The growth in the gearless scooter segment has been phenomenal over the last few years but it isn’t until now that the interest in this segment by manufacturers and consumers alike is at unprecedented levels. For starters, 2012 promises to be one of the biggest years ever for the Indian automatic scooter market as 8 scooters from no less than 7 manufacturers, are all set to be launched in India during the course of the next seven months. Through this story, we’ll give you a lowdown on all the seven automatic scooters. Let the scooting begin.
Mahindra Duro DZ 125:
Launched barely a week ago at the 2012 Indian Auto Expo, the Mahindra Duro DZ is an improved and facelifted version of the 125cc Duro automatic scooter. The Duro DZ features an all new front end with a new headlamp design and new telescopic forks. While the headlamp improves aesthetics, the real story is about the telescopic front forks, which will now make the Duro DZ a much better ride on bad roads, stuff that is quite abundant in India. The Duro DZ retains the 125cc four stroke engine, albeit in a newer state of tune which Mahindra claims will increase fuel economy.The Duro DZ 125 is priced at INR 42,232, ex-showroom Delhi.
Suzuki Swish 125:
If you think that the Access 125 looks too bulbous for your liking, but still think that the powerful and torquey 125 four stroke engine of the Access is the best thing that happened to Indian automatic scooters, fret not, hope is at hand. Suzuki showcased at Swish 125, which is basically a Access in more stylish clothes. The traditional strengths of the Access 125 remain, read a reliable and powerful four stroke engine, solid build quality and well sorted suspension with telescopic forks up front, while the style quotient is lifted a few notches up. Expect a March 2012 launch for the Swish 125, which is priced at INR 45431, ex-showroom, Delhi.
Hero Maestro 110:
Take a Honda Aviator, give it new stickers and dump the excellent telescopic front forks, lo and behold, you have the Hero Maestro 110 automatic scooter. A badge engineered product, the Hero Maestro represents the first scooter launch of Hero MotoCorp since its split with Honda. Although the two companies are going it alone, Hero still has license to use Honda’s technology until 2014, which explains why the Maestro features the same 110cc engine that is also found on the Honda Activa and the Aviator. Puncture resistant Tuff up tubes, an analog-digital instrument console and combi brakes are a few of the salient features of the Maestro. Call it a Hero scooter for the men if you may, the Maestro will sit above the Pleasure in terms of price and positioning and is set to be launched during the first few months of the year.
Piaggio Vespa LX125:
The Vespa will kickstart a new segment of sorts, when Piaggio India launches this retro cool 125cc automatic scooter in late March of early April 2012. The Vespa LX125 will be positioned as a lifestyle scooter, to keep with the high quality fit and finish that the scooter exudes in no small measure. The 125cc Vespa will also be the most powerful automatic scooter in India with a power output of 10.6 Bhp from its 125cc four stroke engine. The Vespa LX125 was showcased at the Auto Expo and we were very pleased to see how well finished and richly detailed the scooter was, in fact head and shoulders above the existing scooters in India. Expect a price of about INR 55,000 for the Vespa LX125.
Honda Dio 110:
The Honda Dio is an example of how an classic design can still look sharp despite being over half a decade old in the Indian market. The Honda Dio finally gets a few upgrades it should have got in the very first place. A 110cc four stroke engine borrowed from the Activa finally makes it into the Dio and so does combi braking. The Dio also gets fresh new styling, with a completely restyled front and rear end. While some people love the new style, others can’t digest it. Tubeless tyres and a claimed 15% higher fuel economy are the significant upgrades to the Dio 110. What we don’t like about the new Dio 110 is the fact that Honda still hasn’t given this sporty scooter telescopic front forks, a sore point in the otherwise big facelift. Expect to pay a few grand more over the current model when the 2012 Dio 110 becomes available in showrooms over the next few months.
TVS Qube 100 Hybrid Scooter:
TVS Motors will launch India’s first hybrid scooter in the middle of the year. however, the launch will be more of a pilot run with 50 examples of the Qube 100 Hybrid entering the market. In June 2012, the pilot launch will happen and the Qube 100 Hybrid will hit the Indian roads. The Qube 100 features a 100cc four stroke engine which will combine with a hub mounted electric motor. A Start-Stop system and brake energy regeneration are the other trick bits on the Qube Hybrid, which will also use lithium ion batteries and have three modes of operation. The commercial launch of the Qube 100 Hybrid scooter will happen in 2013, before which TVS Motors will use the pilot launch to gauge consumer acceptance.
Yamaha emphasized that it would squarely target Indian women with its first scooter offering for the Indian market, the Ray. A sharply styled scooter with petite dimensions to appeal more to the fairer sex, the Yamaha Ray comes with a good equipment spec. For instance, the telescopic front forks on what is a light scooter will give it good bad road handling ability, an attribute that is very important. While engine specifications(which could range between 100-125cc), pricing and availability hasn’t yet been revealed, the final production model of the Ray is expected to be very close to the concept version displayed at the Auto Expo,with minor changes to make the concept scooter fit for mass production. Expect the Yamaha Ray to be on roads sometime in late 2012.
TVS’s yet-to-be-named 125cc Scooter:
TVS Motors is doing quite well with the Wego 110, which is a practical and solidly engineered scooter. TVS will now offer a bigger engined scooter to its customers at the fag end of 2012, December to be precise. The yet-to-be-named TVS scooter will feature a 125cc engine mated to an automatic transmission. Expect pricing and positioning to be above the TVS Wego 110, in keeping with the higher displacement engine. This 125cc model will be TVS’s flagship scooter offering with telescopic front forks, a large underseat storage capacity and external fuel filling(a-la-Wego) to be prominent features in this scooter.
That brings us to the end of our special story on the 8 new scooters to watch out for in 2012. Hope you enjoyed reading it, just as we enjoyed compiling it for you. Happy scooting!