Being in South Africa, two news items relating to automobile sector caught my attention. The first one very positive and exhilarating and the second a bit sad.
Here in Johannesburg, Suzuki is garnering volumes by aggressively pricing its blockbuster SWIFT. However, the model that has caught my fancy is Jimny. It’s very cute, small yet spacious and should do wonderfully well in Indian conditions. As I was contemplating why Suzuki was not launching what could be a game changer for it in India, where it held more than 50% market share, came the news of Jimny’s launch in India. It’s positive, exciting and matter of great pleasure. Hope Suzuki prices it right and we do seem to be having a blockbuster in the offing.
The second news was about Ford rolling out its last car from its Chennai plant consequent to its decision to wind up its India operations. Ford seems to be a some sort of market leader, especially in big SUVs and off roaders in South Africa. It’s Everest ( seems to be same that’s sold as Endeavour in India) and it’s 4X4 beast Ranger are big hits in the local market. I also come across quite a few Ecosports, Figos and Fiestas. In fact, first Fiesta and then Ecosports, when launched, took Indian markets by storm. I fancied buying Ecosports but it had a waiting period of 16 to 18 weeks. It’s Figo also attained quite a bit of popularity and acceptance and Endeavour was really matchless in its class. I don’t know why first Chevrolet ( I enjoyed their Aveo and Spark) and now Ford have called it a day in India, depriving Indians of solid, strong, albeit low on fuel economy American cars.
South Africa boasts of lovely road network, with plenty of off road driving options. Hence, we see lots of big cars on its roads. But sharp hike in fuel prices seems to be pinching folks here and we see lately fuel efficient cars such as Swift doing exceedingly well. Each country will have cars that suit its palate and geography, but India will miss Fords and Chevrolets.
Bye bye Ford! Welcome Jimny!