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

Philippines, Muslim Rebels Try to Salvage Peace Pact

Peace process faces major setback after botched military operation to find terrorists results in bloody gunbattle between government forces, Moro Islamic Liberation Front fighters More

Republicans Expect Long, Expensive Presidential Battle

Political strategist says eventual winner will be one who can put together strongest coalition of various conservative groups that make up Republican Party More

Video New Wheelchair Is Easier to Use, Increases Mobility

Engineers have come up with a lever-operated design that makes use of easily accessible bicycle technology 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.
Liberia's Almost Last Ebola Patient Grateful but Still Grievingi
X
Benno Muchler
March 26, 2015 3:41 PM
Beatrice Yardolo was to make history as Liberia’s last Ebola patient. Liberians recently started counting down 42 days, the period that has to go by without a single new infection until the World Health Organization can declare a country Ebola-free. That countdown stopped on March 20 when there was another new case of Ebola, making Yardolo’s story a reminder that Ebola is far from over. Benno Muchler reports from Monrovia.
Video

Video Liberia's Almost Last Ebola Patient Grateful but Still Grieving

Beatrice Yardolo was to make history as Liberia’s last Ebola patient. Liberians recently started counting down 42 days, the period that has to go by without a single new infection until the World Health Organization can declare a country Ebola-free. That countdown stopped on March 20 when there was another new case of Ebola, making Yardolo’s story a reminder that Ebola is far from over. Benno Muchler reports from Monrovia.
Video

Video Cambodian Land Grabs Threaten Traditional Communities

Indigenous communities in Cambodia's Ratanakiri province say the government’s economic land concession policy is taking away their land and traditional way of life, making many fear that their identity will soon be lost. Local authorities, though, have denied this is the case. VOA's Say Mony went to investigate and filed this report, narrated by Colin Lovett.
Video

Video US, South Korea Conduct Joint Military Exercises

The Eighth U.S. Army Division and the Eighth Republic of Korea Mechanized Infantry Division put on a well orchestrated show of force for the media this week during their joint military training exercises in South Korea. VOA’s Seoul correspondent Brian Padden was there and reports the soldiers were well disciplined both in conducting a complex live fire exercise and in staying on message with the press.
Video

Video Space Program Status Disappoints 'Last Man on the Moon'

One of the films that drew big crowds last week at the annual South by Southwest festival in Austin, Texas, tells the story of the last human being to stand on the moon, U.S. astronaut Eugene Cernan. It has been 42 years since Cernan returned from the moon and he laments that no one else has gone there since. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports.
Video

Video Young Filmmakers Shine Spotlight on Giving Back

A group of student filmmakers from across the United States joined President Barack Obama at the White House this month for the second annual White House Student Film Festival. Fifteen short films were officially selected from more than 1,500 entries by students aged 6 through 18. The filmmakers and their families then joined the president and a group of celebrities for a screening of their films. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
Video

Video VOA Exclusive: Interview with Afghan President Ashraf Ghani

Afghan President Ashraf Ghani, during his first visit as president to Washington, gave a one-on-one interview with VOA Afghan Service reporter Said Suleiman Ashna, about his request for a change in U.S. troop levels, the threat from the Islamic State, and repairing relations with the United States and Pakistan. The interview was held at Blair House, late Sunday, in Pashto.
Video

Video California Science Center Tells Story of Dead Sea Scrolls

The ancient manuscripts were uncovered in the mid-20th century, and they are still yielding clues about life and religious beliefs in ancient Israel. As VOA's Mike O'Sullivan reports, an exhibit in Los Angeles shows how modern science is bringing the history of these ancient documents to life.
Video

Video Angelina Jolie Takes Another Bold Step

Hollywood actress and filmmaker Angelina Jolie has revealed she had her ovaries and fallopian tubes removed to lower her odds of getting cancer. Doctors say the huge publicity over her decision will help raise awareness about the importance of cancer screening. VOA’s George Putic has more

All About America

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More