named the ‘Ka’, though ‘B-Max’ is also touted as a candidate.
Nissan is expected to debut the Datsun brand in India, with an entry-level hatchback, an entry-level sedan and a compact utility vehicle. Skoda too has a new Fabia planned for 2013-14, priced much below the current model.
Industry insiders say Skoda, scouting for volumes, is aiming to distance itself from parent Volkswagen’s prices.
“Maruti dominates the small car market, thanks to its large network and the best value in the segment. Rivals feel these things are easily achievable and they want to nibble away some market share. Even a small percentage gain is huge in volumes,” Rathore said.
Many others are working on small cars too, though they will come in later. Volkswagen is said to be working on modifying the Up compact for India and is set to unveil a new low-cost brand for emerging markets while Tata Motors is planning a new model to fit between the Nano and the Indica.
Year 2010-11 saw the last big surge in small cars, when the Honda Brio, Toyota Etios, Nissan Micra and Volkswagen Polo hit the streets and boosted the premium hatch segment. Following this, existing models like the Maruti Swift, Honda Jazz and Hyundai i20 were either replaced or saw aggressive price cuts.