By on October 7, 2009

Not such a bright Spark, after all? (courtesy

Brook from sent us this heads-up re: the “other” burgeoning automobile market: India. “Here’s a list of the Top 20 selling cars in India. Ford doesn’t have one car in the top twenty. Chevy has one, thanks to a rebadged Daewoo called the Spark. Suzuki (Maruti) and Hyundai are the clear leaders. Tata could have done better if only the unfortunately named Indica Vista wasn’t so conservative. Most people confuse it with the older first generation Indica. Tata Nano volumes will pick up, but Jag and Landie’s owners barely make any money selling the car itself. Honda’s hawking overpriced (and poorly equipped) cars with terrible after sales service as ‘bonus,’ and Hyundai are stealing their lunch.” So now you know.

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18 Comments on “GM/Ford Falling Getting Their Butt Kicked in India...”

  • avatar

    Ford is just really getting started in India (and was really late to the party in China), another curse of nassar…instead of investing in emerging markets, lets invest in England instead, buy Jaguar/LR and invest billions more in other dying businesses, that’s the future for Ford, those 3 billion people in asia will never amount to anything. He could honestly qualify as the worst CEO in automotive history (if not for a few at GM*).

    *That were never shown the door

  • avatar

    I’m not really sure I would want Ford/GM in India doing volume.

    These are really small cheap cars, and even with generous profit margins there is very limited money to be made. Let the Hyundais and Suzukis of the world deal with the volume and very limited profits.

    And given driving conditions in India, it will just not support the larger cars that we are now seeing being sold in China.

    There are limited opportunities on the top end, and it would be stupid to completely ignore the market. But outside of the Ford KA, is there a single GM/Ford car that could be sold there?

  • avatar

    For all his faults (and they were many), ol’ crazy Henry would have understood India is a natural for his vision of what a Ford car should be.

    Nassar’s regime had disastrous consequences.

  • avatar

    Suzuki (actually co-owned Maruti-Suzuki) are #1 in India, something most Americans have no clue about.

    As the middle-class moves from scooters through Tata Nanos, they’ll move on to where Suzuki shines, so the future is bright for them too.

    Car companies such as Ford which ignored China and India due to Nassar, probably hobbled themselves over the next 50 years.

    Notice that it wasn’t Ford which re-invented the Model T for the world after WWII, it was a new upstart – Volkswagen.

    Notice that it wasn’t Volkswagen which re-invented the Model T for India and the world in the 21st century, but Tata.

    And so it goes.

  • avatar

    it sickens me when I hear the stupid, unreliable, pathetic Suzuki “Maruti”, a 100%, USDA pure piece of junk, mentioned as allegedly the “leader”. Only in the land of Horrible Bureaucracy, Auto import BANS and penalties, and Scooters (the real leaders!), and only until the Tata Nano whips its skinny, ugly posterior.

    You will not believe it, but these clueless idiots at Maruti even thought they could esport the POS to EUrope, and that a cousin that works there once made the disastrous decision to buy one of these horrible POSs as a tuny city car, on top of hers an dher husband’s (both wealthy dentists there) BMW 5-ers.

    She threw the POS to the junk heap soon afterwards, the primitive POS waas utterly unreliable as well as overall a DAWG.

  • avatar

    India is an expanding market and should be considered seriously now, not when Hyundai and Mahindra have made it impossible to get a foothold. Small inexpensive cars is where automakers will need to go if they want to compete in a global market.
    Market share was and should be Ford’s bread and butter. Focusing on profit margin alone is not the solution to the major automaker’s circumstances.

  • avatar

    is there a single GM/Ford car that could be sold there?

    Ford just released a new car (the figo, based on the Euro C platform), when taking into account the cost of labor in india the $7k the car sells for does generate margin and yes India is poor, but there is a large middle class (several hundred million), offset by the extremely poor. The tariffs (100% on imports) are designed to develop a local auto industry (bought there/made there, just like Brazil), but as there are no JV or manual vs. automation requirements (China), it makes for a great manufacturing base, Ford’s new factory is one of the most advanced in the world and will be used to build export “C” derivitives.

  • avatar

    Too bad about your cousin’s experience, the several Marutis in my family have endured the harshest road conditions and driving environment without a squeak or rattle. The body integrity of these cars is amazing as well as being easy to work on with plenty of service locations.

    Also, if the big domestic players can’t make money on small cars, it just means they’re less efficient than their competitors and it will only be a matter of time before those competitors are eating their lunch. How many times does this lesson have to be learned?

  • avatar

    ^ Quite, Ford has planned to bring its Chennai plant up to 200,000 units to feed a market that’s expected to be the world’s 3rd largest in another decade.

  • avatar

    Am I the only person who thinks GM and Ford need to focus on their core markets first?

  • avatar

    “midelectric :
    October 7th, 2009 at 12:38 pm

    Too bad about your cousin’s experience, the several Marutis in my family have endured the harshest road conditions and driving environment without a squeak or rattle. The body integrity of these cars is amazing as well as being easy to work on with plenty of service locations.”

    You can’t be serious, I know very well what Marutis are, all Suzuki cars are cheap, tinny POS, but the so-called “MAruti” is even smaller and tinnier. Your alleged harsh conditions ar eoibviously much less harsh than what cars are supposed to do in most markets. My cousin’s experience was obviously NOT an isolated one! It utterly failed as an exporter. Only in the PROTECTED domestic indian market wa sit allowed to survive, BUT that will change when the excellent new NAno, a car properly designed for the needs of drivers there, and intelligently so, not some Suzuki clone, eats it alive.

  • avatar

    Well I gues it isnt a total disaster for GM, the Maruti Ritz is a Suzuki/Opel product. On the other hand, Toyota isnt doing that well either.

    Surprisingly, Toyota dosent offer its small cars in India (Aygo, iQ, or the Yaris). It probably thought it would be unwise to compete with Tata and Maruti in that segment.

  • avatar

    Hmm, I wonder why the title didn’t include Toyota and Honda? Per that list they aren’t fairing any better.

  • avatar
    Kristjan Ambroz

    Different markes, different conditions, different expectations. Just like French cars were considered horribly unreliable and problematic in the US (and parts of Europe) but mostly have no problem spooling off 500k miles plus in Africa, Maruti’s might very well work much better than some European cars in the Indian environment, while feeling horrible to customers in Europe.

    By a global yardstick few companies do well – VW, seen as the pinnacle non premium brand in many places in Europe fares relatively poorly in the US, conversely Toyota and Honda often lag a long way behind the German and French competition in most European markets.

    So I’d say condemning a car manufacturers products for a market one does not live in / experience their products in, is fraught with lots of danger. :)

    I have heard of many experiences within my circle of friends, where that highly praised BMW practically disintegrated in front of their owners eyes, too ;)

  • avatar
    Telegraph Road

    Ford India September sales jumped 49.8% from a year earlier. Hopefully they’ll get their “butt kicked” again in October.

  • avatar

    Though the current sales figures don’t show it, GM isn’t badly positioned in India. They opened up their second Indian assembly plant in ’08 and currently have a capacity of about 250,000 cars annually. They’re restricted a bit by a small dealer network, only about 100 stores.

    As someone already pointed out, Ford’s a bit late to the party.

  • avatar

    The biggest problem with the tata indica is that it makes you feel slowed down, the drivers get a ‘couchlock’ from driving it and never really get where they’re going, to correct this i think they should change the name of it’s replacement to the sativa then the car will have more pep and energy resaulting in a faster feeling car.

  • avatar

    @rnc :

    Ford just released a new car (the figo, based on the Euro C platform)…Ford’s new factory is one of the most advanced in the world and will be used to build export “C” derivitives.

    the Figo is a B, not a C. exporting outside of India would only make sense if it were to other emerging markets, the Figo is (like Nano, Indica, Marutis, etc) designed down to the Indian market & would not translate very well except as a very bottom of the market option, something which there isn’t a huge market for in the more developed markets.

    Spending resources expanding in BRIC countries is better use of money for long term growth than spending in mature markets. mature markets don’t grow much (or they collapse as they have in the past year). expanding market go from explosive growth to merely healthy growth.

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