Sudhakar Shah


Sudhakar covers the Indian auto industry from his base in Mumbai.

Savvy Hyundai Shines in Gloomy Indian Car Market
Hyundai India’s advantage lies in its diverse portfolio, its ability to adjust its product mix on short notice and capacity to revise export volumes as needed.
Zest Compact Not Enough to Halt Tata’s Long Decline 
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.
Mercedes Ups Ante in India’s Luxury-Vehicle Market 
‟Last year we were dubbed as selling fathers’ cars,” CEO and Managing Director Eberhard Kern says. ‟We are now selling sons’ and daughters’ cars.”
Disharmony Between Volkswagen, Skoda in India 
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 India’s Sales, Fiscal Injuries Self-Inflicted
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.
Maruti Suzuki Profiting From Push Into Rural India
Maruti faces intense competition with Honda, Hyundai and Nissan in urban areas, but India’s No.1 automaker also has penetrated into the rural interior, which it has virtually no competitors.
Refreshed Portfolio Helps Mahindra Fight Stale Sales
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.
JLR’s Smarts, New Models Help Tata Reinvent Itself
The mainstream automaker and its luxury division would benefit from significant exchanges of ideas regarding Tata’s market strategies and JLR technologies.
Luxury, Super-Luxury Models Enrich India Auto Market 
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.
Automakers to Appeal Fines in India Antitrust Case 
The automakers were accused of severely restraining the availability of parts, services and warranties, increasing costs for consumers and forcing many independent workshops out of business.
JLR-Driven Profits Belie Tata’s Domestic Distress 
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.
New Product Mix Regains Lost Ground for Honda India
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.
Export Markets New Combat Zone for Indian Automakers
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.
India Car Sales Show Fitful Upturn; Light Trucks Lag 
Car sales’ return to positive territory comes as customer interest shifts from entry-level and midsize small hatchbacks to premium hatchbacks and entry-level sedans.
Suzuki Faces Shareholder Pushback Over India Venture 
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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