The Indian automotive industry has gone through a sea change over the past decade and has introduced itself to the world as an entity capable of doing much beyond working to blueprints. It has transformed itself on multiple parameters, ranging from the supply chain’s technical competence to indigenous vehicle development.
The most important result of all this has been the major change in the attitude of Indian carmakers and suppliers. Home-grown companies are today keen on making investments in new technology development and are creating more space for engineers and technicians to imagine and visualise, something not too popular just about a decade or 15 years back. Many Indian companies have acquired global manufacturers, and technologies, to make better products. Adopting technology in many cases is less-time consuming and inexpensive than developing it from scratch.
Companies such as Tata Motors and Mahindra & Mahindra are today at the forefront of technical development and their new products testify their intent to achieve a sustainable balance between technology development and adoption rather than pure adoption from the acquired companies. The claim for the most fuel-efficient petrol car in the country right now is with an Indian OEM, and is a proof that carmakers along with the suppliers are taking a step in the right direction. M&M too accomplished what many thought was unachievable by launching the XUV500. The SUV proudly showcases the improvements M&M has made over the past few years.
While international carmakers have been trying hard to increase their share in the small and mid-size passenger car segments, Indian companies are making efforts to take on those companies in segments where they’ve never had or sold a vehicle before. Examples include the Tata Aria, Mahindra XUV500, the upcoming Bajaj KTM motorcycles and the Suzuki Kizashi – if one were to consider Maruti Suzuki as an Indian company.
One could argue that not all of these moves have turned out to be commercially successful, as in the case of the Aria or Mahindra’s plan to sell the Scorpio in the US. That’s an undeniable fact, but no one can take away these manufacturers’ ability to visualise, innovate and then manufacture. If the Indian automotive industry can continue to improvise this further, we have a strong reason to believe that a few years down the line, Indian companies will start fighting for market share even in the international markets rather than advertising just a presence.