Sunday, December 13, 2009

Global Car makers drive destination India in 2009

NEW DELHI: Amid a global turmoil, India proved to be the oasis for the drive on four

wheel with the growth zooming over 60 per cent towards
end of 2009, inducing global
car manufacturers to focus on the market here.
It is this crisis and the recession in the developed world that led many to believe that car sales will take a hit with jobs and credit becoming endangered, but but India became the destination as the year passed by with its flavour for big fuel saving small cars.  

Convinced that the future lies in compact cars, global majors, including Ford, General Motors, Toyota and Renault- Nissan-Bajaj, unveiled plans to launch small cars in India.

With the world also moving towards small cars, the automakers didn't want to miss the chance of making India their base for exports.

Although sales were not expected to sizzle in the year following the global credit crisis, carmakers managed to pull the proverbial rabbit out of the that with over 61 per cent increase in sales in November.

Together, they sold 13,10,597 units from January-November 2009 in the domestic market as against 11,19,640 units in the same period a year ago, up 17.06 per cent.

While numerous new launches, including Ritz from Maruti Suzuki, Jazz from Honda and Grande Punto from Fiat, kept the sales counter ticking on the domestic front, some global events had implications for India too.

The Indian market watched with anxiety US-car major General Motors (GM) file for bankruptcy and later emerge as a slim new entity.  

If it was Nano that hogged the limelight with its commercial launch, then US cult bike maker Harley Davidson was not far behind, managing to draw enough eyeballs when it announced entering India after years of negotiations with authorities.

Others that had their own moments of triumph, include car market leader Maruti Suzuki's rolling out its 80th lakh units in July; Hero Honda crossing monthly sales figure of four lakh units for the first time in August and Tata Motors turning profitable after surprise showing by JLR in second quarter.  

In terms of price tags, 2009 would perhaps offer the widest range in the car segment starting from Nano's Rs 1.25 lakh (ex-showroom) to Porsche's super-premium Panamera (up to Rs 2.05 crore) and Rolls Royce's Ghost tagged at Rs 2.5 crore.



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