A recent stay in India has enabled me to get a much better understanding of the Indian new car market and its dynamics which have very unique characteristics. Understanding India is essential in today’s worldwide automotive scene – a lot of the innovation taking place here will soon be applied to other developing markets (like Africa).
Despite an ailing presence in North America, Suzuki has been a pioneer in the Indian marketplace, with its Maruti Suzuki subsidiary selling over 10 million vehicles since inception in 1981, with the Maruti 800 serving as its core product.
Just in time for the 2014 Delhi Motor Show — where the above Datsun Redi-Go concept made its debut this week — Renault-Nissan launches production of the revived brand’s Go subcompact at their plant in Chennai, India.
Debuting their first new cars in four years, Tata took the wraps off the Bolt and Zest subcompacts, which are designed specifically to sneak in under four meters in length, to get around vehicle taxation schemes.
Our friends at Motorbeam in India snagged these live shots of the Ford Figo, aka the sedan version of the next Ford Ka and EcoSport. Designed as a world car to be sold in BRIC markets, the Figo is officially a concept, but is as production ready as a concept gets. For more, check out Motorbeam editor (and TTAC contributor) Faisal Ali Khan’s take on the Figo.
Should you happen to be in India two weeks from now, Datsun will unveil the above concept at the 2014 Delhi Auto Expo during a conference held by the offshoot automaker.
For the first time in more than a decade, new car sales in India have failed to post a year-over-year increase. Instead, a sharp drop in sales spells bad news for carmakers with heavy investments in that important developing market.
Unveiled as Honda’s entrant into the booming small crossover segment, the Fit-based Vezel will compete with products like the Ford EcoSport, Nissan Juke and Dacia Duster in both Europe and North America, but not in emerging markets. According to a report by Autocar India, Honda will develop an all-new small crossover based on the Brio, a low-cost, locally built A-segment car, for India and other makets.
According to Tata Motors’ managing director, Karl Slym, the company is developing a new modular platform, to be the basis of a “global” range of vehicles that it claims will “leapfrog” VW’s MBQ technology. The new vehicles will be rolled out over the next six years.
Though Tata has had more success selling commercial vehicles than cars, Tata says that it is going to build a family of world class passenger vehicles based on what it’s calling the Advanced Modular Platform (AMP). Tata badly needs new product to replace an ageing lineup of cars which has been doing poorly as the Indian market has experienced a downturn. (Read More…)
Renault launched the Duster in India last year and it immediately became a strong seller. The response to the Duster was so good that the compact SUV overtook India’s best selling SUV, Mahindra Scorpio, to become the segment’s best seller. All was well for Renault until Ford crashed the French automaker’s party with the launch of the EcoSport. Ford not only undercut the Duster’s price by a cool $3000 but also offered way more equipment, helping them to get 50,000 orders in a matter of just two months.
The Datsun Go is about to get some company, in the form of two new models developed for the Indonesian market.
Production on the all new seventh generation 2014 Corvette Stingray has begun, though they haven’t officially gone on sale yet while the inventory pipeline fills. It’s the first time in decades that the Stingray name has been used by the Corvette. However, it turns out that you can buy a brand new Stingray right now, and for only about $7,000. There’s just one catch. It’s not a Corvette, made by Chevy or even sold in the United States. (Read More…)
The Nissan Terrano, once a fairly rugged SUV, is now the nameplate by which Nissan will sell a rebadged Dacia Duster in India. How about some exports?
The Indian government is bizarre. A few months back, a new tax was applied on SUVs, resulting in 3% extra excise duty on them. The government justified the move saying that SUVs occupy more space on the road, although the truth is that large sedans occupy more space than SUVs. A criteria was set and if a vehicle fits into all three, then it is classified as an SUV. Thus an SUV is a vehicle which is more than 4-metres in length, having an engine larger than 1.5-litres and a ground clearance of more than 170 mm. Indian roads are pathetic and you really need good ground clearance to prevent scraping the underbody on large and unmarked speed-breakers.
GM tabbed the automaker’s head transmission engineer to be interim chief of the firm’s global powertrain operations while the company conducts a search for a permanent replacement for Sam Winegarden, who was fired in the wake of an emissions testing scandal in India.
Jim Lanzon, 62, is currently vice president of GM, global transmissions, a position he’s held for 11 years and had an important role in negotiating the recently announced agreement between GM and Ford Motor Co. over jointly developing new 9- and 10-speed automatic transmissions. Like Winegarden, Lanzon has been a longtime GM employee. (Read More…)