The Indian car industry has recently seen a boom in the small car segment. The launch of the Tata Nano has not necessarily got other car manufacturers looking to bring down the prices of these small cars and make them more affordable. With the exception of the Bajaj Lite, these small cars actually come with quite big price tags. But with the swarm of small cars in the market by both Indian manufacturers as well as foreign manufacturer entries it only goes to show the demand of the compact car is on the rise in the country.
Here’s a look at some small cars expected to launch in India in this year and the coming years:
After the success of its small car, Fabia, Skoda is preparing to launch its newly upgraded crossover model called the Roomster. The roomster can hardly be called a small car, it’s actually more a cross between a hatchback and a multi-passenger vehicle (MPV). This car’s peculiar design looks more like a flat-backed wagon but allows for maximum interior space for passengers and cargo. The front fascia and hood continue with the well-known and liked Skoda design. They are said to have models with a 1.9-litre diesel engine that produces 90 bhp and three types of petrol engines. The petrol engines will cover a 1.2-litre engine that produces 66 bhp, a 1.4-litre engine that delivers 75 to 80 bhp, and a 1.6-litre engine that churns out 80 to 90 bhp. The starting price of the Roomster in India is expected to be Rs 9.5 Lakh.
Maruti Suzuki Ritz
Having launched succesfully as Maruti Suzuki Splash in European markets, this car is coming to the Indian market as Maruti Suzuki Ritz.The Ritz is built almost in the line of the Swift platform shortened by 30 mm and is expected to replace the WagonR. The Maruti Ritz is a customer centered design with a tall hatch back similar to the WagonR, spacious interiors and good boot space. It comes with a more attractive large wheel arches and a tipped-forward passenger cabin. Powered by a new 1.2-litre petrol engine that delivers 75 bhp you get a choice of a 1.3 multi-jet diesel engine.Built with large high-mounted trapezoidal lights and a lower grille in the bumper the vehicle has an aggressive look. It will have an estimated starting price of around Rs. 5 Lakh.
After receiving an overwhelming response to i10 and i20 hatchbacks in the country, Hyundai is mulling bringing in the i30. Hyundai claims ‘I’ stands for Inspiration, Intelligence and Integrity. The car was designed at Hyundai’s European branch which the i30 showcases a true European design both inside and outside. The car boasts three models: two 1.6-liter four-cylinder engines making 113 and 120 horsepower, and a 2.0-liter engine that generates 141 horses. It can easily seat five persons and rear with copious legroom and headroom. It is likely to come standard with air bags and ABS for safety. The estimated price has not been disclosed as yet.
The all time favourite car Volkswagen’s Beetle also popularly known as ‘bug’ is expected to hit the Indian car market with a price tag ranging from Rs 15-25 Lakh. The car will be available in diesel version powered by1.9-litre TDI engine mated to 5-speed manual transmission. Beetle will come with convenience features like rain sensors, cruise control, rear parking sensors and advanced safety features will include ABS (anti-lock brake system), traction control, anti-skid system, and dual airbags.
Leading Luxury car makers, BMW, plans to roll out their premium classic small car Mini Cooper in India. The much-awaited BMW MINI will hit the Indian roads in 2009. It is not just a car, but also a brand altogether and since it will not be assembled locally, but will be imported completely, the estimated price tag is between Rs 20-25 lakhs. Mini is expected to launch in 3 variants: Mini One, Cooper, and Cooper S. The car will come with a choice of four engines in India: 95 bhp 1.4L engine, 110bhp 1.6L engine, 120bhp 1.6L engine, and 175bhp turbocharged 1.6L engine.
The Micra will be the first offering in the small car segment from Nissan in India. This will be the first car to be produced from Nissan’s upcoming facility in Chennai. The stunning car will be not only manufactured in India but would also be exported to invade the European countries. The car will come in both petrol and diesel versions with a multiple choice of engine capacity ranging from 1.2-litre to 1.6-litre. However, for the Indian market car fitted with only 1.2-litre and 1.4-litre engines are likely to make their debut. Also known as the Nissan March in Japan and other countries it is said to have been re-names Micra for the Indian markets and its European launch.
To counter the Tata Nano’s price tag of Rs. 1 Lakh, the Bajaj is launching their version of an ultra-cheap car the Bajaj Lite. Unveiled for world audiences two days before the 9th Auto Expo, the car is scheduled to hit Indian roads in 2010. The company claims the estimated fuel economy as 34 km/litre. Lite will come fitted with a two-cylinder engine like the Nano and it will be available in both petrol and diesel versions. The exact specifications of the car are yet to be revealed. The exact cost of Lite is estimated to start at a price tag close to Rs 1.20 Lakh (ex-showroom Delhi).
The small, jazzy, and sporty Polo is said to enter India in 2009. It will be pitted against the Jazz, Fabia, and A-Star. Polo is equipped with a variety of engines in the US, but only two of them will be available in India: the 1.2-litre, 3-cylinder, petrol engine that generates 70 bhp and the 1.4-litre, 4-cylinder, petrol engine that produces 85 bhp. A diesel version of Polo will be brought in depending on the success of the petrol versions. The price in India is expected to be around the Rs. 6 lakh mark unless they introduce it as completely imported models, which will double the price due to import taxes.
General Motors is set to bring in the next Chevy called Beat to India. GM hopes to continue its success streak with this two-door hatchback concept car. The Beat will be positioned between its two big brothers Chevy Spark and Chevy U-VA. The Beat boasts of a sporty exterior comprising of a large air dam and headlights that run all through the edges of the front hood. General Motors plans to introduce Beat with a 1.2-litre petrol engine that generates close to 75 bhp. Other variants introduced later could include two diesel options with a 1-litre and a 1.3-litre engine and another petrol option with a 1.4-litre engine. The estimated starting price of the Beat is expected to be close to Rs 3.1 Lakh (ex-showroom Delhi).
The modern and economical hatchback Sandero built on the Logan platform will be adorned with elegant and futuristic features. The 2009 Renault Sandero will be Renault’s low cost car for India. Renault Sandero is a modern hatchback that is attractive, robust and dynamic. The attractive headlamps in the front and grille, bumper that goes with the design makes it stand out from the crowd. It will come with low and spacious boot to ensure easy and comfortable storage. Sandero stands with the Maruti Swift in terms of pricing but is much bigger than it. The car will be available with a price tag ranging from Rs 4 – Rs 5 Lakh and in three variants-1.0-litre petrol, 1.6-litre petrol, and 1.5-litre diesel.
Nissan Pixo is Nissan’s answer to increasing fuel prices and greenhouse emissions. Pixo is a five-door, four-seater car with a 1.0-litre fuel efficient engine that expels low carbon dioxide emission. The new generation K series engine borrowed from the Maruti Suzuki A-Star will generate a power output of 66 bhp. It offers roomy interiors and generous luggage space. The car also houses the best safety features like anti-lock brakes, dual front airbags, and keyless entry. Nissan Pixo is expected to roll out with an estimated price range of Rs 3.5 Lakh to Rs 5 Lakh.