WHEELS : More cars, motorcycles roll on

Kathmandu, October 4:

With a continuous boom in automobile industry, Nepal has become a lucrative destination for new brands, especially for Indian two wheelers.

Lately, automakers from China, Malaysia, South Korea and others have also entered into the market, although volume of Nepali automobile market is much smaller compared to its neighbours.

The import figures of automobiles for the fiscal year 2006-07 clearly suggest that the sector is on cruise mode defying the slowdown of economic activities. From a total 5,28,570 vehicles being registered as of 2005-06, the figure jumped to 6,17,350 by the end of fiscal year 2006-07. This year, additional 64,491 new vehicles rolled on, registering a growth of 16.8 per cent against the previous year.

Of the total imports of vehicles, over 97 per cent of them were imported from India and only 2.7 per cent were from overseas including China. Of the total imports, the number of Indian vehicles constituted 62,759, whereas the third country import stood at 2,182.

Yet another interesting fact to note is that of the total imported vehicles, 90.57 per cent or 58,412 are two wheelers, according to the Department of Customs. Of these figures, over 99 per cent were of Indian origin and accounted for 57,878 two wheelers.

The boom seems to continue for the current fiscal year, too, as more and more new vehicles are being launched in the market. The recent launches include Geely MK sedan, Chevrolet Spark, Kenari of Perodua and Atos Prime from Hyundai in four wheeler segment, while Bajaj unveiled XCD 125 DTS-Si and Pulsar 202, TVS came up with Apache RTR 160 and Chinese sports bikes made its debut to in the two-wheeler segment.

Among the new launches, Saakha & Universal Automobiles Pvt Ltd, a subsidiary of Saakha Group, recently launched Geely MK- entry-level sedan that runs on a powerful 1498cc engine with 5-speed manual transmission, in the domestic market.

It has power steering, power window, AC/heating, central /intelligent remote lock, intelligent light system, power side mirror, LED electric rearview mirrors, backup radar sensor system, leather seat, alloy wheels, central compartment, surround speaker, CD/DVD players, high breaking light, ABS+ EBD, SAS airbag, fog light, air purify device, individual passenger reading lamp and dual shade interiors, electric sunroof, anti-glare inside rear view mirror, green heat insulation glass and many more features.

Vijaya Motors Pvt Ltd, sole distributor of General Motors for Nepal, also unveiled Chevrolet Spark. Manufactured by GM India Ltd, the small hatch back is available in a 1000cc petrol 8-valve engines that delivers a power of 63 PS and torque of 90.3 Nm. Its mono form design is claimed to maximise the wheelbase and in turn improves cabin space.

The engine control module (ECM) in the Spark, which is especially developed for traffic conditions, driving habits, fuel quality and weather conditions of ours and better provides drivability. The ground clearance of 185mm, which has been increased, suits our road conditions and provides better drivability on rough roads.

AVCO International (Pvt)

Ltd, the sole distributor of Hyundai vehicles in Nepal, launched ATOS Prime. It is 999cc car that gives a maximum power of 55ps @ 5500 rpm and maximum torque of 8.3kg-m

@ 3000 rpm. It is one of the

most economical cars offering best mileage amongst the cars from the Hyundai.

The Hyundai ATOS Prime is an easy-driving city car, which has already been accepted across Europe. These cars are spacious with solid road feel, rattle-free body and a considerably more up-market interior.

The two-wheeler leader Bajaj created another sensation with introduction of a most anticipated and much-awaited Bajaj XCD 125 DTS-Si in the Nepali market.

The Bajaj XCD DTS-Si (reads — Bajaj exceed DTS-Si) possesses some of the best features that Bajaj has to offer. According to Bajaj, it has an unprecedented combination of 150cc features, 125cc performance and 100cc mileage. XCD DTS-Si has digital speedometer and led tail lamps. It has special drive chain cover that dampens the noise and also has a full DC electrical system that gives easy start and constant illumination.

Bajaj claims it has the best possible performance amongst 125cc segment. XCD DTS-Si has high torque at low engine revs that gives high pick-up and eliminated the frequent requirement of gear change at low speed.

Another best feature of the bike is its mileage comparable to 100cc motorcycles. According to Bajaj, the XCD 125 DTS-Si gives a whopping 109 kmpl, which is almost the double of any motorcycle available in Nepali market.

Bajaj has also unveiled its much-awaited Pulsar 200 and Pulsar DTS-Fi 220cc motorcycles in the market.

Another popular two-wheeler brand- TVS Motor Company, introduced Apache RTR 160 through its sole distributor AIT Pvt Ltd. The Apache racing throttle response (RTR) has been created to be a premier street bike, high on performance by combining TVS racing’s technology. The Apache RTR’s, 160cc oversquare engine is programmed to ooze out 15.2 bhp power. The bike has a top speed of 118kph and can reach 60kph in just 4.8 second and 100kph in 17.7 second, making it one of the fastest two-wheelers in its class.

It comes in five sporty colours namely Titanium Grey with matt finish, yellow, silver, black and red. Electric start and disc brakes are standard features on the Apache RTR.