9 best automobile launches of 2009 in India!!

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India is fast emerging as a growing vehicle market. And more so, as global auto giants waste no time in launching the latest bikes and cars to capture the imagination of a billion people.

1. Ford's Figo: The coolest one

Ford Figo American car-maker Ford Motor will roll out the four-door Figo in the first quarter of 2010 and is investing $500 million to double the capacity of its factory in Chennai to 200,000 units. It is the latest entrant into the country's small car market, which accounts for 73 per cent of car sales, largely dominated by Suzuki Motors. The car will be made available in both petrol and diesel variants.

Ford India has not announced the price, but the car is expected to cost Rs 4 lakh and upwards for the base variant and will be pitted against Maruti Swift and Ritz, Fiat Punto, Chevrolet U-VA and Hyundai I20.

Earlier this month, Ford had launched a new stylish Endeavour starting at Rs 17.99 lakh (ex-showroom).

2. Mercedes Benz: The New E-Class

Mercedes Benz German luxury car manufacturer on Wednesday launched the next generation E-Class sedan in India priced at Rs 46.98 lakh (ex-showroom Delhi).

The new E-Class comes with a 3.5 litre V-6 petrol engine, which will be locally assembled at Mercedes' Pune plant. The diesel variant will be launched after a few months.

Mercedes expects the new model to give a major push to sales growth as it finds its market leader position in the luxury segment under threat from global arch-rival BMW.

3. Land Rover's cross: Freelander 2

Freelander 2 Tata Motors' Jaguar Land Rover brand has launched its most affordable model in India -- Freelander 2. Powered by a 156bhp, 2.2-litre turbo-diesel motor, The Freelander 2 will be sold with a six-speed automatic and is well-specified too.

Available in 3 variants priced at Rs 33.8 lakh for the "S", Rs 39 lakh for the "SE" and Rs 45 lakh for the "HSE" variant, ex showroom Mumbai (without octroi), the Freelander 2 will fall somewhere between the Nissan X-Trail and CR-V on one side and the BMW X3 and Audi Q5 on the other.

4. Audi's luxury bet: Q7

Audi Q7 It is a luxury crossover SUV produced by yet another German auto maker. The Q7 is designed more for on-road use, and was not meant for serious off-road use. It has quattro permanent four wheel drive system with a central differential lock, and an adjustable-height air suspension which helps in off road situations.

The luxury SUV offers a feature marketed as AMI, or Audi Music Interface, to allow user manipulation of an iPod or similar MP3-style player, which can play through the main sound system.

It was the first Audi model to offer Side Assist, a type of blind-spot detection and warning system

5. Nissan's new mark: X-Trail and Teana

X-Trail Nissan Motor India has revamped its X-Trail and Teana models. While the price range of the compact SUV (X-Trail) starts at Rs 20.81 lakh (ex-showroom Delhi), the Teana pricing begins at Rs 21.03 lakh.

The X-Trail is designed to be driven around in the cityscape for a majority of its time and the occasional weekend getaways. Luxury sedan Teana combines refined, modern design with a smooth, powerful V6 engine. On the inside, Teana offers a finely crafted interior that is clean, modern yet luxurious". With broad sections of high quality wood trim, easy to operate controls and leather trim, Teana delivers on the promise of comfort and relaxation. Teana is powered by a 2.3 litre VQ23DE petrol engine mated to a four speed automatic transmission.

6. Toyota in diesel run: Fortuner

Fortuner In August this year, Toyota launched Fortuner diesel. Priced at Rs 18.45 lakh (ex-showroom), the demand for the vehicle has been so huge that the company was forced to ask dealers to stop taking new bookings.

After seeing the interest shown by the customers, the auto giant has increased production by 50 per cent and is hoping to sell 4,500 SUVs by the end of 2010.

7. Mahindra & Mahindra: Logan Play car

mahindra_logan Logan Play car, sports vehicle by Mahindra Renault, was on Wednesday launched in Rajasthan.

The car only features cosmetic changes with no changes made to its engine. The car is available both in 1.4-litre petrol and 1.5-litre diesel options and priced over at Rs 5.51 lakh and Rs 6.83 lakh, respectively.

The new Logan Play features USB enabled music system, black coloured centre console, leather upholstery, driver information system parking sensor, red alloy wheels, body graphics, chrome muffler cutter and lip spoiler. The Play will be available in black and white colour options with graphics on it.

8. Maruti's glitz: Ritz

Ritz Maruti Suzuki, the country's leading car-maker, had recently launched Ritz in both petrol and diesel variants. It is one of the first Bharat Stage-IV compliant cars of India.

Cool spacy interiors and a sporty look, the car is priced in the range of Rs 4-5 lakh. It is Suzuki's fifth global model and has been developed on the existing hatch-back Swift's platform.

GM plans to showcase a small car at the January Delhi Auto Show. Offering a less expensive and more stylish choice (a la the Fiat 500) in the luxury segment will be Volkswagen's Beetle. The 'people's carrier' will be priced at Rs 15-25 lakh.

9. Hero Honda: Karizma ZMR

Karizma ZMR Hero Honda has made substantial upgrades to its 7-year-old flagship model. Fitted with the PGM-Fi (Programmed Fuel Injection), it has a 223cc oil cooled PGM-Fi engine with a slight increase in power output and a rear disc brake for better braking power. The bike gets a restyled headlamp with relocated pilot lamps. Rear view mirrors are now mounted on the newly styled front hood. Like the Yahama YZF-R15, Karizma ZMR now comes with a full engine fairing.

The bike is fitted with clip-on handle bars and a digital display console. The uniquely designed meter console houses digital speedometer, digital RMP meter, tachometer, trip meter, digital fuel gauge, real time fuel consumption indicator and a digital clock.


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