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Car launches this year

R Mitra does some crystal ball gazing to predict what you might be driving in '06.

india Updated: Jan 12, 2006 10:02 IST
R Mitra
R Mitra

If you are waiting to buy a pint sized, econo hatch this year forget any new products unless of course Mr Ratan Tata actually pulls off what he has been talking about for many years.

An affordable small car with a price tag of Rs 1 lakh. Sounds like a dream but you just can't write off a man like Mr Tata. So if you are the patient types then do wait.

But other than this the closest you will come to buying a new economy hatch is the Maruti Swift which after its successful launch in 05 is due to get diesel power.

And that will offer some economy but the Swift is hardly an economy hatch.

Apart from this Maruti Udyog may also launch the new version of the Grand Vitara.

Other than this there is plenty of good news for the rich and famous.

Daimler Chrysler India will launch the brand new S class in late January and if you have seen the pictures of this new S class you will immediately realise that it is a brand new car.

Also the E class would have the E280 and this would with more power and a bigger engine make the E class a lot more exciting than it is to drive.

Should be in the showrooms very soon.

Hyundai Motors India is all set to dole out some excitement in the form of their sports car Tuscani which they do plan to launch sometimes this year.

It is in a way what a sports car is supposed to be.

Curvaceous and gorgeous to look at but in terms of performance it might not be in the region of thoroughbred sports car as it is powered by a relatively small 2.7 litre engine though the lightweight construction and better aerodynamics should certainly elevate performance to more exciting levels.

But the good part is that the Tuscany would be affordable.

That is as far as sports cars go.

Ballpark figure would peg it around Rs 20 lakh Hyundai also plans to introduce a premium luxury saloon -the Azera during the course of the year.

The Azera will be positioned above the Sonata and price will be in the vicinity of Rs 20 lakh.

There is talk of another car the Verna being slotted between the Accent and the Elantra but at this stage there is no confirmation of this.

From Honda expect the Civic to be launched in the early part of this year and this car should take the performance benchmark for the D segment cars a notch or two higher.

And of course there is plenty of speculation of a CR-V with a diesel powerplant. Hope it just happens.

Skoda Auto will continue their spate of new launches with the introduction of the Fabia in latter part of this year.

The Fabia though considerably smaller than the Octavia is still a car in its own class and can boast of a robust build and performance.

But the biggest chunk of the action will possibly come from General Motors India who have at least three launches planned for India.

The first will be the Aveo. A three box compact with a 1.4 litre and 1.6litre petrol engine getting ready for February launch.

The Aveo will replace the ageing Corsa and if you are deciding on a small three-box then I suggest you wait because initial impressions is of a car with a solid build and plenty of space.

The Aveo should shake the bottom half of the C segment.

The Aveo at some stage will be followed by the new Optra, in all probability a hatchback option.

From the Bangalore based Toyota Kirloskar Motor expect to see a new Camry model in the first half of this year and if rumours are to believed then a SUV in the form of the Fortuner which is based on the IMV platform (same as the Innova) in the latter part of this year.

This is as far as the mundane stuff goes.

Among the more exciting ones it has to be the Porsche Cayman S which after its world launch late last year will make its presence here in India.

The Cayman is positioned between the Boxster and the Porsche 911.

And it is believed Aston Martin too will formally start selling their cars and establish a dealership and that is as good as it will get in 2006.

First Published: Jan 12, 2006 10:02 IST