As India's economy picks up, new car sales look to be following suit. Despite high hopes for the industry, the world's dominant carmakers don't eye the Indian market with the same lust as the Chinese market. With an existing relationship with Tata Motors, MG Rover may be able to steal a march on its larger rivals.

November saw a surge in new passenger car sales in India, with an increase of 41% on the previous year. According to the Society of Indian Automobile Manufacturers, sales leapt to 58,166 units, from 41,146 the year before. This has led to an increase in sales for the April-November period from 344,701 to 433,840.

The increases are thought to be the result of a general upturn in India's economic conditions, in particular soft interest rates, at 30-year lows, as well as a strong stock market and an expected growth rate of 7% or more for the year. Sales of commercial vehicles, which often reflect the country's general economic health, were up by more than 50% to 21,860 vehicles.

The automotive boom is fuelled by financing schemes, which are behind 70% of new car sales, and are expanding car ownership into the more remote rural areas of the country.

India's market leader is Maruti Udyog, with Tata Motors, part of the giant Tata conglomerate, also a major player. Both of these companies saw their sales jump by more than 44% for the month.

Of the major international firms, only Honda has a significant presence in the market. Whilst most of the world's major players move in on China, it seems the Indian market is being overlooked. Ford has a fairly minor presence in the country. Its Indian arm sold 1,598 units in November, although this was a 94% increase on its November sales last year.

It seems like an ideal time for new entrants such as MG Rover to move in.

The British carmaker is just about to launch its new CityRover model, which is being produced in India by Tata and is heavily based on Tata's Indica.

Although unlikely, MG Rover could be in a position to reverse the process and assist Tata with future models for the Indian market.