Tata motors and Honda Siel Cars India (HSCI) have drawn up ambitious plans to launch new cars despite sluggish growth in the domestic market.
While Tata Motors is expected to soon introduce upgraded variants of its Indica and Indigo cars, Honda will make a market foray later this month with an upgraded variant of its popular sedan Honda City.
Tata Motors managing director Ravi Kant said the proposed Rs 1 lakh car would hit the road as per schedule in the middle of next year. However, he admitted that high input costs were making it “challenging” for the company to maintain the price of its people’s car at the Rs 1-lakh level.
“Higher input cost has made it more challenging to maintain the price at the Rs 1-lakh level, but whether we will launch the car at a higher price or not will be evident only when we introduce the product,” Kant said on the sidelines of Society of Indian Automobile Manufacturers (SIAM) annual conference here.
Kant said the company’s sales have been hit primarily by high interest rates in the domestic market and rupee appreciation. “It's a double whammy for us. On one hand, high interest rates are pulling down domestic demand and on the other rupee appreciation has hit exports. In business, you need certainty, and thus interest rates need to stabilise,” he added. .
HSCI senior general manager (marketing) Janeswar Sen the company was planning to launch two models in India, including its popular hatchback ‘Jazz’, to mark the company’s foray into small-car segment in the country.
“We are still two years away from launching a small car in India, but have zeroed down on ‘Jazz’ along with another model to mark our foray into the small-car segment,” he said.
The company’s strategy to launch a 1.2-litre powered engine car was aimed at availing the excise duty benefit. Sen said if the company introduces ‘Jazz’ in India, it would come with some modifications from the model being sold in other countries. The company expects a double-digit growth in the current fiscal and hopes to sell 65,000-70,000 units as against 60,000 units last year.