INDIA is turning out to be the new launch pad for global car models as major car makers prefer India over Europe and the American markets.
Korean car major Hyundai Motor will debut its latest premium hatchback — code named Pa — in India in November ahead of its global launch in January 2008. Hyundai Motor India VP (marketing & sales) Arvind Saxena said, “India is now a global hub for small cars and no manufacturer can afford to ignore that. It’s a big competitive market for the best cars to compete. Our new premium compact car Pa will hit India two months earlier than Europe and other world markets.”
Other car makers have also realised the growing might of the Indian market and has followed the similar practice. Maruti-Suzuki’s latest mid-size sedan SX4 made its debut in India in May this year before its launch in Europe (August) and in Japan (July). Its small car Swift was launched in India, Europe and Japan simultaneouly. Similarly Ford Motor made India the integral part of its global launch for its hugely successful Fiesta sedan.
“It was an important launch for us as India is a high growth market for passenger cars. We brought the global car Fiesta to India and we are satisfied with the market response. It is our flagship model and accounts for around 70% of our total sales,” said a Ford Motor India spokesperson.
Many such global cars are expected to debut in India. Europe’s largest car maker Volkswagen plans to bring its compact car UP! in India while Renault, which is partnering Bajaj Auto, is making a $3000 car specially for India. Honda Motor Company is finalising the launch of the new Accord 2008 in India simultaneously with its world debut. It is also developing a special compact car for the Indian market likely to debut in 2009.
Angle Broking’s automobile analyst Vaishali Jajoo said, “With all major car makers entering India, only the best of products can compete in the domestic market. India is a major destination now and offers huge potential. The passenger car market is expected to grow at 15% compounded annual growth rate (CAGR) for the next 3-4 years and more global cars will be launched. We will see global cars from Italian major Fiat, Germany’s Volkswagen Group and the French car maker Renault to debut in India.”
India is the second fastest growing auto market in the world after China. While the China is growing at over 30% for the last five fiscal years, the Society of Indian Automobile Manufacturers’ reports that the Indian market grew at 16% CAGR in the same period and reached 13.79 lakh passenger vehicles market in 2007-08.