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Special Columns
Arindam Chaudhuri, Editor-in-Chief, 4Ps B&M Editor-in-Chief
Dr. Arindam Chaudhuri
A.Sandeep Editor's Desk
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Now for The High Fliers
India’s Favourite Small Car Manufacturer is the envy of a Bevy of Premium and Luxury Players. But now Maruti Seeks to get into The Luxury Segment itself with The Kizashi. Is it The Right way forward?
Issue Date - 10/03/2011
Auto Expo 2010 introduced close to 72 vehicles and conceptualised various beauties and mean machines. The year turned out to be a game changer for the industry as global players recognised India as a mega small car hub. Various reports reveal that the Indian economy grew by about 9% in 2010, as India Inc. saw profits coming from across sectors and major investments coming in from global OEMs. Sluggish growth in developed markets has further spurred MNCs to redirect their investments to growth markets like India. Rise in production, sales, exports & investment plans, rising dealer networks, new players, new strategies and of course hot new car launches have hogged the headlines throughout the year.

The Indian region is now congregated into five main areas, which comprise NCR, Uttarakhand, Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu & Karnataka and Kolkata, apart from the emerging hubs of Haryana & Punjab, where most of the assembly lines and manufacturing plants are being set up. By now, nearly all global automotive companies have set up operations via 100% subsidiaries or by getting into Joint Ventures and the remaining are in the final stages. Global companies like General Motors, Ford, BMW, Daimler, Volkswagen, Renault, Suzuki, Toyota, Honda, Nissan and Hyundai have announced huge future investments and new product plans to capture the market space. Currently, India stands as the second largest market for two wheelers, Asia’s third largest market for passenger vehicles and the world’s fourth largest for commercial vehicles. An E&Y report showcases India standing at No. 9 in the global automotive scene, right behind UK and Italy. A report by Booz & Co. suggests that “by 2015, India will exceed every major European market including Germany, France and UK in automotive sales – making India the 4th largest automotive market by volume in the world; and over the next 20 years, India will be one of the top three markets for automotive sales worldwide.”

Major business ambitions were realised on the Indian front with an enormous congregation of new launches over the past few months. As Volkswagen revealed the much awaited Polo to India, the market witnessed major upheaval with Ford India announcing the launch of 8 new cars by 2015. Ford also brought the successful Figo to the country, while GM launched the Chevrolet Beat. The small car trend continued unabated as Nissan exhibited the much hyped Micra. Toyota soon followed up with the launch of their 1st small car concept ‘Etios’ in the market. The segment is now getting quite overcrowded. Competition has also heated up in the SUV and the MUV segment as Skoda launched Yeti and BMW launched the X1.

Interestingly, the threat posed by the global automakers has eventually forced incumbents to plan an aggressive response. We saw Tata launching the Aria, Fiat upgrading its car engines, Maruti giving facelifts and finally launching its luxury sedan Kizashi, GM planning to get in its Chinese partner SAIC and Hyundai looking forward to bring in cars from the KIA Motors stable to India in order to cater to the increasing market in the luxury segment. Meanwhile, Renault is all set to embark on a fresh beginning after the Mahindra break up. Luxury SUV maker Ssayong can also show up as soon as the market demands and more Jaguars, Volvos & Minis are expected too.

The drama would continue in 2011 & beyond; as the purchasing power of Indian consumers is likely to increase and so is their penchant for the best cars. As a young and dynamic market, India is now far more welcoming towards new brands & concepts. As long as their value propositions are on the money, the market is wide open. And it would not be surprising to see some of the global automotive industry’s most futuristic innovations coming from an Indian lab.

By : Sanchit Verma


Pawan Chabra           
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