New Delhi: 2010’s Auto Show in Delhi started off on a high gear on Tuesday with new releases from Maruti Suzuki, Toyota and Honda. Maruti unveiled its R3 concept, which is the first car of its kind to be designed entirely in India. The R3 is a called a multi purpose vehicle and gets its name from its three rows of seats. Maruti is hoping to target larger families with the R3.
Toyota made its own play for the Indian car market. The company premiered its new low-cost compact car, the Etios, with which it says it’s hoping to gain more market share quickly. It plans to sell 70,000 Etios cars this year.
Honda also unveiled a compact car of its own, designed specifically for the Indian market. The car’s still in the concept stage and doesn’t have a name yet, but Honda’s planning to release it in 2011.
Other well established cars also made their Indian debut on Tuesday. Volkswagen unveiled its hatchback car, the Polo, which it will begin selling in India in March. And Maruti Suzuki launched its Kizashi sedan. The company plans to start selling the Kizashi in India by the end of the year.
In other news, Bharti’s attempt at getting a foothold in the Bangladeshi market has got a seal of approval. On Tuesday, Bangladesh’s telecom authority gave the green light to Bharti’s initial investment of 300 million dollars in Bangladeshi phone company Warid Telecom. Bharti has been focusing on smaller targets like Warid after its planned merger with South Africa’s MTN failed.
Also in the telecom sector, Aircel says it will finalize a buyer for its 17,000 telecom towers by the middle of February. Telecom companies want to outsource mobile masts in order to reduce their operating costs. Aircel itself uses 38,000 towers and is trying to sell off the 17,000 it owns.
In economic news, there are signals the government could return to fiscal consolidation in the next budget. Mint has learnt that while the Planning Commission wants the budget allocations for some social programmes to increase by 18 to 19%, the finance ministry has refused to allocate more than 15% extra. The schemes in question include politically sensitive programmes like the right to education and providing housing for the poor.