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Toyota Liva, other launches to fire up small car segment

The next three months will see an array of exciting small cars hitting Indian roads. Toyota's Etios Liva will probably arrive the soonest.

Ranojoy Mukerji | June 17, 2011 | Updated 16:41 IST

The next three months will see an array of exciting small cars hitting Indian roads

India is one of the largest markets for small cars and it is not difficult to see why. The high cost of owning and running vehicles and a lack of basic road infrastructure has ensured that one of the world's most populous countries has not yet caught on with the automotive revolution.

See: Toyota Kirloskar launches Etios

India is the seventh largest country in the world in terms of automotive sales and is consolidating its position fast.

According to the Automotive Mission Plan (AMP) released by the government in 2006- 2016: "India will emerge as the destination of choice in Asia for the design and manufacture of automobiles and automotive components. The output of India's automotive sector will be $ 145 billion, contributing to more than 10 per cent of India's Gross Domestic Product and providing employment to 25 million persons additionally by 2016." Let's start with the car that will probably arrive the soonest - the Toyota Etios Liva .

See: Aston Martin rolls on Indian streets

Liva is essentially a hatchback version of the car which will be seen with a smaller 1.2- litre petrol engine and soon a 1.4-litre diesel as well.

The Etios has had a fantastic response, thanks to its frugal fuel consumption, economical maintenance and Toyota's stamp of reliability.

See: Maserati launched in India

The Liva is expected to be a high performer as well. The pricing is expected to be in the range of Rs 4-6 lakh, for all variants.

Japan's earthquake and tsunami in March have pushed the Honda Brio project back slightly but rest assured, everything is back on track. Honda expects to launch the Brio in the festive season. Says Jnaneswar Sen, Honda SIEL's vice-president sales and marketing: "The Brio is on schedule to give small car customers a pleasant surprise under Rs 5 lakh this festive season." One cannot mention small cars and not talk about the Maruti Suzuki, the king of small cars. While the company is going through its share of problems, its plan of introducing the new Swift remains unchanged, though it might be delayed in the current circumstances.

See: Ferrari drives into India

The new Swift will share its mechanical underpinnings with the current crop but the skin on top will get slightly changed. It would take a practiced eye tell the difference. The interiors, would of course, see a big change, with their quality being improved by quite a few notches. Expect the price the car to be around Rs 10,000-Rs 12,000 more than the outgoing model, which currently starts at Rs 4.09 lakh.

Maruti's arch rival Hyundai is gearing up launch the i10 in its diesel avatar, with a small 1.2- litre engine.

This engine expected to make the i10 quite peppy and at the same time quite frugal, and will cost around Rs 75,000 more than the regular petrol model, which currently starts at Rs 4.19 lakh for the Kappa-engined model.

Also jumping on to the diesel bandwagon is the Chevrolet from General Motors India with its Beat model. Beat has done well for the company with its sharp styling and low maintenance.

The diesel version is expected to take the battle further with the big boys. Prices currently start at around Rs 3.55 lakh, and as with the Hyundai, expect a Rs 75,000 premium over the petrol model.

"Awards from J D Power clearly reiterate that Chevrolet cars have become the preferred automobile brand in terms of quality, dependability and customer satisfaction," says P. Balendran, Vice-President, General Motors India.

So there you have it - a whole generation of new cars headed your way, with a price range between Rs 3 to Rs 6 lakh.

These vehicles offer state-of-the-art technology in a refreshing package. The clouds in the silver lining are the rising interest rates for loans and fuel hikes.

But nothing can stop the great Indian car buying mania. Small has never been more beautiful.

Courtesy: Mail Today 

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