SC order fails to dent SUV craze

SC order fails to dent SUV craze
The 2016 edition of the auto expo kick-started here on Wednesday with companies vying to launch new diesel-guzzling SUVs, despite the uncertain future following the Supreme Court’s restrictions.

On the first day of the biennial event, 29 firms launched new models in which over 10 automakers, including Maruti Suzuki, Tata Motors, Hyundai, Jeep and Jaguar Land Rover (JLR) launched high-end sports utility vehicles (SUVs) and luxury cars.

There is uncertainty in Delhi following the recent Supreme Court order banning the registration of all diesel SUVs and luxury cars with engine capacity of 2,000 cc or more in the National Capital Region till March 31. The decision, which hit SUVs and luxury cars segment, was aimed at controlling rising pollution.

The auto show began with the country’s largest carmaker Maruti Suzuki India unveiling the new compact SUV, “Vitara Brezza.” Brezza is among the first of a new range of products in which the company’s Indian engineers have played a bigger role in designing and development as Suzuki looks to enhance its base here.

“India's SUV market has been growing at a very fast pace. This is a segment in which we were not present for a long time,” said C V Raman, executive director of engineering at Maruti Suzuki India.

Tata Motors displayed a number of new models as it seeks to revive its market, including two SUVs and the Zica hatchback, which it plans to rename following the spread of the Zika virus. Tata Motors-owned JLR launched the all-new Jaguar XE sports saloon.

While expressing his disappointment over the ban, JLR chief executive Ralph Speth said: “I am an engineer and I am very disappointed with the ban... All our models are Euro-VI complaint and these vehicles clean the air, and the air they suck in is far dirtier than what comes out. If we ban these kinds of vehicles...I don’t understand.” Korean auto major Hyundai unveiled the “Tucson” as it eyes a bigger space in the fast-growing segment.
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