2013 watchlist: what’s coming

Hindustan Times
New Delhi
First Published: 21:09 IST(3/1/2013)
Last Updated: 12:50 IST(7/1/2013)
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Honda Amaze

Expected launch : April 2013
Expected price :
Rs. 5.2-6.5 lakh for petrol
Rs. 6.5-8.0 lakh for diesel

With the Amaze, Honda breaks new ground in India. When it hits the roads, it will be its smallest and cheapest sedan in the country and more importantly, its first diesel offering. The 1.5 litre powertrain that has taken its own sweet time coming, will eventually be seen in a range of other Honda cars like Brio and Jazz. Essentially a sedan version of the Brio, Amaze will pose a serious challenge to reigning segment leader Maruti Swift Dzire. And while resuscitating Honda’s flagging sales in the country, it may also perk up a segment that has been at the receiving end of the craze for compact SUVs in the last 12 months.

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Jeep Grand Cherokee

Expected launch
: End 2013
Expected price : Rs. 30 lakh plus

You have driven the Scorpios, Fortuners, CRVs, Pajeros and Endeavours of the world. You have also been driven in the age old Jeeps in the hinterlands over dusty non existent roads. This year, you will get the chance to experience the real deal. Finally. The contemporary Jeep Cherokee makes its way into India by the end the year, and, for an off road junkie, its an icon like none other. An ultimate all-terrain vehicle with no pretensions, it only promises to take you places you can only dream of. At the same time, it offers all modern gizmos and comforts. Hence the price. Don’t expect a Land Rover out of it though...because a Jeep is a Jeep. Its success will depend on how well Fiat, the owners of Jeep, handle it but for a SUV crazy nation, the absence of it surely rankled. Now no more. Laddakh...ahoy.

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Mercedes A Class

Expected launch : July 2013
Expected price : Rs. 18-24 lakh

The first true blue premium compact car, the A class is expected to revitalise a fading Mercedes and haul it back into contention for the top spot in the luxury car business. Essentially a largish small car, even at less than Rs. 20 lakh it wont be very cheap but will be very practical. To be offered in a range of petrol and diesel engines, the most affordable three pointed star has the potential to open the floodgates in the business. No wonder, arch rival BMW will launch its own 1 series as well by the end of the year.

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Ford EcoSport

Expected launch : May 2013
Expected price :
Rs. 6.0-7.5 lakh for petrol
Rs. 8.0-9.5 lakh for diesel

Renault Duster started the ramp walk. Ford EcoSport is likely to liven it up further. But while the Duster is largely a diesel machine, EcoSport would also offer a state of the art 1 litre turbocharged Eco boost petrol engine that promises to deliver the performance of a bigger 1.6 litre petrol engine (120 PS) but a fuel economy of a decent sized compact car (16 kmpl). For the volumes, there is expected to be a tried and tested 1.4 litre duratorq diesel on duty too.
It also looks more urban and chic compared to the others and should be a big draw in the metro cities. A historical bestseller in Brazil, this one is Ford’s big bet for India this year and hence an aggressive pricing aka Figo is not ruled out. After all, it will take something to steal Duster’s thunder.

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New Tata Nano

Expected launch
: 2nd half 2013
Expected price : Rs. 2 lakh plus

The long in the making diesel variant may not come in this year too, but an upgraded model possibly with a bigger is said to be in the making. Nano turns four in July, a refresh is definitely called for. Its sales have also not taken off despite the best marketing efforts, which also necessitates a lifecycle change. The lukewarm response notwithstanding, its a story that is still unfolding and the new Nano may just offer what the market always wanted....a cute looking, sturdy, reliable and spacious entry level small car.

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