Features

India Car Report 2018

26 Oct 2018 by Business Traveller India
India Car report 2018

According to a report by India Brand Equity Foundation, the Indian automobile industry is the 4th largest in the world having produced 25.3 million automobiles in the last financial year. It is also projected to become the largest in the world by 2026. There is a bevy of players — both homegrown and international — vying for precious space in the market, across all segments from affordable to uber-luxury. Diversifying and repositioning seems to be the ongoing trend. A case in point is homegrown Maruti Suzuki, whose premium vertical NEXA has been a huge success story. Simultaneously, luxury brands are in a race to capture more customers. The likes of BMW, Audi, Toyota, Volkswagen and Mercedes-Benz are now providing their customised finance plans to buyers through Non-Banking Financial Companies. Customer engagement initiatives are on the rise and almost every other brand is conceiving new experiential programmes to engage their existing and potential customers. These are just a few examples of the different prevailing trends in the Indian automobile sector. We look at the key players in the industry, track their India performance and look at their flagship models for the year.

AUDI INDIA

Founded: Germany, 1909

Launched in India: 2007

Overview

Last year, Audi celebrated its tenth anniversary in India In 2017, it clocked an impressive 7876 deliveries.

Audi’s marketing strategy in India is largely characterised by its high levels of customer engagement and initiatives that bridge the gap between manufacturer and consumer. A case in point is the Audi Driving Experience, in its sixth year already, providing potential Audi customers and car enthusiasts a chance to experience Audi’s gamut of cars on specially
created tracks.

Audi India has also been at the forefront of the digital curve, through its India-specific website audi.in and through its active social media platforms.

The year 2018 has been particularly interesting for Audi, as they launched five models. Audi Q5 TDI, Audi RS5 Coupe, Audi Q5 TFSI, Audi Q3 Design Edition and Audi Q7 Design Edition. The all-new Audi Q5 received over 500 bookings within a month of its launch.

Accessibility continues to be Audi’s strongpoint with over 90 customer touch points ranging from showrooms and workshops to Audi-approved used car facilities. There is also a strong focus on India’s tier 2 and tier 3 towns. The brand’s “Workshop First” strategy has now progressed into dedicated facilities, which will be inaugurated soon in Thiruvananthapuram and Vijaywada.

Rahil Ansari, Head, Audi India opines, “Audi India has become one of the most popular brands despite being the last entrant into the market. Audi has had innumerable references in India’s pop culture, people in India have their own way of referring to the brand with four rings — to Audi in their own language like “chaarchallewaligaadi…” or “chaarbangdiwaligaadi…”.

Audi Club India is an exclusive Audi member’s only community that offers a host of benefits offered by Audi India such as Audi Club India Weekend Getaways, Audi Club Nights and International Audi Driving Experience

Audi Q7

The German carmaker refers to this SUV as the “legendary quattro” — and rightfully so. The latest avatar of this luxury SUV is lighter than its predecessor by almost 325 kg and clocks an impressive 22 per cent improvement in fuel efficiency. It retains the signature design cues of the Q family, specifically the sculpturally moulded Singleframe grille. The Audi Q7 is powered by a 3.0 TDI engine, which generates 249 hp of power, 600 Nm of torque, which takes the SUV from 0 to 100 kmph in a swift 7.1 seconds. The car achieves a top speed of 234 kmph. The car records superbly agile performance on any terrain thanks to the quick-shifting tiptronic transmission, the overall stability and different dynamic modes. The Q7’s interiors allude to a lounge, or perhaps even a private jet, with its refined lines and curves, with elements of aluminium and walnut to add elegance, in addition to the Cricket Leather seat upholstery.

The infotainment system is power-packed with features — a large touchscreen and the Audi Virtual Cockpit, which can be operated by the driver through the steering wheel controls. The Progressive interface expands the navigation map on the screen, with small tachometer and speedometer displays. Safety and security features in the Q7 are impressive — hill hold and hill descent control, tyre pressure loss indicator, Anti-lock braking system. In addition to this, there is an Automatic Park Assist, 36- degree surround camera as well as a tilt angle display, best used during off-road experiences. audi.in

BMW INDIA

Founded: Germany, 1916

Launched in India: 2006

Overview

This year has been particularly noteworthy for BMW India as they launched 11 products, including the first-ever BMW 6 Series Gran Turismo, the all-new BMW M5, the new BMW X6 xDrive 35i, the new BMW M3 Sedan, the new BMW M4 Coupe and the all-new BMW X3 SAV. The German carmaker also tell us that they are strongly considering introducing the BMW X4 to the Indian market in 2019. BMW India is also committed to customer engagement and immersive brand experiences, through its different initiatives BMW Mobile Studio (50 cities), BMW Experience Tour (14 cities), BMW xDrive Experience (12 cities) and BMW M Performance Training (4 cities). In addition, the carmaker also engages in cultural collaboration with the likes of India Art Fair, India Design Week, Kochi-Muziris Biennale and BMW Guggenheim Labs. Thanks to all this, today, Indian consumers strongly associate the BMW brand with authentic luxury, uncompromising engineering, innovative technology and outstanding quality. Going forward, BMW will continue its domination in the metropolitan cities, but will also target growth potential in the younger demographic, predominantly from tier 2 and tier 3 cities. Today, BMW India spreads its network across 43 sales outlets in 32 cities in the Indian market.

BMW M Driver Training

This exclusive experience, scheduled at race tracks across the country on pre-decided dates, allows speed and adrenaline junkies to test out BMW’s M cars, in a controlled environment. Once you sign up, you spend  a day on the track with professional racing instructors, and you will learn to take on different track corners and practise high-speed manoeuvres.

BMW 6 Series Gran Turismo

Spacious and versatile are words that can best describe the German carmaker’s first-ever BMW 6 Series Grand Turismo, a striking standalone concept. The car is instantly recognisable by its slick, contemporary design, with its distinctive elongated bonnet, coupé-style roofline and a large, sporty tailgate, in addition to its striking rear spoiler, which adds a nice design touch. The car is powered by a two-litre four-cylinder petrol engine (BMW 630i) delivering an output of 190 hp. It can go from 0-100 kmph in no more than 6.3 seconds. Gear shifting is seamless thanks to the 8-speed Steptronic Sport Automatic Transmission, while driving is smooth as silk thanks to the self-explanatory BMW Driving Experience Control, where a driver can shift between different drive modes to maximise the driving experience — Sport, Comfort, Comfort +, Eco Pro and Adaptive. Innovation is at the forefront with this car thanks to the carmaker’s cutting-edge technology. A case in point is the BMW Gesture Control, which recognises six pre-defined hand movements, to control different functions. Then there is the amazing BMW Display key, which indicates fuel level and information on doors, windows and the panoramic sunroof. While the car’s front seat perks are already so luxurious, back seat riders can enjoy the Rear-Seat Entertainment system with two 10.2-inch colour screens, with multiple connectivity options.

Safety and security features include BMW’s Anti-lock braking, side-impact protection, dynamic stability control and dynamic traction control. The first-ever BMW 6 Series Gran Turismo is available in a petrol variant, the BMW 630i Gran Turismo Sport Line, which is locally-produced. The diesel variant for the first-ever BMW 6 Series Gran Turismo will be launched later in 2018. bmw.in

Ferrari

Founded: Italy, 1947

Launched in India: 2015

Overview

Luxury sports car manufacturer Ferrari has always been synonymous with elegance and ultimate performance.

In 2017, Ferrari celebrated its 70th anniversary with a parade of 26 Ferraris on Indian roads, and the launch of Ferrari GTC4Lusso.

Ferrari tries to maintain clients as its top priority. Therefore, its marketing strategies always involve extensive consumer engagement. A case in point is Esperienza Ferrari series, where clients are invited for a car briefing by licensed trainers from Italy, followed by a drive, to experience the outstanding performance of each car involved in that event.

Other than that, it is the Ferrari Challenge racing series that has caught the attention of Ferrari enthusiasts. Sharad Kachalia, Dealer Principle, Ferrari Mumbai says, “We understand that Ferrari buyers are discerning clients who demand excellence.  They value individuality and flair as much as performance and drive a Ferrari for the experience, the thrill, the passion and the values of the heritage and innovation.” Therefore, to keep up with customer expectation, Ferrari is always looking for ways to improve its technologies and designs in each model. Adding on to this, is Ferrari’s pre-owned programmes that make owning and maintaining it more affordable.

Sustainability is important to Ferrari, and so it controls C02 emissions for all its models. The Stop and Start technology (introduced in 2010) and the huge strides made in overall mechanical and combustion efficiency are some of the efforts that the brand is taking in maintaining environmental balance.

Over the years, the Ferrari Challenge has proved to be an ideal platform for drivers looking to compete in prototype championships, and an impressive number has gone on to win in Grand-Am, International Motor Sports Association, the FIA World Endurance Championship and even the 24 Hours of Le Mans

Ferrari GTC4Lusso

Among the Italian automotive brand’s recent offerings is the Ferrari GTC4Lusso, along with its variant GTC4LussoT.

Ferrari GTC4Lusso comes with a four-wheel drive and a V12 engine, that generates 681 bhp and 697 Nm of peak torque. It goes from 0 – 100 kmph in 3.4 seconds, and has a top speed of 335 kmph.   

Ferrari GTC4Lusso features a beautifully designed dual cockpit — the driver cockpit and the passenger cockpit, offering a shared driving experience for both. The cockpit is separated by a central divider, where all of the comfort-oriented controls are accessible to both driver and passenger. The revamped interiors include a compact steering wheel.

The exterior of Ferrari GTC4Lusso is a blend of sophisticated and sporty look. The front of the car has a large single grille, and Ferrari’s signature twin rear lights adorn the tail.

Its infotainment system features a 10.25-inch full HD capacitive touchscreen; a completely redesigned and simplified human machine interface technology in which all functions can be accessed both via the screen or two rollers and four buttons; a split view function, which allows different types of content to be viewed simultaneously.
ferrari.com

Hyundai MOTOR INDIA 

Founded: South Korea, 1967

Launched in India: 1996

Overview

This year, Hyundai Motor India is celebrating two decades of sales and production in India. To top it all, the South Korean automotive brand recently crossed the milestone of producing its eight millionth car in India this year.

Hyundai is also focussing on tier 2 and tier 3 cities with its annual ‘Experience Hyundai’ campaign that runs across 418 non-metro cities.

Hyundai maintains a strong digital presence, and its 10.6 million (plus) fans on Facebook is a testimony of this. The car brand’s strong belief in the digital platform is also driven by its digital sales outlet concept where a customer doesn’t really have to wait at the dealer outlet. All information is digitally transmitted to him, and he gets a test drive on demand as well.

Today, Hyundai is the second largest passenger car manufacturer in India. To further strengthen its position in the Indian market, Hyundai is planning to launch eight models which will include two facelifts, two new segment vehicles, four full model change and an electric vehicle during 2018-2020.

Additionally, Hyundai has developed a strong dealership network of 495 dealers supported by 1,309 service points across India.

The New 2018 CRETA

Hyundai aims to strengthen its hold in the SUV segment, with The New 2018 CRETA. It comes with a 1.6 petrol engine, generating power of 123 ps while the 1.6 CRDi diesel engine generates of 128 ps. A more fuel efficient 1.4 diesel engine with 90 ps is also on offer.

A blend of sporty and bold exterior, The New 2018 CRETA has a cascade design front grille. Other exterior features involve LED side indicators and dual tone front and rear bumpers that add to the sporty look.

The interiors of The New 2018 CRETA are characterised by soft touch paint on the crash pad, and leatherette finish on the door, steering and seats.

Other details include smart electric sunroof, cruise control, six-way power driver seats, smart key band and wireless phone charger.

Its infotainment system includes Android Auto, Apple CarPlay and MirrorLink , that provide seamless integration of app-based navigation, streaming audio and smartphone applications.

The New 2018 CRETA maintains high standards of safety with six airbags, electrochromic mirror, speed sensing auto door lock and effective braking control with Electronic Stability Control and vehicle stability management. hyundai.com/in

Jaguar Land Rover India

Bought over by tata motors: 2008
Joined together as one company: 2013

Overview

Tata Motors-owned Jaguar Land Rover India clocked an overwhelming 83 per cent growth in 2017-18, by selling 4,609 units, while the first half of 2018 has been as impressive with a massive 2,579 units sold. This stellar performance is largely credited to the company’s strong product portfolio, expansive retailer network and a host of customer engagement programmes. One thing that sets Jaguar Land Rover India apart is its concept of highly distinctive product launches. A case in point is the recent launch of the Range Rover Velar, cementing its presence in the off-road segment. Then there are other initiatives like “Discovery With A Purpose” with a mission to raise awareness about endangered wildlife species in India. This included an itinerary through northeast India in the Land Rover Discovery SUV. Jaguar, as well, has embarked on a number of initiatives to engage with its Indian customers. Take, for instance, its dynamic drive experiences, where Jaguar’s guests can test out different models in different conditions. Jaguar puts out its entire range — XE, XF, XJ, F-TYPE and F-PACE — for guests to enjoy at specially designed track experiences on an open tarmac. In the very same vein, Land Rover offers the unique Above and Beyond Tour, in the Land Rover Discovery Sport and Range Rover Evoque. Under the supervision of certified Land Rover trainers, guests can test out these cars in different terrain and driving conditions, to maximise the Land Rover experience. This tour is offered in 12 cities across India and is open to existing and potential customers.

For the next financial year, Jaguar Land Rover India projects ten new products for the Indian market. There will also be an increased focus on tier 2 and tier 3 cities. Currently, JLR India boasts a network of 27 outlets across 25 cities.

JLR boasts a great brand recall value in the Indian market, as in the international market. Both Jaguar and Land Rover are typically British brands. While Jaguar is characterised by design and performance, Land Rover is synonymous with adventure and capability. This is also why Land Rover is considered by many to be among the world’s most preferred SUV brands.

Jaguar XE

Lovingly referred to as the “svelte cat” by car enthusiasts, the Jaguar XE is a visual treat on the road with its unmistakable design cues — the sculpted bonnet, the stylised “J” headlights, the chrome side vents and the distinctive rear curve. The petrol variant of the XE is powered by an Ingenium 2.0-litre, 4-cylinder engine, which pumps out 147 kW of power and promises to go from 1 to 100 kmph in 7.1 seconds. The XE comes with an 8-speed automatic transmission, operated with a slick Satin Black rotary selector. The steering wheel paddles can, of course, be used for manual gearshifts. On the central console, you will find the carmaker’s signature JaguarDrive Control, where you choose between modes — Normal, Eco, Dynamic, or Rain Ice Snow — which modifies the steering and throttle responses and performance.

The luxurious interiors feature plush leather upholstery, and the front seats are designed to give passengers a sense of being wrapped around by the cockpit.

The infotainment system is characterised by an 8-inch touchscreen, simply known as Touch, with mobile connectivity, music options, voice prompts as well as access to 2D and 3D maps. A nice technological touch is the addition of the InControl Apps, a set of pre-loaded, compliant apps, which you can use to stream data. This includes Hungama Drive music streaming service and NDTV’s in-car app.

In addition, there is Jaguar’s Head-Up Display, which projects vital driving data onto the windscreen, in front of the driver. The XE also comes with a host of safety and security features like Adaptive Cruise Control, (automatically slows down the car in slowing traffic), Driver Condition Monitor (indicates if you need to take a break to avoid fatigue), Intelligent Emergency Braking and Lane Departure Warning. Perfect for Indian city roads, Jaguar’s Intelligent Start/Stop system turns off the engine and turns it back on again when you need to go again. jaguar.in

2018 Range Rover Sport

One can’t help but marvel at the new, decidedly sportier allure of the Range Rover Sport, Land Rover’s mid-level luxury SUV, with its redesigned front and rear bumpers, and even the stunning wraparound LED lights.

Among the many variants is a V6 Supercharged Petrol version, which delivers a thumping 250 kW of power. This one can achieve a maximum speed of 209 kmph, while it can accelerate from 0 to 100 kmph in 7.1 seconds. Terrain Response allows you to manually select a mode — Comfort, Grass/Gravel/Snow, Mud and Ruts, Sand and ECO — for an optimal driving experience. Terrain Response 2 is an automatic system, which detects the most appropriate terrain setting and delivers the best performance.

The interiors are luxurious and plush, with, at the centre, the innovative Touch Pro Duo technology, including two 10-inch touchscreens. The first one is largely for entertainment and phone connectivity, while the second screen is largely for drive modes and temperature control. The steering wheel also features a few switch functions, which are touch-sensitive. The vehicle also boasts a four-zone Climate Control system as well as a Cabin Air Ionisation technology, among many other cabin enhancement features. The SUV is, as you would expect, packed with safety and security features including a collision warning system, lane-keeping assist and adaptive cruise control. Other perks include the Head-Up Display, where vital data — speed, gear and direction — are projected on the windscreen, while you drive. The driver also benefits from a high-resolution 12.3-inch Driver Display, with graphics et al. Another feature that we absolutely love is the Automatic Access Height, where the vehicle can be lowered to as much as 50mm, to allow you to get in and out with greater ease. Another standard feature is the Hill Descent Control, patented by Land Rover, which applies the brakes separately to each wheel, thereby rendering difficult slopes easier to tackle. landrover.in

JEEP india

First Civilian Jeep launched: USA, 1945

Launched in India: 2016

Overview

Amidst much fanfare, Jeep launched its iconic SUVs — Jeep Wrangler Unlimited, Jeep Grand Cherokee and Jeep Grand Cherokee SRT — in India, albeit imported directly from USA. In July, the American carmaker made the news with the launch of its Made-in-India Jeep Compass, manufactured in Ranjangaon near Pune. Interesting to note, also that the Jeep Compass crossed the 10,000 exports mark and is currently being shipped to 13 right-hand drive markets, including Japan, Australia and the UK. The Jeep Compass was met with a stellar response, selling over 25,000 units within the first year of its launch. In addition to Jeep Trails (see box), there is Camp Jeep, where non-Jeep owners can experience Jeep vehicles in real time off-road conditions.

Now that Jeep India has established itself firmly in the market, it plans to strengthen its sales and service network. It is focussing strongly on its after-sales service called Mopar — Fiat Chrysler Automobiles’ international after-sales programme, customer care, accessories and parts brand. Currently, the carmaker operates across a network of 65 sales and 66 service outlets in India.

Jeep SUV owners can enroll in Jeep Trails, which gives them a chance to drive their Jeep SUVs in unchartered territories in India and experience the capability of their cars

Jeep Compass

Sleek and sharp, the Jeep Compass dominates the road with its confident, elegant stance. Jeep’s historic design cues are unmistakable — the seven-slot grille and the trapezoidal wheel arches — a perfect blend of a rugged off-roader and an elegant urban vehicle. This is seen in the Jeep Active Drive 4X4 System, which can easily switch between two and four-wheel drive, as per terrain requirement. The SUV is powered by a 1.4 litre Multiair petrol engine ( a two-litre diesel option available), which translates to a power of 162 ps, promising an impressive average of 14.1 kmpl. Drivers have a choice between a seven-speed automatic gear transmission or a six-speed manual transmission. In the 4X4 mode, the car comes with a Selec-Terrain dial where you can choose different modes like Auto, Snow, Sand and Mud, each which render different throttle responses and traction. As rugged and muscular as it is on the outside, the Jeep Compass is soft and plush on the inside. Perks include a leather-covered steering wheel, Jeep’s signature UConnect infotainment panel with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto connectivity, a two-zone climate control and an information cluster that can be customised. jeep-india.com

Lamborghini INDIA

Founded: Italy, 1963

Launched in India: 2007

Overview

Lamborghini India kick-started its journey in 2007 when the super sports car segment in India was at a nascent stage. In order to engage with Indian customers, the brand focusses on a range of initiatives. Sharad Agarwal, head, Lamborghini India says, “We have brought to India our international drive experience platforms called the Lamborghini Esperienza and Accademia. Here, we bring our international fleet of cars with our expert drivers from the Sqadra Corse team to give the quintessential Lamborghini driving experience to prospective Indian buyers.”

Talking about the market, Agarwal says, “In India, the market is relatively small, but in terms of consumer preferences, it is one of the most evolved. The consumer in India is at par with a consumer from other parts of the world.” The brand also offers a customisation programme wherein a customer can choose from over 30,000 possible combinations for colour and trim alone. He says, “It is important to note that our customers spend up to 30 per cent of the entire value solely on customisation.”

India was one of the first few markets worldwide to launch Lamborghini Urus, the world’s first super SUV, in January 2018. With this latest launch, Agarwal says, “We are looking at doubling our volumes. In India, given the preference for SUVs we expect to grow more than 2 X. Our target is to reach 3 digit figures in India in next 3 years.

Lamborghini Urus

The goal for Lamborghini has always been to create a superfast SUV.  Its newest member, Lamborghini Urus sets a new benchmark for its buyers. We can say this because of its impressive stats: The Urus accelerates from 0-100 kmph in 3.6 seconds, 0-200 kmph in 12.8 seconds and reaches a top speed of 305 kmph. Its 4.0-litre twin-turbocharged (a first for Lamborghini) V8 engine puts out 641bhp at 6000rpm and 850nm torque at a very low 2,250rpm. The car is girded by a 650-horsepower. The aesthetics are on-point. The hexagonal theme echoes throughout the interior, in elements such as air vents and door handles, and even in items such as the cup holders and airbag modules. Its ergonomic cabin is replete with high quality materials including the finest leather, Alcantara, aluminium, carbon fibre and wood.

Perfect for long drives, the highlights of the car include the infotainment system centres. Divided into two screens —  the upper screen is majorly used for entertainment, navigation and managing media. The lower screen provides a keyboard and handwriting-compatible screen for inputting information and controlling options like climate control and seat heating. There is also a voice control option to manage functions like music, phone calls or send text messages.

The Lamborghini Urus four-wheel drive system delivers safe, highly-responsive driving dynamics on every road and surface, in all weather.  This is a unique product from the brand because it combines the driving dynamics and the emotions of the super sports car which is a typical Lamborghini DNA with the versatility of an SUV. So, it’s a Lamborghini which you can enjoy with your family and friends. lamborghini.com

Maruti Suzuki

Founded: 1981, India

Overview

With a market share of more than 50 per cent, Maruti Suzuki is considered to be India’s largest carmaker. Recently, the brand reached a production milestone of 20 million cars in the country.

In the last few years, the brand has adopted many customer-driven marketing strategies to maintain its popularity in the Indian market. Maruti Insurance and Maruti TrueValue are some of these initiatives that have benefited or been a value-add -on for customers. As part of its corporate social responsibility, Maruti Suzuki also launched the Maruti Driving School, offering learners theoretical and practical sessions.

Maruti Suzuki has always been perceived as the common man’s brand, but by launching NEXA in 2015, the brand has adopted preminum positioning. This retail network by Maruti Suzuki sells models like Baleno, Baleno RS, S-Cross, Ciaz and Ignis.

Maruti Suzuki Baleno RS

Launched in 2017, Baleno RS marks Maruti Suzuki’s entry into the hot hatchback style. It is powered by a 1.0-litre 3-cylinder Boosterjet petrol engine, developing 101 bhp and a maximum torque of 150 Nm at 1700-4500 rpm.

The exteriors of the Baleno RS feature chrome accent front grille, alloy black wheels, Projector headlamps and UV cut glass on front doors, rear doors and quarter glass. The interiors offer leather-wrapped steering wheel, metal finish inside door handles and multi-information speedometer display.

Maruti Suzuki Baleno RS comes with a SmartPlay Infotainment System, steering mounted audio control and remote control through a smartphone app.

Remote keyless entry, front and rear accessory socket, anti-theft security system and follow me home headlamps are some of the other features of this NEXA model. marutisuzuki.com

Mercedes-Benz INDIA

Founded: Germany, 1926

Launched in India: 1994

The diverse Mercedes-Benz portfolio includes 23 products, ranging from the A-Class hatchback to its flagship S-Class model.

New Generation Cars – A-Class, B-Class, GLA and CLA

Executive Sedans – C-Class and E-Class

Luxury Saloons – Mercedes-Benz S-Class and Mercedes-Maybach S-Class

SUVs – GLA, GLC, GLC Coupe, GLE, GLE Coupe, GLS

Dream Cars – C-Class and S-Class cabriolets/roadsters

Performance Cars – AMG 43, AMG 45, AMG 63 and AMG GT range

Mercedes-Benz India recently rolled-out its bespoke programme for its discerning customers – Mercedes-Benz Circle Elite. With this initiative, Mercedes-Benz customers can access an exclusive world of benefits and privileges by simply dialling a hotline number The ‘Mercedes-Benz Circle Elite’ programme has tie-ups with leading lifestyle and luxury brands in the spheres of hospitality, entertainment, travel, sports, healthcare and more.

All 2018 Mercedes-Benz customers get automatically enrolled into the programme at no additional cost.

Mercedes-Benz S-Class

The latest version of the Mercedes-Benz S-Class is all about responsible luxury as it is India’s first BS VI compliant vehicle. With its new engine, the car meets India’s April 2020 deadline for BS VI standards, a whole two years ahead of schedule. The car comes in an S 350 d diesel and an S 450 petrol version, the former being the most powerful diesel engine manufactured by the German carmaker. This diesel engine packs in a mighty six-cylinder motor, delivering 210 kW of power while the V6 petrol engine delivers 270 kW of power. In keeping with the global trend of autonomous driving, the new S-Class introduces autonomous driving assistance to the Indian market with a radar-driven system for increased safety and protection against collisions. Then there’s the Active Driving Assist DISTRONIC mechanism, which maintains the distance with the vehicle in front and applies the brakes automatically if a car comes too close, in addition to the Active Braking Assist and Active Steering Assist which ensures that the car drives within its lanes. Other perks, especially for riders in the roomy, plush backseat are generously reclining bucket seats, personalised climate control, personalised fragrance and a choice of illuminating the car in 64 different colours thanks to the ambient lighting system. The car also comes with a wireless charging panel for compatible phones.

Overview

With over two decades of experience in India, Mercedes-Benz India now boasts the largest network spread amongst luxury carmakers in India, with a presence in 45 Indian cities and an impressive 93 outlets. The German carmaker has, for the past three years, been the highest seller in the Indian luxury car segment.

A visit to its 100-acre production facility in Chakan near Pune is proof enough of its presence in India. The production facility, clocking an investment of `2,200 crore, has the largest installed production capacity for any carmaker in India. In the first half of 2018, the brand launched seven products — Mercedes-Maybach S 650, the New S-Class, the GLS Grand Edition, AMG E 63 S 4MATIC+, GLE 43 4MATIC Coupe ‘OrangeArt’ and the SLC 43 ‘RedArt’.and the AMG S 63 Coupe  for the Indian market. The E-Class long wheelbase sedan continues to be a success story for the Indian market by becoming the highest contributor of sales volumes for Mercedes-Benz in 2017. Mercedes-Benz became the first luxury car maker in India to reach the milestone of manufacturing 1,00,000 cars ‘Made-in-India, for India’

Recently the brand introduced an industry first customer service initiative – Service on wheels, especially designed for tier 1 and tier 2 markets where Mercedes-Benz doesn’t have a direct presence.

Mercedes-Benz India achieved another milestone this year in the luxury car segment with the launch of the BS-VI-compliant S Class, which can be run on the BS-IV fuel. mercedes-benz.co.in

Porsche India

First Porsche Car: Germany, 1948

Launched in India: 2004

Overview

From the stylish 356 ‘No 1’ Roadster in 1948 to this decade’s latest model Porsche 911 GT2 RS that launched in India, the Porsche brand has been synonymous with sports car construction at the very highest level. The German manufacturer, who forayed into the Indian market in the year 2004, has gradually been making its way up as the most-sought-after luxury sports car label. This year, Porsche celebrates 70 years with numerous activities around the world.

Sportscars are aspirational and a dream for most in India, and with the introduction of the 718 Boxster and Cayman, Porsche now have a full range of sportscars, which meet various demands. Currently, Porsche India offers nine variants of the iconic 911. Additionally, the brand also has the 4-door luxury saloon – the Panamera, which is available as a E-Hybrid, and the Cayenne and Macan SUVs for India. Porsche in India has dealers across various cities including Mumbai, Bengaluru, Gurgaon, Ahmedabad, Kolkata and Kochi.

Porsche is celebrating 70 years in 2018 with numerous activities around the world

Porsche 911 GT2 RS

Porsche’s new model is the first 911 GT2 RS to be equipped with a double-clutch transmission. The Porsche Doppelkupplung (PDK) has been customised for the GT2 RS and offers special features designed specifically for the track. The Intelligent Shift Program enhances gear shifting, whilst the “Paddle Neutral” function gives greater driver control and is reserved solely for Porsche GT sports cars. At the heart of Porsche’s fastest 911 of all time is a 3.8 litre-700 hp biturbo flat engine, which delivers a power increase of 80 hp over its 3.6-litre predecessor. Weighing in at 1,470 kg with a full fuel tank, the lightweight two-seater accelerates from zero to 100 kmph in 2.8 seconds. The rear-wheel drive Coupé has a top speed of 340 kmph, and with its near-motorsport drive technology, achieves a torque output of 750 Nm.

Visually, the design is centred around the vehicle’s racing properties from every angle. The interior is dominated by red Alcantara, black leather and a carbon-weave finish as standard. A sports steering wheel with gearshift paddles, full bucket seats, and the Clubsport package which includes roll cage and six-point driver seat belt enhances the ride experience for drivers and passengers further. porsche.com

Rolls-Royce MOTOR CARS

Founded (Original Company): United Kingdom, 1906

Launched in India: 2005

Overview

India has always been a key market for Rolls-Royce Motor Cars. Over the years, the ultra luxury car brand has attracted discerning customers in the country with its famous models such as Phantom, Ghost, Wraith and Dawn.

Like any other luxury brand, customers form the core for Rolls-Royce growth. For this. the brand has adopted a customer service enrichment programme that ensure good sales and after-sales services.  Simultaneously, the brand has also been responsible for generating new permanent jobs. For instance, this year they have created more than 50 jobs in the manufacturing sector.

Rolls-royce Phantom (8th generation)

This year, Rolls-Royce rolled out its eighth generation Phantom in India. The model has a contemporary feel to it, and is said to be an evolution of
its predecessors.

The new Phantom is built on an aluminium spaceframe architecture. The Phantom is available in two wheelbase lengths. The Phantom Extended Wheelbase is 220 mm longer than the standard model.

It comes with 6.75-litre, twin-turbocharged V12 engine, and can accelerate from 0-100 kmph in just 5.3 seconds. The new model delivers 563 horsepower and 900 nm of torque. Laser headlights with high-beam range of more than 600 metres is one the highlights of this model.

A new glass-encased space, called ‘gallery’ stretches from the steering to the passenger side door on the dashboard. This space can be used to display anything of the owner’s choice from artwork to colour preference.

Needless to say, the eighth generation Phantom comes with a range of customisation options for you to choose from. rolls-roycemotorcars.com

Tata Motors

Founded: India, 1945

Overview

In FY’18, Tata Motors, grew by 31 per cent in its Passenger Vehicle Business Unit (PVBU).

Homegrown auto major, Tata Motors is an automotive manufacturing company and a member of the Tata Group. With a diverse portfolio that covers a comprehensive selection of passenger and commercial vehicles, the group has subsidiaries like Jaguar Land Rover, Tata Hispano, Tata Daewoo, Tata Motors Cars among others. Focussing on the passenger car market, at present, Tata Motors is regaining momentum in the passenger vehicle market by launching new products — Tiago Hatchback, Hexa SUV, Tigor Compact Sedan and Nexon Compact SUV, in the last 18 months.

According to Financial Express, Tata Motors will invest `12,000 crore ($ 1.75 billion) in India in the passenger car segment over the course of the next 3 years. A large part of this fresh investment will go towards meeting the demand for new vehicles from Tata Motors.

Tata Hexa

For a drive like no other, Tata Hexa that launched in 2017 is quipped with an advanced next-gen 2.2l VARICOR 400 diesel engine. It is mated to 6-speed manual and automatic transmission, delivering a 400 Nm torque and 114.73 kW (156 PS) power. In an effort to improve ride quality, the company has a feature called ‘Super Drive Modes’, which includes Auto, Comfort, Dynamic and Rough Road. The exterior features include automatic projector headlamps, redesigned bumper with LED with ‘Daytime Running Lights’ (DRLs) integrated with fog lamps and an aluminium finish front grille. Inside the car, the all-black interior welcomes you. One can also find entertainment options such as a touch screen paired to a 10-speaker JBL system.

As far as comfort is concerned, it offers an eight-way adjustable driver’s seat, automatic climate control that maintains optimal cabin temperature with personalised air flow and black interior theme on the dashboard. Other feature of the car include Hill Hold Control and Hill Descent Control options, which means it will automatically activates to prevent the vehicle from rolling backwards on up-hills and controls descent on inclined surfaces for added safety. tatamotors.com

Toyota Kirloskar Motor

Launched in India: 1997

Overview

Established in 1997 as a joint venture between Kirloskar Group and the Toyota Motor Corporation (TMC), Toyota Kirloskar Motor Private Ltd (TKM) has grown rapidly to emerge as a significant player in India’s passenger car and multi-utility vehicle (MUV) market segments. Toyota first entered the Indian automotive market in the MUV segment with the launch of the Qualis model in 2000. The model was instantly popular and quickly grew within a short span of two years to capture 20 per cent market share from established players during that time. Since then Toyota has launched different models for Indian consumers like Corolla, Camry, Fortuner, Etios, and the most recent, Yaris. The brand also offers the environment friendly concept of ‘ECO Car Wash’ service to customers. The ECO wash is a unique concept which gives a fine finish with zero water usage, by cleaning the vehicle with eco-friendly products without affecting the environment and preserving the most valuable natural resource — water.

Toyota Yaris

Keeping in mind the evolving demand of discerning customers in India, the brand recently launched the versatile sedan, Yaris. The interiors of the Yaris exude a premium appeal with its piano black accents. There are several practical features in the car such as the Tyre Pressure Monitoring System, Roof mounted Air Vents with Ambient Illumination, Power Driver Seat, Front Parking Sensor, among others. The Yaris is powered by a Dual VVT-i 1.5 petrol engine and gives max power of 79 kW (107 PS) @ 6000 rpm and max Torque140 (Nm) @ 4200 rpm.

The highlights include the VSC (Vehicle Stability Control) feature that effectively helps avoid side skids and loss of control, especially on steep curves. The air vents are strategically positioned to allow for optimum air channeling. This makes for uniform cooling to the front and rear passenger alike. The Yaris steering wheel is intuitive and has all the controls to audio and phone features. There is also an eight way adjustable Power Driver Seat feature, giving you a complete control over your driving posture. We absolutely love the waterfall-like design dashboard, giving you a stylish and spacious place to operate from. toyotayaris.in

Volkswagen Passenger Cars india

Founded: Germany, 1937

Launched in India: 2007

Overview

Volkswagen Passenger Cars entered the Indian market in 2007 with the launch of the Passat and Phaeton, which define premium-ness and luxury needs of the aspirational Indian consumer. The brand has been a pioneer in the industry, placing significant emphasis on safety — by introducing dual airbags as standard across all models, and offering products catering to all major segments in the region. With a range of German engineered cars, Volkswagen displays a robust product portfolio in the country with the Polo, Ameo, Vento as well as its 2017, premium car launches – the Tiguan and All-New Passat.

In 2015, Volkswagen made a commitment of launching five new products for the Indian market. It fulfilled its promise with the iconic and Beetle followed by the Volkswagen Ameo, a car made specifically for the Indian market. The brand lately updated its Polo and Ameo, and both are now available in a fuel efficient avatar with the latest generation 1.0L MPI engine along with the powerful 1.5L TDI engine.

Volkswagen has adopted a renewed approach to the Indian region and a major part of the strategy is regionalisation that connects them to the entire geography of the country.  To increase brand awareness in India, especially in tier 2 and tier 3 markets in India, Volkswagen recently launched a 250+ multi-city Ameo roadshow that reaches every corner of the country, connecting with the customers.

According to Steffen Knapp, Director, Volkswagen Passenger Cars, “In India, buying a car has always been an emotional affair. Thus, Volkswagen continues to enhance this emotion by celebrating every festival of the country and has conducted mega-deliveries and customer benefit programmes on auspicious occasions like Onam, Ugadi and Gudi Padwa. The communication approach is region specific, adopting the culture and local language blending it with the Global engineering of Volkswagen in its commercials.”

Volkswagen’s All-New Passat

The All-New Passat is one of the luxury sedans that is bold without being loud. It is the first sedan to be based on the MQB platform in India and is up to 70kg lighter as compared to its predecessor yet offers improved rigidity. It also comes with premium features such as Park Assist, which assists the driver by automatically carrying out the optimum steering movements in order to reverse-park on the ideal line. The All-New Passat is powered with an efficient 2.0 L TDI diesel engine mated to a 6 speed automatic-DSG gearbox that offers superior fuel efficiency of 17.42 kmpl (As per ARAI).

Generating peak power of 130kW (177 PS) and a torque of 350 Nm ranging from 1500-3500 rpm, the Passat is undoubtedly a trendsetter amongst car enthusiasts in India. In terms of design, Volkswagen has applied a progressive design strategy giving the car a presence, sleek and sophisticated look. The Full LED headlights and taillights provide better lighting with reduced energy consumption.

The eighth generation of the All-New Passat is regarded as one of the most innovative cars in its segment with its distinct combination of power, performance and efficiency. volkswagen.co.in

Volvo Cars INDIA

Founded: Sweden, 1927

Launched in India: 2007

Overview

In the last 18 months, Sweden’s Volvo Cars has impressed the Indian car market with a 28 per cent sales growth in 2017, while the January-June 2018 period got them an unprecedented 33 per cent hike in sales. Currently, Volvo Cars’ segment share in the Indian luxury car market is at 5 per cent. As things stand, Volvo Cars’ India portfolio showcases 10 models, with more models likely to be launched. The most recent launch by Volvo Cars is in the compact luxury segment with the XC40.  In the last quarter of 2017, Volvo Cars India made the news by opening its local assembly in Bengaluru. Over the last year, the brand has launched products across segments like the V90 Cross Country, XC60 (mid-sized luxury SUV) and XC40 (compact luxury SUV) in India. The brand says that it intends to double its current market segment share of 5 per cent by the year 2020 by launching new products, enhancing brand engagement and spreading the dealership network. The carmaker’s strategy in India is to organise product experiences for existing and potential customers. A case in point is a curated driving experience to Coorg, where 100 prospective customers were allowed to drive the V90 Cross Country.

Underlying this experience, is Volvo’s commitment to intuitive technology, slick Scandinavian design, and, of course, safety, especially with a radar-based active safety technology fitted in all cars.

Volvo Cars India had a record year in 2017 with 28% growth and sold 2029 cars

Volvo Cars India now has 23 showrooms in 21 cities across India, with plans to add three more showrooms by the year-end. This includes a state-of-the-art 3S facility, spread over 1,718 sq m of showroom and service facility, located in the automotive hub of Dewas Naka, Indore

Volvo XC40

Having won the “European Car of the Year” award in March 2018, Volvo Cars’ new compact SUV launched in India in July 2018. Experts have lauded the XC40 for its slick Scandinavian design and clean lines, styled beautifully both inside and out. The SUV is powerful and agile, and an effortless drive, thanks to its 2.0-litre, four-cylinder diesel engine, with a 0-100 kmph acceleration of 7.9 seconds. The interiors of the car are really striking with its unmistakable red accents on the sides and the floor, to complement the predominantly black theme with its chic brushed metal accents.

The centre console features a massive 9-inch touchscreen, which operates Volvo’s signature Sensus infotainment system, which features, among other things, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. Scandinavian minimalism is visible here as a lot of hard buttons have been replaced by soft buttons on the touchscreen, lending a clean overall look, complemented by the stylised AC vents on both sides. Hi-fi enthusiasts will rave about the sound system featuring 13 Harman/Kardon speakers. There is also a wireless charging panel for compatible phones. Since Volvo Cars are all about safety, this one too comes packed with features like Volvo’s Pilot Assist, Adaptive Cruise Control, detection for pedestrians, cyclists and animals, and Lane Keeping Aid. As for the drive, it is smooth, agile and extremely quiet, offering different driving modes such as Eco, Comfort, Dynamic, Off-road and Individual, which adapt the steering wheel and engine responses depending on the selected mode. volvocars.com/in

Riaan Jacob George, Nisha Shroff and Sanchita Nambiar

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