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Stars of the show



RENAULT DUSTER The Duster is all set to be the third offering from Renault after the recently launched Fluence and the Micra-based Pulse hatch. The SUV got its first look by Indian buyers at the Expo, and it certainly shows that the company has got the styling right. The proportions of the vehicle are just right and with a length of 4. 31 metres and width at 1. 82 metres, the Duster is big enough to make its presence felt while at the same time being not too cumbersome around town. It seems to be an extremely capable vehicle and promises to add to the forthcoming excitement in the compact SUV space

The dust kicked up by lakhs of visitors at Pragati Maidan, Delhi, has finally settled down, and it is now a good time to reflect on the star launches and unveilings that the show saw. If the 10th Auto Expo two years back was all about small cars and hatchbacks that we see ruling the streets today, the just-concluded show focussed mostly on a segment that has seen little or no action in the past few years - the compact SUV and MPV space.

We had the exciting EcoSport concept from Ford, which will become a reality at an affordable price point in the very near future, the SsangYong range of urban SUVs, which will come in through owners Mahindra & Mahindra, the Renault Duster, which will mark the French company's foray into the mainstream even more emphatically, and even Maruti Suzuki, which sent feelers to buyers with the XA Alpha concept. People were there in healthy numbers too, and we're not talking just about the last mile movers like the RE60 from Bajaj. From the Maruti Suzuki Ertiga to the Nissan Evalia, which will be produced in India for the world and already comes with established credentials internationally, large urban families will soon have a gamut of exceptional vehicles to choose from, if the intentions shown at the Expo live up to their promise. Of course, there was a lot of excitement too, ranging from hot and desirable motorcycles making their way here to motorsport plans from some of the best in the business. Here's what caught our eye from the show stands of Asia's largest automotive exposition

TOYOTA MOTORSPORT


Having seen how aggressive Volkswagen has been in India despite being a more recent entrant, Toyota Kirloskar Motor Ltd is now preparing to emulate its German rival and that too by venturing forth into the Indian motorsport scene. Now, Toyota wants in and at the Expo it revealed its plans of using the Etios and Etios Liva in a series of competitive events tailored to get not just the budding young Indian talent to the sport but also to bring it within the reach and experience of the average man on the street

MARUTI SUZUKI ERTIGA


With the Ertiga, a 3-row, 7-seater multi-purpose vehicle, the carmaker marches into the utility-vehicle segment. Prices should most likely be upward of Rs 6 lakh. Though an MPV, it has a very car-like styling. In fact, it borrows several design cues from the other cars in the Suzuki family. The Ertiga will come in both petrol and diesel specs, an all-new 1. 4-litre K14 VVT petrol mill and a 1. 3-litre DDiS super turbo diesel engine that also powers the SX4 diesel

HERO MOTOCORP


India's leading two-wheeler company unveiled three of its new offerings that the firm will eventually introduce in the market as a part of its 2012 line-up. First to be unveiled was the 110-cc Maestro scooter that was previously shown at the company's brand unveiling held in London. The other significant model shown by Hero Moto-Corp was the Ignitor - a 125-cc sporty offering that builds on the rising craze for polished and exciting 125-cc motorcycles. The third was a 110-cc commuter bike called the Passion X Pro, based on the firm's immensely successful Passion with new stickers. The three bikes showed that the shortterm direction for the world's largest two-wheeler maker will remain refurbished models based on ex-partner Honda's offerings.

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