Tata’s weaknesses include product planning that fails to recognize changing markets, dealers’ lack of understanding of what buyers want and low profit margins. Management has given no clear indication that it is addressing these issues.
Volkswagen is reshaping its strategy in India, where combined VW and Skoda car sales through August were down 35.4% from a year earlier, according to WardsAuto data. Skoda India has put new investments on hold.
Toyota is refining its manufacturing practices to again ensure quality. New Managing Director Naomi Ishii has started the process for rapid localization of parts and is working to choose the right models in the right segments.
Mahindra has come to realize its products are out of sync with the compact or entry-level sedans and utility vehicles the market now demands. It plans new platforms and will launch three new compact SUVs over the next two years.
Buyers can choose from among 150 high-end models from five automakers, including the Indian subsidiaries of Audi, BMW and Mercedes-Benz, and 70 super-luxuries from nine manufacturers ranging from Aston Martin to Rolls-Royce.
JLR sales increased 22% to 115,596 in first-quarter 2014, raising Tata’s overall operating margin to 20.3% from 15.8% year-ago, while the domestic business’s margin fell to -2.8% from 2.3% in the same period.
Honda India dropped every model but the CR-V and refilled its portfolio with the popular Brio hatchback and Amaze compact sedan. The Mobilio is shaping up as India’s most successful MPV since the Toyota Innova.
Domestic automakers and global manufacturers’ Indian subsidiaries are exporting, or will export, both fully assembled vehicles and kits for local assembly in the importing country. Their market reach is worldwide.
Maruti Suzuki is campaigning to convince global and local investors of the benefits of parent Suzuki’s wholly owned India operation. But some Maruti Suzuki shareholders oppose the plan and regulators have questioned its legality.
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