Mercedes-Benz Concept EQT electric van showcased, Auto News, ET Auto


Mercedes-Benz Concept EQT electric van showcased
NEW DELHI: Continuing with its electric offensive, Mercedes-Benz on Monday revealed the near-series-production concept of EQT.

EQT can accommodate up to seven occupants and a generous luggage compartment. Mercedes-Benz Vans is translating the V-Class’s recipe into a compact format, bringing a new premium quality into the small van segment.

Its design is distinguished by balanced proportions and a sensual surface design. Muscular shoulders and striking wheel wells underline the vehicle’s power and emotive appeal. The characteristic black panel front with LED front headlights flows seamlessly from the bonnet and gleams with a star pattern.

Mercedes-Benz Concept EQT electric van showcased
The different-sized stars with a 3D effect are featured throughout the vehicle from the front and the 21-inch light-alloy wheels with a high-sheen finish to the panoramic roof and the electric longboard in the rear. There is also a light strip that connects the LED headlamps with the LED rear lamps. This in combination with the vehicle’s paintwork in high-gloss black creates a fascinating contrast, resulting in aesthetics of a, particularly high quality.

The interior of the Concept EQT is as much an emotional and stylish statement as its exterior – characterised by an elegant contrast of black and white. The seats are upholstered in white Nappa leather; the plaited leather applications on the seat centre panel comprise recycled leather.

Mercedes-Benz Concept EQT electric van showcased
A practical semi-closed stowage compartment is located above the instrument cluster for easy access to important utensils or documents. In addition, round air vents in high-gloss black, galvanized trim elements and the multifunction steering wheel with Touch Control buttons underline the high quality, modern appearance. The ambient lighting on the centre console, doors and in the footwell creates a stylish atmosphere.

Mercedes-Benz Concept EQT electric van showcased
With the MBUX infotainment system (Mercedes-Benz User Experience), Mercedes-Benz is bringing the innovative operating and display concept to the small van segment. The system can be conveniently operated using the free-standing central display with touch function, the touch control buttons on the steering wheel and, optionally, the “Hey Mercedes” voice assistant.

Mercedes-Benz Concept EQT electric van showcased
The Concept EQT (length/width/height: 4,945/1,863/1,826 millimetres) features sliding doors on both sides with a particularly large opening so that both full-sized individual seats in the third row can be reached without difficulty. Three child seats can be fitted next to each other in the second row of seats. A panoramic roof with a starscape lasered into it floods the interior with light.

The new T-Class, which will be launched onto the market in 2022, complements the portfolio in the small van segment together with the commercially-positioned Citan which will celebrate its premiere this year including a fully electric variant. The fully electric version for private customers will follow later.





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Indian Auto Dealers Predict Slow Sales Recovery As Virus Spreads To Rural Areas


With infections now spreading to rural areas, a recovery is expected to take longer, the Federation of Automobile Dealers Association (FADA) said. The association said it expects sales to return to their peak levels of March 2019 only by fiscal year 2023 – about two years from now.



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FADA said registrations of new vehicles for April were 28 per cent lower than March 2021

India’s leading automobile dealers association on Monday said sales will take longer to recover than they did after the first wave of COVID-19 infections last year as the virus spreads to villages and smaller towns. Auto sales, especially cars and sport-utility vehicles (SUVs), bounced back strongly last year as buyers rushed to buy private vehicles to ensure safety and maintain social distance. With infections now spreading to rural areas, a recovery is expected to take longer, the Federation of Automobile Dealers Association (FADA) said. The association said it expects sales to return to their peak levels of March 2019 only by fiscal year 2023 – about two years from now.

India’s daily infections are close to record highs with the second wave of COVID-19 spreading from hard-hit cities like New Delhi and Mumbai to rural areas that are home to nearly 70% of the 1.3 billion population but where public healthcare is limited.

Many states have imposed strict lockdowns over the last month while other states have placed curbs on movement of people and shut cinemas, restaurants, pubs and shopping malls.

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Consumer sentiment in the first nine days of May was “extremely weak” with most of the country under partial or full lockdown

“India is currently facing one of its toughest times with the second wave of COVID creating a havoc in everyone’s life,” said FADA President Vinkesh Gulati.

FADA said registrations of new vehicles, including cars, SUVs, motorbikes and trucks, for April were 28% lower than March, and sales would continue to remain sluggish in May with some lockdowns extended until the end of the month.

Consumer sentiment in the first nine days of May was “extremely weak” with most of the country under partial or full lockdown, FADA said. The association said that even where car dealerships are open walk-in customer numbers have dropped to 30% of normal levels and many are delaying their purchase decision.

Most automakers, including Maruti Suzuki Ltd, India’s top-selling carmaker, and Hero MotoCorp, the country’s largest motorbike manufacturer, have extended plant shutdowns until May 16 due to a spike in cases.

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(This story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

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Tesla Now Has 25,000 Superchargers Around The World 


Tesla has now 25,000 charging stalls via over 2,700 stations, but electrify ameirca still leads Tesla with over 7,000 stations alone in the US.



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Tesla has also launched a new twitter handle for the same

One of the big bets that Elon Musk made with Tesla was to not just make a killer electric car, but also build the charging infrastructure for it – custom-tuned for its cars, which is a critical competitive advantage that pays dividends as traditional manufacturers ramp up their electrification efforts. Now Tesla has 25,000 fast chargers globally. 

Tesla for the last couple of years has been aggressively ramping up the Supercharger network with V3 of the supercharger. At the end of 2020, it has achieved 20,000 stalls at over 2,100 supercharging stations. Now, it has achieved the 25,000 stall mark in over 2,700 stations. 

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This is the world’s largest supercharger with 56 stalls

Tesla has also launched a new Twitter handle to commemorate the 25,000 marks. It has many more stations coming up with having a roadmap to boot. While Tesla has achieved this mark, the largest charging network is still with Volkswagen owned Electrify America which has over 7,000 stations alone in the US. 

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It was born out of the settlement between the EPA and Volkswagen post diesel-gate

Volkswagen alongside subsidiary brands Porsche and Audi has only recently started selling electric cars. In 2020 it released the ID.3, the Taycan and even the E-Tron – but the charging network, particularly for the Americas because of the settlement the VW group had with authorities in the US post the diesel gate scandal. 

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But to date, Tesla’s technology is faster and remains a competitive advantage since its cars also have a longer range. 

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Tata Tiago CNG Variant Spotted Testing In India Sans Camouflage


A test mule of the CNG-powered Tata Tiago has been spotted testing completely uncamouflaged, suggesting it could be launched in the country soon.



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When launched, Tiago CNG will be brand’s entry-level CNG model offering in its line-up

We already know that Tata Motors is working on the CNG models of Tiago and Tigor for the Indian market. The Indian carmaker plans to equip the Tiago and Tigor sedan with factory-fitted CNG kits, which are likely to go on sale in the coming months. We previously captured the CNG versions of both the models undergoing road tests on a couple of occasions near Lonavala, Maharashtra. For the first time, a test mule of the CNG-powered Tiago has been spotted testing completely uncamouflaged.

Also Read: Tata Altroz And Nexon Likely To Get Updated Infotainment Units; Images Leaked  ​

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The upcoming Tata Tiago CNG is likely to get the same 1.2-litre Revotron petrol engine. 

As seen in the spy pictures, the test mule appears to be a mid-variant that can be seen donning a red paint scheme, which is already available on the petrol counterpart. Additionally, the vehicle is seen wearing a CNG sticker on the front and rear windscreens, confirming it’s a CNG variant of the Tiago. A closer look at the images shows that the CNG variant will also get new multi-spoke alloy wheels, similar to what we saw in the previous spy shots.

The hatchback will continue to get the tri-arrow theme on the front grille, projector headlamps, LED DRLs, fog lamps, shark fin antenna, LED high mount stop lamp, LED taillights and more. While we do not get to see the cabin in these photos, we expect the interior to remain identical to the existing petrol-powered models.

Also Read: Tata Motors Discontinues Victory Yellow Colour Of The Tiago

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The test mule is seen wearing a CNG sticker on the rear windscreen

As far as the mechanicals are concerned, we do not expect to see any changes. The hatchback comes powered by a 1.2-litre Revotron petrol engine tuned to make 85 bhp and develops 113 Nm of peak torque. However, we can expect a slight drop in power figures. Transmission duties are likely to be carried out by a 5-speed manual.

Currently, the Tata Tiago comes in a total of nine variants across four trim options – XE, XT, XZ and XZ+. The prices of the car start from ₹ 4.99 lakh, going up to ₹ 6.95 lakh (ex-showroom, Delhi). When launched, the Tiago CNG will compete against the Maruti Suzuki WagonR CNG, Hyundai Santro CNG and others.

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India Yamaha To Suspend Production In Two Plants Due To COVID-19


Yamaha’s two manufacturing plants in India, one at Kanchipuram in Tamil Nadu, and the other at Surajpur, Uttar Pradesh have been shut from May 15-31, 2021.



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India Yamaha to shut down plants to combat second wave of COVID-19

India Yamaha Motor (IYM) has decided to suspend manufacturing operations at its plants in Kanchipuram in Tamil Nadu, and Surajpur in Uttar Pradesh, in view of the rising COVID-19 cases during the ongoing second wave of the pandemic. Operations will be ceased at the two plants from May 15, 2021 till May 31, 2021, a statement from India Yamaha said. So far, there’s no word on if the plants will resume production from June, but according to Yamaha, a decision will be taken after assessing the situation.

Also Read: Hero MotoCorp Extends Plant Shutdown Till May 16, 2021

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Yamaha is known to be working on at least two new models for India, both to be launched later in 2021

“The step has been taken to support the government in its fight against COVID-19 and break the chain of COVID-19 transmission. In the current scenario, the health and safety of its employees is the top priority for the company. Yamaha will continue to work closely with its dealers and suppliers to minimise the impact of this interruption and focus on optimisation of stock. The employees working at the corporate office and area offices shall work from home to preserve business continuity while providing the best possible support to customers and business partners,” a statement released by the company said.

Also Read: HMSI To Halt Production Temporarily To Fight Second Wave Of COVID-19

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According to Yamaha, the company has taken several measures to adhere to health protocols, and has updated standard operating procedures during the ongoing second wave of the pandemic. The company says it has enhanced focus on health surveillance, expedited vaccinations for employees, and also undertaken regular sanitisation at factory premises and workplaces, in addition to supporting affected employees and their family members.

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Toyota-backed self-driving car Pony.ai partners with Luminar, Auto News, ET Auto


Pony.ai has Robotaxi services in Guangzhou, Shanghai, Beijing, and Irvine and Fremont in California with a fleet of about 200 autonomous vehicles. Late last year, the startup raised $267 million at a valuation of $5.3 billion.
Pony.ai has Robotaxi services in Guangzhou, Shanghai, Beijing, and Irvine and Fremont in California with a fleet of about 200 autonomous vehicles. Late last year, the startup raised $267 million at a valuation of $5.3 billion.

By Jane Lanhee Lee

Self-driving tech company Pony.ai, backed by Toyota Motor Corp, said on Monday its next-generation technology for robotaxis will be using lidars made by Luminar Technologies, Inc.

Lidars are laser-based sensors that are a key component to many autonomous vehicle technologies and help them perceive the environment around the cars.

James Peng, Pony.ai CEO said the startup chose Luminar’s Iris lidar for its performance but also as it can be integrated into the car better than traditional lidars.

“It’s actually starting to blur the line between what you see as a very well designed passenger vehicle and the monstrosities that have been on top of some of the AV test vehicles,” said Austin Russell, founder and CEO of Luminar.

Luminar’s Iris lidar is about 10 centimeters high and Peng said four of them will be mounted on top of the car for 360 degree views. He said Pony.ai is aiming for automotive-grade production of autonomous fleets in 2023 globally.

Pony.ai has Robotaxi services in Guangzhou, Shanghai, Beijing, and Irvine and Fremont in California with a fleet of about 200 autonomous vehicles. Late last year, the startup raised $267 million at a valuation of $5.3 billion.

In addition to Pony.ai, Luminar earlier this year announced a partnership with SAIC Motor Corp, China’s largest automaker and a deal with the self-driving software subsidiary of Volvo Cars, owned by China’s Geely Automobile Holdings .

Luminar, founded in 2012, is one of several U.S. lidar manufacturers in the past year to go public via reverse mergers with blank-check companies.





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Electric Car Will Be Cheaper Than ICE Cars By 2027: BloombergNEF


Already the impact of electrification is being seen in the executive sedan market as the Tesla Model 3 has overtaken the BMW 3 series.



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2027 is expected to be the year when electric cars become as cheap as fossil fuel cars

A report published by BloombergNEF states that there is a long road ahead for electric cars to achieve parity with fossil fuel-powered internal combustion engine vehicles in terms of cost. With the aggressive investment going on in clean energy, electrification efforts and the clampdowns on emissions norms, the report expects that electric car will eventually become cheaper to produce than fossil fuel-based cars by the end of the decade – in 2027. 

The report notes that larger vehicles, electric sedans and SUVs will become as cheap as fossil fuel-based alternatives by 2026. Smaller cars need economies of scale a little more in their favour hence they will take a year longer to achieve parity. 

One of the key factors driving this change is the falling cost of producing batteries combined with dedicated production lines as many manufacturers commit to building capacity purpose-built for electric cars. This is also helped further with government subsidies which are being offered all around the world. 

But this report is relevant for more developed markets.  Right now the average cost is $35,000 for an electric car. When these figures are compared with a market like India, that number is more than 5 times the average selling cost of a vehicle in India.  But for fossil fuel cars the number is $22,000 which is significantly lower, but still higher for markets like India. 

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Tesla Model 3 is now the best selling executive sedan in the world 

Investment banks like UBS  have more aggressive forecasts for electric cars achieving parity with fossil fuel cars. They say this parity will be achieved by 2024. 

A study commissioned by transport & environment, Brussels based NGO predicts that the prices of batteries will fall by 58 per cent between 2020 to 2030 and will be reduced to $58 per kWA. Many believe that the cost of batteries going below $100 kWA is an important step in the democratisation of electric cars. 

2020 was a great year for electric vehicles, especially in Europe and China. In 2020 China became the largest EV market in the world, but in 2021 the EU has overtaken it. By 2030, the UK government plans to ban the sale of fossil fuels. Many European companies are lobbying for such a ruling for the EU. 

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Mercedes-Benz Plans To Reduce Usage Of Cobalt In Lithium-Ion Batteries By 10 Per Cent

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Another important step is the improvement in the range – many believe the threshold to be reliable 320 kilometres per charge. The range is improving thanks to better software optimisations, on-device AI capabilities with the adoption of advanced silicon, new battery chemistries and also a new breed of solid-state batteries which are expected to be on the horizon by 2025. Faster charging is also a key factor. 

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Upcoming Skoda Kushaq Mid-Spec Variant Spotted Testing Sans Camouflage


The test mule of the Skoda Kushaq captured in the video is riding on smaller single-tone black allow wheels and a close look reveals the smaller touchscreen in the central console.



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The Skoda Kushaq was unveiled in March 2021 and will likely go on sale in June this year.

A new video has surfaced online showing a mid-spec variant of the upcoming Skoda Kushaq undergoing testing, sans camouflage. Now the test mule captured in the video is driving on smaller single-tone black allow wheels and a close look reveals the smaller touchscreen in the central console. Most likely, the mid-spec variant of the Skoda Kushaq is expected to get 16-inch alloy wheels and smaller 7.0-inch touschscreen infotainment system, while they could also miss out on the connected car tech. On the other hand, the range-topping trim is likely to get bigger 17-inch wheels and the much talked about ‘Play’ infotainment system.

Also Read: Skoda Kushaq And Volkswagen Taigun To Get New ‘Play’ Infotainment System

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Mid-Spec variants of the Skoda Kushaq will get smaller touchscreen and alloy wheels.

The new ‘Play’ infotainment system is a 10.1-inch touchscreen unit that made its debut in the Volkswagen Nivus Coupe SUV. It’s been jointly developed by Volkswagen Brazil and automotive component maker Visteon and offers 1540 x 720 pixels resolution. The system also gets a split-screen setup and obviously, supports rear-view camera as well. Moreover, the Play system features a range of downloadable applications and also some of them come pre-configured. It will also have user-defined profiles offering a long list of personalisation options. Then, on offer will be live-streaming of music and audio podcasts via SIM-based internet access, along with in-car Wi-Fi. It will have a “Valet mode” which owners will use to block all details via a pass-code before handing over the vehicle to the valet. Connected vehicle tech and wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto will also be offered.

Also Read: Tech Check: Can The Skoda Kushaq Take On Hyundai Creta Or Kia Seltos?

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The new Skoda Kushaq will be underpinned by the MQB-A0-IN platform.

The video also gives us a glimpse of the Volkswagen Taigun’s rear which means that both models are being tested together. The Volkswagen Taigun happens to be the sister-model for the Skoda Kushaq and both compact SUVs are being underpinned by the MQB-A0-IN platform. Both models are also expected to be similarly specced and under the hood, will share the common powertrain options. There will be two turbocharged engines on offer. Firth will be the 113 bhp 1.0-litre, three-cylinder TSI motor available with a choice of transmission options including a six-speed manual gearbox and a six-speed automatic transmission. The other engine option will be a 148 bhp 1.5-litre, four-cylinder TSI mill that also does duty on the Skoda Karoq. The automaker will offer this engine with a choice between a six-speed manual gearbox and a seven-speed DSG automatic transmission.

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Image Source: Rushlane

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Hyundai Creta Likely To Get Revised Features Soon; Details Leaked


According some leaked images, which appear to be from an internal presentation, Hyundai is set to update the features list across all key variants. Updates include Over The Air (OTA) updates, new Voice Recognition, and wireless technology.



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While the base trim of the Hyundai Creta will see few deductions, others get several new features

The Hyundai Creta SUV is likely to come with a set of revised features soon. As per some leaked images, which appear to be from an internal presentation, Hyundai is set to update the features list across all key variants. While in some cases there are a few deductions, in others we get to see the addition of several new features. Interestingly this scoop comes just days after Hyundai India’s sister brand, Kia launched the updated 2021 Seltos and Sonet models in India, earlier this month.

Also Read: 2021 Kia Sonet And Seltos SUVs Launched In India

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The mid-spec EX and S variants of the Hyundai Creta will now see the addition of wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto

According to the leaked details, the Hyundai Creta‘s base variant E will see a bunch of features removed from the list, like – Electrically adjustable ORVMs, turn indicators on the ORVMs, luggage lamp, and map pocket in the back of the passenger seat. Instead, the E trim will now come with manually adjustable ORVMs and fender-mounted turn indicators. The mid-spec EX and S variants of the SUV will now see the addition of wireless technology. Both trims will now come with wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. Earlier, these two variants only offered the wired version of the two connectivity apps.

Also Read: Auto Sales April 2021: Hyundai Sells 49,002 Units In The Domestic Market

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The top-spec SX and SX(O) variants of the Creta will see the addition of enhanced connectivity features

As for the high-spec SX and SX(O) variants, on the other hand, will see the addition of enhanced connectivity features. The updates include – Over The Air (OTA) updates, new Voice Recognition commands that allow you to access contact details, control drive-side power windows, POI search, and sports updates. The two variants will now also come with the Remote Engine Start function on the smart key, in both manual and automatic variants. Hyundai has also updated the interior as both SX and SX(O) variants will now come with a soft paint finish on the dashboard.

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The top-end variants of the Creta will now also come with a soft paint finish on the dashboard.

Mechanically, the Creta is very likely to remain unchanged offering the same three engine options – 1.5-litre petrol, a 1.5-litre VGT diesel and the 1.4-litre Turbo GDI petrol. The naturally aspirated petrol and the turbocharged diesel engines pump out 113 bhp and 144 Nm and 250 Nm of peak torque respectively, while the turbo petrol makes 138 bhp and 242 Nm of torque. Transmission options will include a 6-speed manual which will be standard across the range, along with an optional torque convertor for the 1.5-litre diesel engine, 7-speed DCT for the 1.4-litre turbo petrol, and the iVT automatic for the 1.5-litre petrol motor.

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Source: Rushlane

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Yamaha XSR125 To Be Introduced In Europe


The upcoming Yamaha XSR125 will use the same 125 cc engine from the Yamaha YZF-R125 and MT-125 offered on sale in Europe.



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The new 125 cc motorcycle will likely be almost identical to the XSR155

Yamaha is reportedly working on a small-capacity XSR for the European market, a 125 cc model based on the neo-retro styled Yamaha XSR series. Yamaha already offers the MT-125 naked and the R125 sportbike on sale in certain European markets, but so far, the 125 cc neo-retro segment in Europe has been dominated by Honda with the Honda CB125R. Yamaha has yet to release any images of the XSR125, but what we do know is that the bike will look almost identical to the bigger XSR155.

Also Read: Retro-Styled Yamaha XSR250 Prototype Spotted On Test In India

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There are no images or spy shots of the Yamaha XSR125 yet, but it’s expected to look almost identical to the XSR155 pictured above

Leaked type approval documents do give out a few details and specifications about the XSR125. The single-cylinder 125 cc, liquid-cooled engine with make around 15 bhp at 10,000 rpm, with 11.5 Nm of peak torque at 8,000 rpm. The dimensions of the XSR125 will be more or less same as that of the XSR155, except for the seat height, which will be taller by 10 mm. The XSR125 will come with 17-inch alloy wheels, with a 292 mm front disc, and a 220 mm rear disc with standard dual-channel ABS.

Also Read: Production-Ready Yamaha FZ-X Spotted Without Camouflage In India

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So far, only the name and the some specifications are hinted at what will likely be a new 125 cc model from Yamaha. But the new XSR125 is unlikely to be launched in India. With the styling and premium positioning, the XSR125 will likely be too expensive if it were to be introduced in India. Instead, Yamaha is working on the FZ-25-based XSR250, as well as another crossover, which was spotted on test recently, to be called the FZ-X.

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