Wednesday, April 04, 2007

The indian Automotive Market

Timeline: India's automotive industry
India has begun an ambitious development programme for its automotive industry, which it hopes will make it a global production hub by 2016.

To many in India, cars remain illusive luxuries

The initiative, which is backed by both the government and by the existing automotive industry, relies on heavy investment both by domestic operators and non-Indian car companies.

Many foreign firms are eager to participate in the likely profits to be derived both from the growth of the Indian market and from the development of India as a major producer and exporter of cars, motorcycles, commercial vehicles and automotive components.

Here is an overview of the relatively slow, albeit increasingly rapid, emergence of India's automotive industry.


An embryonic automotive industry emerges in India


Efforts to create a manufacturing industry to supply the automotive industry with components get underway, spearheaded by the Indian government and leading entrepreneurs.

1970 to 1980

India's automotive industry begins to grow relatively fast, fuelled by six automotive companies:

  • Telco (now Tata Motors)
  • Ashok Leyland
  • Mahindra & Mahindra
  • Hindustan Motors
  • Premier Automobiles
  • Bajaj Auto

However, having a car is still seen as a luxury.

This is at least partly because the sector's growth is held back by requirements for production licences and restrictions on both production within India and on imports.

1980 to 1985

Rickshaws in Calcutta
Rickshaws are still commonplace in India

Japanese manufacturers begin to build motorcycle, car and commercial vehicle factories in India, often in partnership with Indian firms.

Component manufacturers also enter into joint-venture agreements, with European and US firms.

Exports start to grow.

1985 to 1990

The auto component sector, which had been protected by high import tariffs, squares up to competitors as the rules are changed.

Maruti Udyog enters the passenger car segment.

During the following years, Japanese manufacturers started selling motorcycles and light commercial vehicles.

1990 to1995

Delhi cab driver 1993
Taxis outnumber private cars in many parts of India

Economic liberalisation gets underway, allowing passenger car production without licences, though import restrictions remained in place.

Hero Honda emerges as a major operator in the motorcycle market, while Maruti Udyog becomes the leading passenger car maker.

1995 to 2000

International car makers enter the Indian market, a trend that accelerates.

Calcutta 2001
India's streets are gradually getting fuller

Advanced technology is introduced to meet competitive pressures, and environmental and safety imperatives.

Automobile companies start investing in service network to support maintenance of on-road vehicles.

Auto financing starts emerging as an important driver for demand.

2000 to present

As India's car market grows, the country is also emerging as a global automotive production hub

Liberalisation of the automotive industry gets underway, with the removal of many trade and investment restrictions.

Cars developed and produced entirely in India for both the domestic and exports markets emerge.

Financial services firms begin to offer car loans, in cooperation with the car industry.

Efficiency, capacity and environmental issues are identified, along with initiatives aimed at encouraging research and development to address such issues.


A post wrten by a friend......


Murali is tapping his fingers to his forehead, trying to remember something. His shoulders are hunched over and his feet twitch sporadically.
"What? What is it?" I ask. He sighs and shakes his head. I trace the letter 's' down his back and yawn. When I open my eyes, Murali is gone. I look under the bed and behind the chair. I call out his name but no one answers.


"What? What happened?"
"Murali's gone."
"What do you mean he's gone?"
"I mean he was sitting right beside me and I yawned and now he's gone."
"Don't be silly, he probably left."
"He couldn't have left, he doesn't know how to open the door. Meaning it sticks and he can't get it open by himself."
"Is this some kind of joke? Do you two have me on speaker phone or something?"
"No, he's really gone."
"Listen, call me back."

I begin to tabulate everything I know about him. He is left handed and has scars on his feet from a bike accident. He collects butterfly wings and hides them between the pages of an empty pocket diary. He never wears a watch. He believes that my door is haunted. Sometimes he thinks there are tiny demon-hands holding it shut. Sometimes he just kicks it and says 'Stupid fuck.'
"How come I can get it open?" I asked him once.
"Because," he said. "You're haunted too."
I open the window to see if he has fallen out and broken his ankle but he isn't there.


"It's Diya. Is he back yet?"
"Are you high or something? It's ok if you are but are you sure he was there? "
"I'm sure. I don't know. I thought he was here."
"Ok. That's ok."
"Diya, I need you to come let me out."
"What do you mean?"
"I can't get the door open, it's stuck."
"Ok. Ok hold on."


The light dims and bends on the floor like liquid. Murali suddenly seems to be everywhere at once, in colored bits and pieces. I remember the curve of his teeth, how I sometimes felt like shrugging him off like a heavy overcoat. I think of all the questions people will ask.
Where you the last person with him?
How often do you lose things in your room? Have you ever lost a person before? How well did you know him?
I know that he hummed when he peed. I know that as a child, he thought girls came from their mothers and boys came from their fathers.
Was anything bothering him?
He didn't like my door. He thought it was vindictive and haunted.
Did you make him disappear?

I don't know.


"Hey, it’s me Diya. I'm knocking, can you hear me knocking?"
"Ok, so how do you want to do this?"
"Pull the door towards you when I say."
"Ok. Now?"
"No wait. Ok now try."
"Fuck. What happened?"
"I don't know. Usually I can open it fine. I don't know what happened today."
"Is he still gone?"
"He's not here. I don't know what happened."
"Everything will be ok. I'm going to get somebody to help open the door and then we're going to figure this out. We'll go look for him, how about that? I'm sure he'll be there."
"We'll find him, don't worry. We'll figure this out."


I picture roots shooting from the base of the door like sprays of black lightning, anchoring it down into places filled with broken things. I don't think they'll be able to get the door open. I don't think anybody will be able to do anything.
The dim light of the evening fades into a thick, dark smudge, swallowing the lines and corners of my room. The only thing I can see is my pillow which is lying on the floor. There is no trace of Murali-- no fingerprints, no butterfly wings, no notes saying 'gone fishing' or just 'gone'. It is like he was never here.

I sit beside the door and listen as a forest of broken bones blossoms inside me..

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