Recap: The 5 best new cars of 2013
This year has been rather unforgettable for most in the domestic automobile industry. Sales have been sluggish, sentiment has been low, excitement lower and footfalls at showrooms the lowest. Yet, as is always the case there are some that flow against the tide. Not many new cars have struck gold at the hustings this year but a few of them have. Some, very handsomely. Here is a recap of those that look poised for a long innings.
Amaze is a car that has transformed an over 10 year old company from relegation to a position where it is challenging some established leaders. Till last year Honda was down in the dumps. The lack of diesel engine alone was a handicap that was big enough, it was also unfortunate to grapple with problems like the earthquake in Japan in 2011 and floods in Thailand later on in the year. Its leadership across segments had been washed away in the process but Amaze has turned the clock back. With over 55,000 cars on the road in 6 months and a waiting period of almost half a year, Amaze has ensured Honda’s Greater Noida factory is working round the clock. Literally.
The EcoSport is nearly as big a success as the Amaze with just one small difference. The feedback from its customers isnt as helpful. Within a month of its launch Ford had to suspend bookings of the petrol variants and for the diesel the waiting period stretches up to 6 months. That is testimony of its demand. It is giving a hard time to Renault Duster–the first mover in the category. Duster is now available at a hefty discount. Nothing else gives a better sign of a show stopper.
Critics say there is nothing new in the Grand i10, it is just a re-packaged, re-designed cousin of the older version. They may say whatever they like but for now, it has made a decent beginning in India. With sales of over 10,000 units every month in the last two months, Grand i10 has seamlessly taken over the position of its predecessor. And some more. In this market, getting to the five digit mark is no joke. Ask Nissan or General Motors. There is one lump in the throat though. It does not seem to be the Swift beater everybody was waiting for. But that Maruti car is so potent that even challengers are stars. And the Grand i10 is the one for 2013.
Mercedes A Class/BMW 1 series
Having lost marketshare and podium positions in the last 3-4 years, the A class has single handedly put Mercedes back in the game. Within 10 days of its launch, Mercedes received 400 confirmed bookings for the car, easily the most successful launch in its history. Yet, there are sceptics who insist that a small car for over Rs 20 lakh does not work in India and that is a hypothesis that needs time to nullify. For now, BMW has also brought its hatch back in India–the 1 series, which suggests Mercedes may not be too wrong. After all, imitation is the best form of flattery.
For Skoda, the Octavia is no ordinary car. Over a decade ago, it was this car that introduced the Czech carmaker and with it the Volkswagen group to India. And the car’s overnight success that over a period of time has given a cult status, showed that India had an appetite for proper European cars. It was discontinued when India moved to stricter emission regime in 2010, but in its third generation avataar made a comeback this year. And it stays true to its name. In its class Octavia stands head and shoulders above Elantra, Cruze and even Jetta in terms of pure joy of driving.