Blog: SMMT conference on India
Dave Leggett | 31 October 2006
Useful day yesterday out of the office at a conference in Kenilworth (near Coventry). Some senior bods from the Indian auto industry were over to meet UK industry people (organised by SMMT and Les Parfitt). Myself and Mark Bursa went along. After a series of presentations, the format turned to one-on-one 15 minute meeting slots, so that everyone got to get to the point on business opportunities with the Indian company reps (think 'speed-dating'). We got quite a bit out of the meetings and it was an interesting discipline to know that you couldn't beat around the bush.
One of the big talking points during the day was the Tata US$2,000 (1 lakh) car. Word is that it is going to be shown publicly late next year and is being described as a genuine car rather than a quadricycle. The Tata boys were keeping cards pretty close to the chest though.
In reality, the car will probably be a 1.5 lakh car (a little like the EUR5,000 Logan never actually retailed at anything like that price). Maruti will likely be keeping the 800 (1980s vintage Alto that sells at 2 lakh) on for a few more years to compete with it at the bottom end of the market where people are making the transition from two-wheels to four.
The UK market will get the Indian-made (Mahindra) RHD Renault/Dacia Logans and it will be interesting to see how it is priced here.
1 US$=45 Indian Rupees; 1 lakh = 100,000 Indian Rupees
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