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Cars from India, China? Not interested say Americans

Last updated on: August 23, 2011 11:44 IST

Cars from India, China? Not interested say Americans

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Seema Hakhu Kachru in Houston

A wave of new Indian and Chinese automobiles are poised to make their debut in the US market in coming months, but a new study has found that most Americans are not open to the idea of buying a car from companies like Tata, Mahindra and BYD.

Market research firm GfK Automotive's Barometer of Automotive Awareness and Imagery Study found that Chinese and Indian auto-makers could face a similar purchase consideration curve to Korean vehicles when they launched in the US.

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In that case, it took more than 15 years for consumers to significantly increase their consideration to purchase Korean vehicles.

The majority of American consumers are not open to buying a car from a Chinese or Indian manufacturer.

Such auto-makers looking to break into the US market face challenges in brand awareness and acceptance, said the study.

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Image: Maruti Swift.
Photographs: CarDekho.com
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The Barometer of Automotive Awareness and Imagery Study found that only 38 per cent of the respondents would consider buying a Chinese car and 30 per cent an Indian vehicle.

In contrast, 95 per cent are open to buying from an American company, 76 per cent from a German manufacturer, 75 per cent a Japanese vehicle and 49 per cent a Korean model.

Gen Y consumers were the most open to buying Chinese or Indian vehicles, with 52 per cent saying they'd consider a car from China and 41 per cent open to a car from India.

Predictably, Baby Boomers were the least interested.

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Supporting its report, GfK cited the challenge Hyundai initially had gaining market acceptance in America, stating that 'Chinese and Indian automakers could face a similar purchase consideration curve'.

"However, we would add that the quality, performance, safety and reliability of the models make all the difference.

"And Hyundai initially trailed in all those regards.

"Perception took years to change, because the company itself took over 15 years to offer competitive products," it said.

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Companies such as BYD (China), Chery (China) and Mahindra (India) have in recent years declared their intent to launch products in the United States, only to repeatedly delay their introduction.

"Clearly, the time will come when cars arrive on our shores directly from such manufacturers. For some, arguably, the time is now, as the current parent company for Land Rover and Jaguar, Tata, is an India-based corporation.

"And Volvo is owned by China-based Geely," GfK Automotive said in its report.


Image: A worker at the Maruti Suzuki stockyard in Ahmedabad.
Photographs: Amit Dave/Reuters
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