India: The Next China

Bertel Schmitt
by Bertel Schmitt

As far as total sales go, India is no China. 1.43 million units were sold on the subcontinent last year, a bit more than a tenth the cars the Chinese had consumed in the same year. But India is revving up quickly.

After a bit of a slow start in the beginning of the year, sales in India recorded more than 30 percent growth in the months between July and October 2010, says Hindustan Times. Car sales in India a rose 21 percent from a year earlier in November. December most likely will be no slouch either. Manufacturers announced price hikes for the new year, and people will want to lock in the deals.

India has a middle class of around 300 million people, with rising incomes. They all want a car. Manufacturers have sworn not to get caught sleeping again. In China, Volkswagen and GM together owned most of the market well into the new millennium.

In India, Maruti Suzuki holds a similar position and approximately 50 percent market share. However, automakers from Fiat to Bugatti are flocking to India to get their share of “the next China.”

China and India together have approximately one third of the world population. Both markets have just started to motorize. China has some 60 cars per thousand people. India has anywhere between 8 and 12 cars per thousand. The G7 average stands above 600 cars per thousand. The USA has more than 800 per thousand.

5 years ago, a study by LsSalle predicted that China would become the world’s largest car market by 2017. It happened in 2009.

The same study predicted that “over the next quarter century, emerging markets will replace the mature markets of America, Europe and Japan as the primary driver of sales growth and will account for 69 percent of industry sales and 87 percent of vehicle registrations.”

At least as far as the drivers of sales growth go, this prediction came true in 2009/2010. The rest will happen faster than we imagine.

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3 of 5 comments
  • Blowfish Blowfish on Dec 20, 2010

    i suppose the fire did scared the tata out of the nano, wonder how're they going to fix it?

    • Klossfam Klossfam on Dec 21, 2010

      blowfish - Do you have a problem with cars that suddenly burst into flame?...MAN, are you particular about your vehicle requirements! It appeared the problem was 'foreign material' left on the exhaust components...things like highly flammable adhesives...and maybe part of the line workers LUNCH! Quality is most likely not "Job 1" at the Tata plant...

  • Zackman Zackman on Dec 21, 2010

    Ha! That bus reminded me of some of the civilian buses on Okinawa I rode on 40 years ago! Wooden plank floors full of holes (no kidding!), people bringing animals on board, someone's kid barfing all over my sleeve, no A/C and everything else. The ride only cost a dime though, so that was something.

  • Azfelix From certain angles the bonnet appears oversized with respect to the rest of the car - like a skinny teenager wearing a bulky sweater nicked from her older sister's wardrobe.
  • Tassos This is way too god damned OLD, 21 years old to have all the necessary options you need TODAY. You need a 10 year old or less car. AND if you give us THIS POS, a 21 year old model, that is not even a LUXURY car, whoever pays $10k for a Golf, And I Do NOT care what anniversary it is (they are all UTTERLY INSIGNIFICANT) deserves to get this MOST UNRELIABLE AND COSTLY TO REPAIR OF ALL LOUSY ECONOBOXES< EVEN THE DOMESTICS AND THE KOREANS.
  • Tassos As you say, Toyota confirmed this on TUESDAY. Today is WEDNESDAY. Why is everything on TTAC held back one or more days before you tell us the NEWS when it is NO MORE THE NEWS?
  • MRF 95 T-Bird You can find a decent and far more stylish Audi TT or an S4 of a similar vintage for under $10k.
  • RHD "In all situations, the grip of the tires (225/40R18 front, 225/35R18 rear) brings with it road noise."Are the rear tires actually smaller than the fronts??!! Adding just a bit of sidewall would take care of the bumps and rough ride. I'm not a fan of BMWs, personally, but this is a very enjoyable car. There are times when driving a convertible is pure bliss, and with a bit of power it's fun as well. (And certainly a better drive than a gussied-up, overpriced German taxicab!)