Wednesday, July 06, 2011
By Pranjal Gera
India Bcoming The Largest Small-Car Market
With the launch of Toyota Etios Liva by the Japanese auto giants, branded as the smallest and the cheapest car to hit the Indian roads, the Indian auto market has set a new height. The small hatchback car segment has shown that India is not only a car-fanatic country but also a technological core for small things. For last 15 years, Maruti has seen a large number of competitors in the small car segment, Liva with the Toyota badge is being considered by many as the true competitor to Maruti.
Toyota Liva’s direct competition is with the Maruti Swift, the car that gave Suzuki a great success all around the world and started an all-new segment in the Indian car market. Toyota has been known to make big cars like Toyota Corolla and Toyota Camry and it would be interesting to see if they can acclimatize to a worldwide budge towards little cars. Toyota’s main competitor Honda is also ready to launch its Honda Brio, which is also of the same level.
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In a bid to emerge as the major car manufacturer in the world, Volkswagen, Renault, and Hyundai are all hopeful to take advantage of Toyota and General Motor's weak point in manufacturing small cars – and the initial combat zone perpetually is India. Hiroji Onishi, President of Toyota Motor Co., Asia-Pacific said that they always knew that their car models were not up to the demands coming from the market. He added that they will need more models like Liva and that they want to launch small cars all around the world. Indian market has always been preferential to small, fuel-efficient, and inexpensive cars. India offers small employment expenses and monetary incentives thus making it a small car manufacturers dream. The compact car sales amounts to 80% of the total cars sold in India as compared to China’s 24% and USA’s 3%.
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When Tata Motors’ launched Nano with a $ 2,500 price tag, it took the world by surprise. India has been shown as a major manufacturing focal point for small cars. Companies like Nissan have shifted their manufacturing bases to India to capitalize on low production costs. Car companies like Renault and Peugeot have made plans to make India specific car models. Ford is planning to take the success of their small car Ford Figo to the global level. Hyundai, which is currently ranked second behind Suzuki, is planning for its smallest model, codenamed H800 that will first hit the Indian roads.
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John Humphrey, senior vice-president of J.D. Power and Associates said that India, in coming times, would be in a suitable position to fulfill the needs of global small car manufacturers. He also added that India has become the fastest growing and the largest car market in the world.
It was Maruti 800 that started the small car revolution in India, which was carried on by Hyundai Santro and Hyundai i10, Tata Indica, Suzuki Alto and Wagon R. The next big leap in Indian auto market is expected from the likes of Tata Nano, Honda Brio and Toyota Liva.