Five cars to watch out for in the festive season

The first half of the year is behind us and barring the Honda Amaze and Ford EcoSport, it has been a washout so far. Traditional, established brands have struggled to attract new buyers just like many “new” cars and for the industry this year is turning out to be nothing short of a nightmare. As we head to the business end of the year where the festive season brings with it hopes of a revival, here are the 5 cars that may just hit the bull’s eye.

Hyundai BA

Very little is known about this compact car except that it will be at long last, Hyundai’s direct competitor to the Maruti Swift. Why long last? Because the Hyundai Getz came before the Swift and in a way got crushed by the latter and the “i” cousins–i10 and i20– are a segment below and a segment up.

To come with both petrol and diesel options, this will be Hyundai’s first serious vehicle since the Fluidic Verna back in May 2011.

There have been the Sonata and the Elantra since then but those were never expected to be volume churners. With no other major small car launched lined up, the BA may just have it easy but to enter under recession is no joke either.

Skoda Octavia

We dont quite know why the nameplate that launched Skoda in India was discontinued and replaced by the inappropriately named Laura. But we can only welcome its comeback. For many, the Octavia represented luxury and opulence at a time when neither were there many options nor cars on the road.

A sure shot success in the North where vanity rules, Octavia created an enviable reputation for Skoda. One that its parent Volkswagen continues to grapple with.

The new Octavia is expected to sit right in between the entry level Rapid and executive Laura and should find preference over the latter. And thankfully, with no similar Volkswagen vehicle in sight, this Skoda should have a clean healthy run.

Jeep Wrangler Rubicon

For long we have driven the pretenders. Now comes the real deal. Fiat may not do another good deed in India but we cn only be grateful to the Italians for bringing in the famed Jeep.

Known for being sturdy, robust and one that can literally take you anywhere on Earth, a Jeep is without doubt an offroader’s dream come true. The only catch, it will fit into the pockets of only a select few of us.

Nissan Terrano

That Nissan will one day usurp Renault’s only blockbuster model Duster and launch it under its own brand name was a no brainer.

What was interesting was given Ford EcoSport’s aggressive pricing, what could the Japanese carmaker do? From what we have heard or can make out of the sketches, it has done quite a great deal.

Given that the Terrano can only be priced more than the Duster (which has already started looking like its over priced), Duster needed a sort of a mini overhaul and not half hearted brush strokes like Pulse or Scala.

So the Terrano would have the same underpinnings but with a new more aggressive visage and premium interiors. We just hope it is offered with an all wheel drive option and automatic transmission as well. No harm in waiting.

BMW 1 series

So the Mercedes is running away with the bragging rights of being the first to get there, but given how fickle and fragile the luxury car market is, this is nothing short of a gamble.

Why would anybody pay Rs 25 lakh or more for a cramped and small albeit premium car, is a question that is still being asked. It is unlikely that the answer will arrive by the time the 1 series does, but by then BMW will have a little more idea than Mercedes.

If one has to pick one company that has had a particularly horrid first six months, BMW’s name would far surpass even Fiat.

It was marginally ahead of Audi as the number 1 luxury carmaker in December 2012 but by March, it had slumped to the third position. And it looks like the fall took the wind of the Bavarian carmaker’s sails.

To claw its way back into the market, it will need the 1 to fire on all its puny four cylinders at full blast.

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