By on March 23, 2021

Jaguar Land Rover unveiled its all-electric SUV to the Indian market this week, proving that it’s dead serious about expanding the I-Pace’s customer base. While parent company Tata Motors undoubtedly has a fondness for its home region, we cannot help but wonder if its a market worthy of pursuit considering the model’s starting price.

The manufacturer has the (90-kWh) I-Pace stickered at 105.91 lakh rupees, which translates to about $147,000 USD. Considering the unique way India writes out denominations and often transitions between crore and lakh as a way to avoid listing high-value items in the millions of rupees, we were initially convinced we’d messed up the conversion. The sum would not only eclipse the $70,000 MSRP Jaguar has affixed to the I-Pace in the United States, it makes it highly uncompetitive against the luxury EVs already on a market that’s not known for its wealthy consumer base. How could this be JLR and Tata’s preferred strategy?

We’re not the only ones asking, either. While attempting to verify whether the I-Pace’s Indian MSRP was a typo, we came across several other outlets that had come to the same conclusion and were now just scratching their heads. Bloomberg noted that over two-thirds of the market’s annual automotive sales take place in the sub-$10,000 bracket. This results in the region being loaded with interesting, affordable vehicles; it doesn’t make it a haven for six-figure luxury crossovers.

India is likewise lagging behind other populous nations in terms of EV adoption, mainly because it doesn’t have the infrastructure to support them. While the government has attempted to mitigate this by incentivizing private firms to building charging points along highways or just installing them at state-controlled fueling stations, large portions of the energy grid couldn’t possibly support widespread EV adoption. As things currently stand, only about 85 percent of Indians have regular access to electricity and the entire country has to share about 950 EV charging stations. But even the most isolated rural communities can source and store liquid fuel without too much trouble.

The gradual realization of this fact has forced Indian officials to scale back ambitions as it focuses on the fundamentals. In 2017, the country announced its desire to end the production of new internal-combustion cars by 2030. But the citizenry pushed back, complaining that EVs would need to come down immensely in price. India also has a relatively strong DIY community and many were worried that electric cars wouldn’t be something they could fix at home. The new plan has about one-third of new vehicle sales being electric by 2040 as the government attempts to solve the infrastructure puzzle.

Where does this leave the I-Pace? Stuck on the Ganges without out a paddle, we’d imagine. But Jaguar Land Rover India President Rohit Suri has suggested there are big advantages to being early. By being one of the only luxury EVs sold on the market, JLR thinks it can solidify itself as one of the premiere electric brands as the market matures.

“Given the high appeal and desirability of the Jaguar brand, we are confident that Jaguar I-Pace will be one of best-selling EVs in the country,” he said.

However, the automaker is likely in for an extended wait. In addition to the country’s infrastructure stalling its ability to abandon internal combustion vehicles, India’s EV sales currently account for less than 1 percent of all passenger vehicles.

[Image: JLR]

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8 Comments on “Jaguar Is Going to Try and Sell the I-Pace in India...”

  • avatar

    “Jaguar Land Rover unveiled its all-electric SUV to the Indian market this week, proving that it’s dead serious about expanding the I-Pace’s customer base. ”

    Parent Tata Motors may be able to carve a luxury niche in Indian DM but generally speaking JLR is dead serious about selling as many units as it can to anyone with a checkbook for this turd.

  • avatar
    SCE to AUX

    Agreed on the I-Pace’s prospects for India, but not on this sentiment:

    “India also has a relatively strong DIY community and many were worried that electric cars wouldn’t be something they could fix at home.”

    You have to respect the battery energy. But other than that, there really aren’t any exotic components to deal with – at least not more than any other modern vehicle with its myriad of electronics.

    I mean, is the Indian DIY community working on other modern JLR products?

  • avatar

    “Jaguar Land Rover unveiled its all-electric SUV to the Indian market this week, proving that it’s dead”

    I completely agree with you.

  • avatar

    Ummmm….”a market that’s not known for its wealthy consumer base”?? Yes, the very wealthy are a small proportion of India’s population… but of nearly 1.4 BILLION. The number of billionaires in India is only behind US, China and Germany; and the very wealthy in India (not billionaires) live a lifestyle almost unimaginable to most North Americans.

    In Canada, we’re not rich, but are reasonably well off as a couple of senior professionals at the peak of our careers. Despite this, we have to be much more conscious about costs when traveling in India than we do here. Casual dining, fine dining, international-grade hotel stays are as or more expensive than in downtown Toronto, Vancouver, Chicago, Boston or New York, yet they are packed with Indians who don’t think twice. We stayed at a Park Hyatt in Goa and were shocked by the meal prices – we and a family from DC (who were both specialist physicians) were the poor people at the packed resort. I’ve never seen so many gold Rolexes in one room.

    Conspicuous consumption is very typical in the “very wealthy” crowd, and I saw more Porsche Cayenne Turbos on the streets of Kolkata than I do on the streets of Ottawa. And Kolkata is not the big market for luxury goods – Mumbai, Delhi, and Bangalore would probably be much larger.

    I’m not suggesting that the i-Pace will be a success priced the way it is, but if they can market it with an element of national pride they may sell enough to make India a significant market for them.

    • 0 avatar
      Arthur Dailey

      Exactly. I believe that Mat wrote that sentence based on stereotypes rather than research. There were over 35,000 ‘luxury’ cars sold in India during the calendar year 2019.

      • 0 avatar

        I had the same thoughts. In addition, many of those wealthy individuals are very well educated and technically sophisticated. I also took a look at the current charger maps and there are enough quick chargers distributed around the country so it shouldn’t be too hard getting around. A lot of them seem to be provided by Tata Power.

        • 0 avatar

          @mcs – Even if there wasn’t great distribution of chargers, India would likely be well suited to EV as most cars aren’t used inter-city, and intra-city distances are generally quite short.

          The two big hits on “range” would be use of A/C and time – a 20km drive can take 2 hours.

    • 0 avatar

      Yeah. India is kind of like taking the demographics of the US and then adding in 1.2 billion extra people who live on a buck fifty a day. The market is still huge, and I’ve seen opulence in Pune (an outskirt of Mumbai) that would make residents of the Hamptons blush.

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