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

Multimedia In US, Decision Expected Soon in Racially Charged Case

Missouri town, many Americans on edge over whether jurors will indict white police officer in August shooting death of unarmed black teen More

Corruption Fighters Want More From World’s Strongest Nations

Anti-corruption activists say final communique fell short of expectations and failed to fully address systemic problems More

Philippines Leery of Development on Reef Reclamation in S. China Sea

Chinese land reclamation projects in area have been ongoing for years, but new satellite imagery reportedly shows China’s massive construction project 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.
Ukraine Marks Anniversary of Deadly 1930s Faminei
X
Daniel Schearf
November 23, 2014 4:32 PM
During a commemoration for millions who died of starvation in Ukraine in the early 1930s, President Petro Poroshenko lashed out at Soviet-era totalitarianism for causing the deaths and accused today’s Russian-backed rebels in the east of using similar tactics. VOA’s Daniel Shearf reports from Kyiv.
Video

Video Ukraine Marks Anniversary of Deadly 1930s Famine

During a commemoration for millions who died of starvation in Ukraine in the early 1930s, President Petro Poroshenko lashed out at Soviet-era totalitarianism for causing the deaths and accused today’s Russian-backed rebels in the east of using similar tactics. VOA’s Daniel Shearf reports from Kyiv.
Video

Video Hong Kong Protests at a Crossroads

New public opinion polls in Hong Kong indicate declining support for pro-democracy demonstrations after weeks of street protests. VOA’s Bill Ide in Guangzhou and Pros Laput in Hong Kong spoke with protesters and observers about whether demonstrators have been too aggressive in pushing for change.
Video

Video Law Enforcement, Activists in Ferguson Agree to Keep Peace

Authorities in Ferguson, Missouri, say they have agreed with protest leaders to maintain peace when a grand jury reaches its decision on whether to indict a white police officer in the shooting death of a black teenager. Ferguson, a suburb of St. Louis, has been the scene of intermittent violence since the August 9 shooting intensified long-simmering antagonism between the police and the African-American community. VOA's Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video US Immigration Relief Imminent for Mixed-Status Families

Tens of thousands of undocumented immigrants in the Washington, D.C., area may benefit from a controversial presidential order announced this week. It's not a path to citizenship, as some activists hoped. But it will allow more immigrants who arrived as children or who have citizen children, to avoid deportation and work legally. VOA's Victoria Macchi talks with one young man who benefited from an earlier presidential order, and whose parents may now benefit after years of living in fear.
Video

Video New Skateboard Defies Gravity

A futuristic dream only a couple of decades ago, the hoverboard – a skateboard that floats above the ground - has finally been made possible. While still not ready for mass production, it promises to become a cool mode of transport... at least over some surfaces. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Falling Gas Prices Impact US Oil Extraction

With the price of oil now less than $80 a barrel, motorists throughout the United States are benefiting from gas prices below $3 a gallon. But as VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, the decreasing price of petroleum has a downside for the hydraulic fracturing industry in the United States.
Video

Video Tensions Build on Korean Peninsula Amid Military Drills

It has been another tense week on the Korean peninsula as Pyongyang threatened to again test nuclear weapons while the U.S. and South Korean forces held joint military exercises in a show of force. VOA’s Brian Padden reports from the Kunsan Air Base in South Korea.
Video

Video Mama Sarah Obama Honored at UN Women’s Entrepreneurship Day

President Barack Obama's step-grandmother is in the United States to raise money to build a $12 million school and hospital center in Kogelo, Kenya, the birthplace of the president's father, Barack Obama, Sr. She was honored for her decades of work to aid poor Kenyans at a Women's Entrepreneurship Day at the United Nations.
Video

Video Gay Evangelicals Argue That Bible Does Not Condemn Homosexuality

More than 30 U.S. states now recognize same-sex marriages, and an increasing number of mainline American churches are blessing them. But evangelical church members- which account for around 30 percent of the U.S. adult population - believe the Bible unequivocally condemns homosexuality. VOA's Jerome Socolovsky reports that gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender evangelicals are coming out. Backed by a prominent evangelical scholar, they argue that the traditional reading of the bible is wrong.
Video

Video Ebola Economic Toll Stirs W. Africa Food Security Concerns

The World Bank said Wednesday that it expects the economic impact of the Ebola outbreak on the sub-Saharan economy to cost somewhere betweenf $3 billion to $4 billion - well below a previously-outlined worst-case scenario of $32 billion. Some economists, however, paint a gloomier picture - warning that the disruption to regional markets and trading is considerable. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Chaos, Abuse Defy Solution in Libya

The political and security crisis in Libya is deepening, with competing governments and, according to Amnesty International, widespread human rights violations committed with impunity. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London.
Video

Video US Hosts Record 866,000 Foreign Students

Close to 900,000 international students are studying at American universities and colleges, more than ever before. About half of them come from Asia, mostly China. The United States hosts more foreign students than any other country in the world, and its foreign student population is steadily growing. Zlatica Hoke reports.

All About America

AppleAndroid