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Luxury car makers target India's small-town boom

Sunday February 05, 2012 05:56:47 PM, Shahnawaz Akhtar, IANS

Bhopal: Car manufacturers are setting their eyes on smaller Indian cities and towns as markets boom for their products, particularly sale of luxury vehicles.

And one such city is the Madhya Pradesh capital Bhopal where an Auto Expo is going on. At least 14 major manufacturers, including Maruti Suzuki, Toyota, Hyundai, Nissan, BMW, Jaguar, Renault, and Mahindra and Mahindra, are participating in the four-day trade fair.

The car manufacturers say markets like Bhopal are booming like never before. Industry experts say the preferred choice of the affluent and young are helping the market grow.

"Our target to begin with is to sell 20 cars, but if the current trend is anything to follow, we will exceed expectations (in 2012)," BMW Sales Consultant Nilesh Tiwari told IANS.

BMW plans to have its very own service centre in Madhya Pradesh by the end of the next quarter.

Jaguar Land Rover is in the process of selecting a dealer in the state.

"Preliminary research indicated that customers from Madhya Pradesh purchase their luxury vehicles from other states. We are looking to fill this gap by creating a niche for our two brands, Jaguar and Land Rover," said Sales Manager Sameer Ahsan.

On display at the fair is a Jagaur that costs a cool Rs.96 lakh on road. The Land Rover, whose price tag begins at Rs.41 Lakh, has already sold a couple of its models in the state, with a booking order for another dozen before the launch of its showroom in Indore.

An all-time favourite, Mitsubishi Pajero, is said to be selling more in Bhopal than across the state and even Nagpur.

"We sell on an average eight Pajeros per month in Bhopal, which ranks higher than sales in Nagpur," S.M. Sheikh, assistant manager, sales, told IANS.

"The market for SUVs and Pajeros has picked up significantly," he added.

Mitsubishi is gearing up to enter the Bhopal market with its luxury sedan Lancer Evolution X (also known as Evo 10). Cost almost Rs.50 lakh.

"I've got a car already, it's a Civic. But I'm looking for something a little bigger, because it's a bit cramped if you go away for the night," said Ramesh Sharma, looking at a brochure of BMW X-series, whose price range starts from Rs.26 lakh.

(Shahnawaz Akhtar can be contacted at




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