The year 2010 for the domestic automobile industry was one of dizzy growth, led by a large number of new launches.
Almost every car and two-wheeler maker witnessed double digit growth and the demand was so high that challenges like high inflation, interest rates, rising cost of fuel and enforcement of stricter emission norms could not even present themselves as a speed breaker. More than a dozen car models today, from the super luxurious BMW X1 to a Hyundai i20 or Toyota Innova or even the good old Maruti 800, command a waiting period.
“This year the growth has surprised not only us but everybody in the industry,” said Shinzo Nakanishi, MD and CEO, Maruti Suzuki India Ltd. “At the start of the year, we were looking at a 5-10% growth. But as we close the year, we have grown by 31%.”
The year started with the New Delhi Auto Expo and towards the end was the launch of Toyota’s ambitious project for India, Etios, which will in a long way decide Toyota’s fortunes too.
A number of cars entered the market during the year. Ford Figo, Chevrolet Beat, Volkswagen Polo & Vento, Nissan Micra and Skoda Yeti created quite a stir.
The Figo was the pick of the lot with sales expected to cross 60,000 units for the year. The country’s largest selling car Maruti Alto also saw a makeover, getting a bigger, more powerful engine and helping the car notch up monthly sales of over 30,000 units.
“We have more than tripled our sales from last year and are more than confident of taking this growth momentum forward,” said Michael Boneham, president, Ford India.
With a foundation as strong as this, 2011 promises to see even more heightened activity in all segments. While the focus will again be on the small car segment with the Toyota Etios Liva accompanied by new Swift and Honda Brio, there will be more sedans and SUVs as well.
“The passenger vehicle industry alone is expected to witness 30 new models/variant launches in 2011,” said Sanketh Arouje, leader, economic analysis, Dun & Bradstreet India. “Out of these, 17 would be cars of which six would be in the small segment. Sales of luxury cars are also expected to increase at a faster pace while manufacturers expect better prospects in the SUV segment.”