Offroading is a new status symbol. The young and the restless want to drive around in sports and multi utility vehicles. As such, the utility vehicles market is emerging as a major area of future growth for the automobile companies. Apart from the highly successful Toyota Qualis, Mahindra & Mahindra Scorpio and Tata Sumo, other manufacturers are also going ahead with great gusto, pushing projects in the segment.
General Motors is all set to unveil Chevrolet Tavera to take on Toyota's flagship brand Qualis. Toyota Kirloskar Motors is also gearing up to meet the emerging challenge by hitting the road with a spruced up Qualis. In fact, the buzz is that the new Qualis will be completely different looking. Similarly, Ford is planning to bring the Explorer.
The car industry majors are not looking only at the low-end of the market. Hindustan Motors has launched Pajero, while Hyundai has unveiled Terracan 2.9 CRDi. Maruti Udyog has also hit the road with Grand Vitara XL 7, a completely built unit exported from Japan. General Motors already has a top end Forester in its stable. There is a possibility of Maruti bringing the 1960 cc Escudo (Vitara) with a diesel engine to India later this year.
The companies admit the sales of the top-end sports utility vehicles is limited to metros. While low volumes compel the manufacturers to import vehicles in completely built units, it also provides the makers an opportunity to show their technological prowess.