The year 2012 has seen many sort of a roller coaster ride for carmakers in India. While new cars produced very positive results, low market sentiment did not help boost sales to expected levels. Take away the new car launches of this year, 2012 would have been a dull one for sure.
The year 2012 started of with a bang thanks to the Delhi Auto Expo. Carmakers from across the globe congregated in Delhi to showcase their latest cars. The event witnessed several debuts, most notably the global unveiling of the Ford EcoSport compact SUV and the Maruti Suzuki Ertiga. Here is a flash back of 2012 with the focus on top new car launches. Enjoy the Photo feature.
Renault Pulse – The Twin Saga
Renault India launched its first hatchback named Pulse priced at INR 5.77 lakhs. Visibly the Renault Pulse is an exact clone of the Nissan Micra. All Renault had to do was replace Nissan's branding with its own. We can say the Renault Pulse has not been able to create much buzz for the French carmaker.
Nissan's Innova Challenger – Evalia
The Evalia can be considered as one of the most important launches for Nissan in 2012. The Evalia, also called as the NV 200 in the global market, was launched with a starting price of INR 8.49 lakhs and the top end model is priced just under INR 10 lakhs. The Evalia surprised us with its spacious interior and easy handling. Its styling is yet to get the much needed customer approval. But Nissan is confident the Evalia's practicality will win over customers.
Luxury Downsized - Audi Q3
Audi brought in its smallest premium SUV - the Q3 in India by unveiling it at the Delhi Auto Expo in January. The Q3 hit Audi showrooms in June with the entry level variant priced at INR 26 lakhs. The Q3 has emerged as a huge success with Audi having sold out the initial batch of 500 units meant for India this year within a few days. Audi sold out another batch of 500 Q3s in 2012.
Beemer's Latest Entrant 3-Series
The BMW 3-Series launch was by far one of the most important premium car launches in 2012. BMW's entry level sedan not only got a refreshed new design but also some extra features to boot. Launched at a starting price INR 28.9 lakhs, the BMW 3-Series got a new brand ambassador in the form of Indian Cricketer Sachin Tendulkar.
Audi Powerpacked Sedan - S4
Another Audi car that made its Indian debut at the Delhi Auto Expo was the S4 premium sedan. The S4 is the sportier version of the A4 and comes with a more powerful turbocharged petrol engine. The Audi S4 was priced at INR 45 lakhs when launched in June 2012.
Chevrolet All New Sail U-VA
General Motors launched the new Chevrolet Sail U-VA as a replacement of the Aveo UVA. The Chevrolet Sail has been jointly developed by General Motors and its Chinese partner SAIC. The Sail has been launched with a price tag of INR 4.4 lakhs. The Sail will soon get an extension with the launch of the Sail sedan.
Hyundai Moves Upmarket With Elantra
Hyundai entered the executive sedan market in India by launching its globally known Elantra sedan. The Elantra priced at INR 12.51 lakhs at launch has already trumped many of its competitors. In fact it has become the best selling car in its segment beating the likes of the Toyota Corolla and Skoda Laura.
Refrshed New Chevrolet Spark
The Chevy Spark is General Motors' entry level hatchback in India. The Spark might have lost out some steam following the launch of the Diesel Beat and hence Chevrolet refreshed its look and added some new features. The new look Chevrolet Spark was launched with a starting price of INR 3.16 lakhs.
Maruti Suzuki Ertiga
The Ertiga is one of the most important new car launches in 2012. It is in Drivespark's top launches of 2012 not only because it has become the second highest selling MUV within months of its launch but also for being the first compact MUV in India. Maruti has called it a Life Utility Vehicle - LUV. The Ertiga has become a favourite of car buyers looking for a fuel efficient family car.
Ford Figo Version 2
Ford launched its best selling hatchback - Figo with some updates to its exterior design, interiors and features days before the festive season in October. The new Figo has a starting price of INR 3.8 lakhs.
Hyundai i20 Fluidic
Hyundai updated its compact hatchback 120 by launching the new i gen i20 which carried Hyundai's Fluidic design theme. The new i gen i20 is priced between INR4.74 lakhs and INR 7.7 lakhs.
Tata Indica eV2 - the 25kmpl car
Tata Motors updated its most fuel economic hatchback the Indica eV2 in 2012. The Indica's diesel engine is powerful yet frugal, helping the car deliver an impressive mileage of 25kmpl. The Tata Indica eV2 is priced between INR 4.01 lakhs and INR 4.87 lakhs.
Mahindra joined the compact SUV race by launching the Quanto, previously referred only as the mini Xylo. The Quanto is a proper seven seater despite being less than four metres in length. Available with just a diesel engine, the new Mahindra Xylo Compact SUV's price ranges between INR 5.99 lakhs and INR 7.57 lakhs.
The 2012 Mahindra Verito
Mahindra updated its only sedan, the Verito in 2012. The new Verito carries the same dimensions of its predecessor but gets a facelift in design. The new Verito's price ranges between INR 5.22 lakhs and INR 7.15 lakhs.
Marutii Suzuki Alto 800
Maruti Suzuki updated its best selling car by launching the Alto 800. The Alto 800 is powered by a new 800 cc petrol engine that could make its way to other Maruti cars too. The Maruti Suzuki Alto 800 has a starting price of INR 2.4 lakhs.
German premium carmaker Mercedes-Benz's plans to capture volume sales started by the launch of the new B-Class Tourer. The B-Class was launched with an initial price of INR 21.5 lakhs. The first batch of B-Class cars were sold before the launch itself. Mercedes will bring in the second batch in early 2013.
Mini Cooper from BMW
The compact premium car segment in India got bigger with BMW Mini's debut in India. The iconic British brand launched the Mini Cooper in the market with a starting price of INR 26 lakhs. The Mini cars compete with other premium hatchbacks such as the Volkswagen Beetle and Fiat 500.
The Renault Duster's Launch was one of the most anticipated event for SUV lovers in 2012. The Duster was unveiled in January at the Delhi Auto Expo. It was launched with an initial price of INR 7.19 lakhs surprising many. The top end Renault Duster's price though is INR 11.29 lakhs.
Renault Scala - The Sunny Clone
The Scala is Renault's entry level sedan. Launched in September, the Scala has been going steady in the market. It is priced at INR 6.99 Lakhs.
Mahindra initiated its Korean Brand in India by launching the Rexton premium SUV priced at INR 17 lakhs. Ssangyong is expected to launch some more models in India in 2013.
Refreshed New Ritz
Maruti Suzuki updated the Ritz with the same updates the Swift had got in 2011. There are slight changes in the new Ritz in terms of design, interiors and performance. The car is lighter and more frugal thanks to updates to the engine. The new Ritz has a starting price of INR 4.2 lakhs.
Tata Safari Storme
Tata Motors finally updated its long running premium SUV Safari by launching the Safari Storme with a starting price of INR 9.9 lakhs. The Safari Storme had been under development since several years. The premium SUV was officially unveiled in January during the Delhi Auto Expo. The commercial launch was finally done in October.