Re: automobile-four wheeler industry -
January 14th, 2009
The 4W industry in India has not quite matched up to the performance of its counterparts in other parts of the world. The primary reason for this has been the all-pervasive regulatory atmosphere prevailing till the opening up of the industry in the mid-1990s. The various layers of legislative Acts sheltered the industry from external competition for a long time. Moreover, the industry was considered low-priority as cars were thought of as "unaffordable luxury".
Initially in the post-liberalisation period, the automotive sector, especially the passenger car segment, saw a boom. The buoyancy in the sector was derived primarily from economic vibrancy, changes in Government policies, increase in purchasing power (especially of the upper middle class), improvement in life styles, and availability of car finance. The passenger car industry was finally deregulated in 1993, and many companies, both Indian and foreign (like Daewoo, Ford, General Motors, and DaimlerChrysler), entered the market. However, the smooth sailing was suddenly disrupted in the last quarter of FY1996. The automobile industry, which contributed substantially to industrial growth in FY1996, failed to maintain the same momentum between FY1997 and FY1999. The overall slowdown in the economy and the resultant slowdown in industrial production, political uncertainty and inadequate infrastructure development were some of the factors responsible for the slowdown experienced by the automobile industry. In FY2000, the sector experienced a turnaround, posted positive growth rates and witnessed the launch of many new models. But the spectacular growth in FY2000 was followed by a decline in FY2001 and only a marginal growth of 0.5% in FY2002.