OnCars India Buzz: 10 October 2012

- Meet 'Mirai' the tiny little yellow roadster that now officially holds a record in the Guinness World Book for being the world's lowest roadworthy car. The 'Mirai' was built by the students and teachers of the Automobile Engineering Course of Okayama Sanyo High School in Asakuchi, Japan and took over a year to take shape. The 'Mirai' stands 45.2 cm off the ground. 


- Mercedes Benz India have rolled out the smaller engined, cheaper variant of the M-Class in the form of 2012 Mercedes Benz ML 250 CDI at a starting price of Rs 45.6 lakh (ex-showroom, Pune.) The ML 250 CDI has now officially become the first Mercedes Benz SUV to be locally assembled in India. 


- Following global recalls that involved as much as 8 million vehicles, Toyota Kirloskar Motor Pvt. Ltd, the Indian subsidiary of one of the world’s leading carmakers, has announced that it will recall about 8,700 units of the Corolla Altis and the Camry over defective power window switches.The carmaker will begin the recall from next month and will inspect and replace the faulty power window master switches for free.


- Ford India will soon be launching the facelifted version of its bestselling car in India, the Figo. The new model will feature subtle design changes including new taillights, headlamps, newly designed turn blinkers, new fog lamps and slightly redesigned bumpers. While on the inside, the car is expected to get a push-button starter like the one found in the Nissan Micra, Renault Pulse and the Hyundai i20. Ford has made it official that the company will roll out the Figo facelift on October 16.


- Production at Maruti’s violence-hit Manesar plant will be back in full swing as the carmaker has announced that the plant will resume normal production by the middle of this month. At present the Manesar plant is producing about 800 cars per day though the number will then be upped to about 1500 units once the production resumes at full pace. 


- Nissan’s low-cost sister brand, Datsun has big plans for the Indian market and in a bid to make a mark in an extremely competitive market like ours; the brand is banking heavily on the budget end of the market. Nissan has said the first car under the Datsun nameplate will be priced under Rs 4 lakh. The car will be launched in somewhere around 2014 and will be followed by a total of 10 other models which the company plans to launch in the next four years.


After losing out the top spot to Audi India in the premium car segment, Mercedes Benz is looking to claw back its share with a slew of entry-level luxury models. The German carmaker is planning to venture into sub-20 lakh bracket and is believed to bring the all-new A-Class. Also, Mercedes has confirmed that the company will launch an SUV based on the A-Class platform.


- Following Honda and Audi's footsteps, Maruti Suzuki has announced a price hike with immediate effect. The company has increased the prices by up to Rs 5,250 across the range to offset the adverse impact of foreign exchange fluctuation and rising input costs.


- Indian utility vehicle giant Mahindra will not limit its latest offering, the Quanto just to the Indian market. The company apparently is planning to introduce the Quanto in Europe. Given that a number of models like the Scorpio, Scorpio pickup, Genio range and more recently, the XUV 500 are already available across a variety of continents, the Quanto will only add to the lineup of locally-made products that are now doing exceptionally well in the global markets.


- After wrapping up the award for the World Car Design of the Year, the Range Rover Evoque has bagged yet another prestigious honor by winning the 2012 Women’s World Car of the Year Award. Beating the likes of BMW 3 Series and Audi Q3, the Evoque topped the list compiled by a jury of twelve female journalists from twelve different countries.  


- Mahindra’s global SUV for India, the XUV 500 has just completed one year in India. Exactly a year ago, the carmaker rolled out what was soon to become one of the best-selling SUVs in India. Having gathered over 35,000 sales figure for the Indian automaker, the XUV 500 already has over 14,000 bookings as of end of September 2012 that are to yet to be delivered. The company has already ramped up its production capacity to 5,000 units per month to meet rising demand. 


- Toyota India has launched sportier looking versions of the Etios sedan and the Etios Liva hatchback. Called the TRD Sportivo, both the limited edition versions have been designed by Toyota Racing Development and will be sold in limited numbers. The Sportivo Limited Editions get a few visual enhancements for a sportier and aggressive look than the standard Etios twins. While on the inside, the interiors feature a new seat fabric with "TRD Sportivo" logo and silver shift knob. 


- Exactly ten years ago, Volkswagen gave it's all-new Touareg off-roader SUV a world premiere at the Paris Motor Show. And now its been 10 years since the Touareg has  been providing off-road competence of the highest level to its customers. To mark the special occasion, Volkswagen is dedicating a special edition model called 'Touareg Edition X' to celebrate an era of success. Unfortunately, the Touareg Edition X is being offered on sale only in Germany for now. It remains to be seen if the special edition model will be introduced in India as well.


After sending the prototype version of the upcoming 918 Spyder hybrid to put in a few hot laps round the Nurburgring, Porsche has given its flagship coupe, the 911 Carrera S a bit of a workout at the legendary 14-mile long racetrack and boy has it lived up to its name! Driven by racing driver Timo Kluck, the 911 Carrera S has gone round the Nurburgring in just 7:37.9 minutes, beating the likes of Nissan GT-R, Ferrari 458 Italia and a few other super quick exotics.


- Audi has always been very strong with its marketing and brand building campaigns that involve Bollywood A-list celebs. And as seen in the past, it wouldn't be wrong to say that John Abraham is one of the Audi India's favorites. And in yet another such exercise, Audi brand enthusiast John Abraham bought a brand new Audi Q3 as a gift for his sister-in-law, Anca Abraham on the occasion of her birthday. Mr Michael Perschke, head of Audi India handed over the keys of the Audi Q3 to John, who in turn handed them to Anca, in presence of his big bro, Alan Abraham.


- Nissan India has launched a special edition model of the Micra hatchback called the ‘Primo.’ The special edition model celebrates two years of successful association with celebrity brand ambassador Ranbir Kapoor. To add to the festive celebrations, Nissan is also offering a unique weekly opportunity for customers to get refund on the purchase of both Micra and Sunny. Also, buyers will be entitled to enter contests for a chance to win 500 gms of gold worth Rs 16.5 lakhs at the end of the offer season.


- Indian design firm DC Design has revealed yet another creation of theirs. Called the Tornado, it is powered by an Audi 6.0-litre V12. It's a mid engined sportscar with a 2+2 layout. Also featured is their newly developed iDC-drive system.


- 2013 Mercedes Benz SL cars produced between 19th of December 2011 and 31st of May 2012 have been recalled due to a faulty AC refrigerant. A total of 432 cars affected Stateside. Owners should visit their dealership for a quick rectification.