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Five auto giants rev up for India

Last updated on: November 22, 2010 10:12 IST

Five auto giants rev up for India

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Swaraj Baggonkar in Mumbai

Five marquee names in the automobile world are gearing up to enter India, the second-fastest growing market globally. Chrysler, Kia, Peugeot, Triumph and Scania are finalising their India blueprint.

The reason is obvious. According to a report by Ernst & Young, India will beat China, North America and Europe to become the fastest growing automobile market.

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Image: Peugeot.

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France's largest car maker PSA Peugeot Citroen is learnt to have held talks with some state governments for land to set up a manufacturing plant.

The company plans an entry through a 100 per cent India subsidiary.

The French company, which has expertise in making stylish compact cars and sedans that are mostly sold in the European market is expected to make an announcement before the end of the year.

A senior company executive had said an announcement could be made in "a few weeks".

It had held discussions with Japan's Mitsubishi Motors for a joint manufacturing programme, which failed to materialise.

Both companies have a joint plant in Russia. Mitsubishi owns a plant in Chennai where it makes SUVs and sedans.

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Image: Citroen.

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US-based Chrysler, which suffered in the recent financial downturn and subsequently filed for bankruptcy protection, is keenly interested in getting its vehicles into India.

About 20 per cent of Chrysler shares are owned by Italian auto giant Fiat, which has an industrial joint venture in India with Tata Motors.

In an emailed reply, a spokesperson of Chrysler said, "India is an important market in the industry, but presently we cannot share our plans or timing."

Fiat is working towards integrating Chrysler into itself and to operate as one entity after it scales its stake in the American company to 35 per cent.

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Image: A car from Chrysler stable.

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Kia Motor, the Korean affiliate company of Hyundai Motor Company, whose India subsidiary is the second-largest car maker domestically, has shown interest in launching its small car and SUV range in India.

Many of the models of Kia Motors share crucial elements with the models of Hyundai. Sources said the four-door compact car, Venga from Kia, which shared the platform with Hyundai's top selling premium hatchback, i20, could be one of the first models to be launched in India.

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Image: Venga from Kia stable.

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A Kia spokesperson said: "We are in the initial feasibility study stage and we are yet to confirm our plans to enter the Indian market.

Of course there is always a possibility of using Hyundai's plants to assemble our cars, but there are no confirmed plans to do that in India."

Kia has a big portfolio of vehicles, including hatchbacks, sedans, SUVs, MUVs and even commercial vehicles.

Hyundai Motor India has two manufacturing plants in India, located in Tamil Nadu.

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Image: Kia Eco.

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Sweden's heavy commercial vehicle maker Scania is also trying to make inroads into the country with its range of heavy-duty trucks and buses.

The company is present in the long-haulage truck segment and in the intra-city and inter-city bus segment.

The company is not keen on venturing on its own in the highly competitive market and is, therefore, looking to partner with one of the local companies for a foray.

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Image: A Scania truck.

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Meanwhile, according to PTI, Spyker of 'Basic Instinct 2' fame is all set to enter here by the next year.

The Netherlands-based Spyker Cars has already shortlisted potential partners to import its vehicles and two dealerships are expected to come in the national capital and Mumbai.

"Spyker has shortlisted the potential partners and we will announce the new retail partner when the arrangements are finalised.

It is our intention to launch the Spyker product in 2011," the company said.

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Image: Spykar.

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Even though the company did not share possible price tags of the models, the marques with hand-crafted body panels will go up to several crores.

For instance, the C8 Spyker Aileron is tagged at pound 220,000 (about Rs 1.6 crore) in London.

Globally, Spyker sells models like iconic C8 series, one of which was driven by Sharon Stone in the 'Basic Instinct 2'.

Other models include LM85, C12 Zagato and D8 Peking-to-Paris.

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Image: C8 Spyker Aileron.

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Spyker Cars, however, are not new to India. In 2007, UB Group promoter Vijay Mallya and Dutch entrepreneur Jan & Michiel Mol had jointly acquired the Spyker Formula One team, which was later renamed as Force India.

UK-based luxury car maker Aston Martin was also understood to be gearing up to launch its cars in India and tied up with Infinity Cars to open the first showroom in Mumbai.

The cars are likely to cost up to Rs 3 crore (Rs 30 million).


Image: Aston Martin.

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