The Jaguar F-Pace is an important vehicle in two ways. First, it is Jaguar’s first-ever SUV and its launch in India marks a shift in the company’s plans for the country.
“We are seeing huge excitement around the launch of the F-Pace, since it is the first SUV from Jaguar. We have got good response since we started bookings. Globally, its doing well with 30,000 units already sold since launch earlier this year,” said Rohit Suri, president, Jaguar Land Rover (JLR) India.
The Jaguar F-Pace, the prices were unveiled earlier this month, will start at ₹68.4 lakh (ex-showroom Delhi) with the top-end model costing ₹1.12 crore.
But it is not just sales that Tata Motors-owned JLR has on its mind. It also has plans to assemble the F-Pace locally, which will make it the sixth JLR vehicle to be put together in the country.
“Currently we will be importing the F-Pace, but as we go along, we will look to making it locally. We are evaluating at assembling more products in India,” said Suri. He said there was enough capacity at the Pune plant to meet demand and add more products to the local assembly line over the next 2-3 years.
The company will also increase its sourcing from local suppliers, which will make it more cost effective, Suri said, without disclosing any specific numbers.
However, JLR doesn’t plan to set up a full-fledged manufacturing plant here, nor is there any plan to make products specific to India, as the market is still not too big to merit such a move.
“The luxury car market in India is just about 1% of the whole passenger car market in India. In other mature the percentage is at least 4-5% of the total car market. If India breaches that level, then it will be sizeable enough,” said Suri.
Other car makers such as Mercedes too have increased local assembly in India in recent years. Last month, Mercedes launched the GLC SUV, its ninth locally-made model in the country. Currently Mercedes, Audi, BMW and JLR together sell close to 35,000 units a year.
JLR currently trails behind its German rivals in India. JLR sold close to 3,000 units in India in 2015, compared with over 10,000 units sold by Mercedes and Audi each.
Suri said that sales this year have been good, and helped by the launches so far this year, including the new F-Pace, he is hopeful JLR will end 2016 with sales growth rate better than the industry.