Jaguar, Land Rover and MINI British brand sensitivity in Indian car market makes buyers say, Yes Sir: Competition for German auto engineering and design

Moving on to JLR owned by Tata Motors, it’s not wrong to say the British marquee is here to say. Jaguar Land Rover sales in the Indian auto market has been on the positive end of the graph and there’s no immediate threat to this pattern. Talking about being Brit takes us to the BMW Group owned MINI that is working on dealerships in India this year.

There’s no doubt that the rich India is rich in all aspects, and as such the market for high-end car manufacturers and luxury vehicles is robust. While infrastructure in developed cities is failing car makers are now making inroads to villages where roads now link them to national highways.

British cars are now back in India. Jaguar Land Rover saw 40.5% percent rise in profits in Q4 of 2011 with pre-tax profits standing at £559 million. This certainly then takes precedence in Tata Motor’s scheme of things as their domestic car marquee in India has been plagued by high input costs and burgeoning interest rates.

Mini India Head, Benjamin Negal had this to say. “Many people in India have heard of the Mini but they have not been able to buy one before. They know it comes from Britain and see that as a good thing.” “There is still some educating to do in terms of what Mini is all about. Premium cars are perceived as large here, but there is no direct competition in the segment – there is no Audi A1 or Mercedes A-class.”

Jaguar Land Rover sales growth in the Indian auto market was 164% in 2011.That’s 1,800 luxury vehicles, and the company only made their Indian foray in these last two years. Managing director of JLR India, Rohit Suri had this to say. “We do not have a car the size of the BMW 3-series or Mercedes C-class and this segment accounts for 40-50 per cent of the premium market in India.” He added, “It’s a status thing.” “People don’t buy the Land Rover Discovery or Freelander or a Range Rover for their functionality or off-road ability, but for status.” Asked whether, building the Freelander near Pune in India help push the brand, Rohit Suri said, “Not as much as you might think,” he said. “The real USP is the fact that Jaguars and Land Rovers are British. That really plays well with consumers here.”

The Indian luxury car market is led and one can rightfully say owned by the German triad of BMW, Mercedes-Benz, and Audi.  Rohit Suri had earlier said, “He is confident that JLR can overhaul Audi and take third place, as there is plenty of growth to come in the luxury segment, and the new Range Rover Evoque is yet to be launched in the country.” As such, equations in the premium car segment look threatened, and yes JLR must certainly be looking closely at sales numbers with the Range Rover Evoque being launched in November 2011.