The Indian LCV market, especially the mini pick up truck market is thriving. The mini pick up truck segment in India is akin to the automatic scooter segment in the Indian two wheeler market, a segment which is leading the automotive sector when it comes to growth. While Tata Motors continues to be the dominant force in the mini pick up truck segment in India with the Ace range, newer upstarts like Mahindra and Ashok Leyland have made significant impacts, with models like the Maxximo and the Dost respectively. In the coming years, we could have more foreign automakers entering the Indian LCV segment.
One such automaker is Fiat India, which is now making aggressive strides in the Indian market. Fiat India is said to be mulling the launch of a range of LCVs under its Fiat Commercial brand of LCVs. That said, Fiat India’s possible push into the LCV space is still in the “consideration” stage. Therefore, it might still be a while before we have the Italian automaker actually goes ahead and launches LCVs in India. Fiat Commercial’s range of LCVs are quite popular in European countries, where the brand is quite strong. Fiat India’s immediate focus though, will be on its car brands.
By the end of 2013, Fiat India hopes to have 100 independent dealerships across the country, up and running. The Italian automaker will launch the Jeep brand of SUVs in India, in the second half of this year while the Abarth brand of high performance cars will be launched later this year, with the first product being the Abarth tuned Fiat Grande Punto hatchback. Fiat India will also strengthen its product portfolio over the next couple of years even as the Jeep brand moves into mass market SUVs in 2014.
Coming back to LCVs being launched by foreign automakers, General Motors did have an LCV program running, which it has now put on the backburner. GM planned to launch LCVs developed by its Chinese partner SAIC, in India. Similarly, Nissan tied up with Ashok Leyland to develop the Dost mini pick truck, one which has turned out to be a big success. The Ashok Leyland-Nissan combine will also launch the Stile MPV, which will be sold as a panel van by Ashok Leyland. Meanwhile, homeboy and market leader Maruti Suzuki is all set for a foray into the Indian LCV market.