Even as its share of the Indian market continues its steady shrinkage, the automaker appears to be suffering from no shortage of optimism. Its share of the Indian market is below 1% but it hopes to double that figure by 2020.
CEO Guenter Butschek’s immediate task is to reverse a decline in both car sales and market share that fell more than 50% from 2012 in 2016, while exports last year reached just 60% of their 2012 level.
Fiat India offers about 35 variants of six models, none of them in the growing SUV segment. That limited lineup puts the automaker near the bottom of a list of more than 35 companies that offer nearly 800 variants of their models in India.
Tasked with turning around Tata’s sales slide, among other problems, is new CEO and managing director Guenter Butschek, previously chief operating officer of Airbus and head of Daimler’s joint automaking venture in China.
The automaker has developed two new, versatile multipurpose platforms, one due this year and the next in 2017. It also is working on six small eco-friendly engines, three diesels and three gasoline models.
The Indian subsidiary is assuming key responsibilities within the Ford organization, particularly as a development base for the automaker’s new-vehicle platform designated for most of its models in emerging global markets.
To keep up with the changing market, some automakers are using more modular platforms and parts designed for multiple uses. This helps them develop product plans for up to 10 years while maintaining contact with young buyers.
Suzuki Motor Gujarat, wholly owned by the Japanese automaker, will build Maruti Suzuki-branded light vehicles built to the joint venture’s specifications. The deal provides India’s No.1 automaker with urgently needed capacity.
By establishing its SMG subsidiary, Suzuki appears to be distancing itself from Maruti Suzuki, even though it holds a 56% stake in the JV. The Japanese automaker anticipates substantial earnings from the cars it will make for Maruti Suzuki at two new plants.
Despite evidence that VW misrepresented emissions data to Indian authorities, the automaker need look no farther than a similar case involving General Motors India to see its actions might not carry a severe penalty.
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