Looking back many would say 2013 has been a tough year for the auto industry battling many factors like lack of sales growth, the budget, fuel prices and state of the economy but it has put on a stellar show by launching a record number of new cars.
A lot of new trends appeared this year including the compact SUVs and compact sedans ruling the roost plus the explosion of the entry-level luxury segment. While cars like the Ford EcoSport have a long waiting list some cars have been canned due to poor sales which shows the changing buyer preferences. Ford and Honda were the biggest gainers regaining lost ground with the massive success of the EcoSport and Amaze while Hyundai continues to show how well they understand our market with the Grand i10.
In the luxury segment Mercedes went all out and filled with year with launches which has resulted in many successes like the A-Class. Overall 2013 has been a difficult year but there have been some cars that have bucked the trend and been big hits, so sit back and relax while we hit reverse gear and tell you the biggest new car launches of 2013.
No surprises here as the Ford EcoSport is the biggest star of 2013. We were all eagerly waiting for it and Ford took its own sweet time in launching it after showcasing the concept at the 2012 Auto Expo. The EcoSport is in many ways the perfect SUV for India with its good looks, long feature list, efficient engines (EcoBoost and diesel) and yes a killer price-tag.
Not surprisingly the EcoSport took the shine of the other SUVs and even has affected sales of premium hatches and sedans because people have realised what a tempting proposition it is. While there is a long waiting list we expect waiting periods to reduce next year which will bring relief to customers who are waiting for one.
Hyundai Grand i10
Forget the name as this is an all new car that impresses from the word go. Hyundai is no stranger to the Indian market and the Grand i10 is one of the best cars to emerge from this company. The Grand i10 while being positioned between the i10 and i20 is actually closer in size to the i20.
Being a Hyundai it is loaded with features like rear AC vents and has class best cabin quality. The big factor in the success though has been the 3-cylinder diesel motor which comes from 2nd generation Hyundai U engine series. Offering immense value the Hyundai Grand i10 fulfills the needs and wants of the Indian small car buyer with ease.
Just the Ford EcoSport the Honda Amaze has been the savior for this company in India. The now last gen City was at a disadvantage having no diesel and Honda knew that a diesel engine will be the answer that they were looking for. Needless to say the Amaze with the diesel engine has been a huge hit which is no surprise when you have figures like 25.8 kmpl mileage (diesel) and Rs 4.99 lakh starting price. The Amaze is also spacious, well equipped and has provided stiff competition to the likes of the Maruti Dzire.
New Skoda Octavia
Two things here and they are that Skoda finally had the good idea to bring the Octavia name back and secondly the new Octavia is a fantastic car. Vastly better than the earlier Laura the new Octavia looks classy and has three engine options depending on your budget. The 1.8 TSI is one of the best performance cars that you can buy without getting bankrupt while the diesel is our pick of the range with its efficient yet torque engine. Of course stuff like top-notch build quality are all there.
Mercedes took a risk by introducing the A-Class but it has paid off big time as the A-Class has been a success in the Indian market. Some years back the idea of a luxury hatchback would be scoffed at but not anymore as the A-Class has created the luxury hatchback segment.
In-fact the explosion of the entry-level luxury segment first started with the A-Class and later Audi launched the Q3 S while BMW and Volvo introduced the 1 series and V40 CC. The A-Class oozes sex appeal with its drop-dead gorgeous styling and its equally stunning interior while getting more attention than some supercars!
While it is easy to dismiss the Nissan Terrano as the Duster with a different face, it is actually more than that as the Terrano is the most promising Nissan car till date. Nissan has done a lot to give the Terrano a different identity and we think it looks good. The interiors also look more premium compared to the Duster though the engines as expected are the same.