The year 2013 saw a mixed bag of disappointments and achievements in all sectors. The scenario was not so different in the auto industry as well. For many car manufacturers in India, the year proved to be mostly unprofitable.
The industry suffered from snarling sales, rising fuel prices and cost inputs, all of which forced the current financial year into becoming the weakest period in the past nine years. Nevertheless, the domestic market was flooded with new arrivals and discount offers. Though many could not mark it as a year of success, companies like Ford, Hyundai, Honda and Chevrolet managed to hit the jackpot with their new offerings. Vehicles like EcoSport, Amaze, Terrano and Enjoy single-handedly changed the fortune of their makers when they took the market by storm.
In the compact Sports Utility Vehicle (SUV) segment, Ford's EcoSport was the game-changer. By pricing it low, Ford directly challenged Indian market leaders, Maruti and Hyundai, as well as Nissan's Renault Duster, Mahindra Quanto and Premier Rio. Ford registered more than 30,000 bookings for EcoSport within the first 17 days of its launch in India on 26 June. The rising demand forced the auto maker to stop accepting bookings. Ford, a company which held a small share in the Indian auto market, now enjoys nearly a four percent share. The EcoSport contributes more than 55 percent to Ford's total sales, reported The Economic Times.
EcoSport is available in ten trims and three engine versions with a starting price of ₹5.59 lakh.
Honda has been part of the Indian market for many years. Its history in the sub-continent has been marked with many challenges and victories. The lack of diesel models and failure of strategic planning crimped the status of the company in India. But the launch of the Amaze compact sedan changed the scenario and elevated Honda's success. The Amaze, Honda's first diesel offering in India, surpassed the booking figures of its opponent Dzire within the first few weeks of its launch. The soaring demand forced the company to introduce a new shift at its Greater Noida capacity. Honda's aggressive marketing strategy and inclusion of a high fuel efficiency in Amaze, made the vehicle a scorching success in the market. The base petrol variant is priced ₹4.99 lakh and the top two variants go for ₹6.62 lakh and ₹7.5 lakh.
The company will also bring its latest iteration of City to India in January 2014.
General Motors brought Chevrolet Enjoy to India in 2013. Enjoy, which is positioned in the fastest-growing utility vehicle space, has been making a sizeable contribution to GM's gowth chart ever since its launch. The MPV was set to take on one of Maruti Suzuki's best-selling models - Ertiga. The vehicle costs ₹40,000 to ₹70,000 lesser than its rival and comes with petrol and diesel engine options. The petrol variants are priced between ₹5.49 lakh and ₹6.99 lakh and the diesel models fall in the ₹6.69-₹7.99 lakh price range.
The year also saw the launch of Nissan's first Indian-made SUV Terrano. The vehicle, an opponent to Ford's EcoSport, is said to be successful venture of Nissan in India. Although the vehicle could not break the records of Ford EcoSport, reports suggested that the Terrano could wane the popularity of other vehicles in this segment. Terrano had registered 6000 pre-bookings in less than a month.
Nissan Terrano, a Renault Duster platform-based SUV, is marketed in india at a starting price of ₹9.59 lakh (ex-showroom, New Delhi).
Hyundai Grand i10
Hyundai, India's second largest car manufacturer, expanded its visibility in the domestic market when it launched the Grand i10. The hatchback, which is positioned between Hyundai's best selling i10 and i20, posed a threat to Maruti's bestseller Swift, Wagon R Stingray and Ford Figo, since its launch.
The Grand i10 is available in both petrol and diesel variants and comes with a price tag starting from ₹4.29 lakh.