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Global auto cos bet on small car market here
MUMBAI, AUG 27 (AGENCIES):
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Published on 28 Aug. 2009 12:07 AM IST
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Global car makers such as Volkswagen, Toyota, Nissan and Ford are rushing with new launches in the compact car segment to increase their presence in India, which is widely considered to be the world’s fastest-growing automobile market after China. The compact car segment-the category above the entry-level hatchback-which accounts for more than three-fourths of India’s total car sales, is the fastest-growing segment at 20-25% annually. According to Times report, the global firms will now compete with Maruti Suzuki, Tata Motors, Hyundai, Fiat, Skoda, Honda and General Motors for a share of the compact car market, which, according to industry statistics, saw sales of 3.35 lakh cars in the April-July 2009 period. The new entrants plan to differentiate their products through competitive pricing and additional features such as added space, fuel efficiency and better performance, said people involved in the development. Volkswagen, which currently markets the Jetta and Passat in India, plans to launch several models from the VW stable, including the Golf compact car, while Japanese carmaker Nissan, which currently retails the Teana sedan and SUV X-Trail, plans to export large units of Nissan Micra to the overseas market. Ford, currently present only in mid-sized cars and SUV segments, is not yet seen as a volume-pusher in the automobile industry. The Ford small car will be a 4-door hatchback, powered by an indigenous diesel engine manufactured at its Chennai plant. Toyota, which currently retails the Innova, Corolla and Camry, says the small car would spruce up its presence in the Indian market. “Given the fact that these premium hatchbacks have as much cabin space as their saloon counterparts, occupy a smaller footprint on terra firma, have more luggage space than the standard hatchbacks, deliver zestful performance and even better fuel efficiency at a lower price point than saloons with similar powerplants, it is not easy to see such cars dominate mindspace in the land,” said Adil Jal Darukhanawala, editor, Times Zigwheels.

 
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