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Indian Automotive Brands & Segments

There was a time (1980s) when we had only two Indian Automotive brands – Padmini & Ambassador. The consumers had only two options and the estimate Annual Sales used to be around 20000 numbers. Maruti pitched in the year 1983 with its legendary Alto which challenged the monopoly of HM & Premier Automobiles. Post liberalization many foreign auto makers set shop in India. Fiat, Ford, Peugeot were the early entrants into the Indian market realizing its potential. Soon we saw an upsurge in demand and our home-grown Tata Motors jumped into the bandwagon. Within a short span of 25 years the number of OEM’s in the Indian market grew to 25! The market which was churning out 20000 numbers now grew to a level of more than 20 Lakh vehicle sales annually.

With demand grew competition, so did the complications. Customers were spoilt for choice! There were so many options in the market, that it had to be regularized. Hence, SIAM decided to divide it into SEGMENTS. It was primarily a division based on the length of the vehicle. The Segmentation as per SIAM (considering the length) and the Indian Brands in the segments is as follows –

1) Mini (A1) / A Segment

The stalwart segment which boats of the most popular brands such as Maruti 800 & Tata Nano. This segment had grew very fast in the initial years of expansion of Indian Automotive Industry. It started shrinking with the formation of new segments. It was recently revived with the entry of Tata’s Nano and has also triggered other OEMs to bring products in this table. Bajaj/Nissan/Renault JV is expected to bring another offering in this segment. All would depend on how Nano sales progresses.


2) Compact Hatchback (A2) / B Segment

This is one of the fastest growing segments in India and accounts to more than 50% of Automotive Sales. This Segment has a never-ending number of brands lined up and the list keeps growing. The value-for-money, city friendly and practical qualities of products in this segment has made it the peoples favorite. We expect this segment to stabilize now and predict the dynamic growth of value for money sedans in the next few years. The Brands in this Segment are –

3) Midsize (A3) / C Segment

This segment also has many models today catering to a wide price bracket. It is classified into entry-level and premium ‘SEDAN’ categories. 2011 saw maximum launches in this space. This highlights the importance OEMs are giving to this segment and is bound to grow exponentially in near future. Models –

4) Executive (A4) / D Segment

Majority of the models in this segment were brought into the Indian market as CBU’s. As volumes increased, localization and price rationalization were the after effects. This Segment has become the obvious choice of successful professionals and stands as an attractive option between Sedans and Premium Saloons. The offerings in this segment are –

5) Premium (A5) / E Segment

The Luxury or the high end segment is the only segment which has shown signs of sustainable growth in past 2-3 years. This has attracted a lot of Premium Auto Manufacturers to explore Indian terrain and India has emerged as one of most important Strategic Markets for these OEMs.

6) Luxury (A6) / F Segment

The choice of CEO’s, Managing Directors and the ultra-luxurious chaffuer driven car – would be the right definition for the offerings in this space.

7) SUV / MPV / MUV

Considering the poor infrastructure and road conditions – this segment has been the most rational choice for all. This segment has always been the obvious choice for Rural masses and is still bound to grow further. With immense people carrying capacity, off-road capability, driven by diesel and with the ‘image’ factor attributed to it; it has grown leaps and bounds throughout. You’ll not be amazed to see the number of offerings in this segment –

9) Convertible/Coupe/Supercars

This is an extension of E & F segments. With the advent of Ferrari, Bentley, Lamborghini, Porsche, etc in last few years the number of offerings have amplified. After the popularity of F1 and with the increasing number of billionaires in India, we are sure to see a much of these on Indian roads –

The exhaustive list of Brands mentioned above are the right indicator of the Indian Automotive Growth story. But the million dollar question is – how many of the brands mentioned above are going to remain in the next few years.

2011 also saw the demise of the iconic Fiat Palio. Auto makers need to understand the competitiveness of the Indian Market – and there is no room for failure!


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