The Auto Expo grows in size and stature every year. 2012 will be no different, with a host of new manufacturers displaying their wares, and some established players shifting up a gear or two. The winner, as always, is the consumer. Read on to figure out what’s in store at Pragati Maidan early next year.
Audi’s new baby SUV will be the cynosure of all eyes at its stand, and surely the centre-piece. The Audi Q3 is due to be launched in the first quarter of 2012, and will come with both petrol and diesel engine options, along with 4-wheel drive and front-wheel drive versions. The cheapest Audi in India, the Q3 will be positioned as a lifestyle product and the entry point into the brand for the nouveau riche.
Of course, the rest of the range will be on display as well, and we’re hoping to catch a glimpse of the new Q7. Also expect some classics from Audi’s glorious past. We’re even expecting some motorsport display as well, and the R18 TDI mock-up could be there.
BMW 3 Series, 3 Series Convertible
The all-new BMW 3 Series is set for an international launch early next year. India is undoubtedly a growing market for BMW, and indeed the current 3 Series has been the star of is range. The new 3 Series is therefore a very significant car for BMW, and show-goers would love to get a taste of it. The 3 Series Convertible, based on the present-generation car, will also be on display. With DTM hosting a race in China, and talks of the popular tin-top racing series coming to the Buddh Circuit as well, don’t discount the likelihood of BMW’s new DTM challenger making it to New Delhi as a show star.
Chevrolet Sail, new Captiva
Chevrolet will display the all-new Sail/Corsa hatchback and sedan twins. These will replace the Aveo sedan and Aveo U-VA hatchback eventually, and are developed with GM’s Chinese partners. Also on display will be the Wuling MPV and the face-lifted Captiva. Expect some drool-worthy Detroit iron like the Camaro and Corvette as well. Shame we won’t be able to buy them in India anytime soon. The Volt range-extender hybrid will also be on display.
Fiat Linea, Grande Punto
For Fiat, it will be a display in austerity. The Italian manufacturer has been struggling in India, but is still putting up a brave front. The new Punto Evo and a spruced up Linea will be on show, and it’s likely we’ll see the Freemont SUV as well. Some derivatives of Fiat’s cheeky 500 will also be there. Fiat could choose to display some of American partner Chrysler’s muscle car range and the Dodge Challenger is sure to go down well with show-goers.
Ford Fiesta (hatch), Focus, Ecosport
Ford has not tasted the kind of success they’d wanted with the new Fiesta, but there are a whole gamut of products that are scheduled for launch in India over the next two years. It will be a show of strength from the American manufacturer, with the Fiesta hatchback, Focus sedan and its new mini-SUV (tentatively title Ecosport) on display at the stand. We expect to see a mini-MPV modelled on the new Fiesta platform as well. Ford is also mulling the new Mondeo for India, and the Expo will prove the perfect opportunity for Ford to test perceptions of this model.
Honda new Civic, CR-V
Honda’s new CR-V is almost a certainty at the Auto Expo. The new SUV has just been unveiled to the public at the LA motor show a few weeks back, and will form a crucial talking point for the Japanese car maker. The face-lifted Honda City will also be on display. The new Civic, also launched a few months ago, will be the most significant car in Honda’s show line-up. Could it get the new 1.6-litre i-CTDi engine? That’s the big question we’re all awaiting the answer to.
Hyundai Sonata, Elantra
Hyundai is surely the car maker making the biggest waves in the Indian passenger car market at the moment. With the rapturous reception the new Verna has received, Hyundai is all set to fire another salvo at the sedan market in India, with the new Sonata and Elantra sedans. The Sonata will be launched in the first half of 2012, with the new Elantra scheduled to roll in during the latter part of the year. Direct-injection petrol and diesel engines and Hyundai’s new dual clutch transmission are the talking points. Fingers crossed for the iX35 SUV as well, which will round off Hyundai’s Indian range beautifully. An Innova challenger is also rumoured to be on the cards. For the economy-minded, the Hyundai Eon LPG variant will make for choice pickings.
Jaguar face-lifted XF
The face-lifted Jaguar XF will be on display in New Delhi for sure. We hope Jaguar brings the C-X16 and C-X75 show cars as well. The turbine-powered C-X75 range extender hybrid could very well shape the mould for car engineers in the decade to come.
Some cars sell on styling alone, and Lamborghinis have always had that x-factor. Outlandish lines with the most brutal yet alluring detailing make Lambos stand out from the crowd, even in elite supercar company. Drool Central will be the new Aventador.
Sensible luxury is what Lexus is about. A brand well recognised in the country, with numerous grey imports, parent Toyota is likely to officially usher in its crown jewels soon. The whisper-quiet and silky smooth LS 460 saloon will be the centre-piece at its stand. Expect also the film-star favourite LX SUV, and its ‘F’ range of sporting saloons. And who can forget the LF-A? This multi-crore supercar breaks the mould for what anyone expects from the company. Truly an image changer if there ever was one. The FT-86 sports car could also be shown at the Toyota stall.
Range Rover Evoque
The kitschy pop star image aside, the new Range Rover Evoque is designed to do just that – evoke a reaction. Both the three-door ‘coupe’ and 5-door station-wagon models will be on display. If multiple buttons on the dashboard are your thing, this flouncy SUV will not disappoint.
Mahindra Verito 4m, Korando, Rexton, Reva NXR
Mahindra is hard at work to chop some flab off the Verito’s bum and bring it within the 4-metre rule to qualify for excise benefits. Also, for the first time since the protracted discussions of M&M’s take-over of Ssangyong, we will see the new Korando and Rexton SUVs. The new Reva NXR, which has been undergoing development for the last 2 years, will also be finally shown to the public. Greater range and better performance are the buzzwords for this new electric runabout.
Maruti Ertiga, Concept Compact SUV, Solio, Palette, MR Wagon, K 14 engine, new Dzire
‘Nobody mess with Maruti’ will be the clear message the Indo-Japanese manufacturer will be putting across at the 2012 Auto Expo. Labour issues and production constraints aside, Maruti is swarming ahead with concepts and new prototypes being readied for production. A homogenised powertrain range, mature R&D facilities in India and an un-matched supplier base mean it is taking the fight right into the camps of not just Hyundai and Tata, but M&M and Toyota as well.
The Ertiga is the fire-starter; a compact seven-seat MPV with car-like driving characteristics and an attractive sticker price, it looks like it could blow the utility segment wide open. There’s also the Concept Compact SUV, a no-brainer considering development costs for the Ertiga could be utilised to psin-off an additional product range.
The new Kei car range from Japan, including the Palette and Solio will be there to judge customer reactions and give show-goers a taste of what next could come out of Gurgaon and Manesar. A lot of people will also be holding their breath for the new Dzire, expected to be a compact sedan within the 4-metre rule.
Lastly, let’s not forget the all-new K14 engine. An all-aluminium engine with variable valve timing, we’ll see it in the Ertiga and Concept Compact SUV. Maruti may consider using it in the SX4/Dzire family as well.
Mercedes new M-Class, SLS AMG Roadster, SLK diesel
For Mercedes, the new M-Class will form an strong base to attract the luxury car owners swarming the capital. The F125! Concept could also be used to attract the crowds, as will the SLS AMG Roadster. Lastly, the new SLK diesel may also be shown. It makes sense for Mercedes to offer this model in India.
If re-born modern iterations of icons are your thing, MINI will blow your socks off. The little MINI has been re-invented and today spawns a whole range including the Cooper S hot hatch, Convertible and Countryman mini-SUV. MINI is also gearing up for an Indian debut (thanks to parent BMW), so go check it out.
Nissan GT-R, LEAF, Sunny diesel, MPV
Nissan is still getting to grips with the Indian market. The Micra hasn’t exactly taken off, while the new Sunny is doing a relatively better job. The big news will be the Sunny diesel, again powered by Renault’s ubiquitous K9 diesel, pumping out 85 PS.
Nissan is also working on an MPV based on the V-platform, and we might see a mock-up of that as well. We know for a fact such a model is under development. When ready, it will be aimed squarely at the Maruti Ertiga.
Peugeot 208, 308, 408, 508
For Peugeot, which has just announced its Indian plans in the state of Gujarat, the Expo will be more of a meet and greet and will give the Indian public a chance to see what the exalted French car maker is all about. The new range includes a host of competitive products, which seem like they could jump right into the market as it stands. The new 208 hatchback will be the most poked and prodded obviously, since it competes with the likes of Hyundai’s i20 and the Honda Jazz. The 508 saloon, an Accord-sized sedan is an imposing yet smart looking car, and another certainty for India. The City-sized 308 and Civic-sized 408 sedans will also be on show.
Renault Pulse, ULC, Duster
For Renault, all the big talk was at the last Expo. Since then, the company has divorced Mahindra and launched two products into India – the Fluence sedan and the Koleos SUV. Next up is the new Dacia-derived Duster SUV and the Pulse hatchback, a rebadged Micra with a fresh face. Of course, the F1 show car will be there. Let’s hope they can get new signing Kimi Raikkonen to do a cameo.
Skoda has launched the Rapid sedan and the (cheaper) Yeti since the last Expo. We expect to see the VW Up-derived Skoda Citigo, and perhaps their S2000 world rally car. Don’t know/can’t say about anything else at the moment.
Tata new Nano
The new-for-2012 Nano has already been launched, but this year we expect Tata to spring a few surprises. A diesel Nano could surely send everyone into a tizzy. Some non-functional concepts will also feature at the Tata stand. There’s been talk of the new Tata Safari, and for everyone’s sake, especially Tata’s, let’s hope they put it on display.
Volkswagen Up, Tiguan, Touareg
The small car is the big story. The new VW Up is the model the company is banking on to really catapult it into the big league in terms of numbers. With a range of petrol and diesel engines and a starting price of approx. Rs 3 lakh, the Up could also figure in VW’s export plans from India.
The Tiguan SUV is a certainty. The Tiguan is again a soft-roader expected to be priced between Rs 20-25 lakhs, competing with the likes of the Nissan X-Trail and Honda CR-V.
The all-new Touareg, also confirmed for 2012, could be a part of VW’s display too. The new Touareg has been developed simultaneously with the new Q7, and benefits from the same diet which has seen these off-road heavyweights shed a massive 200 kilos.
The new New Beetle, now simply called the Beetle will also be there.
Some Polo Cup racers and the Polo R WRC show car could also feature at the show.
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