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A week ahead of the Detroit Auto Show, New Delhi’s Auto Expo is increasingly becoming a big deal – especially in regards to small cars. With India likely to become one of the world’s largest markets, automakers are eager to get their foot in the door. One manufacturer that already has a huge presence in the county is Suzuki and its looking to stay competitive and current, looking to expand its product offerings from more than just mini-cars, to functional people-haulers.
This week at the Auto Expo 2010 show in New Delhi, Suzuki showcased just such a vehicle, the R3 MPV concept. Based on a stretched version of the same platform that underpins the SX4, this MPV seats six and is expected to be powered b one of Suzuki’s small (1.2-liter or 1.4-liter) gasoline four-cylinder engines, while a Fiat-sourced 1.3-liter diesel is also a possibility.
Suzuki is rumored to have already given the R3 MPV the green light for production, with sales starting in 18 to 24 months. While deisgned for the Indian market, with the increasing popularity of MPVs in other markets, including North America where Mazda has had success with Mazda5 and both Ford and GM are looking to introduce MPVs, the R3 could become more of a global vehicle that Suzuki had initially planned.
GALLERY: Suzuki R3 MPV Concept
Along with a long list of Chevy products set to debut at the Detroit Auto Show, GM will deliver unconventional new vehicles for both Buick and GMC. First up is a high-performance Buick Regal, thought to be called the GS. Based on the European Opel Insignia OPC, the Regal GS will use a 2.8-liter turbocharged V6 to make 325-hp and put that power to the ground using an all-wheel drive setup.
In addition to this gotta-gave Buick, GM’s GMC brand will debut its smallest model ever, based on the upcoming Chevy Orlando MPV. This smaller-than-a-mini-van vehicle will be a sister car to the Orlando but is aimed at a different segment of the market. While the Orlando is intended to compete with vehicles like the Mazda5, Kia Rondo and Dodge Journey (not to mention the upcoming Ford C-Max), the GMC version, dubbed the GMC Granite, is aimed at the youth market. The Granite would then target cars like the Nissan Cube, Scion xB and Kia Soul with styling and youth-oriented features.
We have to think that it would probably be best if GMC stayed true to its truck roots, but with GMC’s masculine traits laid over a boxy body shell, this might be the right model to make the GMC brand popular in urban markets.