By Neeraj Mahajan
India’s premier automotive motor show – the Auto Expo 2020 is expected to witness the participation of at least a dozen car manufacturers who are likely to unveil their range of new products, technology and features in India.
The Auto Expo 2020 promises to be an action-packed event and one of the most successful Indian motor show with more than 10 startups, half a dozen two-wheeler companies and a number of Chinese players like SAIC-Morris Garages (MG), Great Wall Motors, BYD Motors, Changan and Haima showcasing their brands and products focusing on green mobility and pioneering technologies for the Indian market. These include:
India’s largest car manufacturer, Maruti Suzuki is expected to make its presence felt at the 2020 Auto Expo and showcase its updated range of BS-VI ready prototypes, electric cars and petrol powertrains for the diesel-only models in its portfolio. Maruti is discontinuing some of its diesel variants. This includes the petrol variant of the S-Cross, Wagon R (XL5), and Vitara Brezza one of the bestselling SUVs in the country. Soon all its entry-level models will come with the eco-friendly fuel options.
The carmaker is expected to focus on emissions and sustainable mobility. Maruti is reportedly readying a BS6 petrol engine for the Brezza which now comes only with a 1.3-litre turbo diesel engine. The refurbished BS VI petrol engine will soon be the engine of choice for the Brezza SUV. Maruti Suzuki which draws a sizeable crowd at every Auto Expo is also likely to display its upcoming electric vehicles (EV) in concept form. The Futuro E concept electric vehicles are likely to be rolled out in 2021.
Korean carmaker Hyundai – the second largest automobile manufacturer in India, and the largest car exporter from India, is expected to demonstrate the second-gen Creta and BS6-compliant models of Hyundai Venue, Elite i20 and Santro as well as the facelifted versions of Verna and Tucson at the Auto Expo 2020. Hyundai which introduced the Ix25 powered by a 1.5-litre petrol engine in China in 2019 expects to relaunch it as the second-gen Creta in India, soon after the expo. Some of its distinctive features include automatic parking brake, LED DRLs, connected car tech, and big vertical touchscreen. Like the Chinese version called ix25, the Indian Creta is also expected to come with a panoramic sunroof, wireless charging and disc brakes on all four wheels as well as 1.5-litre diesel engine.
The facelifted Verna will come with BS6-compliant 1.5-litre petrol (115PS/144Nm) and diesel (115PS/250Nm) units replacing the current engines. As far as transmission is concerned, the petrol version will have a CVT and the diesel version will have a torque converter. The Verna will also have a bunch of features like connected car tech, wireless charging, electric sunroof, and cruise control.
Likewise the facelifted Tucson, which is going to be put on sale soon after the expo, may include features like 6-speed AT (petrol) and a 2.0-litre 8-speed automatic transmission (diesel) engine as well as LED headlamps and redesigned dashboard with a floating touchscreen infotainment system.
Besides these Hyundai is also expected to showcase the BS6-compliant versions of the Santro, Grand i10 Nios and Elite i20. Elite i20 is likely to become a petrol-only model in the BS6 era until the next-gen model arrives with BS6 petrol and diesel engines in mid-2020.
As expected Tata Motors one the leading utility car manufacturers in India, is hoping to set the Auto Expo 2020 on fire by display about seven new vehicles including five SUVs and a range of BS-VI ready green vehicles with the Ziptron Electric powertrain.
The Tata’s product basket could include Tata H2X the midsize SUV, facelifted Tata Nexon with 1.2-litre petrol and 1.5-litre diesel powertrains, and Tata Harrier Automatic upgraded to meet BS6 emission norms, Tata Gravitas a 7-seater SUV, and Tata Altroz EV which is expected to hit the Indian roads by end-2020. Tata Motors is extensively testing the Nexon EV in the Himalayas. The facelifted Tata Tiago/Tigor may witness changes in the bumper, headlamps, and grille. Both models powered by a 1.2-litre petrol engine are expected to be launched by April 2020, discarding the 1.05-litre diesel engine which does not meet the BS6 emission norms.
MAHINDRA & MAHINDRA
A popular brand in the utility segment, Mahindra is expected to showcase its range of electric SUVs and facelifts to next-gen iterations of current models at the Auto Expo 2020. These may include the bigger than before Mahindra Scorpio with BS6-compliant 2.0-litre diesel engine, all-wheel drive and automatic gearbox to take on the likes of the Hyundai Creta, Renault Duster and the Tata Safari Storme. Another ace up the Mahindra sleeve is going to be the next-gen XUV500 with reworked interiors, redesigned tail gate, touchscreen central infotainment system, lower AC vents and a three-spoke steering wheel. The BS6-compliant 2.0-litre petrol or diesel variant SUV will come with a 6-speed manual and automatic gearbox and all-wheel drive option. In all probability it will be launched later this year.
Other feather in Mahindra’s cap could include the second generation Thar, TUV300, all-electric XUV300, eKUV100, Scorpio, and other electric vehicles currently being tested across the country. The carmaker is expected to also showcase all its BS6 engines.
One of the new debutants in the Indian automobile market Kia Motors is hoping to make a big impact with its Carnival premium MPV priced between Rs 27 lakh and Rs 36 lakh (on-road). Powered by a 2.2-litre diesel engine the Carnival a premium MPV is expected to be launched in India soon. It boasts of features like luxurious captain seats in the second row, sliding doors at the rear, panoramic sunroof, dual-zone climate control, wide touchscreen infotainment display, and 8-speed automatic gearbox. The Carnival manufactured at the company’s plant in Anantapur, Andhra Pradesh, is expected to take on Toyota Innova Crysta, one of the best-selling cars in the segment.
Other winning horses in the Kia stable may include QYI Sub 4-metre (SUV), and K5 Optima (Sedan). The Korean carmaker has been testing the QYI for a while in India and may reveal a close-to-production version at the Auto Expo. Besides this Kia India also has ambitious plan to showcase K5 Optima with a 1.6-litre T-GDI or 2.5-litre T-GDI petrol in the Indian market.
Apart from the above, Kia may also showcase brands like Seltos, Stinger GT, Soul EV, Picanto, Rio hatchback, Niro hatchback, Rio sedan and Cerato.
German carmaker Mercedes-Benz, which is celebrating 25 years of its presence in India this year has drawn up big expansion plans in the Indian market. The Company is expected to showcase its EQ range of electric cars along with the new GLS, GLE, GLB and halo electric car. Mercedes-Benz could also grab a space in the Auto Expo, with its stunning EQ electric range of cars taking centre-stage.
The company which launched the BS-VI Long Wheelbase E-Class in May 2019 may include the EQC electric SUV, EQS electric sedan, GLS SUV, GLE SUV, 7-seater GLB and a few other vehicles that you don’t see in the showroom.
Despite the slowdown Mercedes-Benz, is going all out to build a long-term future in the automobile market in India. The overall sales for the luxury brand crossed the 10,000-unit mark in October 2019.
“We are here for the long run and I think it is necessary for a brand to present with not only current products and create a platform so that existing and potential customers can connect with the products but also with the brand. It is very important that the Indian market also sees that we are present and that we believe in our long-term future here. We want to be approachable and accessible to everyone,” Martin Schwenk, the Mercedes-Benz Managing Director and CEO in India, was quoted as saying.
For Mercedes-Benz it’s all about brand building, customer engagement, as well as promotion of its present and future products and services. The Company which has been one of the key players in the Indian market over the past 25 years and would like to consolidate its position and continue for the next 25 years and more.
The company’s strategy is to showcase its brands in the Auto Expo to make people connect with them as well as sow a seed in their heart and mind which would eventually help it in the long run. Hence, in spite of the fact that participation in auto shows is an expensive affair and it may not get immediate returns due to the slowdown Mercedes-Benz would not like to surrender or wind down its offensive marketing drive as it would take many years to get back.
“In the end, it is all about an overall experience we want to offer — showcasing cars, connecting with the brand, presenting our services and also being approachable to everyone who is interested and connecting with them,” Mercedes-Benz Managing Director and CEO in India, Martin Schwenk, added.
A flagship Company in the Dr. Abhay Firodia Group Force Motors is today one of India’s pioneering industrial houses in the automotive domain. A company that always strives to provide the highest quality products and services at highly competitive prices, Force Motors produces high performance engines and axles for Mercedes Benz India and BMW-India.
Force Motors has supplied over 1,15,000 engines and over 1,00,000 axles for Mercedes Benz and some 44,000 engines for BMW in India till date. This includes the 4 cylinder gasoline and diesel engines, 6 cylinder V-type gasoline and diesel engines, powering the complete range of Cars and SUVs made by Mercedes Benz India. In 2015, BMW assigned Force Motors to produce and test the engines for all cars and SUVs to be made in India. Accordingly Force Motors set up a dedicated state of the art facility in Chennai close to the BMW factory to produce and supply engines for their 3, 5, 7, GT series cars and X1, X3, X5 series SUVs made in India. Its portfolio also includes front and rear axles for C, E, S class passenger cars and GL Class SUVs. Force Motors is India’s largest van maker making its own components for the entire product range.
Originally known as Bajaj Tempo Motors, Force Motors ranks among India’s top Fortune 500 Companies known for its brands like the Tempo, Matador, Minidor and Traveller. Over the last five decades it has partnered with global manufacturers like Daimler, ZF, Bosch, and MAN.
Volkswagen the German car manufacturer conspicuous by its absence at the 2018 Auto Expo show is going to make a comeback at the 2020 Auto Expo and introduce a range of products and technologies like Volkswagen ID Crozz electric SUV and T-Cross SUV built on the MQB A0 IN platform.
Given the growing popularity for SUVs in the Indian market, Volkswagen plans to launch around 10 SUV models over the next two years. SUVs are Volkswagen’s number one priority in India and it plans to unveil three new SUVs at the Auto Expo 2020 including – T-Roc, T-Cross and Tiguan AllSpace.
The Volkswagen Tiguan AllSpace will be a petrol-only model, powered by a 2.0-litre TSI petrol engine, and 7-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission. The AllSpace will be 226 mm longer and have a 110 mm longer wheelbase as compared to the regular Tiguan, currently the only SUV to be offered by the German manufacturer in India.
T-Roc the second SUV in Volkswagen India’s lineup will solely be offered with a 1.5-liter TSI engine and 7-speed DSG gearbox.
The T-Cross is expected to give rival compact SUVs like Jeep Compass and Hyundai Tucson a run for their money in India, in terms of size and price. The T-Cross will be powered by a 1.5-liter TSI engine and marginally smaller than the T-Roc.
Volkswagen has set up a state of the art Technology Centre in Pune to develop vehicles catering to the needs of Indian customers as a part of the India 2.0 project.
Czech carmaker Skoda, which recently merged with VW to form Skoda Auto Volkswagen India, is expected to generate a lot of heat and steam by showcasing at least five cars like the new Octavia midsize SUV, facelifted Rapid, Superb executive sedan (hybrid, three engine options – petrol, electric, and diesel options), and the Karoq SUV. The Company has meticulously planned the world premiere of the 4.26-metre-long Skoda Vision IN SUV concept with features like free-standing touchscreen and Virtual Cockpit display on February 5 at the Auto Expo 2020.
The Company’s decision to launch multiple products together this time has taken many industry observers by surprise because Skoda is known to showcase no more than one product at any auto event. However, this time Skoda plans to launch a bunch of products as a part of its 2.0 corporate strategy to reclaim its market share. The idea is to get people excited about the various vehicles being launched in quick succession. Skoda hopes other manufacturers may follow suit.
Octavia – the fastest and most expensive car in the Skoda’s lineup is expected to be powered by a 2.0-litre turbo-charged TSI four-cylinder petrol engine that produces 245bhp of power. The Octavia is so popular that it was sold out within a week – the last time it was launched.
Skoda Auto and Volkswagen Groups have jointly invested around ₹ 2,000 crore for research and development projects in India.
French carmaker Renault is expected to make news at the Auto Expo 2020 by showcasing a range of electric cars like the facelifted Kwid, all-electric City KZ-E, Triber AMT / Triber Turbo, HBC mini SUV and the Renault sub4-m SUV and sedan.
Renault may also reveal the replacement engine for its 1.5-litre diesel oil burner which is being discontinued because of its incompatibility with the BS6-emission norms. The carmaker will also be showcasing some of the EVs as well as a host of production cars and exciting models from its global portfolio.
Renault’s Triber is powered by a powerful turbocharged 1.0-litre petrol engine, and an automatic gearbox. The French carmaker is also likely to showcase a cost-effective design concept of its small SUV, codenamed HBC to challenge established like the Tata Nexon, Mahindra XUV300, Hyundai Venue, Ford Ecosport, and Maruti Suzuki Vitara Brezza.
In all probability Renault may also display the sub-4m sedan which is likely to be exported to other developing markets. Renault might also launch Zoe EV and Renault City K-ZE two super compact all-electric hatchbacks in India. Currently on sale in China, the all-electric City K-ZE version of the Kwid can do 250 km in one full charge.
A relatively new entrant in the Indian market, MG Motor – a British carmaker, expects to consolidate its brand identity in the mid-size connected SUV segment by revealing four new SUVs at Auto Expo 2020. These may include the all-electric SUV- eZS HS Crossover, GS, MG 3 hatchback, as well as MG 360 sedan and MG 6 sedan. MG Motor or Morris Garages is also expected to display its Maxus D90 presently being tested on Indian roads as well as special/limited editions of – six-seater and seven-seater variants of Hector – waiting to be launched in India soon. Morris Garages which received an encouraging response for its Hector in the market is concentrating on an SUV-only portfolio in India. The company is also expected to showcase its range of future technologies and upcoming products.
In all probability, the British carmaker may make slight changes in the Maxus D90 SUV, already on sale in China, to make it suitable for the Indian market. It is expected to be offered with both diesel and petrol engine options and is expected to be priced around Rs 30 lakh (ex-showroom).
Apart from this MG may debut 6-seater and 7-seater variants of Hector with aircraft-style captain seats in the middle row. The revamped 6-seater Hector is expected to get a new name and likely to be offered with upgraded Hector’s powertrain conforming to BS6 emission norms.
The other SUV’s in the MG kitty – the ZS EV is expected to be powered by a 44.5kWh battery pack and offer a real-world range of 340km and Baojun RS-3 a mid-size SUV with features like connected car technology and a 1.5-litre petrol or diesel engine.
Significantly MG Motor’s first fully electric vehicle eZS will be the first Chinese product in the EV segment to hit the Indian market soon.
A subsidiary of the state-owned Chinese First Automobile Works (FAW), Haima Automobiles draws its name by blending the first three letters of Hainan – a province in China and first two letters of the name of Japanese carmaker Mazda.
The Chinese carmaker is developing its own range of SUVs, MPVs and electric vehicles, based on the Haima Global Architecture (HMGA) platform. The company recently unveiled the 8S midsize SUV, powered by a 1.6-litre T-GDI engine mated to a 6-speed automatic gearbox, giving the 8S a speed of 0-100kph under 8sec.
Haima Automobile recently revealed 7X— a new seven seater MPV with a Maserati-esque grille, large touchscreen display and connected car technology.– at the 2019 Guangzhou Auto Show in China.
Haima which has reportedly joined hands with Bird Electric produces all kinds of cars from hatchback to SUV. Haima is reportedly also planning to roll out plug-in hybrids and strong hybrids.
Haima Automobile plans to use the Auto Expo 2020, as an opportunity to gauge the market mood and pulse of the Indian audience.
GREAT WALL MOTORS
Great Wall Motors, a popular Chinese automobile manufacturer is expected to mark its presence at the Auto Expo 2020 by showcasing some of its long list of SUVs and pick-up trucks which are likely to be introduced in the Indian market.
Great Wall Motors which is China’s largest SUV manufacturer as well as the largest pickup manufacturer and expects to make a big impact in the Indian automotive market by introducing the world’s cheapest electric car at the Auto Expo 2020.
GWM which is presently based in Baoding Hebei, around 150km south of Beijing, is currently looking for a suitable place to set up a manufacturing plant in India. According to industry pundits GWM is likely to acquire General Motors’ manufacturing facility in Maharashtra or set up a manufacturing unit in Gujarat.
Great Wall flagship brands include Haval, Wey, Ora and Great Wall Pickup. Great Wall Motors sells three ORA brand EVs – R1, R2 and iQ
The Ora R1 electric is equipped with artificial intelligence feature along with connectivity features which can be activated by the owner by saying, “Hello, Ora”. The Ora R1 electric has a top speed of around 100 kmph and a mileage of 351 km through its 35 kilowatt motor on single charge.
GWM is expected to provide free servicing for three years or 1.20 lakh kilometers for the cars in India priced around Rs 6 – 8 lakh.
GWM might also showcase Haval H6 to compete in the Indian SUV segment.