General Motors, Fiat, Ford trying their level best to find foothold in the Indian market

Friday 20 July 2012, 11:26 AM by

With companies like Tata Motors, Maruti Suzuki, Mahindra & Mahindra, Hyundai and Toyota doing well to rake in huge profits in the domestic circuit, big players in the international scene like Fiat, Ford and, most recent in competition, General Motors (GM) have not yet managed to find a foothold in the nation's automobile market. There have been repetitive attempts by the automakers to make space for themselves in the sector but none of them have really struck a chord with the average Indian buyer.

Since fiscal year 2008, till last records are available, that is fiscal year 2011, Fiat, Ford, Honda and GM have incurred collective losses of Rs. 2,700 crore on net sales worth Rs 43,000 crore. This can somehow be justified by the fact that the global companies were investing in the domestic market, establishing units and expanding the businesses. In a country where the brandname Maruti enjoys unending trust, it gets difficult for a foreign player to take a slice out of the cake.

The recent split between Fiat and Tata Motors’ has resulted in a scar on the image of the Italian car maker. They collectively had 178 dealerships. However, once split, Fiat had to invest a large amount of money on establishing itself solo in the minds of the prospective consumers. With exclusive 'Fiat branded' showrooms, the 0.7 per cent market share holder plans to mark their own place in the industry and improve sales. The outcome, however, can only be speculated as of now.

General Motors have brought to India more vehicles than any other foreign multinational in such a small duration. However, none of their products could do ample business to land them in favourable position in the Indian scenario. With the Beat, Spark, Aveo, Optra, Captiva and SRV, GM has their representatives in every segment of the Indian motor industry. However, a car like Captiva came at a discount of Rs 2 lacs when the newer model was being introduced. The reason is that they failed to understand the Indian demand in the first place.

Ford tuned into the potential of India's buying power with Figo, which was tailor-made for the Indian market. It was a sigh of relief and Ford now plans to bring more hatchbacks in India which will be 'smaller and cheaper than the Figo'. The hatchback could give competition to the extremely popular cars like Maruti Suzuki WagonR and Hyundai Santro. The Ford Endeavour was launched in India in 2008 and did good business. However, it had to face tough competition from SUVs of other brands later.

Ford has luckily realized what it takes to capture Indian markets, and not too late. Indian consumers want their automobiles to have distinctive qualities. The sense of competition is an integral part of their nature. Competitiveness is essential in brands companies like Fiat and General Motors. By 2050, it is believed, India will be the hottest market for automobiles in the world. A fair share in this market will always be a smart bet.

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