Car makers bank on SUVs to turn the tide

Wednesday 28 December 2011, 15:54 PM by

The 11th edition of Delhi Auto Expo 2012 will be dominated by the Sports Utility Vehicle (SUVs) segment as most car makers are betting on these mean machines to grab maximum attention of visitors. The Auto Expo that commences from 5th January 2012 will offer a platform for the launch of number of SUVs. It must be noted that besides new entrants, the mega event would also witness the showcasing of some revamped SUVs as few car makers have decided to work upon their existing SUV line-up.

Visitors at the expo can expect omnipresence of SUVs, including Audi Q3 Mini, Ford EcoSport, Renault Duster, new Tata Safari also known as Merlin, Force Motors' Force One and Mercedes M-Class. In addition, the Rexton and Korando produced by Mahindra-owned Ssangyong will also be seen at M&M'S stand. Along with debutants, the Auto Expo will also play host to the unveiling of upgraded SUV models to the likes of Toyota Fortuner and Chevrolet Captiva.

Car makers bank on SUVs to turn the tide |
Car makers bank on SUVs to turn the tide

The Indian auto industry stalwarts, Maruti and Hyundai, will arrive at the Auto Expo with all-new concept SUVs. Abdul Majeed, Auto Analyst, PricewaterhouseCoopers India, confirmed that the penchant for SUVs is growing rapidly. "The SUV segment has witnessed fantastic growth rate in India over the last few years and holds the maximum potential in terms of demand," he said. "There is a desire among most car owners to own an SUV. So the moment they think about upgrading their car, SUV is something that they always consider," Majeed added.

SUV has always proved to be an efficient and beneficial long-distance companion, owing to which the market for said segment has proliferated in recent times. "Also, people want bigger cars as they travel from one city to the other with families," says Debashish Mitra, Director, Sales and Marketing, Mercedes-Benz India.

While Ford Motors has kept the details regarding EcoSport under wraps, the compact 5-seater SUV would likely share its platform with Fiesta sedan. Renault is expected to rely heavily on its upcoming Duster that will be manufactured at the plant in Chennai. Rumour mills are agog that the vehicle would carry a highly competitive price tag of around Rs. 8 lacs and counting on the same, Renault would strive to subjugate a considerable market share. Tata Motors will also enter the Auto Expo with its much anticipated Merlin that would hit the Indian roads as an advanced version of the Safari.

The luxury car maker Audi, using the potential of Q3 Mini SUV, will top the list of expected show-stoppers. Audi Q3 will stand tall against BMW's hotcake X1 that is available at a cost of Rs. 22.4 lacs (ex-showroom all-India). Audi plans to make the Q3 available by the mid of next year. The strategic planning of Audi is aimed at dominating the second spot in the luxury car market, closely stalking BMW.

Thus, this time round, car makers have confidence in the heavy passenger carrier segment to overcome their dwindling positions.

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