Small is big in the Indian car market. With small cars accounting for over 70 per cent of the nearly two million units market, the year 2010 saw a slew of models making their debut here as various companies sought to tap the world's second-fastest growing car market.
Be it the Chevrolet Beat or Volkswagen Polo, Ford Figo, Nissan Micra or Alto-K10, it was a year in which the arrival of new models sparked off stiff competition, while consumers were spoilt for choice.
Launched in the first week of January, the global small car from General Motors, 'Chevrolet Beat' was designed and developed keeping in mind the Indian market. The fruit of 27 months of labour by GM's engineers, it came in as a challenger in the compact car segment dominated by Maruti Suzuki and Hyundai.
With a price tag ranging between Rs 3.34 lakh and Rs 3.94 lakh (ex-showroom, Delhi) when it hit the roads, the car supplemented GM's 'Spark' in the compact segment. The car, powered by a 1.2-litre petrol engine, has so far sold 33,845 units since its launch in India. It is slated to be sold across 150 countries in due course of time.
Manufactured at General Motors India's Talegaon plant in Maharashtra, Beat is the second car from the company's '300 series' platform after the sedan Chevrolet Cruze. The company plans to launch a diesel variant of the car as well.
An effort by Europe's biggest car maker Volkswagen to replicate its success in India, the Polo was launched with two engine options, 1.2-litre petrol and 1.2-litre diesel, priced at Rs 4.34 lakh and Rs 5.32 lakh (ex showroom, Delhi) in February.
The company said the Polo would be its mainstay of its expansion plans in India, where it hopes to capture 10 per cent of the total car market by 2014. As per industry estimates, the Indian car market can touch up to 5 million units in the next four years.
Produced at the company's Chakan plant, the Polo has managed to clock over 17,000 units in the Indian market since its launch. Later on, the company launched a sedan, Vento, which is based on the same platform as the Polo.