It's not the best of times for the globe as the Coronavirus pandemic has put the world on lockdown and we need to follow it seriously to stop further contamination. The auto industry is also witnessing major losses as a result of all auto and components manufacturing facilities shut for the next three weeks. Recovering from an economic slowdown over the past year, the auto sector expected to be on a road to revival in 2020 and these new launches were expected to entice buyers to step back into showrooms. Here's a look at the nine highly-awaited car launches that will be delayed as a result of the coronavirus pandemic.
Hyundai Tucson Facelift
The Hyundai Tucson facelift made its India debut at the 2020 Auto Expo, almost two years after being revealed globally and was scheduled to go on sale after the launch of the new Hyundai Creta. However, the lockdown has put Hyundai's launch plans on hold for now for the future launches. Upgrades on the 2020 Hyundai Tucson facelift include new cascading trapezoidal grille, L-shaped LED DRLs, revised alloy wheels and new taillight cluster. The feature list now comes with wireless mobile phone charging, a 360-degree camera, a panoramic sunroof as well as Blue Link connected car tech. The SUV will be powered by the 2.0-litre petrol and diesel engines that now meet BS6 compliance and will be paired with a 6-speed manual and automatic transmission options.
Hyundai Verna Facelift
The current generation Hyundai Verna is all set to receive its first comprehensive upgrade and the launch has been postponed due to the lockdown. The car has already been revealed and gets new cascading grille, LED headlamps with LED DRLs, new alloy wheels and a revised tail section with updated LED taillights. The car gets new features too including 45 connected car features, voice command, digital instrument cluster, ventilated front seats, smart trunk, emergency stop signal, wireless phone charger, eco coating, rear USB charger, and Arkamys premium sound system. The new Verna will also come with the 1.5-litre petrol and diesel engines shared with the new Hyundai Creta, as well as the 1.0-litre T-GDi petrol that also powers the Hyundai Venue. Prices are expected to see a marginal hike over the current model.
Renault Duster 1.3 TCe Petrol
The Renault Duster 1.3 TCe petrol was unveiled at the 2020 Auto Expo as an alternative variant to the now discontinued Duster diesel. However, it could be a while before we see the new version on sale. The new 1.3-litre turbocharged petrol engine promises about 153 bhp and 250 Nm of peak torque, which will make the Duster the most powerful turbo petrol offering in its class. The SUV will not get any major cosmetic changes barring the red highlights on the exterior and interior, as well as the turbo badge on the tailgate. Expect prices to start around ₹ 12 lakh and the new Duster 1.3 TCe will be sold in the higher variants.
Mahindra XUV300 Sportz Edition
Showcased at the 2020 Auto Expo, the Mahindra XUV300 Sportz Edition was set to introduce the automaker's new 1.2-litre mStallion turbo petrol engine on the subcompact SUV. The new motor belts out 127 bhp and 230 Nm of peak torque, while paired with a 6-speed manual transmission. The XUV300 is already a very responsive SUV to drive and the new engine promises to make the most out of it. Apart from the new motor, the XUV300 Sportz Edition got new decals on the exterior and red highlights with blacked-out seats in the cabin as a give away to the sporty theme. Expected to go on sale in April 2020, the launch could now be delayed by a few weeks.
New Generation Honda City
The fifth-generation Honda City was scheduled to be unveiled on March 16, 2020, but the same was postponed due to COVID-19. The national lockdown will further push the all-new City's launch further and we now expect the model to arrive sometime around May this year if the situation normalises. The 2020 Honda City is a complete overhaul over the current generation model with the new Civic-inspired design language and larger proportions while retaining a compact design language. The feature list has grown as well with LED headlamps and taillights, new dashboard, centre console and a larger touchscreen infotainment system with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. The sedan will come powered by the 1.5-litre petrol and diesel engines that will be now BS6 compliant, while speculations suggest that the petrol engine could get mild-hybrid technology for the first time in India.
Skoda Rapid 1.0 TSI
The Skoda Rapid was all set to get the new 1.0-litre TSI turbo petrol engine from the VW family next month, but that will now be delayed due to the unprecedented lockdown. The new three-cylinder 1.0-litre engine will power the entry-level cars from Skoda and Volkswagen and has already found its way on the Volkswagen Polo and Vento offerings. The Skoda Rapid 1.0 TSI was scheduled to go on sale next month with deliveries to begin from April 14, 2020. But that's likely to be pushed by a few weeks. The new 1.0 TSI belts out 108 bhp and 175 Nm of peak torque and will come paired with a 6-speed manual and a new 6-speed torque convertor automatic transmissions. The new Rapid is identical to its predecessor, while prices could be slightly competitive.
Apart from the new Rapid, Skoda India also commenced accepting bookings for the Karoq compact SUV that was scheduled for deliveries from May 6, 2020. The model is likely to go on sale later now and comes to India as a Completely Knocked Down (CKD) kit. The Skoda Karoq is powered by the 1.5-litre TSI engine that's also seen on the newly-launched Volkswagen T-Roc and the turbo petrol motor develops 148 bhp and 250 Nm of peak torque, while paired only with the 7-speed DSG transmission. The new offering looks like a mini Kodiaq and packs in a number of features including LED headlamps, touchscreen infotainment system, panoramic sunroof, Virtual cockpit and a lot more. Prices are expected to be around ₹ 18-20 lakh (ex-showroom).
It now seems Mercedes-Benz will have to wait a little longer to introduce the new EQC in India with the nationwide lockdown till April 14, 2020. The German auto giant introduced its electric brand EQ earlier this year in India and the EQC will be the very first offering in the luxury electric SUV space. The Mercedes-Benz EQC is powered by a dual-motor setup that includes one motor for the front axle and one for the rear. The dual motors are powered by an 80 kWh lithium-ion battery that helps the electric motors develop a combined output of 300 kW (402 bhp) and 765 Nm of peak torque. The new EQC gets an all-electric range of around 400 km with a quick charge option.
Honda WR-V Facelift
The Honda WR-V facelift was revealed earlier this month ahead of its launch scheduled in April 2020. The revised hatchback-crossover will be available in both petrol and diesel engine options that will be BS6 compliant and get cosmetic changes including a new grille, bumper, LED headlamps and more. There will be new features as well, and possibly new upholstery too. Honda Cars India started accepting pre-launch bookings for the BS6 WR-V but the launch could be postponed in the wake of the pandemic and the closure of its plants for the next three weeks. Honda could announce prices for the new WR-V in the coming weeks.
In addition, we do expect to see a number of launches being rescheduled in the second of the year, as automakers try to cope up with the lost production days. If you were planning to get your hands on one of these cars, it's a delay of a few weeks and for now, all you can do is stay home and ensure your well-being that of your family. Stay home, stay safe!