Auto Expo 2014: Future Cars - Slew of compact-SUVs in the offing
Car buyers and manufacturers the world over are hopping on to the downsizing bandwagon, shelving full-blown, fuel guzzling cars for more efficient and practical compact ones. Following this trend, compact-SUVs have become the flavour of the season and growth seems to be so strong that this boom in sales seems likely to continue in the foreseeable future. Making it one of the fastest growing segments across the globe, and after the introduction of Renault Duster, Ford EcoSport the compact-SUV trend is spreading with equal ferocity even in our country.
One of the major lure in our country is their pocket-friendly pricing. Since most manufacturers prefer to pass on the excise duty benefits (for being under 4-meters in length) to the buyer, there’s exceptional growth visible in the tempting sub-Rs 15 lakh price bracket. Last year when Ford launched the Ecosport it stirred the market with its compelling price tag. No wonder you see so many of them on the roads nowadays.
These models have changed the perspective of car buyers who are graduating from Hatchbacks to something bigger. Since most of them are young executive, climbing the social ladder, seeking a lifestyle product seems more attractive than to get just another big car. The need is to have a trendy car to flaunt among friends during night outs, and used mainly within the city. With this changing trend, they have the option to either buy an elegant, albeit understated Sedan, or to Venture into a relatively new car territory which offers rugged SUV-ish appeal with manageable proportions.
Obviously, most of these buyers don’t care if the ‘SUV’ can cross a flowing river or scale a mountain trail, but are instead content with the front wheel (4x2) driven options which are light and easy to maneuver. Most seek nothing more than masculine SUV-like stance, efficient engine and greater ground clearance to tackle speed bumps and our pothole ridden city roads with ease. Additionally not having an all-wheel-drive (AWD) system makes the car light and more affordable, thus enhancing its appeal.
Seeing the potential of this burgeoning segment most car-makers present in our country are preparing to offer innovatively packaged mini-SUV to suit the young Indian pallet. Moreover, developing an SUV reduces the risk for car manufacturers as the demand in this segment is slated to continue for years to come and going by the current price hierarchy in India, SUV can demand a premium over sedans, which certainly makes better business acumen.
The recently held Auto Expo 2014 had clear impact of the growing trend of small SUVs as almost everyone had either a concepts or production-ready models on display. Let’s have a closer look at some of them that caught our attention.