The highly competitive entry level and hatchback segments in the Indian automobile industry is expected to go on an overdrive this year with the launch of three more cars in these categories.
The models include small car Figo from US auto major Ford Motor Company, the Micra from Nissan-Renault and the much awaited ‘Polo’ from Volkswagen. According to top company executives, plans for launching the cars are “well on track” and all are expected to hit the Indian roads this year.
After the global launch its small car Figo last year, Ford India is slated to showcase the product in the Auto Expo in Delhi later this week. Figo is expected to compete with Maruti Suzuki Alto, A-Star and Swift along with Hyundai’s Santro, Getz and the popular i10.
“Our plan for the Indian market involves accelerating development of fuel efficient small cars. The small car market in the country will double in the next one decade,” Ford Motor Company President and Chief Executive Officer Alan Mulally had told reporters during the global launch of Figo.
Ford India currently has a 2.07 per cent market share in the Indian automobile industry.It currently offers the popular midsize sedan Fiesta, Ikon and the premium SUV the Endeavour.
The company currently has a manufacturing facility at Sriperumbudur near here, which produces models for the domestic market and some for the International market.
According to company sources, Ford plans to export a “significant number” of Figo models to the Asian and African countries once it commences production.
Second in line is Japanese auto-major Nissan’s proposed small car, “Micra” in collaboration with Renault of France.
The two are jointly setting up its Rs 4,500 crore facility at Oragadam near here, with a capacity to manufacture four lakh units annually. Nissan will initially manufacture two lakh cars in this factory.
The first car is likely to roll out in May,while the global launch is likely to be in Thailand later this year.
According to Nissan Motor India’s Managing Director and CEO Kiminobu Tokuyama, their small car would hit the market as planned and proposed new launches are well on schedule.
Last year, sketches of the hatchback were released in the media. Based on the global compact car platform, it will be manufactured in five countries apart from India, including Thailand and China.