Indian 4 wheeler industry has come a long way in last 3-4 years. Globally, India is looked upon as a hub for small cars. 87% of all cars owned in India are small economy cars, thanks to 800’s, Alto’s and Santro’s.
However, with Indian consumers now having much more disposable cash than ever before, Foreign car manufacturers are introducing host of new luxury cars in India.
Hyundia has been quite aggressive in India since launch of Santro 10 years ago. They have introduced cars in multiple segments including Luxury Sedan Sonata and SUVs – Terrcan and Tucson. The newest luxury model to be launched will be Santa Fe, a hugely popular SUV in American and European markets.
Nissan too has announced the entry of its wholly owned subsidiary, Infiniti -manufacturer of Luxury cars in US and Canada. Here in US, cars manufactured by Infiniti are priced in the range of $34,000-$52,000 (Rs 16 lakh to Rs 21 lakh).
Nissan has not announced whether they will go for local production in India, considering the huge-sized Chennai facility. The plant may start production in 2009 or may sell the cars as direct imports (completely built units).
Import of the car may push its price to near double. After payment of custom duties, amounting to 100 per cent of the vehicle cost, the end price may reach in the range of Rs 32 lakh and Rs 42 lakh, pitting it directly against Mercedes E Class, Audi A4, BMW 3 and 5 series.
And it is not only Hyundai and Infiniti, other luxury car manufacturers too have charted out their India plans. The list includes Lotus, owned by Malaysian car maker Proton, US-based Chrysler, Toyota-owned Lexus, the Fiat- owned Alfa Romeo and Maserati, Bentley, BMW and Volkswagen.
It will be interesting to see how these luxury cars will ride on pot-holes filled dusty roads of India !