If 2005 was the year of the small car, 2006 could certainly be the year of the sedan, with over ten launches slated for the next twelve months.
While the Rs 7 lakh to Rs 9 lakh category will see some action with the Aveo notchback, the Hyundai Verna and a premium offering from Maruti, it is the entry level D-segment or the Rs 10 to Rs 12 lakh price category that is set to sizzle.
The line up: Honda Civic, Lancer Cedia, Fabia, Octavia Classic, Ford Focus and the sports version of the Optra.
And for those who aren't impressed with this, Daimler Chrysler India will bring the brand new Mercedes Benz S-Class (with a price tag between Rs 70-75 lakh), the new M-Class and the petrol and diesel variants of the E-280.
Add to that the Audi A4 and the SUV Q7, a couple of BMWs and if you are lucky, maybe a Porsche too. Skoda will also be introducing the manual versions of the Superb and the recently launched Laura.
But, why are car companies focussing on the D-segment?
During the period of January to November this year, the small car segment registered a whopping 17.6% growth, while the C-segment recorded a 6% increase and the D-segment actually witnessed a decline in sales by 6%.
The small car and the entry level sedan segment together control around 60% of the million units market currently. Apparently for car makers selling large cars imported as kits is more profitable.
“The launch of a new small car requires the ability to produce it in volumes to be competitive and that will entail heavy investments. Therefore most of the automobile manufacturers are looking at bringing in sedans, which do not witness high volumes,” an industry expert said.
Also, an entry into the small car market would mean taking on giants like Maruti, Tata Motors and Hyundai, so companies are bringing in what they can sell, he added.