So what, if car sales have been flat for the first two months of 2016 and the Budget has made cars costlier. Automakers are in no mood to rethink or delay launches.
This week three cars – Vitara Brezza from Maruti Suzuki, Mercedes Maybach S600 and the Rolls Royce Dawn – are lined up for launch. And these are not just three more cars from the companies – it speaks of the confidence of carmakers in the India market against all odds. The Budget last week announced an additional infrastructure cess on cars – 1% for small cars, 2.5% of diesel cars and 4% on SUVs, in addition to the luxury tax of 1% on cars above Rs. 10 lakh.
Let’s start with the Vitara Brezza.
The first sub-four SUV from Maruti will take on the likes of Renault Duster and Hyundai Creta. Brezza is not just another car – Maruti is putting its best knight forward to win the battle among SUVs, which makes for 21.5% of the passenger car market. Sources say that Maruti will produce 10,000 Brezzas every month, from April onwards.
Though the Brezza looks premium, and Maruti is trying to shed its ‘mass-market only’ image by launching cars that are sold through its chain of premium Nexa outlets, this SUV will be available through its older dealership network. Experts say that the move is to quickly cut through competition and establish Maruti as a successful SUV maker. Its price is the catch – expected to be between Rs 7 lakh and Rs 9 lakh, Brezza is more affordable than Creta and Duster.
Brezza will be available only in diesel, for now, and there’s some time before the petrol versions hit the market. Within Rs 9 lakh, it has almost every feature of style and comfort – anti-lock breaking system, airbags, touchscreen entertainment device (with SmartPlay and Apple CarPlay), cruise control, keyless entry, reverse parking and many more.
While the Brezza can be luxurious for the average middle class, the other two cars being launched are in the luxury segment. One of them is the Mercedes Maybach S600 Guard.
Here is an element of surprise – it can withstand bullets and even rocket-propelled grenades. A special steel inserted between the inside structure and the outer body makes it bullet proof and the windows have a special polycarbonate coating that makes it splinter resistant.
The Guard definitely is one of the safest cars on the road, but forget safety – ultra-luxury car maker Rolls Royce is launching the Dawn in India, first launched in 1949.
Priced above Rs 4 crore, the Dawn is the most uncompromised two door convertible coupe. However, the designers of the car have taken care that the Dawn has the four door Rolls Royce Drophead’s architecture.
Of course, you can customize your car – the leather, the fabric, and even the wood that is used for the interiors of the car. If buyers want, every Rolls Royce on the road can be different from the other.
The car also comes packed with power. Under the hood sits a twin turbo 6.6-litre V12 engine that produces 563bhp of power. So, if you want to bathe in luxury, the Dawn will soon be here.