India’s Motown plans slew of launches after polls

Sumant Banerji, Hindustan Times
New Delhi
First Published: 11:47 IST(1/5/2014)
Last Updated: 12:07 IST(1/5/2014)
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May is the month of election results and government formation. But the months that follow will see a flurry of launches as car-makers seek to break the trend of declining sales in successive years.

In the works are Maruti’s midsize Honda City-rival, the Ciaz; a multi-purpose vehicle (MPV) from Honda, the Mobilio; Tata Zest and Bolt; another MPV Datsun GO+, Toyota Corolla, Audi A3 sedan, BMW X5 and Porsche Macan SUV.

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The industry, which registered a second straight year of sales dip in 2013-14, is hoping that a new government will cheer up the economy. While established brands have struggled, recent new launches such as Honda Amaze, Ford Eco-Sport, Hyundai Grand i10 and Maruti Celerio have done well.

“The scenario is not very different from what it was last year, but we are hoping there will be some improvement after elections,” said RC Bhargava, chairman, Maruti Suzuki India Ltd. “We have managed to not decline last year and with three new launches we should do better this year.”

Honda, which had two launches last year, will bring its first MUV, the Mobilio. Honda is hoping to carve out a premium position for it, though its main rival is Maruti’s Ertiga.

“The Mobilio will create its own space,” said Hironori Kanayama, president and CEO, Honda Cars India Ltd. “It will have more space and features than any other car in that category.”

In the luxury car segment, following Mercedes and BMW’s success in the compact car space, Audi will launch the A3 sedan.

“We received very good response at the Auto Expo in February and are convinced it will be a game changer in the luxury car segment,” said Joe king, head Audi India. “It has the potential to be our highest selling model.”


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