Jan 16, 2017 07:47 PM IST IST | Source:

Get ready to vroom! These 50 cars will sizzle the road in 2017

After making merry in 2016 car makers ranging from budget king Maruti Suzuki to luxury leader Mercedes-Benz to sports car maker Porsche are leaving no stone unturned to lure new customers with a plethora of new launches.

Swaraj Baggonkar

Get your cheque books ready and your parking lot cleaned as at least 50 cars, sports and multi-utility vehicles including face-lifts and upgrades are set to hit showrooms throughout this year even as carmakers eagerly await a demand revival.

After making merry in 2016 car makers ranging from budget king Maruti Suzuki to luxury leader Mercedes-Benz to sports car maker Porsche are leaving no stone unturned to lure new customers with a plethora of new launches.

New launches will target existing popular segments like hatchbacks and sedans as well as create new segments which can be classified under the broader crossover segment as consumers’ buying pattern continue to undergo dynamic changes. While conventional fuels like petrol and diesel will remain as the top choice, electric and hybrids will gather pace this year.

India’s largest car maker Maruti Suzuki who had a boisterous 2016 started the new year with the launch of the Ignis on Friday. The Delhi-based car market leader which has promised to launch 15 new products beginning 2015 and till 2020, will keep up the tempo with the launch of the powerful Baleno RS a few months later.

Tata Motors, the country fourth largest car maker, isn’t too far behind on the product front. The auto maker is planning to have as many as three new launches including the much-awaited compact sedan and a premium SUV Hexa. An automatic transmission variant of the Tiago is also lined up for 2017.

Mahindra & Mahindra (M&M), the country’s largest maker of SUVs, will roll out a new model that will replace the existing Xylo, a multi-purpose vehicle and will compete against the hugely successful Toyota Innova. Further, the Mumbai-based company is expected to also roll out an updated version of the Scorpio as well as electric version of some of its existing models.

French car maker Renault who has been kept busy following huge demand for the Kwid is expected to launch the Captur SUV in the second half of the year. The company has already rolled out 1 litre and automatic transmission variants of the Kwid in the market and is set to offer further derivatives of the car in the coming period.

Korean car brand Hyundai which is the second largest car maker in the country, will launch the updated version of the Grand i10 as well as heavily reformed Verna perhaps in the second of the year. The company has had a quiet 2016 with no big bang launches with the exception of Tucson and Elantra. With the updated Verna Hyundai hopes to ride back to the numero uno position in the sedan segment from where it was dislodged by Honda City, the country’s highest selling mid-size sedan.

Under fire from Maruti Suzuki former leader in the compact SUV segment Ford will revamp the EcoSport for launch in the middle of the year. The Vitara Brezza snatched the lead from EcoSport in the less than 4 meters SUV segment. General Motors, which has become a fringe player in India, will launch the next-gen Chevrolet Beat and the compact car Chevrolet Essentia.

Action in the luxury segment comprising reigning champion Mercedes-Benz, Audi, Jaguar Land Rover, Volvo and BMW will continue unabated in 2017. Mercedes has promised to launch as many as nine new launches in 2017 while rivals Audi and BMW will launch nearly as much if not more products during the same year.

Lowering of entry price with the launch of smaller models has allowed luxury car making companies to tap customers at the lower end of the pyramid. More than 40,000 new luxury cars are sold in the Indian market annually which is just 1 per cent of the total new car market of India. This has provided luxury car makers lots of headroom for growth.

While new launches and the proposed roll out of Goods and Services Tax will light up the market what could prove to be a dampner would be the new safety norms which are set to be rolled out in later part of 2017. According to government regulations all new cars sold in the country will have to undergo mandatory crash test.

This is expected to push up overall cost of development of vehicles which will be passed on to consumers. Moreover, new norms with regards to mandatory fitment of airbags and antilock braking system will also push up costs. While this could pull down demand in the immediate period consumers are car makers have welcomed this step by the government.

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