India is the world's second fastest growing auto market and boasts of the sixth largest automobile industry after China, the US, Germany, Japan and Brazil. According to Vikas Sehgal, Global Head of automotive industry, Rothschild, the Indian automobile market, which includes cars, trucks and auto parts, is pegged at 3.5 million units by the end of 2011-12. Rothschild is a UK-based global financial advisory firm.
India's car market is evolving at a great pace. A car is not only a utility, but also represents aspirations and image of its owner. Hence, auto giants across the globe are leaving no stone unturned to attract Indian consumers by offering luxury, value, utility and convenience in their products.
Key developments, initiatives, investments et al pertaining to the sector are discussed below.
Indian domestic passenger vehicle market is increasingly getting dominated by smaller cars. For the quarter ended December 2011, Maruti Suzuki India Ltd held a share of 34.3 per cent in domestic passenger vehicle pie while Hyundai India enjoyed 15.8 per cent of it. Tata Motors (standalone operations) and Mahindra & Mahindra (M&M) had a market share of 14.6 per cent and 12 per cent respectively during the reported period.
Ford Motor Co's Indian subsidiary has placed an order with its Indian counterpart - major constructor Kajima Corp's subsidiary – to develop an auto factory in the city of Sanand in Gujarat. With an estimated outlay of 77 billion yen (US$ 1 billion), the facility is expected to get completed by 2014 with an initial annual capacity of 240, 000 units.
Bajaj Auto – India's second largest automaker – has made a debut in four-wheeler segment by launching a low-cost, eco-friendly automobile - RE60. The four wheeler vehicle has three-wheeler customers as its target market and is available in three fuel variants (petrol, CNG and LNG). The company sees Sri Lanka and Africa as potential export markets for RE60.
Indian auto major M&M is looking to develop enough infrastructure to run electric cars in India. The first company to commission solar power projects under the Jawaharlal Nehru National Solar Mission (JNNSM), M&M is on a look-out for solar powered charging stations to fuel electric cars. The company offers electric cars under the Mahindra-Reva brand.
Luxury car maker Mercedes Benz AG's Indian subsidiary Mercedes Benz India Ltd (MBIL) has set itself an ambitious target to sell over 70,000 cars in the Indian market by 2020; aiming for 1000 per cent growth in the next 9-10 years and hence leading the luxury car segment. The company will launch its A Class concept in India in 2013 and has already invested Rs 700 crore (US$ 135.85 million) in a new assembly plant in India.