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Old 24th January 2010, 11:10   #61
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American Bow tie takes over the German lightning as GM's core brand as an Indo-Italian alliance marks the rising of Fiat from the ashes.
But, a legend dies into the sunset...

2006 starts off at a promising note, the auto expo showcasing many launches in the coming year.
  • HM-Mitsubishi relaunch the Pajero 3.2 as the Montero.
  • HM-Mitsubishi release the much awaited 9th generation Lancer-the CEDIA. Powered by 2.0L petrol motor, it makes 115 ps and is available in elegence and sport models. Priced at 9.87 lakh ex-Delhi.
  • Honda unveils the latest global bestseller, the CIVIC, powered by 1.8 i-vtec motor. Launched in July in 1.8 S manual and auto versions, it is priced at 11,60-12,40 lakh respectively
  • CR-V is refreshed
  • Ford showcases the fiesta and launches 2 new diesel varients
  • Ford endeavour launched some time back.
However, the biggest news come from 2 companies.

GM decides to phase out the opel brand and by May, all corsa varients are pulled out. Vectra is also pulled out due to dismal sales.

It showcases 3 products earmarked for launch:
  • Aveo Sedan, launched in March, just after it makes its world debut in Shanghai Motor show. Based on the old 2000 Daewoo Kalos sedan platform, the exterior gets a complete makeover, so does the interior. The whole design is conceived by GM's PATAC (Pan Asian technical Assistance Center), China.
  • Aveo Sedan is pitted directly at rival fiesta and is priced at the same bracket. Power comes from 1.4 and 1.6 ETEC-II motor, launched at base, LS and LT models.
  • July sees the launch of the country's first C-segment hatch-the Optra SRV. Based on optra platform and sold as Daewoo Lacetti 5 worldwide, it is priced at a premium and is powered with the same optra's lacklustre 1.6 motor. Lots of wild accessories are offered but asking for a premium meant that sales are just-dismal.
  • The General's first proper hatchback-the corsa sail replacement AVEO UVA, was pegged to launch in april but was pushed back to December as GM shelved plans to launch with 1.4 to take benefit of excise cut.
  • So, the company spent the next 7 months in re-engineering an India specific car with a 1.2 S-TEC motor.
  • The U-VA, nothing but a facelifted 2002 Daewoo Kalos, was finally launched in December 2006 to compete with the swift and getz. Three variants-base, LS and LT are offered and the car is psychologically priced below 4 lakhs for the base model to compete with the swift, which is commanding a waiting period, despite some initial rumors of the car's poor fuel consumption.
Tata-Fiat alliance:
  • Ratan Tata announces that Tata Fiat are entering into a Joint Venture which will involve selling and distribution of select Fiat cars (Palio 1.2, 1.6 and adventure) through Tata showrooms.
  • The alliance will then have its operations started at Fiat's new plant at Ranjangaon, Pune from 2007 onwards.
  • Production stops at Fiat's historic Kurla plant which is severely damaged due to last year's July 26 floods. End of an era.
  • First sightings of next gen Tata X1 begin to appear on the web.
  • First sightings of a new Fiat car also begin to appear.
  • Sole Fiat dealerships, selling diesel Fiat cars and Petra, slowly begin to either wind down or convert to Tata-Fiat outlets.
  • Tata dealers begin to sell and service Fiat cars.
  • Tata showcases the long wheelbase Indigo sedan, indiva and Xover concept at the expo.
Other launches:
  • Hyundai launches its much awaited assault at the high end mid size segment, the Verna. Internationally it is the next generation accent but in India it continues to sell along with it, at a higher price.
  • Accent CRDi, Viva and 1.6 phased out eventually.
  • Mid 2005, Hyundai Launched all new Sonata Embera.
  • Verna is powered by all new 1.6 CVVT petrol motor and an all new 4 pot 1.5 CRDi VGT diesel. The diesel, with its combination of brutal performance and quality interiors, starts to become an enthusiast's choice. Prices are between 6.25-9 lakhs.
  • Ford phases out the ikon 1.6 to make way for the Fiesta. Only the ikon 1.3, remaned as ikon flair, remains to compete with the accent, which continues to be produced as a sole GLE 1.5 model. Esteem, meanwhile goes on...
  • Audi launches its assault at the C class-the reskinned 2005 A4 at the auto expo and sales begin by march. It is priced lower than the C class.
Death of a legend:

Dwindling sales takes its toll as Maruti phases out one of India's much loved hatchback-the ZEN, by June 2006. More than 7,50,000 are sold by then, and a large number are also exported.
While the old Zen dies, the brand Zen's strength is too difficult to ignore as Maruti relaunches it in December as a completely different car.
Based on the 2001 Suzuki MR wagon, it shares its chassis with the alto and the Indian Wagon R and is powered by the same motor as its tall boy cousin. Launched in funky shades of red, yellow, purple, blue, green etc, it is called as the ZEN ESTILO. Priced competitively, it immediately goes on a month's waiting. Lady buyers are also impressed and many ladies can be seen driving this car. But will it succeed in long term? Only time will tell.

The Wagon R, also gets its second major facelift with new front, rear and interiors to compete with the refreshed e-rlx santro, which continues to sell strongly.

2006 also witnesses the FIFA world cup in Germany, won by Italy after defeating France in a penalty shootout.

The entertainment industry was preparing foe a new wave of musical reality shows, with the commencement of Indian Idol 2 and SRGMP challenge 2005 drawing its end. 24 hour news channels were a rage, as one channel was being opened after another. Saas Bahu sagas were beginning to fizzle out, so did Jassi who underwent a makeover from a behenji to a good looking babe.
Bollywood meanwhile continued to offer decent entertainment and Abhishek Bachchan's career started to rise from this year onwards.

Now, as 2006 closes, 2007 promises to be even more exciting.

As the empire launches a flagship product, the second sporting extravaganza will start at the Caribbean..

Itihaas is baat ka gawah hai ki cars come and cars go, but some legends remain, as a legend will make a comeback after a 5 year hiatus...

While the year will witness some botox treatments, the luxury car market will witness a dramatic entry to rattle the superstar, which was just enjoying success after success.

Kaun hai woh jo sitaron ko khallas karne aa raha hai?
Aur kaun hai woh jo itihaas wapas rachyega?

Find out soon.....

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Last edited by sidindica : 24th January 2010 at 11:13.
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Old 24th January 2010, 12:59   #62
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Sid this thread brings some of my life's fine memories.Thanks very much.
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Old 24th January 2010, 13:37   #63
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That was an impressive narrative!

But, the real India Auto Industry displaying innovation, quick thinking, expediency works like this: "XXXXX: The Hand-crafted Car" - IndiaImpressive.Com :: Maruta ? The Handcrafted Car
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Old 24th January 2010, 14:20   #64
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Very impressive narration again Sid. Waiting for the 'itihaas wapas rachanewala'
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Old 24th January 2010, 15:31   #65
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Going through Sid's write up, is like eating Butter Paneer Masala.
Amazing way to revisit the past. As and along I read the narration, I feel like growing myself. Thanks Sid for the great stuff.
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Old 24th January 2010, 19:02   #66
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The year 2007 marks the celebration of 60 years of India's independence and also the "People's President", Dr. APJ Abdul Kalam, will be succeeded by the country's first lady President, Smt. Pratibha Patil.


Matiz makes a "spark"ling comeback while the ultimate driving machine wants to reach for the stars.
So, Fiat decides to "stile"ise itself.
The empire, meanwhile, launches a diesel blockbuster as Hyundai tells SRK to catch the I.

2007 starts on a promising note, with Tata launching its most expensive passenger car, the LWB Indigo XL grand in 1.4 16v DOHC 100 bhp petrol and 1.4 16v DOHC 75 bhp dicor CRDi diesel versions, both new motors being an evolution of current ones.

The car is loaded with every first class amenities that a passenger in a 747 enjoys, including a top class on board entertainment system (first seen on Indigo SX), rear AC vents and leather seats with enormous legroom. 747 performance and refinement is however not part of the package. Priced closer to NHC territory, initial sales are encouraging but complaints with dicor's fuel pump and brand perception of Tata as a "cheap" car maker means that demand tapers of prematurely.

While the 747 jumbo jet is long part of Air India's fleet, Maruti debuts the Multi-Jet diesel under license from Fiat under the hood of its flagship-the swift. The car is India's first CRDi powered enthusiast's diesel small car and all the positives of swift are carried over with the addition of that excellent torquey fuel efficient powerplant. The craze becomes even higher and despite the 4.7-5.25 lakh price, the car commands a huge 2-3 month wait list, a fact that remains unbeaten even today. Clearly, the swift DDIS is on the way to become another blockbuster from the Maruti stable.

It coincides with the inauguration of Maruti's new diesel engine plant at its new greenfield facility, Manesar. Those who purchase the swift DDIS can't stop revving and raving about it. within months, every college, UG or PG, swift DDIS becomes a common sight. Its positioning of an enthusiast's diesel car clearly pays off. New colour-pearl metallic arctic white, becomes a rage and commands even a bigger wait list. It even sells at a premium of 30,000 at some dealerships. It is made available in LDI, VDi and VDi ABS models.

The ultimate driving machine wants to make the future of the automobile a thing of the past.

The year also marks an entry of the third German brand-BMW, which had just constructed a spanking new plant in the outskirts of Chennai where it begins assembling the 3 series as SKDs.

While the 5 series, 7 series and X5 are imported, the 3 series is formally launched at C class price territory, with more features and engine options. The car becomes a certified hit and C class sales take a beating.

This marks the beginning of the German 3 way cola war. Between Mercedes Benz, BMW and Audi. Audi, meanwhile continues its role as an importer and sells cars. It will expand in the coming years.

Matiz Reloaded but will it ignite a spark in the small car market?

One of India's most loved cars, the matiz becomes an object of discussion when rumours start to grow that it will be relaunched in India under a new name-The CHEVROLET SPARK.

The car is formally launched in April 2007, after about 18 months delay in a process to localise components and validate the car for our roads. The basic chassis and front suspension are carryover from the old matiz, whereas the body, interior and rear suspension are new, so is the improved steering geometry. On paper, at least, the car's combination of cute looks, refined performance and superb mileage, ride, handling, stability and good space in a compact footprint meant that the santro is under threat.

But when the price is announced, all that hoopla would become a thing of the past. Just as Daewoo goofed up with the pricing of the matiz at launch in fall 1998, GM prices the spark out of contention, at least 20,000-30,000 rupees above competition. The price of 3,09,000 for a non ac model does not look exactly like a steal.

While GM does have a limited production capacity as a new plant is still under construction at Talegaon, the response of the spark is not exactly encouraging. Rivals start even bigger discounts and cars like santro and Wagon R sell even more briskly.

Unbelievable but true, come october, just after 6 months after the spark is launched, GM starts giving brutal discounts of upto Rs. 30,000 in the spark. Clearly, it is the case of wrong product pricing, though right positioning. Many ladies are seen driving the spark, highlighting its easy to drive and cheerful user friendly nature.

The Zen estilo sales do drop after all that initial hoopla but the percentage drop is not that bad. The culprit-discounted wagon R.

Hyundai, meanwhile, is on the verge on launching its new global kei-car, the I 10, the world debut of which is performed in India. This also marks the first time that a global MNC has chosen India as the sole exclusive production hub of the I 10, in Chennai, as a new plant is inaugrated which will also export the same to global markets.

Its available in 5 models, including the one with sunroof! Despite the higher price, its combination of quality interiors, sound engineering and Hyundai's reputation as a maker of quality small cars means that after the Santro, this is another blockbuster that Hyundai desperately needed after its terracan, tucson, sonata embera, getz and elantra flopped in the market.

ShahRukh Khan is appointed as the brand ambassador and Hyundai spends huge amount in marketing and PR to make the I10 a success at any cost.

Powering the I10 is an evolved and a torquier version of 1.1 epsilon motor, but since it has to pull a car that is considerably heavier than the Santro, performance and mileage is just modest. But despite its small drawbacks, the well rounded nature of the I10 is a new benchmark for kei-cars in India and it goes on to win all the publications' COTY awards in 2007.

Other Launches:
  • Ford Endeavour, the then SUV king, is refreshed and a TDCi motor is also added to make the package even more competitive.
  • Skoda launched its new gen Octavia, the Laura in 2006
  • Honda, meanwhile launches its all new second generation CR-V and refreshes its accord with LED taillights.
  • Rival Toyota launches its all new redesigned 2007 Camry in 2.4 MT and AT versions in March. The world gets to see the all new corolla in 2007, but India will get it later.
  • Mitsubishi again refreshes the pajero and drops the price of cedia.
  • Nissan launches its sedan the teana to counter the camry and accord. Powered by 2.3 V6 with 4 speed AT, sales are dismal.
ICC World Cup 2007

The year 2007 also witnesses Cricket's biggest sporting event-the ICC world cup 2007 in the Caribbean, with Australia Defeating Sri Lanka to claim their 3rd consecutive world cup title.

The entertainment industry continued its usual overdose of daily soaps without any sops, and musical shows now included kids as participants (SRGMP Lil Champs VS SVOI Chotte Ustad) and news channels continued to go berserk with new "jyotish vidya and grahan stuff etc." Kya kisi channel pe us samay grahan lag gaya kya?

The DTH market witnessed the entry of new players. Food prices began to rise.

Bollywood meanwhile continued to entertain us with hits like:
  • Om Shanti Om
  • welcome
  • chak de India
  • partner
  • taare zameen par
  • jab we met
  • apne
  • namestey London
  • comedies like Bhul Bhulaiyaa and Hey Babyy
TZP became a cult film, so did Chak De, another landmark movie showcasing the plight of Indian Women's hockey team. Aamir's hairstyle in TZP became a new fashion within the Indian Youth.

June 2007 witnessed an anonymous member joining team bhp.

So, as 2007 draws to a close, 2008 will be one of the biggest years in the Indian auto industry as new segments will be created and multiple launches will take place, all fighting it out for an even bigger share of the pie.

A company will perform a pentagonal launch whereas a new legend will be re-incarnated, as the year will also prove to be a landmark for Indian sports as history will be created, so will be for team bhp with a world exclusive.

Kisi ne sach hi kaha hai:

The winner takes it all, the loser's standing small.
Besides the victory, that's a destiny....

Who will win? And whose destiny will change?

Find out soon.......

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Last edited by sidindica : 24th January 2010 at 19:11.
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Old 24th January 2010, 21:19   #67
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This may sound stupid (and irrelevant), but I could not figure what bollywood or sports had anything to do with the evolution of "hatchback wars" in India. Same goes for the tsunami, floods, earthquakes (maybe you forgot this one), plane hijackings/bombings, decline of the "Gandhi family" or presidents of India.

But really, Sanjay Gandhi's GF was called Maruti? Either you or him have got to be joking!
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Old 24th January 2010, 21:53   #68
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Take a bow my friend! I didn't want to disrupt the flow of the thread but still! Can I request the mods to arrange Sid's posts in order and move the rest to the end once Sid has finished. It will be an all-time classic.
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Old 24th January 2010, 22:03   #69
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Originally Posted by Zen2001 View Post
But really, Sanjay Gandhi's GF was called Maruti? Either you or him have got to be joking!
Its not a joke, its a fact. Maruti's full name was Maruti Mohan, she belonged to the family of Mohan nagar, Ghaziabad based Mohan Meakins, makers of Mohans Cornflakes.

She was one time GF of Mr. Sanjay Gandhi.

In 1971, Prime Minister Indira Gandhi's Cabinet proposed the production of a 'People's car' - a cheap, affordable and efficient indigenous machine that middle-class citizens could afford. While Sanjay had no experience, design proposal or tie-ins with any corporation, he was awarded the contract and the exclusive production license.

Maruti, today India's premier automobile manufacturing corporation, was founded by Sanjay Gandhi, but the company did not produce any vehicles during his lifetime.

test model put out as a showpiece of progress was criticized. (PIC OF THE SAME CAR POSTED BELOW FROM TEAM-BHP ARCHIVES)

Public perception turned against Sanjay Gandhi, and many began to speculate of growing corruption. Sanjay Gandhi then contacted Volkswagen AG from West Germany for a possible collaboration, transfer of technology and joint production of the Indian version of the People's Car (Maruti) since VW had previously built and sold 'People's car' in Germany under the name 'VW Beetle' which was a big hit worldwide. Also Suzuki Motor Corporation of Japan was contacted to present their design and feasibility of their car to be manufactured in India. Suzuki came to know that the Government of India had contacted Volkswagen AG from West Germany as a possible supplier, it did everything to oust VW from the race to produce India's first People's Car (Maruti 800).

It provided the Government a feasible Design of their 'Model 796' (another big hit in Japan and East Asian countries).

(excerpts in italics from wikpedia)

Hope this clears your doubts. And I always like to write in a "hatke" manner, my friend.
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Old 24th January 2010, 22:33   #70
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[quote=sidindica;1697990]Its not a joke, its a fact. Maruti's full name was Maruti Mohan, she belonged to the family of Mohan nagar, Ghaziabad based Mohan Meakins, makers of Mohans Cornflakes.

She was one time GF of Mr. Sanjay Gandhi.

Well, then it's Mr Gandhi then! I wonder what the poor girl had done to her parents to deserve that name!

I also cannot fathom why a company like TATA could not generate the kind of trust in the minds of their customers regarding reliability of after sales service as SUZUKI managed with MSIL. I agree there are many "political" issues here, but TATA should have not allowed themselves to be "pushed over".

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Old 25th January 2010, 13:51   #71
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The year of launches, scoops, controversies and milestones

Tata is in cloud 9 as it exhibits its biggest display of products ever.
  • 2008 marks a milestone year as the world awaits to see the cheapest new passenger car on earth-the TATA NANO.
  • The car, to be available that fall, is displayed at the biggest ever auto expo that takes place in Delhi. Promised to be priced at 1 lakh rupees ex-factory, it is displayed in several varients, non ac, ac and deluxe respectively. But how will the public react to it? More on that later.
The full nano unveiling ceremoney can be seen below:

  • Besides the nano, the next most important car displayed is the all new second generation indica, called the INDICA VISTA. While only a handful of details are given at the time of unveiling, no concrete details are available before its commercial launch sometime in August.
  • But, the world gets to see full details here first on team-bhp after the brochure is leaked. Priced competitively, and powered by 3 engine choices that include a safire 1.2 (fiat fire motor), the quadrajet 1.3 (fiat multijet motor) and TDI 1.4 (Tata' own 474 IDI), it is priced cheaper than its prime competitor, the swift ddis, and initial response to this first of new generation car is cautious, if not encouraging. About 5500 orders are placed in first full week and the car continues to sell steadily.
  • Another car from Tata that gets a major makeover is the sumo, relaunched as the SUMO GRANDE. While the basic chassis remains the same, the wheelbase is increased and is powered by the new 2.2 dicor motor that powers the safari 2.2 vtt, launched some time back. Exteriors and interiors are also given a major makeover. However, while the concept sounds good and the product seemed improved, and despite getting above average reviews by critics, the car doesn't take off as tata expected it to. The old baggage that carried it was too difficult for consumers to digest.
  • Tata, however, did score a smash hit with the country's first sub 4 metre sedan, the INDIGO CS compact sedan. Its shock pricing that undercutted many hatchbacks virtually created a new segment of its own and buyers wee lapping it in hordes. This affected sales of regular Indigo to a great extent. Power came from 1.2 XETA petrol and 1.4 TDi motor. Later, the 1.4 Dicor was also added.
  • While the Indica Vista was positioned in the higher price bracket, tata also thought to give the old Indica its final shot-it launched the Indica DICOR in the Indian market at the DLG trim level. However, tha product shortlived its cycle, and despite launching it in DLS version later, complaints about fel pumps and reliability problems pulled out the 1.4 Dicor Indica from the market, its place being eventually taken by Indica Vista QJD.
  • Tata also launched the country's first SUT, the XENON XT, powered by 2.2 dicor motor that powers the safari. Priced high and in 4x2 and 4x4 versions, it is aimed at lifestyle buyers and will see limited sales.
Fixed it Again, Tony.
  • Besides Tata, Fiat also prepares an assault at the expo ans showcases 5 products to be launched at the coming months.
  • The first product, the multijet powered Palio, is commercially launched in March in 3 varients-SD, SDE and SDX. Priced decently, Fiat does not target volumes and doesn't deliver either, while its step brother, the swift DDIS still continues to have wait lists. While power comes from the same 1.3 MJD motor, the torque is a bit on the lower side and sound insulation is not good either. Many people see this as a half hearted attempt to desperately get the palio back on track which despite its facelift, sells in dismal numbers.
  • Fiat steps on the gas when it announces a major brand building exercise which includes showroom makeovers to give buyers an international buying experience, and a change in logo from blue to red. Laal dupatte wali, pehla naam kya nila pad gaya tha?
  • July 2008 sees a major European legend being launched in India-Fiat's lifestyle 500, Cinquicento. Priced at north of 15 lakh, it is sure to have only limited takers but initial sales figures are encouraging for a car that wears a Fiat badge. Powering it is the same 1.3 multijet, available in 12 shades and can be customised to more than 500,000 possible combinations, it becomes a fashion icon.
  • Fiat also displays its 3 international stars-the grande punto premium hatchback, the Linea sedan and the C segment lifestyle hatch-the Bravo. All these cars are scheduled to launch later.
Maruti gives "esteem"ed customers a chance to become more "dzire"able.
  • Maruti had phased out its iconic sedan, the esteem the year before and planned to replace it with a swift based sedan. No one knew how it looked like, it was one of MSIL's top secret project, until now.
  • Months prior to launch, team-bhp scored a world exclusive when the car was first scooped and shown to public here. Moreover, it made headlines across the globe.
  • People went berserk over its looks and made bad to worse to worst comments regarding its disastrous styling and even termed the product as a flop. But the outcome was a total anti climax. Its combination of sedan image combined to what the swift brand had created in the minds of Indian public, coupled with shock launch price created ripples in the lower C segment. The public went to book in huge numbers, and the car quickly became the best selling 3 box car in the country. Wait lists soared day by day, stretched to record 9 months to 1 year for the diesel and the car was becoming a common sight day in and day out. Even today the car carries an average wait list of 2-3 months.
Scoop and the City
  • Another car that grabbed headlines was Honda's all new third generation City. No one ever knew how it looked like and what it will be powered by. Until now.
  • Once again, team-bhp was the first to show the world how it will look like. Comments were encouraging and again, the importance of the city in the Indian market cannot be underestimated by Honda. In fact, India had become the largest market in the world for the city, more so than Thailand.
  • Prior to launch, details of the Indian version of the city were revealed here first. Finally, consumers were beginning to get excited when they saw the specs-1.5 i-vtec, 118ps, ABS, dual airbags standard and an estimated price of 8,20,000 for top end manual model.
  • The car was unveiled on September 25, 2008, just 15 days after its Thai launch (remember the Thai city website that crashed the same day?) in 3 models, E, S and S AT, priced from 7.51 lakh onwards. While the ZX continued to be sold aside, bookings started for the new one with scheduled deliveries to be commenced by Diwali.
  • Critics criticized the average quality interiors and skimping of features by Honda, but consumers continued to purchase the car. By December, again Honda scored a winner. So much so that Fiat postponed the launch of Linea thrice.
  • Earlier that year, Honda also launched the all new 2008 Accord, bigger, better and bolder with more safety features and a competitive (for a Honda) price tag at launch.
  • After years of delays, Skoda finally launched its first premium hatchback-the FABIA at the auto expo. Powered by 1.2 petrol, 1.4 petrol and 1.4 TDI PD diesel, it was targeted at a premium buyer by offering quality, features and luxury of a luxury sedan on a hatchback. It was priced like that-at premium with the top diesel model touching north of 8 lakh rupees.
  • Initial response was promising, but alarming complaints began to pour in with respect to the mechanical issues of engine stalling, malfunctioning electrics, failed ACs, and especially breakdowns of 1.4 petrol powered fabias which had serious issue with the Indian fuel compatibility.
  • Skoda's dismal after sales service only added more nails to the fabia's coffin and eventually, admitting that it had committed a blunder by launching the 1.4 petrol motor without proper testing, the motor was pulled out and replaced by the 1.2 motor. The car now started to sell at a discount.
But I go it all...
  • After the success of the I10, Hyundai showcased the second "I" super mini, the I20 at the Paris motor show that year. Abroad, it was available with 7 engine choices, the 1.2 kappa petrol, the 1.4 gamma petrol, the 1.6 gamma petrol, the 1.4 crdi diesel with 75 and 90 bhp options and the 1.6 crdi with 110 and 126 bhp options.
  • Global launch in Paris was followed by its India launch. India, being an extremely price sensitive market, only got the base 1.2 motor first, but the car was packed with a huge list of standard features. Available in 3 varients, it was priced at 4.8 lakhs onwards.
  • Hyundai's I20 was the successor to the getz, but in India, as usual, the getz was not phased out, but it continued to sell alongside, albeit at a higher price point. Hyundai's conservative sales targets of 1,200 units per month was surprising, even to Hyundai, as the car was an unexpected hit for the company. After the success of the I10, the I20 was starting to command a waiting period.
Some other launches:
  • Mitsubishi finally launched the outlander CUV, powered by 2.4 MIVEC motor, priced north of 20 lakh.
  • Toyota launched the 10th version of its global bestseller-the Corolla as the Corolla ALTIS in September. Powered by 1.8 VVT-I motor, it was packed with more equipment and priced surprisingly cheaper than its rival-the Civic. Sure, the rivalries will start again as Civic sales dwindled.
  • Mahindra Renault Logan, launched in 2007 was experiencing a drastic sales drop after the Dzire and the JV's future began to be in jeopardy Still, it kept launching special editions and discounted the product to keep sales afloat.
  • Ford threw another nail in the coffin of Logan by logging off its sales with the re-launch of its refreshed IKON. Facelifted and powered by 1.4 TDCi motor, it was priced shockingly low (for Ford) at just 5,19,000. The petrol was priced even lower, at 4,75,000. The car was back in the game. Once again, team-bhp was the first to show how the car looked like in the metal.
  • Ford also re-ignited the upper midsize segment by launching a refreshed version of its Fiesta sedan. A sporty driver oriented varient, the 1.6 S, was also added and with a retuned chassis and suspension, it was termed as the country's best driver's 3 box car by critics and public alike. The 1.4 petrol motor was discontinued.
  • Volkswagen made a comeback by launching its Jetta and passat sedans targeting the entry luxury and executive segment.
  • Audi's Q7 was the country's bestselling luxury SUV and Porsche launched the refreshed version of its Cayenne SUV.
  • Rolls Royce made a comeback with opening of 2 showrooms-in Delhi and Mumbai and launched its Phantom range of cars here.

2008 will also be remembered as the year of milestones.
  • Maruti completed its 25 years of operations in December
  • Hero Honda also completed its 25 years.
  • Hyundai Celebrated its 10th anniversary.
  • Tata celebrated 10 years of building cars from the Indica platform, and also celebrated the Indica's 10th anniversary by launching the Limited Edition Vista.
Sporting Milestones:

2008 saw the world's biggest sporting extravaganza-the Beiging Summer Olympics.
  • After Leander Paes (Bonze, 1996 Atlanta, tennis), Karnam Malleswari (Bronze, 2000, Sydney, weightlifting) and Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore (Silver, 2004 Athens, shooting), India created history again.
  • Abhinav Bindra bagged the country's first individual gold medal in shooting.
  • Sushil Kumar and Vijender Singh both secure a bronze medal each at boxing.
Disasters and controversies
  • Nano launch delayed after Tata Motors' pulling out of Singur Nano poject after Mamta Banerjee accuses Mr. Ratan Tata of deliberately snatching the land meant for farmers, while West Bengal lost out on the project, Gujarat gained it and a new plant will come out in Sanand.
  • The country reels under a major terrorist attack at the heart of the financial Capital, Mumbai,on 26/11 killing scores of innocent civilians and star police and security officers, targeting the national heritage, the historic Taj hotel and other landmarks.
Entertainment and TV:
  • A new star-Imran Khan is born as his debut film is a certified box office hit.
  • Ghajini is a blockbuster.
  • Singh is King phrase becomes a rage.
Major films like:
  • ghajini
  • rab ne bana di jodi
  • singh is king
  • race
  • golmaal returns
  • jodhaa akbar
  • jaane tu yaa jaane naa
  • dostana
  • fashion
  • bachna ae haseeno
provided lots of entertainment, so did the television where in colors was the new colour of TV. K-labelled Saas-Bahu sagas were finally pulled out and star plus was dethrowned by colors viacom. Balika Vadhu became a cult serial of 2008.

So, while 2008 ends, a major crisis is looming over the horizon, even as the year 2009 will be a one man show...

Wanna know more about it? Find out soon..

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Old 25th January 2010, 19:51   #72
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Fiat wants to make a comeback by drawing a line of fire powered by multijet across 2 points, even as global economic crisis looms over the horizon.
Meanwhile, some unexpected blockbusters are created...

The collapse of US economy started with the Lehmann Brothers fiasco was bad news to start with, adding nails to the coffin were declaration of bankruptcy by two giant corporations, GM and Chrysler. Consumers were skeptical, and around the world, plant closings, drastic job cuts, mergers, acquisitions and above all, bailouts ruled the roost.

As India went into new Lok Sabha Polls, we looked forward to a stable economy and as we elected UPA to power again, the steps taken by the government including the economic stimulus package meant that India was not that affected by recession, even though finding new jobs was difficult that time. B-school placements were heavily affected.

GM had to cut its brands to half, Chrysler merged with Fiat SPA, and Tata, which bought JLR last year also faced heavy losses in the beginning. All in all, it was a pretty dull year to begin with.

Our automobile industry was noe focusing in luxury segment with multiple launches in the past few months, to be carried over this year also. Common man's launches will be covered later.

In the luxury segment:
  • Mercedes Benz's new C class, launched in January 2008, was a certified hit. It toppled the 3 series from the throne and to consolidated its position further, it launched a more powerful version, the C230.
  • Pissed off by the 5 series consistently outselling its dated W211 e class, Mercedes finally launched its much awaited W212 E class pretty earlier than expected, in October, followed by diesel in November. Initial response is good, as sales figures show.
  • Also, the company launched a refreshed version of the M class SUV, even though Audi q7 was the segment leader.
  • Lots of action was sen by Audi of late. First, it announced local assembly of A4 and A6 in Aurangabad Skoda plant.
  • Second, it launched a large number of products in multiple segments. Starting with the A4 3.2 petrol and 2.0 TDi in July 2008, it was followed by R8 4.2 in November.
  • 2009 saw Audi launching its compact luxury SUV, the Q5, in may, powered by 3.0 tdi and 2.0 tfsi petrol motors. Following the Q5 was the facelifted A6 in June. Power came from 4 engines-2.8 and 3.0 supercharged petrols, and 2.7 and 3.0 tdi diesls. The higher modls offered quattro as standard equipment.
  • September also saw Audi launching the facelifted version of its Q7, with a marginal price hike. Power came from 3.0 tdi and 3.6, 4.2 petrol motors.
  • Porsche launched a slew of new models, including the refreshed 911, boxster and cayman range, Cayenne diesel and the much awaited 4 door GT Panamera, which is a worldwide hit for Porsche. 2009 also saw a soap opera between VW and Porsche as Porsche attempted a failed takeover of VW and ran on heavy debt, only to face an anti climax-Porsche being taken over by VW in the coming years!
  • Volkswagen also stepped on the gas by relaunching its passat with new CRDi motor, and launching the iconic beetle and touraeg in December.
  • BMW launched a slew of new cars, starting with the all new 5th generation 7 series, priced between 77.30 lakhs-1.20 crore, followed by facelifted 3 series sedan, and Z4 sports car in september. M3 coupe and converticle were also launched, in addition to M5 and M6, already available earlier. Also, the company launched a diesel model of X3.
  • Jaguar and Land Rover made formal entry into the crowded Indian market when the country's first company owned corporate showroom was opened at Cee Jay house, Mumbai.
  • Products launched include XF saloon, XFR super saloon, XKR coupe and convertible (all 5.0 petrols) and Land Rover launched its full range of products starting from freelander 2,discovery 4, range rover sport and range rover SUV, with various petrol and diesel engines.
  • Rolls Royce formally unveiled the ghost, with deliveries scheduled from Q1 of 2010. It is claimed that all the units allocated for India for the first year are already booked.
  • MB also launched refreshed versions of SLK, SL and CLS that year.
Holy cow, enough of luxuries...we had too much....

Skoda launches new laura and superb at superb price tag....
  • With the fabia being certified as a dud and selling at a discount, skoda turned attention at consolidating its position in the premium luxury and executive segments.
  • In march, skoda launches its redesigned version of a superb car at a superb price tag. Packed with latest TSI and TDi technology and priced on par with the accord, and packed with gadgets and gizmos to the gills, the car was a certified sales hit from day 1. This started the decline period for Honda's accord. The car went on a waiting period for a month and kept outselling the accord for the next 7 months, securing its position as the numero uno in the executive segment. A 3.6 V6 FSI option was added later, priced at north of 25 lakh.
  • 2 months later, the civirolla segment was about to witness another re-launch-the new refreshed laura with 3 engine options-1.8 TSi and 1.9 and 2.0 TDi PD diesels. Pricing was again competitive but sales figures remained staid with the altis consistently outselling it and the civic.
even as Toyota wants to earn huge fortunes by cruising on the land...
  • 2009 will undoubtedly be the year of Toyota. First, it relaunched the refreshed innova, added features and equipment and again, consolidated its leadership in the MUV segment.
  • Second half of 2009 saw the company launching its most expensive and legendary product-the Land Cruiser 200. Priced north of 90 lakhs, it was clearly Toyota's premium brand building exercise before earning a substantial fortune later...
  • ...with its innova based SUV, the FORTUNER. Launched soon after the LC, its all round talent and shock pricing sent shock waves in the premium SUV segment like never before, with more than 6,000 bookings recorded and a 6 month wait list, leading to the car being sold at a premium. Clearly, the wait paid off and Indians got a all round SUV they vouched for. Even today, there is a 4-5 month wait and Toyota has recently ramped up capacity (the car is assembled at Bangalore with CKD kits from Thailand) to cater to the demand.
  • 2009 also saw Toyota launching a facelifted version of its luxury sedan Camry and a redesigned version of its midsize SUV, the land cruiser prado 3.0 diesel, priced at 55 lakhs approx.
...as Chevy chooses to Cruze...
  • GM, well aware of the US bankruptcy situation, advertised heavily on the Indian newspapers about the company's sustainability and that it's operations in India are safe and secure. MD Karl Slym's "there for you, there for India" campaign paid off as surprisingly, spark sales zoomed past 4000 units per month for the first time.
  • In the US, GM was bailed out by the US government and it emerged from bankruptcy, but some brands like Pontiac, Saturn, Hummer and Saab were either closed down or sold to other firms. While Opel, Vauxhall, Buick, Chevrolet, Cadillac, GMC, Hlden and Gm Daewoo will be part of the new GM, Pontiac and saturn will be closed down, Hummer will be sold to Chinese fiem and Saab's future is still uncertain as per the latest news. If sale to spyker is not completed, SAAB will be history.
  • But some things are still rosy here. GM inaugurated its new greenfield facility at Talegaon and started commercial production of spark there.
  • Meanwhile GM launched its comeback world car-the Cruze at a shock price of 10.99-12.45 lakhs ex-showroom, creating ripples at the entry luxury segment. About 1,100 cruzes were pre booked. The car's well rounded nature coupled with a diesel motor meant that success finally knocked Chevy's door. How it will sustain in the long term remains to be seen. Worldwide, it will replace the optra, but in India, the optra will continue to be sold alongside, its future unknown.
  • Also launched were automatic versions of Captiva with AWD and LPG versio of Spark.
...as Ford endeavours the automatic while trying to FIGure Out what to do with the Fusion...

Pissed off by Fortuner grabbing all the headlines, how can segment leader Ford be left behind ?
  • Ford, in an attempt to steal some fortunes, gave the endeavour its second major facelift and finally added a 5 speed auto tranny with 3.0 TDCi 4X4. It was priced at pr with the fortner. But will it equate into better sales? Too early to say, but response is not that encouraging.
  • Alan Mulally, meanwhile, flies down to Delhi sometime in September to preview Ford,s upcoming small car for developing countries-the FIGO. Based on the same MK5 platform that underpins the Fiesta sedan and Fusion UAV, the car is billed to be the cheapest car ever to be build and engineered. But will it relate to cheaper price and how will the India public react to it? Only time will tell.
  • While the fusion's future is uncertain, some dealers have told that the car is phased out to make way for the figo.
But Hyundai wants to transform the Sonata, verna I20 uski jaan le sakti hai.
  • January saw Hyundai refresh its 2 sedans-the Sonata, relaunched as Sonata Transform with modest exterior and major interior face lift and improved engines and driving dynamics. Side and curtain airbags were fiinally added (as options) and power came from 2.4 theta 2 VVT petrol (mated to a 5 speed manual) and 2.0 CRDi diesel (6 speed manual and 4 speed AT tiptronic), priced quite competitively between 14, 85,000-15,90,000 ex-Delhi. Compared to the embera, sales did increase, but still nowhere the superb and accord levels.
  • Also launched was the new 2009 Verna with an optional 4 speed automatic in the CRDi version. Some cosmetic features were added and the grille was new.
  • fresh from the success of the I20, Hyundai launched more engine options-the 1.4 CRDi 90 ps diesel and 1.4 automatic 100 ps petrol gamma VVT. Sales increased t an average of 3,800-4,000 units per month, almost double as compared to current levels. Allocation to Indian markets also increased.
However, Fiat wants to draw a line to prove a point, and Tata wants the public to say," Maan Jaa (Manza) bhai, woh dzire mat le."

Will Fiat be third time lucky? The public gave a cautious answer.
  • After numerous delays, Fiat finally launched its comeback vehicle, the Linea sedan, aiming straight at the Honda City. Shock pricing, 5 varients to suit every budget, assurance of better service and availability of a diesel motor coupled with gorgeous Italian design meant that success finally knocked Fiat's door. While speculations kept growing about the specs and price, Team-bhp was the first to gave correct info on he specs and equipment way back last November, whereas ACI was the first to veal the price. Priced between north of 6 lakh and 9 lakh, the car went off to a sterling start and the car consistently sold at about 1300-1400 units per month all sold through spanking new tata-Fiat dealerships. The car had numerous glitches and quality problems, yet settled at a consistent 8-900 units per month, an above average number considering the brand name Fiat.
  • Following the launch of the Linea was the second Fiat world hatchback-the Grande Punto. Launched in June, with a cracker of a price tag between 3,99,000-6,11,000 and packed with features including segment first "blue and me" and "my car" (also found on Linea), coupled with gorgeous looks again it had an above average start, as customers remained skeptical about owning it and the baggage of Fiat. Power came from 3 motor-a base 1.2 FIRE with 69 ps, a higher end 1.4 FIRE with 90ps and th common 1.3 multijet with FGT (unlike the linea's 86 ps VGT to keep costs in check) with 76 ps.
  • While the cars lack outright performance and some polished finesse (like interior quality, fit and finish, noise insulation etc.), the Indian public in general has taken to the brand quite confidently, as shown in the massive percentage growth in sales figures as compared to 2008, when it was almost close to extinction.
  • Fiat has recently worked had to improve its overall after sales experience, by adding initiatives like fiat first, 50 month Warranty and 4 years roadside assistance. While there is still some scope of improvement, some minor glitches need to be ironed out and it seems that Fiat is on the way of achieving this.
  • The Palio? Uncertain future, but almost extinct...
  • Tata, meanwhile finally also launched its much awaited NANO mini car in March, priced between 1,22,000-1,65,000 approx (as promised) and the reviews have been largely positive. About 2,03,000 people booked the car, a good number considering the company's confused strategy and the high initial booking amount with the absence of public test drives.
  • Deliveries began in July, in 3 variants-base, CX AC and LX loaded, and while Tata is in the process in setting up a dedicated facility at Sanand, the car is made at a temporarily facility at pantnagar, Uttaranchal. Capacity restrictions means that tata could deliver about 3,000 nanos per month. Till the end of the year, more than 13,000 nanos were delivered. Though there were instances about 3 cars catching fire, tata motors thankfully have claimed to rectify the problem. An improved version of the nano is scheduled to be launched next April.
  • Apart from the nano, Tata also launched the second generation Indigo, the Manza, aimed squarely at the Dzire, which enjoyed record sales. Priced aggressively, packed with features and comfort, and powered with higher powered Fiat motors (1.4 FIRE and 1.3 Multijet VGT, both with 90 ps), the car has had a terrific start. Tata's efforts to improve quality and reliability seemed to have paid off as both the vista and the manza had comparatively fewer failure complaints as compared to its previous avatars. Based on extended Vista chassis, with improved ride an handling and class best rear seat comfort, experts have hailed it as the best Tata car ever. Whether it will make a dzirable dent on the maruti's sales is what remains to be seen.
  • Not willing to give up on Sumo grande, Tata launched an upgraded version called Grande mark 2 in December. While the improvements more than meets the eye, its still a long way to go before tata can call this a success.
Mahindra meanwhile claims that the era of the sedans is over as..
  • Desi rival Mahindra launched its all new MPV, the innova rivalling XYLO that time. Based on Bolero-derived chassis codenamed ingenio, it is packed with features and despite its dowdy looks and soggy chassis, its all round talents and killer pricing have made another hit for Mahindra. But with all that initial hoopla calming down, the car's sales have shown a decline and the xylo now sells at a discount. Power comes from erstwhle scorpio's 2.6 CRDe motor, called the m-eagle.
  • The scorpio was also given its second facelift and repriced about 50,000-70,000 lower than before, making it fantastic VFM. All varients have a newly designed 2.2 mhawk CRde engine, and for the first time in our country, a 6 speed automatic and an electric fuel saving start stop system (called micro hybrid) have been provided as options in top end VLX models. Recently Mahindra also added ABS and dual airbags to both their SUVS.
  • ...the logan, Mahindra Renault's dismal selling sedan, records lower sales month after month to only a few hundred units. Idiosyncrasies like edge, edge connect, the hideous play and the ugly "tourer" only add to the dealer's and customer's confusion. Its future? In doubt as word got around that Renault's alliance with Mahindra is in serious jeopardy.
Finally, the empire wakes up in a ritzy mood and starts to upgrade its lineup.
  • Maruti launched its 2 world compact cars-the new gen alto, as the A-star in October 2008, and the splash, as the RITZ in May 2009.
  • The A-star, based on an entirely Suzuki developed platform, has not succeeded due to its high launch price and lack of space at the rear. Ugly looks and confused positioning only add to more obstacles on its path. While its not star here, it has sold exceedingly well in Europe, thanks to the scrappage scheme which entitles consumers to heavy cash incentives when they trade in their old tardy cars for newer fuel efficient ones.
  • Like the i10, India is the sole manufacturing and export hub for the a-star, nee alto and its cousin, the Nissan pixo (not sold here). Also making its debut in the a-star is Suzuki's new KB (claimed by Maruti as Kappa ka Baap)-series all aluminum 3 cylinder 998 cc motor. Power is about 64 ps.
  • Though the a-star was not exactly a star, Maruti's second launch-the ritz, was a sales success right from the start. Based on a modified swift chassis but appealing to practical families, it also marked a debut of a second K-series motor, the K12M (Kappa ki Maa?) with 4 cylinder, 1198 cc, 16v dohc layout and power of 85 ps.
  • This new motor has received rave reviews from owners and critics alike for its refinement, driveability and tractability and ranks among the country's bst 1.2 petrol motors. Also available is the 1.3 DDiS multijet motor from the swift. This variant, though has not sold well due to stiff competition from vista and maruti's own swift. It is actually priced cheaper than the swift, Maruti's smart move to appeal to each buyer demographic and retain its customers. All motors have been certified as BS 4 complaint.
  • Not willing to give up on slow selling zen estilo, Maruti plonks the a-star's KB motor and relaunches it, with more importance given to the estilo moniker, rather than the zen name. A comprehensive exterior and interior facelift complete the package. This time, sales do pick up and the car sells around 3,500 units per month.
  • Finally, Maruti upgrades its grand vitara with 2.4 VVT motor, dismal sales not withstanding, and also its flagship sedan, the SX4, whose sales have dwindled with the advent of the hot selling Honda City. It adds VVT to its M16A motor and finally adds a 4 speed auto tranny. Exterior and Interior enhancements complete the package. Pricing remains competitive and VFM, and the car's sales start to pickup again, though still nowhere close to city levels.
But, all is not rosy at Honda as a super sedan and a super hatch and a super CUV with super price tags are declared as super flops. But, still there's a bright spot out there..

2009 is theyear that Honda will want to forget, as a result of its pricing and equipment mix goof ups and blunders.
  • Its first launch, the accord V6, was priced at 25 lakhs, and aimed straight at skoda superb 3.6 V6. But skoda, with its superior technology and more equipment, has consistently out sold the accord since its introduction. Accord V6=flop.
  • It second introduction-the global small car jazz, was a monumental disaster. Based on the city platform and powered by a puny 1.2 motor, but lacking in equipment and priced at a high 7 lakhs, despite its hidden all round talents, the Indian public did not find jazzy enough to consider it. Mind you, its a very spacious and a practical car which is hassle free to drive and own (provided that the Honda dealer is good) but look at this: Initial sales figures of 2000, then dropping to 1300, then to 1000, 800, 600, 500, 350 and just 260 odd in December, it seems a perfect script for a flop Bollywood movie. the result-a second flop on Honda's product line up.
  • The once country's bestselling CUV-the CR-V, was another victim of price goof up. Weakening Japanese yen against Indian rupee meant that the price was increased by a whopping 3,00,000-3,50,000, this fun to drive talented CUV is now out of reach of many potential buyers, who now have more better and diesel powered options. Honda did launch a face lifted CR-V in November, but now it is only imported on confirmed orders. Still, the CUV manages to sell 40-50 odd units every second month.
  • The company's civic, which did not make any civic sense anymore due to its own city and competition from corolla, was given a mid life face lift. Prices are jacked up by 30,000 and finally, as claimed, the rear suspension is stiffer and cruise control added. Sales pick up, but hover around 500-60 units, as compared to the altis, which settles to about 800-900 units per month. The cruze is another obstacle.
  • The company's star product, the city, meanwhile sells more than 50,000 units making it the fastest selling premium c segment sedan. Based on customer feedback, the company finally improves the city's interiors and adds a "v" model with more added features in September. Prices, of course are jacked up, so does the sales.
Bollywood and entertainment:
  • recession be damned, the biggest hit of 2009, and of all time in Bollywood was Aamir Khan's 3 IDIOTS, which has collected a record 315 crores in just 3-4 weeks and is declared as an all time super blockbuster.
  • 2009 belonged to Katrina Kaif who became the most sought after actress in Bollywood.
  • Shahid Kapoor made a dramatic comeback in 2009 with Kaminey, another big hit.
  • Ranbir Kapoor also had a good year, while Kareena and Rani Mukherji had flops.
The song:

became one of 2009's biggest hits and a rage amongst the national youth.

Some other movies which provided wholesome entertainment were:
  • wanted
  • ajab prem ki ghazab kahani
  • love aaj kal
  • all the best
  • kaminey
  • new york
  • kambhakkt ishq
  • blue
  • Dev D
  • luck by chance etc.
The television industry saw a major shift when in many serials, OLD WOMEN with gray hair, were shown as villains in many serials, barring Naa Aana is Des Laado.

New talent in music rises, so does India's first musical show, Sa re ga ma pa,which scored a milestone as the first musical show in the world to complete 1,000 episodes since its inception in 1995.
It is also currently the longest running musical reality show in the world.
Another show, CID, aired on Sony, reached another milestone when completed its 12th year running.

Now, as 2009 draws to a close, 2010 will be a year full of actions and reactions.
The competition will hot up like never show as the country will see record launches.
Because the story is just the beginning...

How will 2010 shape up?
And what will be the market dynamics?
And what about that promised "big hatchback mayhem"?

Find out soon, in the penultimate post, coming up next...

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Last edited by sidindica : 25th January 2010 at 19:57.
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Old 25th January 2010, 20:08   #73
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Totally rocking writeup there Sid. Your language coupled with style and the abundance of information presented makes this thread an immense pleasure to read and come back to. Waiting anxiously for the penultimate post !!!!
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Old 25th January 2010, 20:11   #74
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One thing i wanted to tell you, It started of very well justifying the title and later its looking like a typical Hindi News channel - with all masalas and deviating from the headline/given title.
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Old 25th January 2010, 21:36   #75
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Originally Posted by wildon View Post
One thing i wanted to tell you, It started of very well justifying the title and later its looking like a typical Hindi News channel - with all masalas and deviating from the headline/given title.
I kind of agree with Wildon here; this thread is somewhat like "Saas bhi kabhi bahu thi", in the ultimate sense.
Sure it's well researched (maybe too well?) and we appreciate the effort (Happy birthday and all that), but couldn't the mods make sure that the content aligns with the title and purpose?

The last thing I want to see is an analogy to 3 idiots, or IPL3!
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