Indian women becoming more enthusiastic about SUVs in India
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The concept of 'soccer moms' is gaining pace in India as more and more mothers in the country are moving from cute hatchbacks to aggressive Sports Utility Vehicles (SUVs). This change in choices has definitely shown in the double-digit growth figures of the segment in a market where the consolidated car sales are going through a slump.
Sandeep Singh, Managing Director (MD), Toyota Kirloskar, says, "The trend is catching on and more women - many of them mothers - are opting to drive SUVs as they have become easier to manoeuvre and steer." Manufacturers like Toyota, Mahindra & Mahindra, BMW, Audi and Mercedes-Benz are among the companies that are reaping the benefits of this shift.
Rather than tackling the roughest of terrains, mothers who buy SUVs in India are using these high performance, heavy duty vehicles to ferry their weekly groceries and their children around. However, they are also attracted to women-only events like the Lavassa Women's drive (a drive that traverses 225 km, from Mumbai to Lavassa) and the challenging Himalayan rally. Hemal Sawant, a 42-year-old mother who owns a red coloured Scorpio says, "It's a mindset that SUVs are heavy vehicles that are difficult for women to manoeuvre. It literally makes me feel on top of the world and gives me a feeling of power."
She is one of the many Indian women who can become the next big demographic for the domestic auto industry. The owner of a Toyota Fortuner, Kavita Vij says, "We do outdoor trips most weekends and need a spacious vehicle for my two kids (a 20-year-old son and 16-year-old daughter) and my dogs." For her, a SUV offers the perfect blend of safety, elegance and power and is the perfect vehicle for those who rejoice having full control of a car.
Other women in India who prefer SUVs say that the sense of security that comes with a vehicle of that size is an added benefit, along with decent rear visibility. Payal Mittle, who drives an Audi Q5, says, "Drivers give way, move out and keep their distance." The ladies even prefer to choose an off-roader to tackle the pothole-riddled urban roads, as Leena Mogre, who regularly commutes between Mumbai, Nashik and Pune, commented, "The all-terrain SUV can survive Mumbai roads."
Senior Vice-President (VP) of auto division of Mahindra & Mahindra, Vivek Nayar said that the reason for driving a robust vehicle like a SUV, women's intention is to ensure the safety and security of the family. On the other hand, men tend to bring out their aggressive side through the same vehicle.
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