News / Asia

Indian Automakers Look to Turn Around Slowing Market

Chairman of Tata Group Ratan Tata poses with Jaguar's newly launched C-X16 car during India's Auto Expo, in New Delhi January 5, 2012.
Chairman of Tata Group Ratan Tata poses with Jaguar's newly launched C-X16 car during India's Auto Expo, in New Delhi January 5, 2012.
Anjana Pasricha

For decades, compact cars was the buzzword for foreign and domestic automakers in India, but that trend appears to be shifting.

Big and expensive: those are the words that dominate new launches at the Delhi Auto Expo in the Indian capital.

Hyundai, Ford, Renault, Audi and Maruti Suzuki were among foreign and domestic auto companies that unveiled rugged sport-utility vehicles this week, to keep up with rising consumer demand.

Auto analyst Yogendra Pratap says the limelight is no longer on basic, cheap hatchbacks which automakers have sold for years.   

“I think Indian people are considering buying cars that are more stylish, that have more features and are slightly bigger," Pratap said. "People are willing to pay for the extras, whether it be space, or it be utility or it be a modern and contemporary vehicle.”   

While rising interest rates and more expensive fuel may have dampened sales of compact cars, they have not deterred more affluent customers from seeking out bigger vehicles.

Mohan Mariwala, managing director of Auto Hangar in Mumbai, sells Mercedes Benz cars. He says a luxury sedan is becoming an important symbol for a new generation with new aspirations.   

“The buying age is getting younger, it is in fact the middle class which is aspiring to jump segments and get into these cars," Mariwala said.   

Nonetheless, smaller cars are still firmly in the race in a country where car ownership is very low.   

Four years after what is known as the world’s cheapest car, the Nano, hit roads in India and captured global attention, another ultra-small car has been unveiled.  

The RE 60, made by Bajaj Autos, has a 200 cubic centimeter engine and a top speed of 70 kilometers per hour.

The company’s managing director, Rajiv Bajaj says the car will be in the market sometime this year. It is being pitched as a replacement for the popular three-wheeled taxis known as auto rickshaws, which can be seen on the streets of many Indian cities.  

“We believe in the niche, we don’t believe in the rat races of volumes,” Bajaj said.

The car could emerge as a competitor to the Nano made by Tata Motors. Priced at about $ 2,700, the Nano was hailed as an example of low-cost innovation and promised to put four wheels in the hands of tens of thousands of people.   

However, the Nano has not piled up the kind of success it had hoped to. Analysts say this is largely because of its image as a cheap car rather than an inspirational one.  

Whether it be through the compact Nano or a luxury sport-utility vehicle, automakers are looking to turn around car sales in India, which was virtually stagnant last year despite 30 percent growth in 2010.

Auto analysts say sales could bounce back as early as next year, when the economy is expected to emerge from a slowdown.

You May Like

US Imposes Sanctions on Alleged Honduran Drug Gang

Treasury department alleges Los Valles group is responsible for smuggling tens of thousands of kilograms of cocaine into US each month More

At 91, Marvel Creator Stan Lee Continues to Expand his Universe

Company's chief emeritus hopes to interest new generation of children in superheroes of all shapes and sizes by publishing content across multiple media platforms More

Photogallery New Drug Protects Against Virus in Ebola Family

Study by researchers at University of Texas Medical Branch, Tekmira Pharmaceuticals is first looking at drug's effectiveness after onset of symptoms More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
African Media Tries to Educate Public About Ebolai
X
George Putic
August 20, 2014 8:57 PM
While the Ebola epidemic continues to claim lives in West Africa, information technology specialists, together with radio and TV reporters, are battling misinformation and prejudice about the disease - using social media to educate the public about the deadly virus. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video African Media Tries to Educate Public About Ebola

While the Ebola epidemic continues to claim lives in West Africa, information technology specialists, together with radio and TV reporters, are battling misinformation and prejudice about the disease - using social media to educate the public about the deadly virus. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Ferguson Calls For Justice as Anger, Violence Grips Community

Violence, anger and frustration continue to grip the small St. Louis suburb of Ferguson, Missouri. Protests broke out after a white police officer fatally shot an unarmed black teenager on August 9. The case has sparked outrage around the nation and prompted the White House to send U.S. Attorney Eric Holder to the small community of just over 20,000 people. VOA’s Mary Alice Salinas has more from Ferguson.
Video

Video Beheading Of US Journalist Breeds Outrage

U.S. and British authorities have launched an investigation into an Islamic State video showing the beheading of kidnapped American journalist James Foley by a militant with a British accent. The extremist group, which posted the video on the Internet Tuesday, said the murder was revenge for U.S. airstrikes on militant positions in Iraq - and has threatened to execute another American journalist it is holding. Henry Ridgwell has more from London.
Video

Video Family Robots - The Next Big Thing?

Robots that can help us with daily chores like cooking and cleaning are a long way off, but automatons that serve as family companions may be much closer. Researchers in the United States, France, Japan and other countries are racing to build robots that can entertain and perform some simpler tasks for us. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video In Ukraine, Fear and Distrust Remain Where Fighting has Stopped

As the Ukrainian military reclaims control of eastern cities from pro-Russian separatists, residents are getting a chance to rebuild their lives. VOA's Gabe Joselow reports from the town of Kramatorsk in Donetsk province, where a sense of fear is still in the air, and distrust of the government in Kyiv still runs deep.
Video

Video Five Patients Given Experimental Ebola Drug Said to Be Improving

The World Health Organization has approved the use of experimental treatments for Ebola patients in West Africa. The Ebola outbreak there is unprecedented, the disease deadly. The number of people who have died from Ebola has surpassed 1,200. VOA's Carol Pearson reports on the ethical considerations of allowing experimental drugs to be used.
Video

Video China Targets Overseas Assets of Corrupt Officials

As China presses forward with its anti-graft effort, authorities are targeting corrupt officials who have sent family members and assets overseas. The efforts have stirred up a debate at home on exactly how many officials take that route and how likely it is they will be caught. Rebecca Valli has this report.
Video

Video Leading The Fight Against Islamic State, Kurds Question Iraqi Future

Western countries including the United States have begun arming the Kurdish Peshmerga forces in northern Iraq to aid their battle against extremist Sunni militants from the Islamic State. But there are concerns that a heavily-armed Kurdistan Regional Government, or KRG, might seek to declare independence and cause the break-up of the Iraqi state. As Henry Ridgwell reports from London, the KRG says it will only seek greater autonomy from Baghdad.
Video

Video In Rural Kenya, Pressure Builds Against Female Circumcision

In some Kenyan communities, female genital mutilation remains a rite of passage. But activists are pushing back, with education for girls and with threats of punishment those who perform the circumcision. Mohammed Yusuf looks at the practice in the rural eastern community of Tharaka-Nithi.

AppleAndroid