.star-prototype.com

Visit the Chevrolet  Website: http://www.chevrolet.com/

Visit the Bugatti Website: http://www.bugatti.com/

Visit the Oshkosh Defense Vehicle Website: http://oshkoshdefense.com/

Visit the Hummer Website: http://www.hummer.com/

Visit the Lamborghini Website: http://www.lamborghini.com/

Visit the Pagani Website: www.pagani.com

Visit the Freight Liner Argosi Website:  http://www.freightlinertrucks.com/

Fuel for NextGen Cars makes our future green

Just Promenade along one of the most densely populated cities in India and you will ¬†find yourself being warmly saluted¬†by thick dark smog¬†that covers the area .Oh yes ! We¬†are talking about¬†something that practically affects¬†every single being around you on this planet¬†aye,¬†its air pollution ! It prematurely is responsible for deaths of ¬†a mind-blowing 6 million¬†people¬†per year across¬†the globe.It is the main cause of “global warming” and cancer.

Today’s on-road vehicles produce over the third of the carbon monoxide and nitrogen oxides in our atmosphere and over twenty percent of the global warming pollution.Do you know USA alone is responsible for 30.3% gas emissions on a global scale ,33% of Chinese people live in such polluted and poisonous environments that the air they breath is equivalent to smoking 2 packets of cigarettes every day. In Asia smog is so thick in the skies in some areas that you cant even see the starts at night .Automobiles alone  are responsible for 40-90% of the air pollution.

Delhi Covered In Thick Smog
Delhi Covered In Thick Smog

This increasing demand and dependence on fossil fuels is sole the reason for air pollution due to automobiles. Do you know  just in Delhi alone 1400 new cars are added to its roads daily .We have to take an initiative to bring upon a change.A change that will provide clean , renewable  and sustainable fuel that powers our cars and bikes and our future generations to come .These futuristic fuels are the brain child of scientists who did Intense research and development .

 

BIO FUEL : MOTHER NATURE TO REHABILITATE

Thumbs up: clean , green . Renewable fuel.It is already involved in mass production and use in major countries around the globe.

Thumbs down:  Enormous amounts bio mass needed for large scale Bio fuel production, reduced mileage for your vehicle .

The Bottom Line :  Their potential is unstoppable when production starts on a massive scale and gas emissions can be effectively reduced by a large amount .

It would be an underlying statement to say that Bio-Fuel cannot replace the entire fossil fuel dependence , they give a promising future to the ever growing need for fuel to run the economy and our daily lives .Before we move to Bio Fuel and its production, lets have a basic introduction to what Bio Fuel is. Bio Fuel’s are made from conversions of bio mass ( refers to recent living organisms – mostly plants and plant derived products) .When we dig the earth for fossil fuels we are retrieving fuel which geologically have been carbon fixed millions of years ago.A¬†biofuel¬†is a¬†fuel¬†that contains energy from geologically recent carbon fixation. These fuels are produced from¬†living organisms¬†.Bio Fuel are subject to intense scientific research and innovations.¬†In this article We are going ¬†to talk about Bio Diesel and Bio ethanol which can be used to run our cars.

BIO DIESEL:

Bio Diesel  is a domestically manufactured renewable fuel with possible ingredients being vegetable oil, animal fats, grease or even used restaurant oil. It is a cleaner and a greener replacement for the use of petroleum Diesel . Bio Diesel is commonly referred as B100 or simply BIO DIESEL  in its pure liquid form without any natural diesel or petroleum mixed in it .The good news is a normal diesel engine can be powered by a  B100 and whats more interesting, is you can prepare B100 at home without any investments.

Still ain’t impressed ? Well these statistics will convince you to move to B100. It is 100% renewable and cars that run on it produce no soot. CO2 emissions are reduced up to a mind boggling 50 % and there wont be even traces of SO2 from your exhaust.This is the cleanest and matchless replacement for your car

BIO ETHANOL:civic_biomass

Bio Ethanol is principle substitute for  petroleum ,commonly used with different blends of ethanol and gasoline. Bio Ethanol is predominantly manufactured by fermentation of sugars , although it can be produced industrially by steaming ethylene .

The main ingredient to make ethanol sugar comes from fuel crops .Fuel crops consists of corn, maize and wheat crops, waste straw, willow and popular trees, sawdust, reed canary grass, cord grasses, jerusalem artichoke, myscanthus and sorghum plants.Ethanol blends are widely sold in USA and Brazil. The most commonly used blend is the E10 it is blend of 10 % ethanol and 90% gasoline .

Almost all cars made after 1986 can safely run on E10, while most cars made before 1986 cannot. The Australian Federal Chamber for Automotive Industries (FCAI) maintains a list of cars and bikes that can safely run on E10. 

The clear advantage here is that it is renewable and is a infinite source of fuel i.e crops are not finite and they can be reproduced any number times.We also will have a upper hand of reducing the green house emissions by a significant amount.

 

HYDROGEN FUEL : THE LIGHTEST ELEMENT TO THE RESCUE.

Thumbs Up           :  Has the highest amount of energy per kilogram than any other fossil fuel. The only byproduct is pure water .

Thumbs Down   :    Production on massive scale is a tedious and expensive process .Handling Hydrogen is burdensome due to its explosive nature.

The Bottom Line :  Though on paper, it looks as if its a very promising production on a large scale, it is onerous on problems with handling and storage being tedious and not yet developed enough for a large scale usage .

Honda-fcx-clarity-IAA_2011
THE HONDA FCX

The dream car is finally here, the one that produces no green house gases ,one that doesn’t use gasoline and has exhaust as pure water
.Ofcourse you cannot ¬†buy one yet , unless you live in California you can lease one . So whats that mystery fuel that will run this car ? yes , ¬†it is Hydrogen the lightest element and one of the most abundant element in our periodic table . It is estimated that in the coming ¬†20-30 years people will drive Hydrogen powered cars . Whats fascinating is you can see these cars ¬†producing steam instead of greenhouse gases.¬†Many Hydrogen cars exist ¬†but unfortunately most of them are conceptual. These clean energy driving machines include the Chevrolet Equinox, the BMW 745h and the one that’s currently available for lease in California, the Honda FCX.

What makes this dream car run on simple Hydrogen is a FUEL CELL which produces electricity . Similar to the fuel cell used in Apollo 11 expect that it is a miniature version. It takes pure Hydrogen and is oxidized by pure and produces large amounts energy and water as simple by product.

BATTERY POWER : THE ERA OF ELECTRIC CARS 

Thumbs Up: Ultra silent engine . Literally no exhaust from the car .Electric motors gives a smoother ride and better performance

Thumbs Down : The unfortunate and clear disadvantage is the amount of fossil fuel ( coal) is burnt to produce that amount electricity is unimaginable .

The Bottom Line : Electric cars were dream of the car inventors , ever since they faced so many grinding tasks.Finally days have come where its no longer a dream but a reality .

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Tesla model SFD

All Electric vehicles (EV) run on 100% electricity. A Muscular DC motor lies in the heart of these cars which sets them aside from the rest of the cars which traditionally ran on a combustion motor. Battery technology has seen a lot many changes in the past twenty years, the lithium -ion battery was the revolution. These batteries are lighter and have the capacity to store more power but unfortunately it stores substantially less energy than Hydrogen or fossil fuels .These Electric vehicles have very clear advantages and precedence over the traditional Internal Combustion Engines (ICE).

Efficiency : Electric motors convert about 60% of its power from the power grid to its wheels .Conventional gasoline engines convert only about 10% of the energy provided by the fuel.

Absolutely Eco-friendly : These vehicles  have  no tailpipe , no pollutants, although the power plant producing the electricity may emit them. Electricity from nuclear-, hydro-, solar-, or wind-powered plants causes absolutely no Green House gases.

Enhanced Performance : When it comes to acceleration and on-road performance these EV’s rule out the gasoline engines .The ride is undoubtedly smooth and quieter .

However these Ev’s face great battery challenges and most Ev’s run only about 100-200 miles before they run out of fuel when compared to gasoline engines which run about 200 -300 miles.Just to paint the picture of ¬†battery capacity of the most promising Ev’s today . The Chevy VOLT¬†has massive 170kg li-ion battery but runs only about 60 miles . Interestingly some pure Ev’s have managed to push their range further .¬†The MINI¬†manages a range of 240km on a single charge but it had to be fitted with a massive 300kg battery , designers had to remove the back seats.

 

COMPRESSED AIR POWER : CARS THAT VIRTUALLY RUN ON PURE AIR 

4
Peugeot 208,

An internal combustion engine powers itself on compressed air produced by the burning fuel that moves the pistons up and down , so conceptually if we can supply  compressed air to the pistons we can achieve the same movement to drive the vehicle. Peugeot Citroen invented technology for air car ready for the market by 2016 . The Peugeot 208, it will combine a normal engine with a the  new revolutionary system that runs on compressed air. The air power can mostly be used only at  the city speeds i.e below 43mph , the company predicts that with this combination these cars can give upto 118 miles per gallon. These cars are no different from normal cars expect for the adapted gear box ,and  cylinders to store compressed air .

 

Bottom Line: Technology is a double edged knife. We can use it for better future rather than for destructive purpose. Everything lies in our hands!!!

How the 2014 Union Budget will effect the Auto Industry?

The Indian automotive scene has a seen quite a slump and the industry was expecting a boost from the newly-elected government.

Auto-Industry (1)

Some of the industry expectations from this year’s budget included a cut in Excise duty to 10% on automotive parts, timeline for the introduction of the GST, Fleet modernization scheme, withdrawal of the 1% National calamity Contingent Duty (NCCD) and fund allocations for National Electric Mobility Mission Plan.  Here are some points that are a part of the new budget that effect the industry and the industry reactions.

Implementation of Goods and Service Tax (GST)

This is something that the auto industry has been demanding for a long time and the finance minister, Mr. Jaitley said that it will be implemented within this fiscal year itself. This will replace all direct taxes levied on goods and services by the Indian central and state governments. The industry hopes for an early implementation of GST.

Arvind Saxena

‚ÄúThe corporate sector was expecting a timeline for the roll out of GST. But the government‚Äôs intention to introduce CenGST and also the DTC after review is very encouraging news.‚ÄĚ – Arvind Saxena, Preseident & MD, General Motors India

FDI in Insurance to go up to 49%.

Expect increase in the competitiveness in the insurance sector. Also a change in the way your insurance premium is calculated, considering factors such as past history of claims, location of home & work (Parking conditions and safety), age group, safety features on the cars, nature of work and gender beyond the standard consideration of make, model, service history and life of the vehicle.

x_BL18_K_K_MISHRA_1587658f.jpg.pagespeed.ic.XiAQjBkALH

‚ÄúThis would encourage foreign investment and will further augment free flow of knowledge and intellectual cross-fertilization,¬† benefiting the insurance sector as a whole‚ÄĚ – K K Mishra – CEO & MD, Tata AIG

Development of Road Infrastructure.

There is no doubt that if proper infrastructure in terms of roads and connectivity plays a major role in the auto sector. An allocation of 37,880 crores for National & State Highways and 14,389 crores for rural roads will help increase the complete transportation frame work. This benefits the industry in the long term.

1E988295797FC33A536A182B4DA2

‚ÄúWe welcome the announcements related to infrastructure growth such as development of 100 smart cities and rural roads development.‚ÄĚ –¬†Joe King, Head, Audi India

National Electric Mobility Mission Plan

An allocation of 24 crores through the ministry of heavy industries provides an initial boost for electric and hybrid vehicle research and manufacturing. However no direct incentives for electric vehicles were announced.

Dr-Pawan-Goenka2

‚ÄúWe did expect an announcement on incentives for electric vehicles which did not come through‚ÄĚ –¬†Dr. Pawan Goenka, Executive Director, Mahindra & Mahindra Ltd.

Reduced Excise Duty Rates to be retained for now

The interim budget saw an announcement for reduced excise duty. This has been extended and the industry hopes that these rates of duty are extended even into the next calendar year.

pic_author_1393578004_temp

‚ÄúExcise duty benefits announced in the interim budget have been extended till December 2014 and any further changes would depend on the demand in the automotive sector in the next five months.‚ÄĚ ‚Äď Abdul Majeed, Partner, Price Waterhouse Coopers

No Measures for the Commercial Vehicle industry

The commercial vehicle segment has seen slump for more than 2 years now. No measures have been taken for the recovery of this sector. However, indirect measures such as emphasis on growth in infrastructure and manufacturing sector will help boost Commercial Vehicle Industry growth.

xBL13_SHRIRAM-TPT-F_1516266f.jpg.pagespeed.ic.FHI_NeL2eY

‚ÄúWith mining activity expected to pick up, we also expect a demand trigger for commercial vehicles which has been seeing negative growth till now,‚ÄĚ -Umesh Revankar, MD,¬†Shriram Transport Finance Co.

Reduced Steel Prices & Elimination of Customs Duty on Auto Components

Steel is one of the most important input material used in the industry.The elimination of customs duty will be a relief to companies who are trying hard to localize components to keep production costs under check. This is a huge boost we hope to see some of it being passed on to the consumer.

nissan_gt_academy_2

‚ÄúAspects like the continuation of excise duty concessions along with reduction in steel prices and elimination of customs duty on auto components bode well for the sector.‚ÄĚ ‚Äď Kencichiro Yomura, President, Nissan India

Investment Allowance

A proposed allowance of 15% to companies who invest more than 25 crore in a year in new plant and machinery. This is expected to stay for 3 years.

Bottom Line: 

Although the industry expected bolder reforms, measures such as reduced steel prices, extension of excise duty concession and elimination of customs duty of auto components are all a silver lining for the industry. The overall budget has tried to balance from all quarters. The budget is realistic with a long-term view rather than a quick fix treatment and has stayed away from populist measures.

Face Off : Hyundai i20 vs Maruti Suzuki Swift

The Hatchback segment is a heavily contended area of the Indian market. Although a multitude of cars from various manufacturers have entered the fray over the past five years, two names have managed to always stay on top:  Maruti Suzuki and Hyundai. The Swift and i20 have been clashing against each other for years now and with both offering a host of features and space at a reasonable price point, the battle in this segment eventually became a two horse race between the Suzuki Swift and Hyundai i20.

Lets take a look at what makes both these hatchbacks so successful and what may be the better choice for you as a buyer.

Exterior:

Swift:

The current gen Swift is more of an evolution from the previous generation than a full blown facelift. As a result merely the dimensions of the headlights and taillights have been changed. While many consider the new look to be more contemporary, the Swift falls a little behind the competition in this department. However, the finish and choice of colours have greatly improved over the first model and the car makes for a far more premium offering.

Verdict: 7/10

i20:

Hyundai‚Äôs latest fluidic design philosophy greatly aided the ailing company‚Äôs fortunes around the world. With the launch of the Fluidic Verna, the company revived its sales figures to even displace Indian heavyweight Maruti from the top spot in multiple segments. Following the phenomenal success of the Verna, Hyundai applied the very same design methodology to the i20. While the previous generation i20 was criticized for its plane Jane looks, the new i20 is far more edgy in terms of design. Free flowing lines emanating from the hexagonal grille run across the body of the hatchback add to the hatchback‚Äôs ‚Äúfluidic‚ÄĚ nature.

Verdict: 7.5/10

Interior:

Swift:

Maruti has made tremendous strides with the interior of the Swift. Replacing the conventional beige and grey colours with an all-black cabin vastly improved the car’s upmarket feel. The dashboard has been thoroughly redone with high grade plastics and quality buttons. However, we do find some evidence of cost cutting with some areas where fit and finish isn’t entirely perfect.

The integrated music system is far more appealing and features steering mounted controls. Although the peak volume is quite impressive, cabin acoustics could have been fairly better. Though this can be fixed with after-market speakers.

Cabin space is good but not exceptional with even tall passengers sitting at the back in adequate comfort.

Verdict: 7/10

i20:

The i20’s interiors are one of the best around. The premium plastics and chrome touches across the dash improve on the premium feel of the car. The blue ambient lighting is quite pretty when compared to the rather low key white light of the Swift. The music system features the conventional USB, iPod, AUX In inputs, however, the car’s acoustics are excellent and give the passengers an immersive experience.

One major flaw of the i20’s infotainment system is the positioning of the rather small monochrome screen. The size, position and control units for the display is simply not ergonomically sound.

Verdict: 7/10

Under The Hood:

The Swift and i20 are powered by both petrol and diesel units. For the purposes of the comparo, we will be considering the petrol variants of both cars.

Swift:

The Swift is powered by an updated 1.2 L engine that features variable valve timing that improves performance and fuel efficiency. The new chassis has improved weight reduction, which means the power to weight ratio of the current gen Swift is one of the best in its class. The petrol mill churns out 85 HP @ 6000 RPM with a peak torque of 114 Nm hitting at 4000 RPM. Although the claimed mileage is 18.6 km/L, the Swift gives about 14 Р16 km/L in the real world. Still a commendable job from the little hatch.

Verdict: 8/10

i20:

The i20 is powered by a similar specked engine and also offers the latest in tech wizardry to ensure maximum fuel efficiency and performance. The 1.2 L four cylinder engine puts out 82.8 HP @ 6000 RPM and 113 Nm of torque @ 4000 RPM. However, the Hyundai hatch is much larger and heavier and as a result performance takes a big hit. Although claimed mileage is 18 km/L, the i20 gives about 12/13 km/L in city traffic conditions. Despite the lack of power, the engine is extremely refined and quiet even beyond 4000 revs. Hyundai has done an impressive job with cabin noise insulation as well.

Verdict: 7/10

Performance:

Swift:

One can argue that the Swift does not posses the refinement of the i20 or the features, however despite its shortcomings in build quality and the like, the Swift runs circles ’round the i20 when it comes to the drive. The Swift has always been a tuner’s favorite and for a good reason, with a superb rev happy engine and good power to weight ratio, the Swift is an absolute blast to drive. Brakes are strong and responsive and react well when put under test. Gear shifts are smooth and the gearbox works with minimal fuss. The turning radius is better than the i20 and the car also offers good rear visibility. Given that it is a Maruti, spare parts are also easily accessible and cheap.

Verdict: 8.5/10

i20:

The i20 is a bit of a disappointment here. With a hatchback this large, you would think that Hyundai would put a more powerful engine under the bonnet. Sadly however, the 1.2 L petrol mill provides poor low end torque and as a result the car fails to pull away when you need it the most. Although noise insulation is impressive, Hyundai has skimped on the engine to provide more features. While many may consider a feature loaded car as a value for money product, the i20 fails to impress as a driver’s car. The brakes, despite providing adequate braking capability, feel spongy and lack the bite that the Swift offers.

Verdict: 7.5/10

Verdict:

While both cars are placed in the same segment and cost about the same, the Swift and i20 belong to totally different worlds. While one tugs and pulls at your heart, the other makes a whole lot more sense. One is meant to be driven while the other is meant to be driven in.

maruti suzuki swift
The Maruti Suzuki Swift

So for the better driver’s car, it has and will always be the Maruti Suzuki Swift. However, for the more feature loaded and spacious of the two, our pick would definitely be the Hyundai i20.

2012 hyundai i20
The Hyundai i20

Image Sources: Maruti Suzuki, Hyundai

Visit Maruti Suzuki India Website: http://www.marutisuzuki.com

Visit Hyundai India Website: www.hyundai.com/in

All you need to know about Car stock piling

Yup these are brand new parked cars ! Read ahead ūüôā

Treasure_Trove1

The cars shown above are not parked cars near a cricket stadium or a football stadium. They are just brand new cars, each waiting for a owner for years. I mean waiting for a sale. There are so much brand new cars that are stored in the companies yards, that soon they will be running out of space in coming days !  Waiting in the sun and rain for years and years there is even a good possibility for the paints to faint and rubber tires to rot !

The car companies pay top dollar ( ie. in billions ) to maintain the nest of these cars spanning across acres of land ( but would never sell these cars at low prices ! ). Even at the rate of so much piling up of cars in the yards, the companies still expect to sell the cars at a higher rate Рbut who is there to buy?

Treasure_Trove2

Current Scenario:

The assembly line manufactures cars every minute Рbut this needs to change as every home already has a car and the process of buying is changed the more people are satisfied with what they have already. The car companies on the other hand, will not stop their production as that may lead to heavy loss and closure of their factories Рwhich may result in tens & thousands of people loosing their jobs. The current stats say that near 5000 cars are made every week but hardly 1500 are being sold Рand the remaining are sent to the stock area. Experts say that cars are already used by every individual in developing countries and there is not much demand. So they expect a reduction of production units to happen & this will continue until the population of people equals that of cars.

Car production giants like Nissan, Honda and Hyundai etc. are going for creating new technologies in cars and are also expanding costly segments in highly populated countries like India where there is a need of a good car still. But in countries like India the market for costly segment is low when compared to others¬†–¬†so, companies are producing large units of cars depending on order and forecast but finally the demand fall’s when a new car hits the¬†market. For example, the Nano cars (¬†a¬†TATA MOTORS product ) is cheap and especially made for the Indian market… but eventually what happened? only 1600 units are being sold out every week and the remaining 5400 takes 4 months are more to sell & are stock piled in their yards. The astonishing thing is¬†TATA motors has already entered a new project called Nano twist production. What will happen to the remaining un-sold cars in the yard ? – no body knows !

When coming to NISSAN, the giant itself was not able to escape from this stock piling issue. In the SUNDERLAND CITY the production of NISSAN MICRA AND NISSAN NOTE has been stopped due to high stock without equivalent sales and they have cleverly moved their channels to export and establishment in china and India. Even FORD and MAHINDRA are facing similar stock piling problem in their sedan sections (But the XUV and Ecosport have somehow made their ways up the ladder ). With regards to Fiat, the sale has been dropping from 2012 t0 2014 Рas they have their share of stock piling as well.

Factors Contributing to Stock Piling:

In general the most expensive cars and high demand cars need ordering and correlated ERP and SAP tools that will look after the manufacturing of no. of units very closely. In real time the units that are ordered will take 4 to 6 months of deliver time & in this period another 10 companies releases similar versions of 10 more models of cars Рto reason the competitive advantage. Now these new releases will become more sophisticated cars in the segment thus making the original model an old model ( which eventually no one will buy )

Treasure_Trove3

Image note : Crushing of cars (at one shot 100 cars are crushed into a cube.)

In mean time, the Aftermarket segment is gaining a lot of market, by supplying each and every part of a car( For eg: if a car meets with an accident, the next day the customer will visit the aftermarket shop and buy products than choosing OEM for repair ). Also Remodeling, extra-fittings, default option etc.  are available in today’s market. A healthy car market is created only when people buy cars Рuse it for a period of time & than buy a new one. But due to these after markets, people keep using the same car for generations !

 

The raise & fall of Iconic automobiles in India

What is that common between Me, Birlas, Morris Motors Limited, Kolkata and Oxford (United Kingdom)?

Its the Hindustan Ambassador car or Amby as it’s fondly called as.

Automobile Icons:

Hindustan Motors Limited (HM) was setup in 1942 before Indian independence by B.M.Birla. The initial operations started in an assembly plant in Gujarat. Later the assembly plant was shifted to Kolkata, West Bengal. Hindustan Ambassador car was based on Morris Oxford model manufactured by Morris Motors Limited in United Kingdom. Another great car manufactured by Hindustan Motors was the Contessa. Hindustan Ambassador car and Contessa both was popular among government officials and politicians. Both the cars at their time were all about Status, Style and Prestige.

Bajaj Auto Company started its Bajaj Scooter production from 1972. The first model was 2 stroke engines with 150cc named as Bajaj Super. The original design of Bajaj super was based on Piaggio’s Vespa. Later Bajaj Chetak was produced and it was named as Chetak, after the Indian warrior king Rana pratap singh’s horse.

Bajaj Scooter_Ambassador Car

Ride to a Dead end:

Hindustan Motors finally suspended their production of the Ambassador Car. The reasons cited were, not much demand from the consumers and lack of funds to continue their production. Bajaj Scooter was stopped more or less for the same reason. Both these vehicles lost their dominance in the market. In the dynamic market place, consumers have more options, their tastes kept changing and aggressive competition came from Indian, global manufacturers. They slowly started to vanish in the recent decade before it perished.

The modern motorbike/car/scooter buyer wants latest technology, safety, comfort and lower emissions. Companies like Maruti, Royal Enfield read the mindset of the buyer to manufacture vehicles like Maruti Alto, Royal Enfield Classic 350 cc and Classic 500 cc etc.. These vehicles are retro styled with latest technology advancements. This made them to survive in the market and to score in their sales chart.

The general¬†opinion is that Hindustan Motors, Bajaj Auto’s lack of interest, to improve the quality and add technology advancements was the foremost reason for the declined sales which eventually lead to complete halt. The same happened to Contessa or Conti which was manufactured based on General Motors Vauxhall victor FE. The Bajaj Auto Company should have tried something in the lines of Honda Activa and Piaggio Vespa, considering the fact that every 4th two wheeler sold in India is a Scooter. Scooter is a 2 wheeler but carried 4 souls (entire family). Both the Ambassador Car and Chetak scooter enjoyed a loyal customer base that was built in their heydays which span more than a few decades. An opportunity was missed by the manufacturers. Many car and scooter enthusiasts started to remodel these vehicles for their value. I used to drive my cousin‚Äôs old remodeled Ambassador Car fitted with an Isuzu engine. It‚Äôs absolutely fun, riders pride and collectors favorite. Most of the latest cars of this price range cannot match with the Ambassador car’s seat comfort.

Bottom-Line:

Classic cars/motorbikes/scooters are simpler to work on, made for pure driving experience, rider‚Äôs pride, have character and soul. It can‚Äôt be explained in words or paper. As an enthusiast, coupled with our nostalgic memories, most of us feel to voice our opinions about our favorite marque. Our thoughts are ‚Äúthe Company should have done this or they should have build that‚ÄĚ instead of stopping the production once and for all. At the end of day its business and they would have discarded it considering various factors too. Whatever the case maybe, there is a proclamation in few countries when new monarch‚Äôs accession to the throne ‚ÄúLong live the King‚ÄĚ. I would echo the same for Amby and Chetak which has now became old classics. Vacuum created by them can never be filled.