Snapshot – The budget car segments bring the greatest volumes in the Indian market, which also prompts car makers to try new things to grab market share. This year has already seen three big experiments in the form of the Datsun Go+ 7 seat stationwagon-esque MPV, the Tata Nano GenX AMT and the Maruti Suzuki Celerio Diesel. More such experimentation will follow, and this list will take a look at six more cars and SUVs could really alter the landscape of the Indian market. Let’s go crystal ball gazing, shall we?
Renault Kwid Budget Hatchback
The Renault Kwid will bring SUV-like looks to the one of the most affordable ends of the Indian car market – the entry level budget segment. The 800cc-57 Bhp petrol engined Kwid will take on the likes of the Maruti Suzuki Alto 800 and the Hyundai Eon.
The big deal about the Kwid is its styling, which is the boldest we’ve seen in years, in this conservative segment that usually plays it safe. The last big bang was the Nano, and the Kwid aims to give buyers a brand new car to think about in the 3-4 lakh rupee segments.
Maruti Suzuki Swift Hybrid
The Maruti Suzuki Swift Hybrid will first be inducted into Indian government fleets as an experiment. If the experiment proves to be successful, the entire hatchback space of the country is for the Swift Hybrid’s taking. With a 48.2 Kmpl fuel efficiency figure, the Swift Hybrid can really change the way Indians look at hybrid cars, a segment that is yet to take off.
The car could also be the most affordable hybrid when it enters serial production. Heavy localization and a sales success for the hybrid Swift mean that other Maruti Suzuki cars could also take this approach in the coming years. So, a lot is riding on this car that could cost as little as your monthly internet broadband subscription to run.
Mahindra S101 Micro SUV
Mahindra’s S101 codenamed vehicle will introduce 6 seats, high ground clearance, petrol and diesel engine options, and a sub-4 meter Micro SUV package to the Indian market. A price tag of under 5 lakh rupees could mean that the S101 Micro SUV challenges the status quo of many hatchbacks in an SUV crazy country.
Like the XUV500 demolished the D-Segment luxury sedan market, the S101 could do the same in the hatchback segment. So, this is one SUV that many car makers will be watching closely. Maruti Suzuki even has its own edition in the pipeline, and this says a lot about the potential that this segment has.
Maruti Suzuki Swift Diesel AMT
The Swift Diesel AMT seeks to make highly fuel efficient automatic diesel cars mainstream, a process that has been kick started by the Tata Zest. While the Zest AMT is a sluggish seller, the Swift Diesel with such an option could set the market afire, considering the popularity of the Swift brand.
In that sense, the Swift Diesel AMT is what could make a real difference in how other car manufacturers react in offering buyers in India a combination of affordability, low running costs and convenience. The Dzire and Ertiga Diesel AMTs are bound to follow, and this could just be the tip of the iceberg as far as affordable diesel AMTs go.
Fiat Punto Abarth/Tata Bolt Sport
The Fiat Punto Abarth and the Tata Bolt Sport are high performance versions of two everyday cars. The success or failure of these cars will impact the Indian car market’s small but growing enthusiast segments. Buyers who want to have some fun during their everyday commutes will be the target market of both cars.
If successful, more car makers will be prompted to bring in their high performance engines and suspensions to regular, everyday hatchbacks and sedans. This could dramatically alter how budget cars are seen in India, from being means of commuting to being machines that excite, with souls that thrill.