The week gone by has been an eventful one for the automobile sector, packed with new launches and announcements. The French car-maker, Renault, launched the 2018 model of its most popular car, Kwid. Mahindra gave us the first glimpse of its much-awaited car, Marazzo, which will challenge the supremacy of the Toyota Innova Crysta in the Indian market. But the biggest piece of news came from the American bike-maker Harley-Davidson, which announced a slew of new motorcycles for India, including some fresh additions to its portfolio. Shams Naqvi writes about what was an action-packed week for the Indian automobile sector.
2018 Renault Kwid
French car maker Renault has announced the launch of an updated version of its most popular car the KWID. Some new first-in-segment features on the Kwid include an integrated reverse parking camera, a rear arm rest and a rear 12V socket for passenger convenience. The updated car also gets an Emergency Locking Retractor across all variants and Traffic Assist in AMT variants. Renault is also offering a 4 years or 1 lakh Km Warranty on the KWID.
Some other segment first features include a 7-inch touchscreen Media NAV system, Rear Camera, digital Instrument cluster, radio speed dependent volume control and pro-sense seat belt pretensioners with load limiters. The car comes with best-in-class features like a boot capacity of 300 litres and 180 mm of ground clearance.
The Kwid is available in 8 trims that include 800 cc or 1 liter engine options and AMT and manual gearboxes. Significantly the KWID 2018 Range has been launched at no additional price. The prices start at Rs. 2.66 lakh ex-showroom and go upto Rs. 4.59 lakh for the Kwid Climber AMT model.
Harley Davidson future line-up
In a major announcement, iconic American bike maker Harley Davidson has announced a spate of new models for the Indian market that will be launched in the next few years.
The company plans to offer its most comprehensive lineup of motorcycles, competing in many of the largest and fastest growing segments with a full portfolio of motorcycles across a broad spectrum of price points, power sources, displacements, riding styles and global markets. These include introducing a new modular 500cc to 1250cc middleweight platform of motorcycles that spans three distinct product spaces and four displacements, starting with the company’s first Adventure Touring motorcycle, the Pan America 1250, a 1250 Custom model and a 975cc Streetfighter model, all of which are planned to launch beginning in 2020.
The company says it is also developing a more accessible, small-displacement in the 250cc to 500cc category for Asia emerging markets through a planned strategic alliance with a manufacturer in Asia.
But the first of the new bikes will be company’s first electric motorcycle, LiveWire in 2019. It will be the first in a broad, no-clutch “twist and go” portfolio of electric two-wheelers. The company says the electric bike will be followed by additional models through 2022 to broaden the portfolio with lighter, smaller and even more accessible product options to inspire new riders with new ways to ride.
Interestingly keeping in tune with the changing times Harley-Davidson is also introducing new retail formats including smaller, urban storefronts globally to expose the brand to urban populations and drive sales of the expanded product portfolio and also expand international apparel distribution.
Mahindra Marazzo (codenamed U321)
Home grown major Mahindra & Mahindra has teased its upcoming utility vehicle along with revealing its name. The Toyota Innova rival codenamed U321 will be known as the Marazzo. Derived from Basque, a sub-language of Spanish, the word “Marazzo” means shark and is linked to the vehicle’s shark-inspired design.
The Mahindra Design Studio and Italian design house Pininfarina have collaborated closely during the design development process of the Marazzo. Its shark-inspired design is evident in the streamlined and aerodynamic shape, in the overall silhouette and in the front grille inserts which resemble shark-like teeth. Even on the rear the tail lamps are inspired by the tail of a shark.
Mahindra says the Marazzo comes with a patented architecture, for a unique balance of smooth ride, agile handling, space and quiet cabin. According to the company it underwent the most rigorous testing any Mahindra vehicle has ever been subjected to. It will be manufactured at the company’s manufacturing facility at Nasik, in Maharashtra and is gearing up for a commercial launch before the end of Q2 of next financial year.
Shams Naqvi is an anchor/producer for the News X motor show Living Cars