India has started "Hatch"ing Cars

It's a case of history repeating itself albeit a good decade later. This happened in 1998 when the monopoly of the Indian Auto Market, enjoyed by the trend-setting Maruti-Suzuki was broken into shackles with the launch of a slew of small cars. In came Tata (Indica), Hyundai (Santro) and Daewoo (Matiz) and suddenly the Indian customers felt as if they were spoilt for choice. Though these new launches could not manage to make the slightest dent in the sales of Maruti-Suzuki, they expanded the market and created a niche for themselves.

A good 10-12 years later, the same scenario is again starting to unfold to the Indian public. Suddenly, people looking for buying a small car will have options other than Maruti-Suzuki, Hyundai and Tata, the traditional volume-players in our market. Chevrolet has joined the party in a big way with the ridiculously shocking prices of it's Beat. Volkswagen has just launched it's multiple award-winning global small car Polo and the media and the public are already going gaga over it. Ford has announced shock pricing for it's Figo and with the impending diesel version being available from day one, it is sure to send shudders to people at Tata and Hyundai. Nissan has just unveiled it's Micra in the Geneva Motor Show which is going to take the route of the i10 - from Chennai to the rest of the world. Though months away from their date of launches, the significance of Toyota's Etios and Honda's model (based on the New Small Concept shown at the Delhi Auto Expo) cannot be overlooked at all.

It's time for the traditional biggies to pull up their socks and get ready for a run. Maruti-Suzuki should stop producing it's woefully outdated models and keep churning out it's newer models in India simultaneously with their global launch dates. Hyundai should wake up from it's slumber and start getting serious with it's Diesel programme. It's crazy that they have not realized what a little CRDi badge could do to the already skyrocketing sales numbers of the i10. Tata should reduce it's new car development timeline which is currently about a decade for successive generations of cars (Indica and Vista). The acid test has come for the Swift, i10 and Indica and it remains to be seen how these hot-sellers are going to hold on to their pie against the Beats, Polos, Figos and Micras.

The Indian Automotive market has finally started "Hatch"ing in a big way and that means good news for us customers!

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