A range of mass-market and luxury brands have the potential to rain their cars on the Indian soil and add to their profitability besides providing potential buyers with quirky and practical offerings.
Reaping the fruits of Liberalisation and Globalisation, a huge number of global automakers got to examine and enter the Indian economy. Consumers got access to German, American, Korean and Japanese cars among others which not only provided them with options that were better in terms of quality and finesse, but also challenged the indigenous automakers to evolve and become competent to sustain the feud. However, there are several marques which should eye India as this market could be one of the best for them. Here are some of those brands.
Millennials, it is quite likely you guys would have reckoned classics such as the RX8 and the RX7 coupe as a requiem from the past. These were just some of the cars that built a robust pedigree for Mazda as a brand besides the MX-5 Miata which pulchritudinally asserted with conviction that affordability can be fast and rewarding too.
Apart from these icons, there is a generous lineup of affordable sedans and SUVs which can taste the palatable Indian market by being launched here and add to the Japanese flair. Sedans such as the Mazda 2 and the Mazda 3 could be ideal cars to get launched.
Contemporaneously, the brand can also focus on launching SUV crossovers such as the CX-30 and the CX-5 to rapidly build a respectable place for itself amidst the rising competition.
Some of you might have heard about this brand. It is Hyundai’s premium brand which has some tasteful options in its product portfolio. While Hyundai has failed several times with the Sonata, Santa Fe and the Terracan, launching its premium brand through standalone showrooms and offering class-leading tech and refinement in its cars will pay them in generous numbers.
Hyundai has already said that bringing the Genesis brand is under consideration but it is a bit surreptitious as to when it will debut. Like the Germans, an overwhelming quantum of customisation can be offered with the Genesis models to tantalise the buyers and delivering on the front of perceived value.
It is quite likely for the brand to start its innings with the G70 sedan which rivals the Mercedes-Benz C-Class, Audi A4, Volvo S60, BMW 3-Series and the Audi A4 in the international markets. This can be followed with the bigger G80 sedan or SUVs such as the GV70 and the GV80 which cater to people preferring cars such as the Mercedes-Benz GLC, BMW X3 and the BMW X5 and Mercedes-Benz GLE, respectively.
You might have seen these pint-sized hatchbacks in several Bollywood and Hollywood movies or come across an old imported two-seater hatch smaller than even a Tata Nano! These hatches belong to now owned by Daimler, Smart. At the moment, it has a couple of electric cars suited for globetrotting. The EQ fortwo is the base model which as the name adages, is a two-seater car available in convertible body style as well.
The more pragmatic of the lot, the Forfour seats 4 passengers in comfort and is likely to be the more sought-after choice when launched in India. These cars come tautly built, pack in extravagant tech, look futuristic but their EV credentials are likely to make them expensive. However, their unique design coupled with compact dimensions making it easier to manoeuvre through the traffic and snugly fitting in tight parking spaces are going to be the manna they will bring with themselves. If the Government reduces the taxes on these electric vehicles significantly, these cars do have good reasons to get launched in India.
Before you put your thinking caps on and start to ponder, Peugeot did try to investigate what destiny had in menu for itself and the preposterous brand image built by the 309 that was subject to a lot of foibles combined with labour unrest forced them to exit India within a very short span. However, going by how far the brand has transcended itself in terms of design and technology, it should certainly plan for its second innings in India.
With a well cadenced lineup of cars including everything from budget and premium hatchbacks to high-end SUVs, the brand has it all. Models such as the 508, 3008 and the 5008 could be the first ones to launch for a zesty start.
With Genesis’ arrival being imminent, Honda can launch its upscale brand, Acura to rival the former and its long time Japanese contemporary, Lexus. With four good models in its hands, it can adopt to localise these cars to cater to the fastidious Indian crowd and adopt CKD route for the supply chain.
A stupendous surprise could be the launch of the NSX in moxie which will get the enthusiasts rolling yet again and drive the attention towards Honda as the ‘maker of the world’s best engines.’ Its ILX compact sedan could be the ideal maiden proposition to start the game.
One of the companies under the bumbershoot of the prestigious VW group, Seat expands the number of options provided by VW and Skoda cars in the same segments. Delving briefly into its history, This Spanish brand had a 3 decade long relationship with Fiat from the 1950s to the 1980s before being taken over by the VW group. It is known for its hatchbacks, Ibiza and Leon which fall in the segments of VW Polo and Skoda Octavia, respectively.
The fact that Indian consumers haven’t witnessed a Spanish car yet, it would be the perfect time to seize the opportunity and offer something unconventional on the platter. The Ibiza rivalling the Maruti Baleno, VW Polo and the Hyundai i20 or the Toledo compact sedan pitted against the likes of the Hyundai Verna and the Honda City could be the stellar products from the brand.
Arguably one of the most revolutionary brands of the 21st century, Polestar is Volvo’s performance arm and as you might have guessed it, it tries to do all that its parent company isn’t known for. As an electric vehicle brand, it tries hard to provide electrifying performance and build a famed reputation for itself as a brand every enthusiast would set its heart out for.
These feisty cars germinating from Polestar might be exorbitantly expensive though, considering the amount of engineering which Volvo has stuffed into these. That said, the brand itself is in a niche segment and the fact that Mercedes-Benz, Jaguar and Audi have already taken a leap forward towards launching EVs in India, Polestar should definitely be in the pipeline for Volvo.
It offers two models bearing several nuances with each other. While the Polestar 1 is unmistakably Volvo but comes across as a coupe, the Polestar 2 is a fastback with 4 doors and a cavernous boot.
Perceived as the underdog in many markets, Subaru is a Japanese marque known for its cars with bulletproof reliability. It has had a pretty revered racing and rally heritage with cars such as the WRX STi and the Impreza. In a similar fashion to that of Mazda, Subaru also has a broad bandwidth of sedans and SUVs which could be launched in India. sedans such as the Impreza and Legacy and crossovers such as the XV can befit our market very well.
We know that Datsun is Nissan’s low-cost brand meant to serve the emerging markets. However, it also harangues of a more upmarket brand called Infiniti which has made its presence felt in the international markets. Known for its no-nonsense models, people prefer this brand as their cars run for years without making evident marks of senescence and for a slightly elevated and palpable luxury experience.
Crossovers such as the QX30 and sedans such as the Q50 can bequeath a rocket start to the brand in India.
One of the icons that eluded from being a slave to the books of history and returned to delight the world during the peak of the Coronavirus apocalypse, was Hummer. The brand was synonymous for its tank-like H2 and H3 models and continues the tradition with the Hummer EV.
Branded as the ‘world’s first all-electric supertruck,’ the brand is back with unbelievable off-road shenanigans and upto an earth-shattering 1000 HP of power output provided by the pickup. Doing the stunning nought to 60 mph sprint in a blisteringly quick, 3 seconds, it receives a claimed range of over 300 miles which will be completed on massive 35″ tyres!
The EV gets never-seen-before features such as CrabWalk, which defines its ability to trundle diagonally, Super Cruise function which facilitates autonomous driving and Ultravision, which is the name of the technology that let’s you gaze at what lies underneath the body to help you gauge your path better among others.
Add to it, the hooligan-inspired and brawny looks and it makes a justifiable business case for itself to be brought to India.
Paying homage to some of the world’s most thoroughbred sports cars, Lotus is a British brand known for its relatively affordable, compact and nimble coupes such as the Evora and the Exige. However, with both of these set to get discontinued and replaced by the recently unveiled Emira, it would be prolific to Lotus’ success if it launches this last gasoline-powered coupe before shifting lane to electrification.
The Emira churns out 360 HP horses in fine fettle from under the hood where a 3.5-litre supercharged V6 4-cylinder petrol mill does the slogging. Being more technologically advanced than its predecessors and packing in a host of electronic nannies, the Emira is a package really hard to be ignorant to.
Getting to experience the thrill of driving a full-fed sports car for much lesser than a Ferrari or Lamborghini has been the reverie of many which might get fulfilled upon this brand’s foray.