With the augmentation of ‘utility vehicles’, the automobile industry of India is changing significantly.
These vehicles, which are lightweight, equipped with advanced technologies, stylish body, fuel efficiency and space fall in the affordable domain and have attracted the Indian buyers.
Business watch follows the new trend of “SUV” cars on Indian roads.
Sport utility vehicles (SUVs), off-road capable cars and multi-purpose vehicles (MPVs), which were a rare sight on India’s roads a decade ago, are slowly becoming the most sought after cars.
Rising congestion in cities and improvement in technology are one of the prime reasons for the rising demand for SUVs, which come equipped with latest technology such as automatic transmissions.
“With the challenges that one faces on the road, in terms of infrastructure or in terms of driving, it (SUV) is the need of the hour. When we look at it, as far as SUV is concerned – normally a perception of an SUV has been that SUVs are tough, rugged, in the face, but the customers are evolving and with customers evolving the needs and wants are changing,” Rakesh Srivastava, Senior Vice President, Sales and Marketing, Hyundai Motor India, said.
“Today they are looking for a stronger product, they are looking for a stylish product, bold and beautiful,” he added.
At present, compact SUV is the new buzzword for global automakers, who are aggressively targeting growth in India’s underdeveloped SUV market.
The companies have been launching new models to build up excitement in the market.
“There are young people, who are buying these cars, young people get bored very quickly. So, therefore, they want something and they want something with attitude, something macho, something which gives them difference,” said Murad Ali Baig, Auto Analyst.
The car sales have increased over the last few months as the economy has shown signs of improvement along with interest rates cooling off to some extent.
Importance of the Indian consumers in the global market can be seen with the large number of car launches that took place within a single week in India.
“We are making a long-term commitment to India. We believe in the growth opportunity and we are working hard to have a product line and our entire ownership experience is designed specifically for the Indian customer that will take some time but we are making that commitment and you will see that unfold as we move forward,” said Mary Barra, Chief Executive Officer, General Motors.
India’s car market is the world’s sixth largest and is expected to grow to number three by 2020, with the rise in income levels.
Compact SUV sales in India are likely to more than quadruple to 9,70,000 vehicles in the decade to 2020, according to industry reports.
“As far as we prepare a good product for the customer, it means that the customer is expecting some change, something new, something different. If we provide such kind of product, maybe we can get some new customers and then we can expand our business further,” said Kenichi Ayukawa, Managing Director and CEO of Maruti Suzuki, India
Functionality, space and comfort offered by the SUVs has vanquished the demand for sedans.
Car owners in the Indian market are now looking to upgrade their driving experience.
“I think it is a craze, you feel more grip on the road when you are in an SUV, that is the reason. I think craze is more we can say, plus if a family is big – joint family – then they need seven-seater then the only option left is SUVs,” said Avinash Garg, a customer.
Analysts tracking the industry portray a gleaming future for the segment.