Going by the trend, there are some segments in the Indian automobile industry, where every new vehicle has the bigger responsibility of fetching volume sales for the manufacturer. The hatchback segment has traditionally been one of the hot segments. Take a look if you are planning to buy a hatchback as there are four promising launches lined-up.
Maruti Suzuki Baleno
Maruti Suzuki Baleno wasn't a volume seller in its earlier sedan version. However, it was a tremendous successes in the Indian market with many of the cars still competing in the Indian Rally Championship.
Maruti Suzuki is bringing back that moniker in their latest premium hatchback, which is slated to unveil at the 66th Frankfurt Motor Show starting on 15 September. The car will be positioned above the popular Swift and is likely to be the second product to be sold through the Nexa dealership.
Showcased as the iK-2 concept earlier at the 2015 Geneva Motor Show, Baleno will use Suzuki's newly-developed 1.0-litre Boosterjet direct injection turbocharged petrol engine. Reduced engine displacement will help the car to attain better fuel efficiency. The diesel variant might get the same 1.3-litre engine.
The Baleno will be costlier that the Swift and estimated prices are hovering around Rs 7.5 to 9 lakh.
With the Kwid, Renault India is planning to enter the entry-level hatchback segment, which is the domain of Maruti Suzuki and Hyundai. Foreseeing the completion in the segment, Renault is not just launching another hatchback. The Kwid is expected to kickstart a new segment in the industry - Mini crossover.
A mini crossover is as compact as a hatchback, but adds attributes of a compact SUV, such as high-ground clearance and tallboy design.
The first in the segment, Kwid uses the CMF-A platform, which will underpin more cars of the Renault-Nissan and Datsun Alliance. The spy pictures show the vehicle with a rather tallboy design that will result in more interior space.
Under the hood, the car is likely to get 800cc three-cylinder petrol engine developing 57bhp mated to a five-speed gearbox. The company might also introduce an automated manual transmission (AMT) version.
With 98 percent localisation, Renault will be able to price the Kwid in the range Rs 3 lakh to 4 lakh. Launch is expected in September.
Tata Kite Hatchback
The Horizonext program of Tata Motors brought out some nice looking cars such as the Bolt hatchback and the Zest compact sedan. Next in the pipeline is the Kite hatchback, which is undergoing testing. The Kite will replace the age-old Indica V2 in Tata Motors' domestic portfolio and will go up against the Maruti Suzuki Alto 800 and the Hyundai Eon.
Spyshots indicate that the model will take inspiration from the Bolt and will have a low-slung stance. The petrol variant of Tata Kite is expected to pack a three-cylinder 1.2-litre unit, while the diesel motor will be a three-cylinder, 1.05-litre unit, both mated five-speed manual. An AMT version will also be on offer.
The Kite is expected to be on sale in the festive season with a price tag of around Rs 3.5 lakh.
Ford Figo hatchback
Ford will soon launch the new Figo, which is based on the just-launched Figo Aspire sedan. The new Figo hatchback is already on sale in Brazil, christened as the Ka. The hatchback is expected to feature a honeycomb grill differently from the sedan.
Under the hood, Figo hatchback is expected to employ the same set of engines from the sedan. The 1.2-litre petrol motor and 1.5-litre TDCi diesel engine will be mated to five-speed manual transmission. The top-end variant is likely to get automatic transmission.
The cabin of Figo hatchback is likely to include dual-tone interior with Ford's SYNC multimedia system, automatic climate control, electronic folding mirrors and safety features like dual front airbags.
The launch is expected at the end of 2015 or January 2016 and prices are expected in the range of Rs Rs 4.5 to 7 lakh.