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New San Storm under development

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  • Dec 7, 2011
  • Views : 18081

San Engineering is developing a new version of their affordable convertible car the Storm. With many exotic car makers entering India small scale car makers in the domestic market identify a trend for affordable lifestyle vehicles in the near future

 

A two-seater convertible for under Rs. 6 lakh, a two-seater roadster with a price tag of a little over a quarter of a crore, or a single-seater formula racing style model for around Rs. 6-8 lakh - all made in India. It’s not as far-fetched as it sounds. In corners of India, miles away from the volumes-driven assembly lines of the Maruti Suzukis and Hyundais, a clutch of home-grown niche carmakers is hoping to cash in on the newfound buzz in motor sports and spur adventurous consumers into riding out their sassy sets of wheels. 

 

San Motors in Goa that has been making two-seater sports convertibles since 2000. The two-door car powered by a 1.2 litre engine and priced just under Rs. 6 lakh hasn’t been too successful, with sales of just 2-3 units a month. Now the company is working on a more powerful two-seater convertible model. San Motors, which sources engines from Renault and makes the body and panels in-house at its factory in Bangalore, also plans to set up dealerships countrywide to spur sales. 

 

San Storm

 

Then there is Jayem Automotive, based out of Coimbatore in the South, made its first indigenous electric motor in 1939. Now it wants to make sports cars, and hopes to tie up with racing carmaker Dallara of Italy. Discussions are on to design and manufacture a range of different motor racing formulas. An email sent to Dallara went unanswered and Jayem officials were unavailable for comment. Jayem has been one of the leaders in the business of motor sport in India for over a decade, and has been running race and rallying programs for companies like MRF. The company is known to tweak Tata Motors’ Indigo engine to deliver extra torque; these engines are then installed in rally cars. 

 

Shama Bothe sums up the fascination with such vehicles when she points out that crafting such cars is “more of a passion than a mainstream business”. Shama along with her German husband Guido Bothe has founded Chinkara Motors to build sport-based concept cars. While the company had some initial funding hiccups, it is now working on launching a new roadster this year. Currently it retails a two-seater roadster based on the Lotus Super 7 at Rs. 26 lakh. It’s built on order, customized, hand-crafted and has a minimum waiting period of five and a half months, says Bothe. 

 

The company targets the roadsters at sports enthusiast and manages to sell 2-3 units a year. “India is not yet ready for mass production of sports cars,” says Shama.