Indian roads to be set ablaze with new launches in the Motown

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New Delhi, Jan 6: It will be bonanza time this week for auto lovers with major companies unveiling an array of machines, including Tata's launch of the much hyped Rs one lakh car.

Around 20 new vehicles are expected to be launched by 45 domestic and foreign automobile manufacturers during the 9th Auto Expo to be held here. Tata Motors is expected to unveil the much-awaited Rs 1-lakh people's car, which has been the subject of much debate recently. Volkswagen, Honda and Maruti-Suzuki are expected to showcase their forthcoming new launches in the Expo. Maruti will unveil its concept car A-Star and Splash, while Volkswagen will exhibit its Sports utility vehicle called Touareg. Honda will present its compact car Jazz and Mercedes its new C-class sedan.

The growth and the potential of the sector is evident as the 9th Auto Expo will be the largest automotive show in Asia covering a floor size of over 1.2 lakh square metres with 10 hangers and seven state pavilions and over 2,000 participants.

Dilip Chhabria plans to launch his sports car range under his own DC brand and called 'S'. It will be in the Rs 25-lakh price band.

Apart from the small car, the event will witness the launch of the Hummer H3, Cadillac CTD, Chevrolet Sequel, Chevrolet T2x, Chevrolet WTCC Ultra and Chevrolet Captiva from the General Motors stable.

Honda will be showcasing Honda Civic, Honda F1 Earth Car, and the Honda Fuel Cell Car.

Fiat Group Automobiles CEO Sergio Marchionne will be spearheading the company's showcase of its cars as it aims to reclaim lost ground in the country. The iconic Fiat 500 or the Cinquecento which is a neo-retro hatchback, Bravo which is positioned as a corporate car, Grande Punto and the much-awaited Fiat Linea will be showcased.

On display will be 1.3 multijet engine in Fiat Palio (the current hatchback being produced at the Ranjangaon plant). This version of the car will be launched towards February-end.

The 1.3 multijet is developed by Fiat Powertrain Technologies.

The same technology is used by Suzuki Corporation under a licence from Fiat for producing these engines. This engine is also used in Maruti Suzuki Swift.

This year will see a whopping 60 car launches like the Skoda Fabia and the Fiat Grande Punto, Sandero from Renault, the Jetta from Volkswagen and the Linea from Fiat. Also in the launch fray will be newer version of Tata's Indica and Sumo, Santro, Indica and Toyota Innova. Sports utility vehicle (SUV) is expected to see launches of GM's Captiva, Hyundai's Santa Fe and BMW's X6.

Commercial vehicles will not be let behind with launches like a new pick-up truck from Tata named Xenon and Daimler AG into a joint venture to make trucks with the Hero Group.

The two wheeler segment will also not be left behind with Yamaha looking to consolidate and ramp up its market share with a slew of launches, including a 150cc motorbike by middle of this year.

Also in the launch wagon is Hero Honda Motors, who is expected to unveil a new scooter in the Auto Expo. Domestic manufacturers, such as Bajaj Motors and TVS are expected to launch bikes in the 200cc and 300cc range.

Suzuki is planning to expand its presence in the Indian market with the September launch of a 125cc scooter, followed by the introduction of a 150cc motorcycle and the company's flagship pro bike Hayabusa by March this year.

CEOs have been regulars at the Expo in the past and for the first time the Expo is expecting CEOs of top automotive bodies like the European Automobile Manufacturers' Association (ACEA), the German Association of Automotive Industry (VDA) and the Centre for Automotive Research (CAR) from the US that will participate and explore business opportunities in India.

UNI

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