India is set to see quite a few new cars on the road in 2013, despite the poor growth shown by the automobile sector last year. New models from Chevrolet, Maruti Suzuki, Mercedes, Audi, Jaguar and Jaguar Land Rover and even Ferrari and Maserati are all expected to enter the market this year.
According to the Society of Indian Automobile Manufacturers, the growth in the passenger car segment declined by 0.33% in 2012-13, but producers are still optimistic. Del Sehmar, communications manager, Jaguar Land Rover, says, "We have to be cautiously optimistic. The overall car market is slowing down and that's well documented. But with the appeal that our products have got, we're confident that in 2013, we will continue to grow."
P. Balendran, vice president, General Motors India (GM) says, "We at GM India are looking to grow in tandem with the market or even exceed the market growth this year. Having said so, we strictly believe that government reforms are crucial for sustainable automobile industry growth going forward."
According to Balendran, GM's main focus will be on building the Chevrolet brand further in India. The company is preparing to launch the Chevrolet Sail sedan in the first week of February. This will be a replacement for the Aveo. Further, the company is preparing to launch the Chevrolet Enjoy MPV in the next few months. Balendran says that Enjoy will compete with the likes of Maruti Ertiga and Mahindra Quanto and the company is set to "define the utility vehicle segment with a renewed focus on fuel efficiency and best-in-class spaciousness".
Jaguar Land Rover Automotive PLC, a Tata Motors subsidiary, is gearing up to launch a "refreshed" Freelander 2, which will be launched within a month's time. Jaguar itself has also announced the launch of the new locally built Jaguar XS, including a new 2.2 litre diesel engine, reducing the price from Rs 61 lakh to Rs 44.5 lakh.
Del Sehmar also said that in a matter of weeks, Jaguar will launch a new version of the luxury model Jaguar XJ. It is called the Jaguar XJ Ultimate and is a backseat passenger car with features such as a built-in champagne cooler, integrated iPad, etc. Later in the year, it will launch the Jaguar F-type sports model. Sehmar further says that there are more to come in 2013.
Mercedes Benz India, the erstwhile leader of the luxury car segment, is gearing up to launch the G-class in the first quarter. This will be followed by the diesel and petrol models for the A-class, quoted at Rs 20 lakh to Rs 25 lakh and the diesel model for the Mercedes B-class, which will be slightly higher priced as compared to the existing B-class models. The locally assembled GL-class from Mercedes will also be unveiled sometime this year. A source in the company says that the launch of the S-class too is being considered.
Industry leader Maruti Suzuki will also launch a compact SUV sometime during the year, says a highly placed source in the company.
German luxury car manufacturer Audi, which recently took over the second spot in the luxury car segment from Mercedes, launched its new Audi R8 Coupe on Monday.
The Fiat Chrysler group is also looking to introduce its legendary Jeep brand in the country in 2013. In the high end sports car segment, the Ferrari F12berlinetta and the new Maserati Quattroporte will hit the Indian roads this year.