Sudhakar Shah


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

Maruti Suzuki Not Standing Still Atop India Market 
This year’s rollout of new vehicles will be the largest in Maruti’s 32-year history as a Suzuki subsidiary. They include a mini-truck, a segment to which the automaker is a newcomer.
Keeping Pace With Market Keeps Hyundai India in Front
The automaker’s 10 brands combined claim 21.6% of the local market, second only to Maruti Suzuki, and it is India’s leading exporter with a 40% share of sales. It is utilizing nearly all of its annual 640,000-unit capacity.
Luxury Automakers Not Discouraged by India Slump 
Luxury-segment sales are expected to grow from about 32,000 units in 2013 to nearly 50,000 this year, according to IHS Automotive.
Growth Opportunities Elusive for Indian Parts Makers
Chinese components are priced so low that Indian manufacturers are seeking anti-dumping duties. But India also has a free-trade agreement with the ASEAN trade bloc that allows duty-free imports of parts made in those countries.
Indian Road-Safety Proposals Get Automaker Pushback 
Automakers object most strongly to a rule that would require the recall of a vehicle if 100 customers complain of any defect that could harm a driver, passenger or pedestrian.
Maruti Suzuki Chairman Bhargava OK With Plant Delay 
Delaying the plant will allow Maruti Suzuki to draw on its cash reserves and invest in marketing and sales, expanding the sales network and ‟making the right models,” Bhargava said during the automaker’s September general meeting.
Diesel Demand in India Rises, Falls With Pump Prices
Just 35% of the light-vehicle market in 2007, diesel’s share peaked at 58% in 2013. Diesels’ current share is 53% but that is expected to come down to 35% by the year 2016, turning a full circle over a decade’s time.
Indian Automakers Taxed by Regulatory, Duty Disputes 
Fines, penalties and demands for unpaid excise taxes against the automakers total Rs49.5 billion. Some cases date back a decade or longer.
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.
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