Suzuki to launch low cost Maruti models in Japan

Suzuki plans to sell cost-effective Maruti Cars in Japan

It has been 26 years since Suzuki Motors Corp. launched its first car in the Indian market under the brand name Maruti Suzuki.  The company is now set to launch low cost Maruti car models in the Japanese automobile market, from where even Korea’s auto giant Hyundai Motors withdrew after stiff competition there had endangered its growth plans.  The first Maruti model to be introduced in Japan will be the Maruti A-Star.

Maruti’s importance is growing in the global plans of Suzuki Motors.  It currently contributes to over half of the Japanese automaker’s profits and generated about 33% of its total turnover each year rising from just 10% in 2005-06.

maruti suzuki a-star

According to S. Nakanishi, Managing Director, Maruti Suzuki, considering the manner in which Maruti models are capturing the global market, the Japanese car market is certainly not far away.  The A-Star meet’s Europe’s stringent emission norms and is perfectly suited for hitting the highly developed market of Japan, where even top global car makers are finding it tough to survive.

Maruti’s A-Star, though relatively new in the Indian market, contributes to almost 25% of the total exports (800,000 cars) by Maruti Suzuki.  Currently, Maruti is developing several contemporary models, some of them being small cars, to be launched soon.  By 2015, Suzuki will be investing Rs 60 billion (around $1.3 billion) in India to take Maruti’s  production capacity per year to 1.75 million cars, and will also establish a new R&D center for producing cars on its own for the global market . Read more »

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Cars That Get 40 Mpg

Beat Gasoline Prices with Fuel Efficient Cars

A few days ago, the price of crude oil briefly touched $100 per barrel ($25 per liter) for the first time since late 2008. Rising crude prices inevitably drive up gas prices, and then not just the consumers but auto manufacturers begin to get worried.  In 2008, when oil last hit the $100 mark and gasoline prices rose above $4 a gallon ($1.1 per liter), several auto companies were caught unawares with large line-ups of unsold trucks.

honda civic hybrid

Rising prices of gasoline
Today gas costs over $3.19 per gallon ($0.9 per liter) on an average, that is, 53 cents more than a year ago.  If the turmoil in the Middle East persists, prices could shoot up to $4.

Not surprisingly, the soaring oil prices are fueling the demand for more fuel efficient cars.  Consider this.  If you switched from a vehicle giving 30 mpg (13 km per liter) on highways to another that delivers 40 mpg (17 km per liter) , assuming gas costs $3 a gallon, you would save over $4,000 throughout the vehicle’s lifetime.  And if gas prices rise to $4 per gallon, those savings could increase to $6,000 or so.

Automakers worldwide are now being forced to enhance the efficiency of their cars.  Five years back, few vehicles gave a mileage of above 30 mpg.  Nowadays, you’ll find more vehicles delivering 40 mpg in city driving or on the highway mainly as a result of stricter government rules and technological advances.  There are around 20 highly efficient 2011 model year vehicles today, which is thrice the number available back in 2006.

All new vehicles sold in 2016 will have to reach a fuel efficiency of around 35.5 mpg, which is about 40% higher than the current standards.  Today, regulators are even considering efficiency levels touching 62 mpg by 2025.

Technology to the rescue
Automakers are able to enhance fuel efficiency of their cars through advances in technology.  Some of these include the use of turbochargers, diesel engines, newer batteries, materials like aluminum for reducing the weight of vehicles, and more efficient tires, and also developing newer methods for improving aerodynamics.

High-mileage vehicles in the market
Better mileage vehicles come with high upfront costs, but they also offer long-term benefits.  So let’s check out the fuel-efficient cars available today.

Japanese cars with hybrid, combustion and electric engines with modern technology generally get 40 mpg or above.  These cost more than gasoline-run cars, but they compensate for the higher upfront costs through lower fuel expenses during the lifetime of the car.

Hybrid cars like Toyota Prius and the Insight and Honda Civic hybrids have a regular gasoline engine in addition to a big battery for powering the car.  Honda Civic hybrid prices start from $24,000, while the Toyota Prius costs about $23,000.  The price of a basic Civic with a combustion engine however starts around $16,000.

Nissan’s all-electric car – the Leaf, costing around $ 32,780 can give 100 miles on battery power, after which it needs recharging.  Other niche electric cars though also meeting the benchmark of 40 mpg are too costly for middle-class buyers.

Mazda MX-5 Miata Breaks World Record

Mazda MX-5 Reaches New Milestone With 900,000 Units

When Mazda’s production of its popular MX-5 sports car, called the Mazda Roadster by the Japanese, touched 531,890 units, Guinness World Records certified it as the “Best selling two-seat sports car” in the world.  But that was way back in 2000.  On February 4 this year, when production touched 900,000 units in Hiroshima, the roadster broke yet another production world record for two-seater sports cars.

When the Japanese automaker’s production of the Mazda MX-5 crossed 700 000 and, then later on, 800 000 units, Guinness had to repeatedly update the record.  Now almost 22 years since mass production began, Mazda’s popular sports car MX-5 has crossed yet another milestone.

mazda mx-5

In the two decades since the first-generation models of Mazda MX-5 were introduced, times have changes and so have vehicles.  Conservation of the Earth’s depleting natural resources and protection of the environment has become an important issue for car manufacturers, making them upgrade their car models to meet newer environmental norms.  The Mazda MX-5 too has seen two total product redesigns and also a number of upgrades.

Way back in the 1960s and the 1970s, there were a number of fun-to-drive, lightweight sports cars offering free-spirited, open-top motoring and smooth handling.  Mazda revived this spirit in the 1980s, by introducing a new roadster fit for the modern generation.  The most advanced engineering techniques were used to manufacture the MX-5.  It was launched by Mazda in February 1989 to remind people that driving could be fun in spite of stringent quality and safety standards.  Based on the well-known principle of mounted archery (Jinba Ittai), in which horse and rider act as one, the MX-5 Miata is certainly fun to drive, though it won’t shatter any 0-60 records.

To date, the bulk of the Miatas and MX-5s, adding up to nearly half a million, have been bought in North America, 274,081 have gone to Europe and 165,013 to Japan.  But no matter where its markets lie, the Mazda MX-5 is the world’s most raced car and Mazda’s longest running car globally.

The MX-5’s enduring success can be attributed to its immense popularity the world over.  In fact, it is common to come across proud owners at car fan club meetings who cherish their MX-5s like a beloved partner.  Obviously, a car that evokes such sentiments is more than a mere sports car for owners.

Now that yet another barrier has been smashed, Mazda is currently getting Guinness to ratify the new record of 900,000 units and getting ready to roll out the millionth MX-5 in the near future.  Even as the company is preparing for its next production milestone, it stays committed to enhancing the MX-5’s fun-to-drive character as well as its safety and environmental capabilities.

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