Monday, July 15, 2013

'Datsun Go video walkaround' plus 15 more

'Datsun Go video walkaround' plus 15 more

Datsun Go video walkaround

Posted: 15 Jul 2013 04:13 AM PDT

In the few minutes Datsun allotted the media to complete the shooting the Datsun Go, we managed to capture every exterior detail while it revolved on the turntable, in a video clip.

[Can't view the video above? Head over to Youtube]

Since 1PM, we’ve exhaustively reported on the Datsun Go. You can go through live images, official images, commentary and official videos through our Datsun Go tag page.

The Go is a 3.78m long city hatchback that is powered by a 1.2L petrol engine. Other interesting features are the adjoined front bucket seats and the dash-mounted gearlever and parking brake.

The Go would mark the return of Datsun here in India, in Russia, in South Africa and in Indonesia. Sales begin in all these markets in 2014. Sales in India have been announced from early 2014.

The Go’s manufacturing is from the Renault-Nissan alliance plant in Oragadam, Chennai. This plant, operational since early 2010, makes all of the alliance’s mass-market models with intense localization levels.

The Go’s prices would start from under four lakh rupees. Accessible service stations, dealership proximity and transparent pricing are being promised for Datsun cars.

The Datsun products in general are marketed towards the ‘emerging middle class’ family, for whom buying a new car is a celebratory affair.

How do you like the Go?

Official images – Datsun Go gets dashboard mounted gear lever and adjoined front seats

Posted: 15 Jul 2013 03:20 AM PDT

The Datsun Go which made its global premiere in India earlier today will spearhead the resurrected auto marque’s campaign in emerging markets India, Indonesia and South Africa.

Datsun Go front three quarters official image

Here is a collection of official images of the small car packed into a CD ROM. The Datsun Go has no drama in its design but the conservative appearance is easy on the eye and the target audience won’t be disappointed. Speaking of the target audience, the Go aims to fit the budget of the middle class customers most of whom are first time car buyers.

Datsun Go cabin front official image

The Go has well-aligned creases and character lines on the side, hatch door and on the bonnet. It has to be said that Datsun has done a pretty decent job with the exterior styling.

Datsun Go rear three quarters official image

Step inside and you will get the feeling that this car is built to a cost. It doesn’t get a glovebox and instead an open storage compartment is provided! The design and layout is simple and the dashboard sports a dual tone finish.

Datsun Go dashboard official image

The black centre console hosts circular aircon vents picked from the Micra parts bin, an ordinary looking audio system and contrasting silver AC controls. The gear lever is mounted on the dashboard to make way for the bench seat which improves the lateral room for both the passenger and driver.

The Go gets a three spoke steering wheel and the instrument cluster is a simple, low cost unit. Front seats have integrated head restraints, again a cost effective solution.

Datsun Go cockpit official image

Datsun has taken some aggressive cost cutting measures to get the pricing of the car under Rs. 4 lakh in India and these measures, perhaps not visible on the exterior, can be observed in the car’s cabin.

Datsun Go official Image Gallery

Datsun Go cabin front official image Datsun Go cockpit official image Datsun Go dashboard official image Datsun Go front fascia official image Datsun Go front three quarters official image Datsun Go headlamp official image Datsun Go interior official image Datsun Go nose official image Datsun Go rear fascia official image Datsun Go rear three quarters official image Datsun Go side view official image Datsun Go taillight

Videos – Watch the Datsun Go turn its wheels

Posted: 15 Jul 2013 02:55 AM PDT

The Datsun Go was officially announced just a couple of hours ago. Here is the first video which shows us how the Go looks in action.

[Head to YouTube if you're unable to watch the video above.]

The front of the Go is characterized by a large grill with a chrome surround. Nissan, or rather Datsun is bound to market this as a ‘premium feature’, as the Japanese brand associates chrome with Luxury. Moving on to the side profile, it appears as though the Go’s wing mirrors is mounted higher up than usual. The side profile of the Go seems very aerodynamic in general.

[Head to YouTube if you're unable to watch the video above.]

The rear of the hatchback is the most interesting bit according to us. It looks unlike a Japanese car, in fact it looks very European. Regular Indian Autos Blog readers would have seen these images of the next generation Ford Figo rendering and there is a striking resemblance at the rear!

Check out our exhaustive coverage on the Datsun revival

[Head to YouTube if you're unable to watch the video above.]

Datsun’s Chief Product Specialist, Koichiro Okamoto says that feedback was taken from people living in all the countries where Datsun would exist. The aim was to build the best family car. He also says that the car is meant for a family of five or six, hinting that the bench-like seats up front should accommodate three people.

Datsun’s official website lists the price of the Go as ‘under four lakhs’. We would like to think that it would be under the Micra Active’s 3.5 lakh tag.

Images – Datsun Go to be priced under 4 lakhs, early 2014 launch announced

Posted: 15 Jul 2013 02:31 AM PDT

The Datsun Go, scheduled to commence sales in India in early 2014 was unveiled today in Gurgaon as an important part of the Nissan Power 88 mid-term business plan.

Datsun Go unveiled

Notice the similarity in communication color to the Maruti Alto 800?

Nissan Motor's Global design center in Japan is responsible for the styling of the car. The R&D and engineering development were tasked to the local engineering resources and suppliers so as to suit it to Indian preferences, tastes and needs, while ensuring component accessibility and low price.

Datsun Go side view

Rear quarter glass and alloy wheels are missing, which are signs of cost cutting. However the car doesn’t look low rent and has plenty of uniformly flowing creases.

The Go is a five-door, front-wheel drive hatch powered by a 1.2 liter petrol engine paired with a five-speed manual gearbox. The drivetrain is tuned for “optimal response time” and “agility” in traffic conditions.

Datsun Go rear view

The rear windshield is reminiscent of the Micra.

Note that Datsun is not discussing specifications of the powertrain, and reserving the finer details to the pre-launch period.

Datsun Go front seats

The bucket seats are adjoined, while the gear lever and hand brake are positioned on the dashboard, perhaps to facilitate seating for a third passenger on short trips.

The Datsun Go is 1,635mm wide, 1,485mm tall and 3,785mm long with a wheelbase of 2,450mm. Datsun says the car presents ample amounts of headroom and terms the front seating configuration as “expanded”. The car is designed for five occupants, and to provide them with an agile vehicle in congested traffic.

Datsun Go center console

The air-con vents are from the Micra but the rest of the dash is new. A mobile phone docking feature permits the driver to Bluetooth-connect his smart phone to the sound system for audio streaming.

The car will also offer a “Mobile Docking Station” to let drivers pair their smartphone to the car to spin music files from the phone memory.

The Go will be priced below INR 400,000. Transparent pricing and dealership proximity are facets of the Datsun car.

Datsun Go rear seat

Rear seat comfort cannot be judged through photographs. However our man at the launch floor says it isn’t bad at all!

The Go will be launched in Indonesia, Russia and India in 2014. The Renault-Nissan alliance production plant in Oragadam, Chennai has been confirmed as the first production site for the Go.

Official: Skoda Rapid Spaceback revealed; World Premiere at Frankfurt Motor Show

Posted: 15 Jul 2013 01:52 AM PDT

After teasing us for more than a week and after countless spy photos, here it is: The Skoda Rapid Spaceback.


The Rapid Spaceback is the estate version of the Rapid sedan which would slot in between the Fabia Combi and the Octavia Combi. The Spaceback sports a glass panoramic sunroof and a ‘prolonged’ rear window which further differentiates it from the Rapid sedan.

Skoda Rapid Spaceback front three quarter

Skoda says this is the first time that they have introduced an estate model in the ‘high-volume compact segment’. After reading the press release Skoda sent us, it seems that the Spaceback would target the younger audience.

The wheelbase of the Spaceback stands at 2,602 mm even though the Spaceback measures 18cm lesser than the sedan.

Skoda Rapid Spaceback


The insides are largely reminiscent to the Rapid sedan. The three-spoke steering wheel and the conventional dashboard layout ensure that you do not mistake this for anything else but a Skoda.

Skoda Rapid Spaceback interior

The 415 liter trunk can be expanded to 1,380 liters by flipping down the rear seats.

More on Page 2.

The VW Polo Train is the coolest way to experience a factory tour

Posted: 15 Jul 2013 01:47 AM PDT

While us folks in India would soon get to see the VW Polo GT TDI and the Cross Polo, the South Africans are a much cooler bunch.

Those visiting the VW factory in Uitenhage, Eastern Cape Province of South Africa are in for a good factory tour. Instead of walking the gangway and tiring oneself out, you can now ride the VW factory train!

VW Polo Train South Africa

It was custom built by two VW Motorsport employees who used recycled and unused car parts that were available in the factory. Johnny Allen and Cobus Barnard took over three months to complete the train. They say that each car took nearly 30 days to complete.

Everything about this train is recycled. The paint used on them was leftover from rally cars, as are the bolts and nuts and some interior trim. The chassis was made from old tire racks, and the side panels and the doors were moulded from scrapped parts.

These guys have turned scrap pile into a train which can seat 21 people, each car seating 7 people in a three row configuration. The train is pulled by an electric tow motor.

VW Polo Train front South Africa

The South African facility of VW makes the Polo and the Polo Vivo. About 43,000 people have visited the facility in the last 5 years.

Matt Gennrich, General Manager of Communications at Volkswagen Group South Africa said -

We were initially planning to outsource the project but we changed our minds after realizing we have vast amount of experience in the company which we can tap on for our ambitious project. The decision to use internal expertise saved the company money and delivered world-class, quality work that we are very proud of. 

The 3-row configuration of the Polo Train makes us want an MPV based on the Polo!

H/T to Rich Gooding of Polo Driver.

Press Release on Page 2.

Must watch: The journey of 2014 Mercedes S Class from drawing board to tarmac

Posted: 15 Jul 2013 01:24 AM PDT

The 2014 Mercedes S Class certainly pushed the envelope further in all directions to become the new benchmark in automotive engineering.

[Can't watch the video? Head to Youtube]

Here is a video which narrates the fascinating development process of the luxury limousine starting from its initial sketches all the way to its production. It’s the story of what’s arguably the world’s best car!

The process starts with the initial sketches which are then realized through meticulously shaped clay models. The design is then finalized, the first prototype is built and then comes millions of kilometers of rigorous testing.

The behind the scenes footage shows us that nothing is taken for granted. After carefully planned development and testing, the car finally enters production which also involves the highest standards of quality.

2014 Mercedes S Class

The 2014 Mercedes S Class incorporates some advanced technologies like the Magic Body Control (explained in the video) which uses stereo camera mounted on the front windshield to monitor the road surfaces ahead and prepare the adaptable suspension so that the occupants doesn’t feel a thing.

Every small step in the development process is backed by Mercedes’ experience of making cars for over a century. Dr. Dieter Zetsche, Chairman, Daimler AG, says that making an S Class is more than a job, its a privilege!

Terra A4000i is an electric scooter aided by the iPhone, Indian launch in late 2013

Posted: 15 Jul 2013 01:14 AM PDT

The Terra A4000i is a Japanese electric scooter that has an Apple iPhone embedded into its instrument console.

Side view of the Terra A4000i iPhone scooter

The smartphone will deliver information like battery status, consumption rate and other necessary data while also offering GPS navigation. It is capable of storing data on a cloud database.

Terra Motors says more smartphone based services would be introduced in the future including personalized advertisements based on the data of user locations. The scooter is currently available only with the iPhone but the company could eventually offer other smartphone platforms as well.

Terra A4000i iPhone scooter

The A4000i has an iPhone embedded into the console.

The Terra A4000i is powered by an electric motor which derives electricity from a removable 48V Li-ion battery. The battery has a lifetime of 50,000 km and can be charged fully in about 4.5 hours. The maximum range on a full charge is 65km.

The scooter offers disc brakes at both front and rear. The weight of the scooter stands at 118kg while the battery pack weighs 16kg.

Terra Motors website

Terra Motors says on its website that it is coming to India in late 2013.

Terra Motors targets Asian markets with the A4000i and aims to sell 100,000 electric scooters by 2015. The company will expand into more markets such as China in the near future. Interestingly, Terra Motors’ official Indian website is under construction suggesting that the Japanese two wheeler maker is coming here! []

The electric scooter market in India is still at a nascent stage and that limits prospects of a premium electric scooter which is expected to be priced over a lakh.

Race prepped KTM RC390 Cup previews fully faired compact sportsbike

Posted: 15 Jul 2013 01:08 AM PDT

KTM has announced that a compact sportsbike adopting the styling of the bigger RC8 will be launched sometime next year.

KTM RC390 superbike

The baby RC8 is based on the KTM Duke 390. Now, the Austrian motorcycle maker has unveiled the race prepped version of the bike called the KTM RC390 Cup which will compete in the ADAC Junior Cup one make racing series in Germany.

Based on the 390′s hardware, the RC390 gets full fairing akin to the RC8. The tailpiece of the motorcycle has an exposed frame just like the KTM Super Duke 1290. The motorcycle features razor sharp edges and has trackbred ergonomics. Expect the production version to offer a pillion seat.

Stefan Pierer, CEO, KTM, said -

We developed a pure GP racing machine for the Moto3 World Championship. In contrast, the RC 390 Cup is based on a series model project. Both of these two projects were given the highest priority because the development of lower displacement, high quality street bikes are among our core activities. The new KTM RC 390, which will be available for sale in 2014 will meet a big demand for affordable, quality sport bikes for the lower displacement class.

The purpose of the ADAC Junior cup is to harness the young racing talent. The engine is detuned to 38bhp but the motorcycle weighs only about 130kg. The production version should be unveiled soon.

The KTM RC390 will be positioned above the Duke 390 and will compete with the Kawasaki Ninja 300. Going by the killer price tag of the Duke 390, we can expect the RC390 to undercut the Ninja.

Head to Page 2 to view the press release.

Breaking – Datsun Go unveiled in India [Image gallery updated]

Posted: 15 Jul 2013 12:29 AM PDT

Datsun’s first product to facilitate the comeback of the brand, the Datsun Go, was unveiled just moments ago in Gurgaon, India by Mr. Carlos Ghosn, Chairman of the Renault-Nissan alliance. Ghosn, in a short presentation to the media, said the Datsun Go is targeted at the Indian middle-class and is a contemporary take on the inception of the Datsun vehicle, the DAT Go, launched back in 1914.

Datsun Go front three quarters

Datsun products will be shown in India, Russia and Indonesia this year, and South Africa in 2014. Low car penetration levels in India (15 cars per 1,000 people), Indonesia (70 cars per 1,000 people), South Africa (160 cars per 1,000 people) and Russia (280 cars per 1,000 people) is an important reason for the brand’s rebirth.

Datsun Go

Ghosn added that Datsun would “significantly contribute” to Nissan’s ambition of reaching 10% market share in India by 2016, from current levels of 1.2%. He said the cars would have “high reliability” and “top quality.”

Stay tuned for more images. Head to Page 2 to view the press release.

Datsun Go Image Gallery

Datsun GO front three quarter Datsun Go rear three quarter left Datsun Go rear three quarter Datsun Go rear view Datsun GO side view Datsun Go Datsun Go front three quarters

Jaguar XJ base variant with 2.0L Ecoboost gets listed in India

Posted: 14 Jul 2013 11:12 PM PDT

The Jaguar XJ is Britain’s competitor to the Mercedes S Class. In India, Jaguar has seen steady sales for the luxury sedan and even introduced a top of the line model called the ‘Ultimate Edition‘ to boost brand equity.

This time though, Jaguar India is introducing a base variant on the XJ. The website lists the model as the ‘XJ 2.0L Petrol LWB’. The fact that the website lists the model is proof enough that dealers have already started accepting bookings for it.

Jaguar XJ rear three quarters

The new entry variant is powered by a four-cylinder Ford EcoBoost engine displacing 1,999cc. Peak power stands at 240PS at 5,500rpm and peak torque at 340Nm at 1,750rpm. An 8-speed automatic transmission sends the power to the rear wheels. 0-100km/h is rated at 7.5 seconds while the top speed is 225km/h.

Until now, the base petrol variant in the XJ lineup was the 3.0-liter supercharged six-cylinder engine while the 5.0-liter supercharged V8 formed the top-end model. A 3.0-liter turbocharged diesel is also available.

Prices for the 2.0-liter XJ is expected at about INR 1.1 crores (ex-showroom), though we are yet to receive an official announcement from the company.

This base variant of the Jaguar XJ is certain to appeal to those who are chauffeur driven and couldn’t care less about the acceleration or the top speed of the car. Being a Ford EcoBoost engine, it should offer decent fuel economy as well.

Spied – 2014 Jeep Grand Cherokee tests on the Mumbai Expressway

Posted: 14 Jul 2013 11:00 PM PDT

The 2014 Jeep Grand Cherokee was spied again very recently in India. These images were taken by Indian Autos Blog reader Mr. Sujeet Jangid on the Mumbai Pune Expressway. Mr. Jangid says that the Grand Cherokee looked “huge and very dominating”.

Jeep, or rather Fiat India, is testing two versions of the Grand Cherokee in India: the 2014 model year which was unveiled at the 2013 Detroit Motor Show, and the previous generation version.

2014 Jeep Grand Cherokee spied in India side

The Grand Cherokee would start out as a CBU, but local production is planned once the brand is off to a start.

The one spotted here is the 2014 MY as can be seen by the taillight design. There’s no confusion on which version is identified as Fiat India MD Nagesh Basavanhalli confirmed to us that Jeep would strictly bring the latest products to India. He also confirmed local assembly of these cars to beat the high tariff but refused to share a timeline for the start of local production.

The Grand Cherokee in the UK has two diesel engine options which would most likely make its way into India. A 3.0-liter CRD V6 produces 188bhp and 440Nm of torque in the base variant. The same engine is tuned to produce 247bhp and 570Nm of torque in the higher variants. An 8-speed automatic transmission is standard across the range.

The Jeep brand is expected to be launched in India by October/festive season this year. To start with, two models would be available – the Wrangler and the Grand Cherokee. Both these models would be imported through the CBU route. The Cherokee is manufactured at the Jefferson Avenue Plant in Detroit.

2014 Jeep Grand Cherokee spied in India rear

Its a double whammy for Jeep as dollar value has soared and CBU taxes have risen since the American brand announced its Indian foray late last year.

Check out our exhaustive coverage on the Jeep brand

The Jeeps would not be sold through the Fiat dealer network. Jeep is aiming for dealerships in the 10 biggest Indian cities in the first phase of its retail strategy. Independent Fiat dealers would be approached to invest on Jeep dealerships for their cities.

The Grand Cherokee is expected to carry a price tag in the vicinity of about INR 45-50 lakhs.

Rendering – India-bound Honda Brio MPV gets inspired by the new CR-V

Posted: 14 Jul 2013 10:29 PM PDT

The Honda Brio MPV which is confirmed for India is taking shape in Indonesia at a brisk pace.

Honda Brio MPV rendering - Front

We have brought you quite a few interesting speculative renderings of the upcoming 7-seater and here is another one. Dunia Otomotif reports that according to a source, the Brio MPV will have a rear fascia design which borrows cues from the new Honda CR-V.

The rendering attempts to combine the Brio’s unchanged front with a CR-V like rear fascia. The result is a long, SUV-ish people carrier with decent looks!

The Brio MPV is being developed by PT Honda Astra Motor, the Indonesian subsidiary of Honda, under the supervision of R&D engineers from Japan. The MPV is expected to be ready for its public premiere at the Indonesia International Motor Show (IIMS) which is set to take place in September this year.

Honda Brio MPV rendering - Rear

The car will enter production at Honda’s upcoming facility in West Java, Indonesia, sometime in 2014. The Brio MPV will compete with the Maruti Ertiga in India as well as Indonesia.

The MPV is expected to share its petrol powertrain with the Brio and the Amaze. In addition, the India spec model would offer a diesel engine and the 1.5 litre i-DTEC motor is the most probable candidate.

So, how do you like this rendering?


GM Brazil reassures commitment to start sales of the Chevrolet Tracker this year

Posted: 14 Jul 2013 09:58 PM PDT

In a video message sent out by GM Brazil, the company president Mr. Jaime Ardila said: “In a few months, the Chevrolet Tracker will take to the streets.”

[Can't see the video above? Head over to Youtube]

This the second confirmation from GM Brazil for the launch of the baby SUV following teasers posted on their Facebook page a few days ago. The Tracker is sold as the Trax in Europe and has badge engineered Buick and Opel versions around the world.

From this month end, dealerships will start training staff to handle sales and service of the product. By the end of August or in early September, the Chevrolet Trax would reach the market, priced between 67,000 reals (INR 17.67 lakhs) to 71,000 reals (INR 18.73 lakhs).

The SUV is 4.24 meters long and 1.77 meters wide, with a wheelbase of 2.55 meters and trunk capacity of 358 liters. Dimension wise, it is sandwiched by the EcoSport and Duster.

Chevrolet Tracker Brazil

Mr. Jaime Ardila, President of GM Brazil, confirmed the Trax’s immediate launch in a video message.

The Tracker will come from GM’s production plant in Mexico. LT and LTZ variants strapped with a 1.8 16v Ecotec Flex engine producing 144 horsepower at max, would give GM a serious chance of making headway in a market segment that’s dominated by the EcoSport and Duster. Variants would come with a six-speed automatic gearbox or a five-speed manual.

Some of the features specified by Autos Segredos are sunroof, Chevrolet’s MyLink system, ABS brakes and front airbags.

[Source -]

Datsun makes a comeback today after 32 years; Global launch to be held in India at 1200 hrs IST

Posted: 14 Jul 2013 09:16 PM PDT

Today is July 15 and a fondly remembered Japanese auto brand makes a comeback after a lengthy sabbatical. Datsun will officially re-launch today and we will also get to see their first ever car for the 21st century, which has been codenamed the Datsun K2 for now.

At 1200 hrs IST, Mr. Carlos Ghosn, Chairman of the Renault-Nissan Alliance, along with Mr. Vincent Cobee, Brand Head of Datsun, will unveil the first Datsun car at an event which is set to take place in Gurgaon, India.

Datsun K2 rendering

Shoeb’s rendering of the Datsun K2 is based on the official sketches released by the company.

The core markets for Datsun cars are India, Indonesia, Russia and South Africa. Among these, India would be the first market when Datsun goes on sale, which is sometime early next year.

Check out our exhaustive coverage on the Datsun comeback

Datsun targets the ‘emerging middle class’ people for whom buying a car would be a ‘celebratory event’. Features such as reliability, low maintenance costs and a spacious cabin are promised.

The Datsun K2 was first expected to be priced at about INR 3.5 lakhs. However, Nissan has just launched the Micra Active at that very same price. As a result, we’re expecting the K2 to be priced at about INR 3-3.25 lakhs.

Stay tuned to IndianAutosBlog as we bring you the updates as they happen live.

Spied – BMW 1 Series caught testing in India for the first time

Posted: 14 Jul 2013 09:02 PM PDT

Back in November of 2012, BMW announced that it was bringing the BMW 1 Series hatchback to India. Eight months later, here are the first images of the 1 Series testing on the Indian soil.

To put things into perspective, the BMW 1 Series is the smallest BMW car on sale today. The current generation, revealed at the 2011 Frankfurt Motor Show, features a 'love it or hate it’ design language. Given that it was unveiled in 2011, a facelift for the 1 Series is certainly in the works. It remains to be seen whether BMW launches the refresh or the current model.

BMW 1 Series Spy picture India

The variant testing here is the five door (predictable because Indians are very averse towards three door variants). It will most likely be presented in two engine options –

  • 1.6L petrol with 136bhp
  • 2.0L diesel with 143bhp

The engines will come mated to an 8-speed ZF automatic gearbox.

Although the BMW 1 Series will be assembled in India at BMW's Chennai plant, we doubt there will be any stripped-out 'Corporate' version of the 1 Series. Both petrol and diesel variants will come fully loaded. The gadgets and gizmos would help maintain the premium-ness of the brand.

The 1 Series competes directly with the Mercedes A Class which was launched here just over a month ago. Going by the initial response for the A Class, which saw over 400 bookings within weeks, there are many Indians who don’t mind coughing up over INR 20 lakhs for a hatchback, provided it has a particular badge on the grill.

Prices would be in the range of 20-25 lakhs and the launch is expected in September. BMW India has already started its marketing activities for the small car with cricketing legend Sachin Tendulkar approving its handling and brakes.


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