The slump in the auto market is not enough to deter the auto makers in India or worldwide from launching new models in the country. There are a slew of launches slated in 2009 as car makers keep their fingers crossed for the betterment of the economic conditions and the car market to bounce back once again.
2008 began with a bang and Tata Motors unveiled the world’s cheapest car at the Delhi Auto Show. However, with the ongoing credit crunch and economic conditions worsening around the globe, everyone thought the year would end with a whimper. But Hyundai refused to settle for less and launched Hyundai i20, which left everyone nearly shell shocked. Hyundai also plans to launch Avante sedan to replace the failed Hyundai Elantra in India. It launched its new generation Sonata Embera last month. Hyundai Santa Fe is expected in mid-2009 and will be priced around Rs. 23-26 lakh.
Fiat has launched the Linea in the Indian market which would mark company’s re-entry in the India. The car is there in both petrol and diesel variants. If the rumours are to be believed, the Indian auto industry may also witness Fiat adding Alfa Romeo 159 as its crown jewel in its Indian product portfolio. Apart from these two outstanding models, Fiat plans to insert a Fiat Grand Punto hatchback around May-June 2009 priced around Rs. 5-7 lakh and a Fiat Bravo sedan priced at Rs. 18-25 lakh in its portfolio in the country.
Who hasn’t heard of the Nano Saga? It seems that finally the adventure is going to begin. The protestors were merciless and the whole project was shifted to Sanand in Gujarat where it took one complete year for the production to start. The company had hoped to launch the much touted world’s cheapest car in October 2008. However, after the much upheaval it will now roll out its first batch from its Pantnagar manufacturing unit in Uttrakhand. The car may hit the Indian roads any day in March. Other models from Tata slated for a launch this year are Indicruz Crossover vehicle and Tata Indigo based on recently launched Tata Indica Vista model.
General Motors did not witness good times in 2008 and faced immense problem on its home turf. However, General Motors India continued a steady progress and now plans to bring a new small car in the Indian market along with its Chevrolet Cruze in Mid 2009. The car is expected to be priced at Rs. 11.5 lakh to Rs. 13 lakh.
Volkswagen group companies also have plans for India as its new manufacturing unit in Chakan, Pune is nearing completion. The company plans to shift its manufacturing base to this new unit in 2009. Skoda promises to bring Skoda Fabia Combi and Skoda Superb along with Yeti and Roomster in India. Volkswagen plans to bring Polo for the Indian customers.
Renault-Nissan partnership plans to diversify its portfolio and intends to launch Megane hatchback and Sandero sedan from the Renault portfolio and Micra hatchback and Murano SUV from Nissan’s product kitty. Nissan Teana sedan and Nissan X-Trail SUV are also ready to hit the Indian auto market in the first half of 2009. Both are priced between Rs. 20 and 25 lakh. Nissan Murano is also slated for a launch this year in mid-2009 and will be priced around Rs. 35-40 lakh.
Honda plans to bring its small car Jazz to India in June-July 2009 which is expected to be priced at Rs. 5-6 lakh. This is the first time that the company has spoken of confirmed launch period for the model.
Finally, the luxury car customers will witness new BMW 7 series, new Mercedes E-class model apart from Fiat’s Alfa Romeo.
All in all, it is definitely clear that 2009 already has been and is going to be an exciting year, as long as it is up to the manufacturers! Now, we just need the buyers to cooperate!
Disclaimer: above prices, launch expectations, makes and models are all expectations and could change at any time!
We are working on new site sections with full information on the upcoming cars. We will inform you as soon as it launches!