AUSSIE FIGO PRAISED
ALOCALLY designed Ford is making a big splash at the India AutoExpo in New Delhi.
The Ford Figo — based on the previous-generation Fiesta — was designed by Ford Australia, led by head designer Scott Strong.
It has been re-engineered tougher to compete in India’s small-car segment, which accounts for more than 70 per cent of the new vehicle market.
The Figo is one of a handful of mini and micro cars launched to rave reviews at this week’s New Delhi show.
Apart from the Figo, Honda’s ‘‘new small concept’’ and Toyota’s Etios sedan made their world debuts.
Designed to tackle the Tata Nano, the low-cost production version of the Honda will initially be sold in India but other Asian export markets are planned.
The 1.2-litre front-wheel-drive fivedoor hatch is expected to go on sale in India next year, with a starting price of about $11,000.
Apart from India, the small Honda is tipped to be built in Thailand and could also be sold here.
Maruti-Suzuki, which dominates the Indian new car market, showed off its R3 MPV six-seater concept which looks similar to the just-launched Opel Meriva.
The Etios — which was codenamed EFC for entry family car — could make it to Australia as a replacement for the Yaris.
The entry four-door sedan is designed to compete against the Suzuki Swift and goes on sale in India later this year, with a hatch to follow in 2011.
The Etios will be powered by two new 1.2 and 1.5-litre petrol engines, with production initially destined for the Indian market but exports are planned.
Toyota vice-chairman Kazuo Okamoto said India was a key market in the company’s global small car strategy.
It was also one of the few countries experiencing growth, he said.
Apart from a host of micro and small cars, electric vehicles also made a show splash.
Renault launched its two-seater Twizy electric ahead of its global launch in 2012.
The two-seater Twizy is one of four full electric cars that Renault unveiled recently and is being displayed outside Europe for the first time.
General Motors India is working with the Indian-based Reva Electric car company to launch an electric version of the Spark — expected to be Holden’s next-generation Barina — towards the end of this year and Hyundai Motor India, the country’s second largest carkmaker is showing of an electric version of its i10 hatch.
Maruti-Suzuki also unveiled the SX4 hybrid, using a 1.2-litre four-cylinder engine and 50kW electric motor mated to a CVT transmission.
SHOWING OFF: Suzuki’s R3 MPV six-seater concept was unveiled at the New Delhi expo