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Small and smart

Delhi is known for being flashy and grand. But it’s the small-car owners who are flashing the brightest smile now.

autos Updated: Aug 12, 2010 01:06 IST
Debjeet Kundu
Debjeet Kundu
Hindustan Times

Have you ever let out a sigh when a great-looking sedan zoomed past your little hatchback? Well, almost every small car owner has. But with the present situation of roads in Delhi, it’s actually them who are smiling away to and from the parking lots.

Jis jagah mein 10 Maruti-Santro aati hai, badi gaddi sirf 5-6 aati hai (where 10 Marutis or Santros can be parked, only 5-6 sedans can be accommodated),” says Manoj Tiwari, a keeper at the NDMC parking at Janpath.

And with the entire city, specially the central Delhi, resembling a war-ravaged zone, it is tough work to navigate your shining cruiser. “Unless you have a designated parking slot for yourself, it’s such a hassle to park a big car,” says Naresh Agarwal, a shopkeeper in Connaught Place.

The situation is not better on the road, as 60 lakh vehicles jostle to find space on Delhi’s roads. “I could have jolly well got a [Honda] Civic, but opted for a Jazz instead,” says Shristi Pradhan, a management trainer who commutes every day to Nehru Place from Janakpuri. “But it’s actually a headache to navigate a big car,” she adds. “Also, bigger vehicles are much more prone to scratches and accidents here,” says Manish Bhattacharya, 22, who drives a Santro to college.

Small on stress, big on frills
No wonder, then, that Maruti Suzuki — which gave India its first small car — still dominates nearly 47 per cent of India’s car market, according to Wiki Reports. Even Hyundai, the nearest competitor to Maruti with its Santro, and now i10, aims to have a 20.6 per cent share — all courtesy their small cars.

Add to the list Fiat, Honda and even Volkswagen, who are now focussing on the burgeoning small car market. “The best thing now is that manufacturers are packing all the stylish features of a sedan in a hatchback due to demand,” points Rajiv Mitra, General Manager, Corporate Communi-cations, Hyundai. “So there’s no dent in the pride, as well as satisfaction, if you have a small car.”

So, if you have been planning to go for a sedan, think again. Remember, the biggest cult ‘people’s car’ in history — the Beetle — is still a hatchback by birth.

Soon on the streets...
The Renault-Bajaj small car, tipped to cost anything between R 1,30,000 to R 1,90,000, is expected to hit the market by next year. It is being considered a competitor to the Tata Nano. The Nissan Pixo, expected to be priced within R 3-4 lakh, is also expected soon.

Reva: The next generation Reva NXR electric is expected in the first quarter of next year.

Maruti: Maruti Cervo, expected to be priced around R 1.5 - 2.5 lakh, may hit the road by the end of the year.

Volkswagen: The Volkswagen Up is expected in the first half of 2011. It may be priced around R 3.5-5 lakh.

Hyundai: Hyundai may come out with a diesel version of the Santro Xing next year, which is to be priced around R 2.7 - 4 lakh. A diesel version of i10, followed by i30, is also expected.

Tata: The Nano may have its hybrid version by the first half of 2011. It will be priced around R 1.15 - R 1.8 lakh.

Honda: The Honda Tif is expected soon. Its price is yet to be announced.

First Published: Aug 11, 2010 16:38 IST