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Car makers line up a score of models

New Delhi, Dec. 29: Car makers are betting on launches to spur demand in the new year.

As many as 20 models are expected to be launched in the next six months in categories such as hatchback, sedan and sports utility vehicles, including compact variants and multi-purpose vehicles.

At least 10 refreshed cars are also in the queue.

Maruti Suzuki India, Mahindra and Mahindra, Honda, Hyundai India, Chevrolet, Volkswagen, Ford, Renault and Nissan are set to make launches throughout the year with a bevy of offering planned during the auto expo in February.

“We believe that next year will be good for the industry. The gloom of 2013 will pass over. We will be launching a host of vehicles to attract customers,” Hironori Kanayama, president and CEO of Honda Cars India Ltd, said.

Experts feel the launches will help to tackle the negative sentiment in the market.

The most-awaited launch will be Maruti’s compact SUV XA Alpha.

Alpha will be a late entrant to the segment dominated by the Renault Duster, Ford EcoSport and Nissan Terrano. It will be available in both petrol and diesel options. Maruti may give more details by May.

Sale of utility vehicles has risen at a time the car industry is facing a slowdown. Utility vehicle sales jumped 7.6 per cent between January and November 2013 on the success of the Duster and EcoSport.

India’s utility vehicles leader Mahindra is gearing up for a comeback after witnessing an 18 per cent dip in sales at 39,255 units in November against 48,143 units in the same month last year.

The company plans to bring in a new compact SUV, codenamed S101. It is also likely to launch refreshed versions of its entire line-up, including the Scorpio, Bolero and XUV500.

Honda Cars India Limited has an impressive line up, starting with the fourth-generation City sedan.

The company will also be launching a multi-purpose vehicle (MPV) Mobilio, which was showcased at the Tokyo Motor Show. The new MPV would take on Maruti Ertiga and Toyota Innova and will be attractively priced. It might be launched by June. The company is planning to bring back one of its bestsellers — the Jazz hatchback — in a new avatar.

Honda will start selling the model, to be available both in petrol and diesel variants, in India from January.

“With the unveiling of the all new City we are entering a phase of trying to regain dominance in the premium car segment. This is Honda’s counter attack,” Kanayama said.

Hyundai India will soon launch a vehicle based on the i10 Grand, which has done roaring business in the hatchback segment this year.

The below-Rs-5-lakh segment, which includes small cars and entry-level hatchback vehicles, will see a host of launches. Datsun — a Nissan brand brought to life after 32 years — will launch its small car Go.

Volkswagen and Skoda will enter the sedan segment with the Up and Citigo, respectively, both expected to be priced in the range of Rs 3.5-4.7 lakh.

Maruti will bring in the Cervo at a starting price of around Rs 2 lakh.

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