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Ascent concept promises Subaru’s return

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Ascent

New York, April 13: Subaru of America, erasing the Tribeca from the minds of U.S. consumers who shunned it, will again have a seat at the bustling three-row crossover table.

Features includes aggressive lines, bulky fender flares and beefy tires.The production model will be available with a seven- or eight-seat layout.

“This concept looks confident, courageous, capable and in-command. Three full rows, and every inch is Subaru,” said Doll.

It is more premium looking, two-tone interior that features a striking multimedia system in the center with the digital dashboard.

With three rows, the concept can seat seven passengers. The center row has captain’s chairs while the third row is a three-seat bench.

The car is powered by an all-new turbocharged direct-injection boxer engine and all-wheel drive, Subaru said.

The Ascent concept checks in at 198.8 inches long, 78.3 inches wide and 72.4 inches tall, with a wheelbase of 117 inches. Those figures would put the Ascent in the same ballpark, sizewise, with the Ford Explorer, Mazda CX-9 and Chevrolet Traverse.

Wefornews Bureau

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Honda aims at getting balanced side for next ARRC season

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Honda NSF 250R

Buriram (Thailand), Dec 2 : Rajiv Sethu’s feat of gaining his first point outside Indian soil has not only brought smiles on the faces of the Honda India Racing contingent at the Chang International Circuit here, but has also raised a ray of hope as the team aims to build itself for the next season.

Rajiv and Anish have been instrumental in Honda’s success in the ongoing season and with the trials for the upcoming Asian Road Racing Championship taking place on December 4 and 5 here, all eyes will be on the likes of teenagers Senthil Kumar and Kritik Habib.

The 17-year-old Senthil has gained first hand experience by taking part in the Honda Thai Talent Cup on Sunday, while 18-year-old Habib will be itching to get his wheels rolling and get his endurance and ability tested.

Prabhu Nagaraj, the Vice President, Brand and Communications, Honda Motorcycle and Scooter India Pvt. Ltd. (HMSI) rightly pointed out that the test will be purely on performance and help decide the ARRC team for the next season.

“Habib is a product of the Honda Talent Hunt, and has been consistently among the top three in all the four legs of the season, three at the MMRT in Chennai and one at the BIC in Greater Noida,” Nagaraj told IANS here.

“It will be a good exposure for the young kid, but the focus will purely be on his performance in the test race. He has improved in each round, and hopefully give his best in the tests here.”

With Rajiv and Anish already playing the mentor’s role to these kids, the next season will expectedly be a mixture of youth and experience, carrying the hopes of a billion Indians in the continental competition.

(Tridib Baparnash can be contacted at [email protected])

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Honda set to unveil NSF-250 race machines next season

Highlighting the roadmap for the next season, Nagaraj pointed out that the focus will be on “preparing a world class Indian racer”.

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Honda NSF 250R

Buriram (Thailand), Dec 1 : India is still considered to be at a very nascent stage in motor sports but Japanese two-wheeler giant Hondas plans of introducing the NSF-250 in the country will surely ensourage a lot of enthusiasts take up the sport.

While most Indian riders are used to mass-production machines, Honda riders will be able to taste the actual road machine — NSF-250, the Moto3 machine, which will be imported from the 2019 season, Prabhu Nagaraj, Vice President, Brand and Communications, Honda Motorcycle and Scooter India Pvt. Ltd. (HMSI) said during an interaction on the sidelines of the final round of the Asian Road Racing Championship at the Chang International Circuit here.

Highlighting the roadmap for the next season, Nagaraj pointed out that the focus will be on “preparing a world class Indian racer”.

While Honda riders like Rajiv Sethu, Anish Shetty and Sarath Kumar have become household names with their accolades in the domestic circuit, Nagaraj agreed that Indians are still taking babysteps among the giants at the Asian and global level.

“This has been a long but fruitful process, from actually working on rider safety to actual participation of our riders in top class international competitions. I can’t say our riders have started ruling the track but the exposure they gain from such competitions is huge,” Nagaraj told IANS here.

“When we started some riders wore jeans and were without any safety gear. We took it one step at a time before actually preparing our riders race-ready.”

“The roadmap is very clear, not that we just select and send them to race but it also involves a 360 degree development program, that includes a three-day camp and off-road practice for better handling of the vehicles,” he added.

He also laid down the importance of introducing the NSF-250 machines, which he felt will help our riders get accustomed to the international standard.

“In India till this season we have been using the modified mass-production machines, while the developement of riders of the other Asian countries happen on the NSF-250, which are race machines. We will introduce these machines next season,” he revealed.

“The idea behing the Talent Hunt program is primarily to get those hidden talents from various parts of India on a common platform and help and nurture those talents for the big stage.

“We started it this year, and I am happy to see the progress of the riders. We hope to carry this to the next season and more until we find the potetial to compete in the Moto GP,” signed off Nagaraj, a self-proclaimed motorsports enthusiast.

(Tridib Baparnash cfan be contacte1d at [email protected])

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Shock decline in vehicle sales hit dealers this Diwali

The “negative factors” which slashed sales this year include the fuel prices which were on the upward swing till October-end, and although the petrol-diesel prices started going downwards, the damage was done.

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Mumbai, Nov 23 : An “unexpected de-growth” during the festival season this year has shocked the automobile industry with consumers “postponing” purchase of both two and four-wheelers, a top industry official said here on Friday.

During the festival season Navratri to Diwali, the Federation of Automobile Dealers Association (FADA) recorded a dismal decline in sales of two-wheelers and four-wheelers, barring three-wheelers like commercial vehicles and autorickshaws.

In fact, this is the first time in the past five years or so that FADA has notched a negative growth during the auspicious festival season of around 42 days, when thousands flock to book or purchase vehicles.

“We had not witnessed such a dull festival season… Many negative factors came into play during this season. It’s a matter of deep concern for the dealership community,” FADA President Ashish H. Kale told IANS.

According to Kale, four-wheelers or passengers vehicles recorded a steep decline of 14 per cent in the prime time between September 21-November 20 this year, compared to the same period in 2017.

This came to actual sales of 287,717 passenger vehicles this season, down from last (2017) season’s 333,456, he said.

In the two-wheelers segment, the decline was equally sharp at 13 per cent during the same period, recording 15,83,276 two-wheelers sold compared to 18,11,703 last season, Kale said.

Incidentally, four-wheelers have notched an overall decline of 1.4 per cent from April to November this year, or 16,26,555 passenger vehicles sold compared to 16,49,650 sold during the same period in 2017.

The only silver lining for FADA was the 10 per cent growth in the three-wheelers and commercial vehicles categories.

For three-wheelers, the sales figure this year was 58,801 (53,457 last year) and commercial vehicles it was 119,597 (103,370 last year).

“Dealer inventory in the two and four-wheelers has risen substantially due to this and is a matter of great concern for us,” Kale said, of the FADA’s move to release independent figures for the first time in view of the grim situation.

The “negative factors” which slashed sales this year include the fuel prices which were on the upward swing till October-end, and although the petrol-diesel prices started going downwards, the damage was done.

Adding to the negative sentiments was the ongoing Non-Banking Financial Companies (NBFC) liquidity issue which hit buyers, especially those opting for two-wheelers and commercial vehicles.

Kale hoped that the recent liquidity measures initiated by the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) and the government, the banks and automobile NBFCs would help the automobile industry grow in the days ahead.

“We request the government and RBI to further ease the liquidity for auto NBFCs which operated in a less riskier business environment compared to infrastructure and housing NBFCs due to short repayment cycle and mobility of the assets,” Kale said.

On the positive side, he said that customer enquiries did not fall this festival, but they failed to materialise into transactions on expected lines due to “postponement” of decisions, and is optimistic the trend could reverse in the next four months.

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