Car makers get into launch frenzy for the festive season this year

Thursday 16 August 2012, 10:13 AM by

It seems like all the car makers in the country are out on a mission to spoil the customers with as many as 30 launches lined-up for the festive season this year. Indian automotive market has been plagued by a slow pace of growth ever since 2009, which was mainly due to the increase in interest rates and rising prices of fuel. Owing to this, the Society of Indian Automotive Manufacturers (SIAM) made alterations in the sales growth forecast for ongoing fiscal from 10-12 per cent to 9 per cent.

However, it looks like that the trend is about to change as all the big brands of the Indian auto industry, right from Maruti Suzuki with its Maruti 800 replacement to Jaguar Land Rover with its Jaguar XJL, are hoping to win back their customers. The 30 new launches from various car makers will be spanning across various segments from small to luxury cars.

According to analysts and industry experts, multiple launches in the festive season are expected to drive in more sales volume for the car makers. Notably, the car sales during April-July 2012 dipped 7 per cent, whereas the annual growth of the industry stood at 30 per cent during the last two years.

Director General of SIAM, Vishnu Mathur, commented, “Festival period has historically changed the entire market mood from gloom to boom. With interest rates softening and some aggressive pricing on new products, customers who have been holding back their purchase decisions, may get back into the market and revive demand.”

The new launches, which will hit the Indian shores soon, include new Maruti 800, Mahindra Mini Xylo, Volkswagen UP!, Ford EcoSport, Chevrolet Sail and Tata Manza CS. This launch line-up is quite exciting, which consists of small cars, hatchbacks, sedans and Sports Utility Vehicles (SUVs). The first launch of the festive season has already made its way to the showrooms in the form of Hyundai Elantra Fluidic from which the company pulled off the curtains on August 13, 2012. With the title of 'Car of the Year 2012' in US, Elantra in its fluidic avatar is pitched against the likes of Corolla Altis and Chevrolet Cruze, which all lies in the mid-size sedan segment.

As of now, the market is abuzz with the launch news of new Maruti 800 that will let the car maker hold its guard against Hyundai Eon and the new Tata Nano. The recent arson at the Maruti Suzuki’s Manesar plant has delayed the launch of its much-awaited small car, which is anticipated to go into the production in third week of August 2012 and is likely to be introduced in the market towards the end of 2012.

Following the league of launches, Toyota is also gearing up to introduce a facelifted model of its premium sedan, Camry on August 24, 2012, which will square off against Volkswagen Passat, Honda Accord and Skoda Superb.

Volkswagen UP! is yet another much-anticipated launch in this festive season, which will be the smallest car in the Volkswagen’s product portfolio. It is believed that the German auto giant will place its new small car against the likes of Maruti Suzuki A-Star, Hyundai i10 and Chevrolet Beat, which are currently dominating the small car segment of the Indian industry. Festive season of India usually witness a surge in demand for the four wheelers, which help the car makers clean up their piled inventories and report record sales volume.

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