Delhi Auto Expo 2012: A curtain raiser

Soumendra Mitra

January 7, 2012 - Yes, the day will indeed ‘kick up quite a bit of dust’, literally. The zigzag of the wheels will turn into a high-pitch marketing blitzkrieg at Delhi’s auto jamboree, ‘Delhi Auto Expo 2012’ is all set to see the launch of as many as 55 cars. With the archetypal notion of “how the buy will benefit me”, to put it in other words, “value-for-money”, the car manufacturers this time around seem to have customized themselves to suit the consumers’ needs unlike in the previous 10 editions.

Here, at Zeebiz.com, we raise the curtain to provide you a sneak peek of the three show-stoppers that will be the cynosure of all the car lovers during the week-long event.

Despite all the sectoral blues and fall in sales, the country’s leading car manufacturer, Maruti will use the platform to resurrect itself and take the battle to new heights with its Ertiga. To be launched in the Multi-Utility-Vehicle (MUV) sub-segment with a price tag of around Rs 7.5 lakh, Maruti Ertiga will be available in both petrol (1.4 litre engine) and diesel (1.3 litre engine) variants. With maximum power of over 90 bhp, the MUV will wish not to emulate the Versa way, which proved to be a complete failure in this segment.

But the grapevine has it that Maruti officials are gung-ho about the runaway success of Ertiga, courtesy its affordability factor. An MUV at a price of just Rs 7 lakh, flaunting a K-series engine which makes it more fuel efficient, the beauty from Maruti will face tough competition from the already established players such as Toyota Innova, Chevrolet Tavera, Tata Aria and Tata Sumo in the market.

However, the bottom line is already being dubbed as the favourite of the Indian family, the low maintenance nature of Maruti cars in general and budget-friendly price in particular, will work wonders for the Indo-Japanese venture to drive into the new year on a high.

Along with Maruti, it has to be Hyundai that will draw both eye-balls and foot-falls at its stall with its Sonata. At a time when companies are trying to figure out what the customers want, Hyundai has been able to make the choice for them. In the luxury sedan segment, through its Sonata, Hyundai plans to make a definite mark in the category of big cars.

With an enviable 2.4 litre (petrol) engine and a maximum power of 165 bhp, Hyundai would like to take the battle to its rival camp. But if you are expecting a Hyundai’s sedan Vs Maruti’s MUV battle, then check your horses right away as both the cars are poles apart not only in terms of features and segments, but also market expectations.

Packaged with some high-end features and soothing interiors, Sonata’s competition will be with the likes of Honda Accord, Toyota Camry and Volkswagen Passat. However, what gives Sonata the edge over existing players in the market is the realistic desire of driving it at a price of just Rs 17 lakh.

The other in line is the Ford Ecosport. Well aware of its low brand equity in the Indian market, Ford this time around has hit the right button with its Ecosport. With fuel efficiency being the yardstick for fathoming the success of a vehicle in the Indian market, Ford seems to have got its combination right with Ecosport. Apart from being fuel efficient, its 1.5 litre engine and bhp of 118 will propel it to the ranks of Mitsubishi Outlander, Mahindra XUV500, Hyundai Tuscon and Maruti Grand Vitara.

The 11th edition of Delhi Auto Expo has already created quite a buzz with the full-fledged launch of Bajaj’s first four-wheeler, RE60 on the anvil (the vehicle has already been unveiled). Going by the mood and improved auto sales figures of December, predictions are that the salad-days of the auto sector are on the cards. And no blues this time…

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