Global automakers aim to make India an export powerhouse

Global automakers are seeking to transform India into an export powerhouse as consumers migrate from local demand to more expensive automobiles, which may lead to more 'India-first' models, according to Nikkei Asia.

India has already eclipsed Japan to become the world's third-largest auto market, and it appears that they are now attracting global manufacturers' attention. As Indian drivers choose for more expensive vehicles, foreign automakers are building vehicles specifically for the Indian market.
Frank Torres, president of Nissan India, told Japan's Nikkei Asia newspaper that the Japanese manufacturer "wants to use India as a big hub for exports."
Nissan intends to launch left-hand drive variations of the Magnite SUV in the Middle East and Latin America, where it is presently exporting the SUV.
This year, Nissan and its partner Renault committed USD 600 million to the development of six new vehicles, some of which will be electric and go on sale in 2025. They'll all be exported, too.
The core of our plan, according to Torres, is export from India. He said, "It's not just to increase the revenue; it's to increase our [production] capacity utilisation."
According to analysts, the movement in local demand away from cheap, compact cars and towards more costly, high-quality vehicles might persuade other international automakers to develop more "India-first" models that are ultimately exported.
According to Harshvardhan Sharma, head of the Nomura Research Institute's automotive retail practise, "carmakers have learned that if you make a compelling product, Indians are not averse to it."
"As the Indian market is pretty in sync and harmonised with global markets, manufacturers need not prepare track one for India and track two for the worldwide markets," Sharma continued.
India's cheaper automobiles are yet another possible benefit for an export-focused strategy.
The Skoda Auto Volkswagen managing director and CEO, Piyush Arora, stated that the India division will lead the group's growth in Southeast Asia.
"We are absolutely looking into more markets [for Indian export]. We were only exporting Volkswagen brand cars until last year, and now we're looking at Skoda brand cars as well [to the Middle East]," Arora explained. 
"I am confident that we have a cost advantage in the domestic market, which translates into a cost advantage in exports as well. The advantages of India's low-cost manufacturing capabilities are clearly exploited," he further added.
The nation boasts a wide array of local component suppliers and relatively inexpensive manpower. In a research released earlier this month, the Automotive Component Manufacturers Association of India stated that the growth of the auto parts industry in fiscal 2023 was nearly 33%, or over USD 70 billion.
According to analysts, expanding exports is essential for international automakers that have been eclipsed by regional rivals like Maruti Suzuki, Tata Motors, and the Mahindra Group.

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