Dilip Chhabria's DC Design to go big on niche segment of cars

Nanda Kasabe Posted online: Wednesday, Dec 25, 2013 at 0000 hrs
Pune : DC Design, the design firm headed by Dilip Chhabria, is in the midst of a major transition. The company — which is noted for its concept cars, prototypes and stylised vehicles for celebrities — has plans to become a manufacturer of niche cars.

After getting a tremendous response to its locally-developed sports car — the Rs 25 lakh DC Avanti that is being mass produced at its Talegaon plant in Pune — the company is onto it’s next product. DC Design will showcase two new cars that will go into production soon. “The first is a four-seater convertible SUV, which is not rationally dimensioned, and an extremely small car, smaller than the Nano,” Chhabria said.

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“Both the products will be showcased at the upcoming AutoExpo in Delhi in February when the first batch of 25 cars of the DC Avanti will also be flagged off,” he said. “Our USP is clear. We are going to be niche segment of cars, which other manufacturers do not explore. We are in the process of becoming the youngest car manufacturer in the country and are transitioning from a customiser of cars to a low volume niche manufacturer,” he added.

He describes his cars as ‘extreme’ because the product positioning is different and design of the products is unusual.

Chhabria said the first lot of DC Avanti cars will be handed over to customers at a committed price of R25 lakh initially and later the price will be hiked by at least Rs 5 lakh. Next year June onwards, the company will be ready to roll out 100 cars of the DC Avanti a month.

An aggressive online campaign is slated to begin from February when customers will be given more options in terms of trimmed leather, carbon panels and a choice of colour schemes for the DC Avanti.

Chhabria describes the new SUV as a ‘drop dead gorgeous’ car that is extremely irrational but one that will find a definite audience while the smaller two-seater car will be sub-7 feet in size. Both the products will be priced in the Rs 18 lakh to Rs 40 lakh and he expects the young customers to buy these products.

According to Chhabria, raising funds and finding investors for his company is not an issue. The Talegaon plant has a capacity to manufacture around 1,000 cars a month. The production of the two new cars is slated to begin in a couple of years. DC Design has 14 showrooms across the country and plans to add another three by February.

Alongside manufacturing of new cars, the company intends to continue with the customised cars and buses business. There is a lot of demand for customised buses, he said adding that the company is currently working on an order from a customer for around 130 buses for the entire year. Around 30 buses will be delivered by March, he said.