Car Makers that Carry India on Wheels
India has seen a phenomenal increase and growth in the Indian automotive industry over that last decade. In late 90’s many of the international companies were seeing India as a great upcoming and booming economy. Keeping this in mind they wanted to set up their base in India. Today, various multinational companies have established their manufacturing plants in India.
The companies that are responsible for carrying mass Indian population (middle class) on wheels are hatchback car makers. Hatchback cars are apt for middle class Indian population. They are easily affordable, fuel efficient and stylish.
One segment which majority of the automobile manufacturers eye on is the hatchback section. this section belongs to the mass population in India i.e. the urban middle class people. Following is an image that shows the total number of passenger cars produced in last decade. Total number of passenger cars produced in India in 1999 was 533,149 units only. Whereas, in 2009 the total number of passenger car production was 2,166,238 which is four times the production in 1999.
Maruti Suzuki India Ltd. is the largest automobile manufacturer in South Asia. Previously listed as a public limited company, it was known as Maruti Udyog Limited until 2007. The company was formed in 1981 but the production process took off in 1983 with the Maruti 800 as the first product. Today, the company is so huge that it has it’s service station all across the Indian Sub-continent. There are two manufacturing plants located at Gurgaon and Manesar. The Gurgaon plant has a facility to manufacture 350,000 units per annum. The Manesar plant that was launched in 2007 has a manufacturing capacity of 100,000 units per annum. Both the plants when combined together, they can produce 700,000 units annually. There are total 15 models offerd by Maruti Suzuki India Limited, that are Maruti 800, Alto, Wagon R, Estilo, A-star, Ritz, Swift, Swift DZire, SX4, Omni, Eeco, Gypsy, Grand Vitara. Swift, Swift DZire, A-star and SX4 are manufactured in Manesar, Grand Vitara is imported from Japan as a completely built unit (CBU), remaining all models are manufactured in Maruti Suzuki’s Gurgaon Plant.
Chung Ju-Yung founded the Hyundai Engineering and Construction Company and later in 1967 founded Hyundai Motors limited. Hyundai as a word means modernity, which truly reflects in Hyundai car designs and technology. Hyundai entered Indian market quite late as compared to other carmakers. In 1996, Hyundai came to India and established a production plant in Irrungattukotai near Chennai. Hyundai’s first product made in India was Hyundai Santro that was a huge success. The tall-boy small car features impressed Indian crowd and still is the most successful car from Hyundai. Hyundai has two manufacturing plants in India located at Sriperumbudur in Tamil Nadu. Both plants have a combined annual capacity of 600,000 units. In 2007 Hyundai opened its R&D facility in Hyderabad. Getz was not as successful as Santro, the car didn’t do well on the Indian grounds but Hyundai came back with a bang and launched i10 and i20. Hyundai Accent and Verna are another two successful cars in A3 segment that are popular amongst Indian crowd.
In 1995, Honda Siel Cars India Ltd., (HSCI) was incorporated. It was a joint venture between Honda Motor, Japan and Siel Limited, a Siddharth Shriram Group company, with a commitment to providing Honda’s latest passenger car models and technologies, to the Indian customers. The company has two manufacturing plants and the total investments made by Honda in India till date is Rs 1620 crores in Greater Noida plant and Rs 784 crores in Tapukara plant. The Greater Noida (U.P.) plant was the first state-of-art manufacturing unit established in 1997 spread over 150 acres of land. The manufacturing capacity of this plant is upto 100,000 units annually. The second manufacturing unit was set up in Tapukara, Rajasthan. The area covered by this plant is much larger that that of the Greater Noida plant. Tapukara plant is spread over 600 acres of land. The initial manufacturing capacity of this plant is 60,000 units annually. The company’s product range includes Honda Jazz, Honda City, Honda Civic and Honda Accord, which are produced at the Greater Noida facility with an indigenization level of 77%, 76%, 74% and 28% respectively. The CR-V is imported from Japan as Completely Built Units.
Ford is world’s second largest automaker with approximately 350,000-employee base working from 200 countries across six continents. Henry Ford formed the company on 16 June 1903. Ford India is currently the eighth largest carmaker in India after Maruti Suzuki, Hyundai, Tata Motors, Mahindra, Chevrolet, Honda and Toyota. It was in the year 1998 that Ford India began production with Ford Escort model. Later in 2001, locally produced Ford Ikon replaced Escort. After Escort it was Fusion, Fiesta, Mondeo and Endeavour added to the product line. In India, the manufacturing unit is established at Maraimalai Nagar, which is just 45 kms away from Chennai. The manufacturing unit at Maraimalai Nagar covers 350 acres of land and the cost of construction was Rs.1700 Crore. The plant is equipped with latest and advanced manufacturing technology from Ford. It has a manufacturing capacity of 10,000 units per year. The total number of employees (direct employees) at Maraimalai plant is 2000 appx. Ford is a 6-Sigma company. Today, Ford India discontinued Escort, Mondeo and Fusion, however, they continue to sell Ikon, Endeavour, Fiesta and Figo. The first made-for-India car launched by Ford Motor was Ford Figo. The compact car was launched on 9th March 2010 in Hatchback section at Rs. 349,000 starting price. It was launched keeping the mass Indian market (middle class section) in mind. As of July 2010, Ford India Private Limited (FIPL) has 167 dealerships across 97 cities in 21 states and 3 Union Territories of India. The company has plans to expand it to 200 dealerships by year-end.
It was in 2005 that Nissan Motors India Private Ltd (NMIPL) incorporated as a 100% subsidiary of Nissan Motor Co., Japan. It was set up with the objective of bettering the lives of people through latest Nissan’s Technology and products. The company started by bringing Completely Built Units (CBUs) to India. The first product that the company brought in to India, for the Indian buyer, was the X-Trail, which was in 2005. Teana that was introduced in 2007 and the Micra followed this, which was introduced in 2010. Nissan has built a manufacturing capacity of 2,00,000 cars at its facilities in Chennai and is investing about Rs 4500 crores along with Renault in the Indian operations.
The Company is not new to India and Indians. It was in the year 1928 when Chevrolet came to India. The very first Chevrolet office was set up in Mumbai with an assembly plant in Sewree. General Motors (GM), Chevrolets parent company, was the first international automobile company to open an assembly plant in India. In the first year of production in India i.e. 1928, GM sold 13,903 cars and trucks built at Sewree. The Nawab of Hyderabad in 1930 (that time considered richest man in the world) used Chevrolet cars as his official cars. Ford was Chevrolet’s first competitor in India when it launched Model A with a completely steel body, which was a huge success in 1930. A year later, Chevrolet replied with the launch of a car equipped with six-cylinder engine that developed 46 horsepower. This very car gave Chevrolet its highest sales in India in 1931.
It is one of the biggest automakers in India, formerly known as Telco (Tata Engineering and Locomotive Company). In 2008, Tata acquired two of the British brands namely Jaguar and Land Rover after which the total revenue was $16 billion. Today, Tata Motors is India’s largest automobile company,with consolidated revenues of USD 20 billion in 2009-10. The first major success for Tata was the launch of Tata Indica, India’s first fully indigenous passenger car. It was launched in 1998 and was a huge success. The latest addition in the passenger car segment is the Tata Nano, notably world’s cheapest car. In 2004 the company acquired Tata Daewoo Commercial Vehicle, and in late 2005 it acquired 21% of Aragonese Hispano Carrocera giving it controlling rights of the company. The company’s manufacturing base in India is spread across Jamshedpur (Jharkhand), Pune (Maharashtra), Lucknow (Uttar Pradesh), Pantnagar (Uttarakhand) and Dharwad (Karnataka). Tata Motors set up an alliance with Fiat in 2005. The alliance brough about an industrial joint venture with Fiat Group Automobiles at Ranjangaon (Maharashtra) to produce both Fiat and Tata cars and Fiat powertrains. The company is establishing a new plant at Sanand (Gujarat).