India has jumped two places ahead to the 13th position in the latest automobile production ranking of the International Organisation of Motor Vehicle Manufacturers, OICA, overtaking Belgium and Mexico.
The 85-year old Paris-based OICA, which is also the governing body of international auto shows, in its latest rankings for 2003 indicates that India is among the few countries in the top 15 which has shown a growth of nearly 30 per cent.
In comparison, the US market, ranked number two in 2002 has decreased by as much as 10 per cent while Japan which tops the rankings has decreased by 2 per cent.
According to the OICA, whose membership comprises 42 major national trade associations, India held the 15th position with production figures at 7.03 lakh in 2002 but edged past Belgium and Mexico to the 13th position with figures of 9.06 lakh.
China, the rising star in the global automobile industry has however, shown phenomenal growth posting an 83 per cent increase while landing at the seventh position in 2003 from the 11th position in 2002.
Its production of cars nearly doubled to 20.18 lakh in 2003. While Japan retains the lead position with production of 84.78 lakh even in 2003, the US gives way to Germany for the second position. The rankings come close on the heels of the world's largest carmaker General Motors' rankings of emerging markets which places India as the third most important emerging market after China and the US.
Hailing India's good showing, the Ford Vice-President for External Affairs and Marketing, Mr Vinay Piparsania, told Business Line that the country is expected to maintain or better its performance in the next few years as well. "It is not a one-off phenomenon. Several factors have lead to such a growth," Mr Piparasania said. The per capita consumption showed that there were five cars for every 1,000 people in India, a figure which was similar to that of China three years ago.
But since then China's consumption had increased to eight cars per thousand.
"It shows a huge demand can be expected in India," he said.
Mr Piparsania said if one adds up the total capacity of all automakers, it is around 13 lakh. Since 1999-2000, there are around 20 lakh small car owners.
"Even if 20 per cent of them upgrade to a higher model, it shows that there is a huge market out there," he said.
Global consultancy firm, AT Kearney's automobile consultant, Mr Nagi Palle, said once the penetration into the semi-urban centres starts happening, the Indian auto sector will see a further boom.
"Not many markets are in the million market, Getting there indicates that India will soon be in the same league as that of prosperous nations," Mr Palle said.
The General Motors Vice-President for Corporate Affairs, Mr P. Balendran, said that the rankings show that India is seen as one of the fastest growing automobile markets in the world.