Delhi Auto Expo 2014 (Part 1): Indian and Japanese OEM highlights
Maruti Suzuki and Tata unveil models targeting Indian and global markets
India Expo Mart, the new venue of the motor show
The 12th AUTO EXPO 2014 was held from 7th to 11th of February, 2014. The venue for this year was India Expo Mart which is located in a new industrial development area which is 40km southwest of central part of New Delhi. Previously, the Auto Show was held at Pragati Maidan located in downtown New Delhi, the same venue as the automotive parts exhibition.
India Expo Mart has four halls on the ground floor and another four on the third floor in the office building called Mart Area. There were six makeshift halls in the premises during the Auto Expo period. All halls were equally crowded on open days. Entry to the BMW and Mercedes booths was restricted to a single gate but the booths were so crowded that visitors could hardly examine the vehicles on display or closely watch presentations. Facing the central plaza area of the venue were giant booths representing Maruti Suzuki at Hall 7 and Tata Motors at Hall 14. These two companies each occupied an entire hall and impressed all visitors with their unmistakable presence.
The main exhibits at the motor show this year were compact cars and SUVs (Indian government announced on February 28, 2014 excise tax relief plan for SUVs effective April 2014). The exhibits were intended for the Indian market as well as global market. Maruti Suzuki showcased the new compact 5-door hatchback Celerio. The all-new Automated Manual Transmission (AMT) auto gearshift also drew visitors' attention. The company also exhibited the global concept cars: SX4 S-Cross and Ciaz. Tata Motors introduced the new compact 4-door sedan Zest, and the 5-door hatchback Bolt. The company also unveiled the Nexon, a design concept for compact SUVs and suggested the theme of its passenger car development. Exhibits by European and the U.S. automakers and by automotive parts suppliers will be covered in a separate report.
Tata Motors Group looks to JLR to boost profits (Dec. 2013)
India: Japanese OEMs to boost capacity in anticipation of long-term growth (Oct. 2013)
Japanese suppliers urged to invest in India (Sep. 2013)
Maruti Suzuki: All-new compact Celerio and C-segment sedan concept Ciaz
Maruti Suzuki, the largest automaker in India, occupied a huge booth in a giant hall facing the plaza in the venue. The all-new compact 5-door hatchback Celerio was unveiled, together with the new AMT, at the hall's center. The car was also exhibited at both sides of the stage while dancers and singers performed onstage.
The existing models, Swift and Alto 800 were displayed with customized or optional features. Three to four units for each model were exhibited at both sides of the hall. The AMT auto gearshift exhibited at the booth center is Suzuki's 5-speed manual transmission (MT) to which special control mechanism and actuator were integrated. It was one of the rare technologies at the show where the main displays were vehicles. People in India still have high preference for manual transmissions for economic reasons. Suzuki's intention is to enlighten the people that the AMT is easier to drive than the MT and more economical than the automatic transmission (AT) or Continuously Variable Transmisson (CVT), with the hope to expand its market.
|All-new compact Celerio||Maruti Suzuki exhibited the all-new compact Celerio fitted with the newly-developed AMT auto gearshift (see below for detail). The Celerio is launched as a global model for India and other emerging markets. The 5-door hatchback has achieved excellent fuel efficiency of 23.1km/liter after the improvement of the K10 1.0-liter engine and weight reduction of the body. It measures 3,600mm in length, 1,600mm in width and 1,560mm in height and has a starting price of INR 390,000. The compact car will also be launched in Eurpean market in the latter half of 2014.|
|Concept CIAZ||The Ciaz is a concept sedan in the C-segment that is enjoying a growing demand in India, China and other markets. The model made its premiere debut in India, but it was unveiled earlier as the Authentics at the Auto Show in Shanghai in 2013.|
|SX4 S-Cross||The SX4 S-Cross is a succeeding model of the SX4 crossover. It measures 4,300mm in length, 1,765mm in width and 1,575mm in height, a bit larger than the original SX4 crossover. Its trunk load capacity was increased from 270 to 430 liters. The car is powered either by a 1.6-liter gasoline engine or a diesel engine.|
|New AMT auto gearshift||Suzuki exhibited the newly-developed AMT. Based on a new 5-speed MT, the AMT is equipped with an electric-hydraulic actuator that automatically performs clutch and shift operations. The synchronized control over the clutch, shifting and engine also contributes to smoother gear changes.|
|All-new compact Celerio||Concept CIAZ|
|SX4 S-Cross||New AMT auto gearshift|
Tata Motors: Two all-new compact models
Tata Motors displayed 18 all-new models and concept cars that occupied a huge temporary hall. Two new concept cars, Bolt and Zest, were placed at the central stage and attracted most attentions. Large commercial vehicles were exhibited behind the two models.
The company presented new development themes based on its product strategy called "Horizonext." True to the strategy, Tata Motors unveiled concept vehicles that indicated the direction of its product segments. They include passenger cars built upon the DesigNext, DriveNext and ConnectNext approaches, and commercial vehicles built upon the DesigNext, PerformanceNext and FuelNext approaches. The "ConnectNext" logo appeared repeatedly on the LED displays placed at all four sides of the hall.
The most highlighted of all were the two concept models, the ConnectNext and Nexon, that were displayed on the main stage. While they are design concept models, they attracted attention and there was a long line of people trying to get close to the stage and have pictures taken by the vehicles. The visitors to the motor show in India seem to be attracted more to models of their dreams than to realistic bundles of technology.
|Zest 4-door sedan & Bolt 5-door hatchback||The Zest 4-door sedan and the Bolt 5-door hatchback are the two all-new compact cars to be launched as Tata's global cars. They are designed by teams in India, the U.K. and Korea and produced at the company's Pune plant in India. The production models are expected to reach markets in the second half of 2014.|
|Both models are built on the X1 platform that is also used by the Vista hatchback. They are powered by the "REVOTRON" 1.2-liter gasoline turbo-engine (max. output 90hp, max. torque 20.4kgm) combined with the 5-speed MT or AMT called F-Tronic. The Zest powered by a diesel engine is also available.|
|Nexon||The Nexon is a compact SUV design concept with young, modern appearance that points at Tata's future compact SUV. The front wheels of the hybrid model are driven by a 1.2-liter turbo-engine and the rear wheels by a motor. The Nexon has fuel efficiency of 17.6km/liter (ECE R101).|
|CONNECTNEXT CONCEPT||The ConnectNext Concept is designed with future connectivity in mind between people and vehicles. It is a 4m-long 5-seater electric vehicle or a plug-in hybrid with a range extender. The concept model suggests future image of Tata's onboard connectivity.|
|Magic IRIS Electric||The Magic IRIS Electric is a small commercial electric vehicle fitted with roof-mounted solar panel. It is 2.96m long, weighs 730kg and is fitted with 3-phase AC induction motor (max. output 9kW, max. torque 42Nm) and lithium-ion batteries (with 110Ah capacity). The EV has a cruising range of 100km.|
|Nano Twist||The Nano Twist was launched in January 2014 as a new addition to the lowest-priced Nano series. The Nano attracted public attention in the world when it was introduced in 2009 as the cheapest car ever. But it is not selling as expected and has been causing poor performance for Tata. The company hopes to boost its business by revamping Nano's brand image with the launch of the Nano Twist.|
|The LX, the highest-end variant in the old Nano series, is replaced by the Nano Twist's XT variant sold for INR 236,000 in Delhi. The Nano Twist is equipped with an electric power steering and keyless entry system. Its meter cluster displays the DTE (distance to empty fuel tank) and average fuel efficiency (AFE).|
|New compact 4-door sedan Zest||5-door hatchback Bolt|
|Design concept Nexon||CONNECTNEXT CONCEPT|
|Mini commercial EV Magic IRIS Electric||Nano Twist|
Mahindra Reva Electric Vehicles: Two electric vehicles
Mahindra & Mahindra displayed the electric and hybrid electric vehicle concepts at the center stage. The company also exhibited SUVs, commercial vehicles, buses, SsangYong SUVs and two-wheelers, all manufactured by its group companies. One of the group companies, Mahindra Reva Electric Vehicles, exhibited an electric sports car concept that attracted many visitors.
|e2o||The e2o is a compact EV, 3.28 meters long, that was originally introduced at the Frankfurt Motor Show in 2009. Its production model was introduced at the Delhi Auto Expo in 2012. The company had announced in January 2013 that the car's name would be changed from NXR to e2o. The company plans to sell 30,000 units by 2016 with a starting price of INR 596,000. The EV is equipped with a 3-phase AC induction motor (max. output 19kW) and lithium-ion phosphate battery (14kWh) and has a cruising range of 100km (62 miles).|
|Halo Electric Concept||The 2-seater electric sports coupe has the maximum speed of 160km/h. It accelerates from 0 to 100km/h (62mph) in 8 seconds. Fitted with an electric motor (max. output 140hp) and lithium-ion battery, the car has a cruising range of 200km.|
|e2o||Halo Electric Concept|
Bajaj Auto: Two ultra-micro vehicles
Bajaj Auto, a leading manufacturer of motorcycles and tricycles in India, has been selling 2.75-meter ultra-micro four-wheeled vehicles RE60 since 2012. The company exhibited several of the RE60, clad in different designs and colors, at the Auto Expo this year. At the booth center, the company also displayed a near-futuristic ultra-micro vehicle concept with gull-wings.
|U CAR||Bajaj Auto unveiled a 2-seater ultra-micro four-wheeled (quadcycle) concept called the U Car. The car has a distinctively narrower rear tread. Its front wheels are driven by a gasoline engine via an automatic transmission. It also has an air-conditioning system.|
|RE60||The RE60 is an ultra-micro automobile that was launched in January 2012. Its rear wheels are driven by a 216cc engine via 5-speed manual transmission. The car may be fueled by gasoline, CNG or LPG, and has fuel efficiency of 37km/liter.|
|U CAR||Rear view of the U CAR|
Nissan: Three Datsun brand models
Nissan displayed the GO, the first production model under the Datsun's sub-brand for emerging markets (started production in February 2014). The company also displayed the GO+ slated for production starting in the second half of 2014, and premiered the redi-GO crossover concept.
|redi-GO concept||Nissan unveiled the redi-GO concept, the first Datsun-brand vehicle. The concept model points at small crossover vehicles under the Datsun brand for Indian markets. The front grille, dubbed the "D-cut grille" to which the Datsun emblem is attached, will be used in all Datsun models Its unique side window design will also be equipped on all Datsun models. The car has a 2,350mm wheelbase that offers a spacious cabin.|
|GO||The GO is the first compact model under the Datsun brand that was unveiled in July 2013. The 5-seater 5-door hatchback is driven by a 1.2-liter 3-cylinder engine. Production started at the Oragadam plant in February and delivery will start in March 2014.|
|GO+||The GO+ is the second Datsun model for the Indian markets. The 7-seater vehicle is driven by a 1.2-liter engine via 5-speed manual transmission. The car will be produced at the Oragadam plant starting in the second half of 2014.|
Toyota: Etios Cross SUV version for Indian market
Toyota premiered the Etios Cross and the Corolla Altis. The company also exhibited the Prius, Hiace, Land Cruiser and the racing model of the 86 to show off its overall product mix.
|Etios Cross||The SUV Etios Cross is powered by either a 1.5-liter or 1.2-liter gasoline or a 1.4-liter diesel engine paired with a 5-speed manual transmission. It is designed for young people and is slated for sale starting in May 2014.|
|Corolla Altis||The 11th-generation Corolla Altis is available as the CVT model with a 7-speed paddle shifter or the 6-speed manual transmission model. The car has been in India as a high-end model and more than 88,000 units have been sold since its launch in 2003. The all-new Corolla Altis will reach markets in May 2014.|
|Sedan Etios & hatchback Etios Liva||The company also exhibited the Etios compact sedan launched in December 2010, and the Etios Liva hatchback launched in June 2011. Both models were developed for Indian markets.|
|Etios Cross||Corolla Altis|
|Sedan Etios for Indian market||Hatchback Etios Liva|
Honda: Creative study model Vision XS-1 crossover
Honda exhibited the Accord Hybrid, the NSX concept, and the 7-seater Vision XS-1 creative study model on the main stage. On smaller stages that surrounded the main stage, the company also exhibited the MOBILIO, Brio, Jazz and other models tailored for the Indian markets. The exhibited models were introduced in a relay style from stage to stage.
|Creative study model Vision XS-1||Honda unveiled a creative study model called the Vision XS-1 crossover that featured a sporty appearance and spacious cabin. The 7-seater has a 3-row seating layout with large sliding doors for easy entry. The company has no mass-production plan for this model at the moment.|
|MOBILIO||The company exhibited the 7-seater MOBILIO MPV designed for Asian markets. Its production in India will start at Honda's second plant in India (Tapukara plant) in April 2014. The MPV will reach markets by the end of June 2014.|
|Creative study model Vision XS-1||7-seater MPV MOBILIO for Asian market|
|Sub-compact BRIO for emerging counties|
Isuzu: D-MAX Space Cab & SUV MU-7
The Isuzu booth had Japanese classical drums beating loud, exotic rhythms to warm up the area. The company appealed the rough-terrain maneuverability and loading performances of the the D-MAX and MU-7. Displayed near the entrance to the booth was the diesel engine which will be manufactured in a new plant in India starting in 2016. It appeared that Isuzu was striving to enhance its brand image by stressing technical capability as well as closeness to the local market in terms of local production and creation of new jobs.
|D-MAX Space Cab||Isuzu's D-MAX Space Cab pickup truck made a premiere debut in India. The new model has a larger cabin space than the D-MAX single-cab counterpart that is already in the market. The D-MAX Space Cab, powered by a 2.5-liter turbo diesel engine, will be launched soon in India. It will be produced at Isuzu's Sri City plant when it is completed in 2016. In the meantime, the pickup truck will be assembled at the Thiruvallur plant of Hindustan Motors, a leading local manufacturer in India on a contract basis. using parts imported from Thailand.|
|Demand for pickup trucks is growing sharply in India. Isuzu considers that potential users of the D-MAX Space Cab are small-scale enterprises.|
|SUV MU-7||The SUV MU-7 was launched in December 2013. It is also assembled by Hindustan Motors at its Thiruvallur plant based on the contract with Isuzu.|
|D-MAX Space Cab||SUV MU-7|
Terra Motors: T4 electric tricycle
Leading motorcycle manufacturers exhibited their products in the four halls (nos. 2, 4 ,6, 8) on the third floor of the main hall building. Yokohama Rubber and a few other tire manufacturers also were among the exhibitors. Motorcycle manufacturers from Japan included Honda, Yamaha, and Suzuki. Another Japanese company, Terra Motors, exhibited its electric scooters and electric tricycles.
|Terra Motors, a Japanese manufacturer of electric scooters and tricycles, exhibited an electric tricycle. The T4 accommodates 3 to 5 passengers behind the driver. The e-tricycle is powered by lead battery or optional lithium-ion battery and has a cruising range of 80km.|
|Electric tricycle T4|
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