For car lovers, the New Year is set to bring in a bevy of new options. If you thought buying a car in 2003 was a brain-racking exercise, watch out for 2004.
At least 15 new models/variants are set for launch in the passenger vehicles market over the next few months. These include the Hyundai Elantra (a luxury sedan) and Getz (a premium small car), the utility vehicle Chevrolet Tavera and Spark (based on the erstwhile Daewoo Matiz) from General Motors, the new Qualis from Toyota, the Fiat Maestro Sedan, the station wagon variant of the Indica from Tata Motors, the Rs 3-crore Maybach from Daimler Chrysler, the Ford Fusion, the Skoda Superb and a new variant of the Mitsubishi Pajero, among others.
Interestingly, the year will also see several new brands bringing in their premium-end models into the country through the imported completely-built-unit (CBU) route. This will include the Nissan X-trail, the luxury sports car Bentley Continental GT, Suzuki Jimny (a utility vehicle), as well as new models from both Audi and BMW.
The reason perhaps lies in the impressive growth of about 20 per cent seen last year. And analysts point out that the double-digit growth does not show signs of slowing down in the coming months.
"The interesting aspect about the line-up for the New Year is that a lot of premium-end vehicles are all set to make an entry into the market. With the economy buoyant and income-levels of the upwardly-mobile on the rise, there is a growing market for these vehicles in the country", points out an industry official.
After launching the Rs 2-crore ArnageR recently, Bentley is bringing in its Rs 1.65-crore Continental GT sports car in January and expanding its dealership to Mumbai. The response so far has been very encouraging with ArnageR already receiving about seven orders, says Mr Satya Bagla, who owns the Bentley dealership in New Delhi.
"We are eventually expecting the ArnageR to have an annual market of about 10 to 12 cars," he says.