It will be simple to say that the past six months were high on pace, and a lot happened over the past 180-odd days. We finally found closure with the Avengers: Endgame and the Game of Thrones, while the Lok Sabha elections finally came to an end with the NDA returning to power. The auto sector wasn’t as fortunate though with the industry struggling due to weakened demand and increasing inventory, along with the shift to new safety regulations for two-wheelers, and the preparation for BS6 norms coming next year. Amidst all the chaos, there were blockbuster launches including the Tata Harrier, Hyundai Venue, Mahindra XUV300, Maruti Suzuki Wagon R and more. With six months in tow, the auto sector is looking at a brighter 2019 and the plethora of new launches lines are expected to improve the sales momentum. Here’s a look at the top cars lined up for launch in the second half of 2019.
Newly unveiled, the MG Hector SUV marks the entry of the Chinese-owned British brand Morris Garages in India that will be bringing its first offering sometime in June this year. The all-new offering will be one of the first connected cars in India with a host of Internet of things (IoT) connectivity options, along with the option of a plug-in hybrid as an engine option. The MG Hector looks promising with a bold design and a tech-laden cabin and powerful 1.5-litre petrol and 2.0-litre diesel engines on offer. The new SUV will be produced at the automaker’s facility in Halol, Gujarat and will be sold via 120 outlets spread across 50 cities initially. The Hector will compete against the Jeep Compass, Hyundai Creta, Tata Harrier and the likes in the segment.
Jeep Compass Trailhawk
With rising competition in the compact SUV space, Jeep India is readying a new variant of the Compass. The Jeep Compass Trailhawk has been a long-awaited model and will see a new top-of-the-line variant with improved off-roading prowess and the addition of a diesel automatic. The Trailhawk version gets cosmetic changes including new bumpers, alloy wheels, blacked out elements for the exterior and interior. The new version will also get a larger infotainment screen and more features on offer. Power will come from the 2.0-litre turbo diesel motor paired with a 9-speed automatic transmission. The Compass Trailhawk is expected to be priced around the ₹ 25 lakh (ex-showroom) mark and will be targeted at a buyer looking for convenience with off-road capability.
Also making its India entry in the second half of 2019, Kia Motors will enter the Indian market with a compact SUV. Internally codenamed SP2i, we first got a glimpse of the offering as the Kia SP Concept at the 2018 Auto Expo, while the pre-production (camouflaged) version was showcased earlier this year at the company’s Anantapur facility in Tamil Nadu. The exterior and interior sketches were revealed recently promising a bold design, larger infotainment screen, ambient lighting and head up display (HUD). Engine options are likely to include 1.5-litre petrol and diesel. The Kia SP2i will be unveiled on June 20, 2019, while the launch is slated for the festive season this year.
BMW 3 Series
The seventh generation BMW 3 Series will hit the Indian markets this year as one of the 12 launches planned by the manufacturer for FY2019-2020. The new 3 Series is 76 mm longer, 16 mm wider and 1 mm than its predecessor, and is based on BMW’s new CLAR platform. The sedan gets an evolutionary design language with the larger kidney grilles up front, while the feature list is far more extensive with a host of electronic aids and improved cabin space as well. The 2019 BMW 3 Series is 55 kg lighter, while the powertrain will include both 2.0-litre and 3.0-litre options. Rivalling the Mercedes-Benz C-Class, Volvo S60, and Audi A4, the new 3 will go on sale by July-August this year.
Tata Motors will enter the premium hatchback segment this year with the Altroz around the festive season. The production-spec Tata Altroz was unveiled at the Geneva Motor Show this year and is based on the company’s new ALFA platform. The car carries the Impact 2.0 design language and looks sporty yet spacious. Engine options will include the 1.2-litre natural aspirated and turbo petrol versions, along with the 1.5-litre turbo diesel. An electric version will also be introduced in the future. The Altroz will take on a number of offerings including the Honda Jazz, Maruti Suzuki Baleno, Hyundai i20, and the upcoming Toyota Glanza.
The Audi Q3 premium compact SUV was a game changer for the automaker when it first arrived in the country, and the German auto giant is aiming to achieve something similar with the second generation that is slated for launch in 2019. The all-new Audi Q3 is based on the Volkswagen Group’s modular transverse matrix and has grown in dimensions, while also receiving extensive upgrades to the design and feature list. The new generation Q3 SUV is more upmarket, luxurious and packs in a range of petrol and diesel engine options. Audi’s smallest SUV is also expected to be offered only with a 7-speed automatic in India, while a 6-speed manual will be available overseas. The all-new offering will take on the Volvo XC40, BMW X1, Mercedes-Benz GLA and the likes.
Hyundai Kona EV
Fresh off the launch of the Venue subcompact SUV, Hyundai India will burst into the electric vehicle segment with the Kona EV, slated for launch on July 9, 2019. The Hyundai Kona Electric was confirmed for India last year and will be locally assembled at the automaker’s Chennai-based facility. The Kona electric can go up to 350 km on a single charge which takes about 30 minutes through fast charging, while power output varies between – 100 kW and 150 kW globally. It’s not clear as to which version will India get. The SUV will be loaded on the feature front, and is likely to get the BlueLink connectivity system right from the start.
Renault India will be introducing the Triber MPV in the second half of this year. The all-new offering has been teased a number of times and is based on the CMF-A platform shared with the Kwid. Renault is positioning the new Triber as a lifestyle offering and is likely to get a detachable third row for added cargo space. It will also be loaded on features including a touchscreen system, LED daytime running lights, LED taillights and more. Power will come from the 1.0-litre petrol, possibly turbocharged for more power, which will be paired with a 5-speed manual and AMT options.
Volkswagen India will also enter the compact SUV segment this year with the T-Roc. The urban SUV will come to the country as a petrol only model and will be priced between the ₹ 17-20 lakh (ex-showroom) segment. The Volkswagen T-Roc will be offered with the 2.0-litre TSI four-cylinder motor with the 7-speed DSG transmission and will be positioned at a premium in the compact SUV segment taking on the likes of the Jeep Compass, Hyundai Creta, MG Hector and the likes. It is likely that only 2500 units will be brought to India in the first round under the Indian government’s new scheme that allows limited model to be imported without local homologation.
Maruti Suzuki Wagon R Based 7-Seater MPV
Taking on the upcoming Renault Triber, Maruti Suzuki will be introducing a seven seater version of the Wagon R later this year. Carandbike exclusively told you about the new model being developed on the new Heartect platform and will be sold exclusively via the company’s Nexa channel. The upcoming offering will be under four metres and will be loaded on equipment with power likely to come from the 1.2-litre petrol engine with manual and AMT options. The new model could arrive as early as June this year.