India’s most-exported cars

It’s now an established fact that India is a country that most automakers are flocking too for two reasons. There is great potential to sell cars in the Indian market and carmakers also see India as a key manufacturing hub to export cars to other countries.

Last year, India became the third largest exporter of cars among Asian countries. Almost all the car companies, both home-grown and international, are tapping export potential from the Indian market – some more than others. Here are some of the car companies that are doing very well in terms of car exports from India, and there are some surprises here.

Nissan: Micra

nissan micra front right
Photo: Micra is a big export hit for Nissan

Did you know, that although the Nissan Micra sells only about 1,650 cars a month in the domestic market, it exports over 1 lakh cars from India, which include nearly 87,000 units of the Micra in the past one year? The Sunny, which was launched in India in September, last year, is also now among the most exported cars from India, selling in South-east Asia and the Middle-east. The Micra and the Sunny share the same platform – Nissan’s V platform – and are made at the company’s plant near Chennai. Nissan also shares the manufacturing facilities with sister company Renault for the Pulse and Fluence. Check out our car research hub for Nissan Micra.

Nissan will be doubling export volumes this year, as it has ramped up its production capacity from 2 lakh cars to 4 lakh cars. The company also plans to bring in the Datsun brand, which will have a larger domestic focus and lower cost cars.

Maruti: A-Star

Maruti is India’s largest carmaker and one of India’s largest car exporters too. It sells cars in 125 countries around the world, including Europe, Africa and the ASEAN region. The biggest selling car from Maruti is the A-Star, which has sold over 300,000 units cumulatively.

The A-Star is branded differently in different countries. It sells as the Celerio in Algeria and as the Alto in Europe. Other exports include the Alto that has sold 250,000 units cumulatively and the 800. The company’s top three export markets are Algeria, Sri Lanka and Indonesia, where it recently launched the Ertiga as well. The company also exports the Swift to markets in Europe and the Ritz to South Asian markets. Check out our car research hub for the Maruti Suzuki A Star.

Ford: Figo

ford figo
Photo: Figo a big hit in India

Ford India has been slowly scaling up exports of the Figo, which was developed first as an India-specific model. By the end of the year, Ford plans to sell the Figo in 50 countries. It currently exports about  2,400 units of the Figo a month to 35 countries, to markets like Cape Verde, the Carribean, Mexico, Africa, and the Middle-East. Ford currently has only a single plant in Chennai, with the second one coming up in Sanand, Gujarat. By 2014, Ford sees India, China and Thailand, all countries where it has manufacturing facilities, as key components of its global “One Ford” program. Check out our car research hub for the Ford Figo.

Mahindra: Scorpio, Getaway

Scorpio front
Photo: In India, the Scorpio is overshadowed by big brother XUV500 now

Mahindra’s plans of exporting the Scorpio to the U.S. have hit rough weather and been in the news for all the wrong reasons. However, the company has been scaling up exports in many of its other markets such as South Africa, South America, European markets like Italy, France and also Russia, Australia, the Middle East and South East Asia. The Scorpio sells under the brand name “Goa” in some markets. It also sells the pick-up version (which we know as the Getaway). The Bolero and the Thar are other Mahindra vehicles that are exported, while it has been going slow on its XUV500 export plans because of production constraints. Check out our car research hub for the Mahindra Scorpio. 

Tata: Indica, Telcoline

Photo: Indica is value for money in India and abroad!

Tata is another large exporter of vehicles. The Tata Indica is one of its largest exported vehicles, followed by the Tata Safari, Tata Xenon and Tata 207 (which sells as the Telcoline pick-up in some markets). South Africa is one of Tata’s biggest markets followed by Europe. Tata has also begun exporting the Nano and has big plans for further development on this platform. Although at present Nano exports are miniscule, the Nano Europa is likely to be developed as a purely international car. It has already caught the imagination of car enthusiasts around the world – being the cheapest car in the world, with even TV host Jay Leno adding a Nano to his collection of cars recently. Check out our car research hub for the Tata Indica.

Hyundai: Santro Xing, i10, i20

santro xing
Photo: The Santro is still popular among buyers looking for a low cost car

Hyundai has been big on exports from its India plant near Chennai. It builds and exports the Santro and the Accent, and in the past couple of years it added the i10 and i20 to its growing export portfolio. , It sells its cars to South Africa, Australia, UK and South East Asia. Since starting exports in 1999 from India, Hyundai sold over 10 lakh vehicles overseas by 2010. The Santro has been its most popular export model so far. Check out our car research hub for the Hyundai Santro.

Toyota: Etios, Liva

toyota etios
Photo: Slow starter in India, now sales are picking up

The latest company to start exports from India is Toyota, with a first lot of shipments of the Liva and Etios being sent off to South Africa in April this year. These cars were developed specifically for the Indian market and find takers in similar markets. It plans to send about 20,000 cars to South Africa this year. Check out our car research hub for the Toyota Etios.

Other companies such as Volkswagen plan to also make India an export hub, by making and selling the Polo from India in other countries in Asia. Next time you hop into a familiar looking car in a foreign country, don’t be surprised to see the “Made in India” stamped on it.