China’s top carmaker SAIC Motor Corp and Great Wall Motor, its biggest maker of SUVs, are spearheading the country’s first major push into India, one of the world’s fastest growing auto markets, as growth at home stagnates. The entry is late and risky – global carmakers like Volkswagen AG, Ford Motor and General Motors have struggled to push sales in the cost conscious Indian market despite being here for more than a decade. Chinese cars also suffer from perceptions of poor quality in India.
While they plan to woo Indian buyers with their no-frills cars and cut-price SUVs, Chinese manufacturers will compete head on with established carmakers like Suzuki Motor and Hyundai Motor that dominate many markets in Southeast Asia. Even so, India offers one of the last frontiers of growth – by 2020 the country is likely to become the world’s third-largest car market, from fifth place, with annual sales nearly doubling to 5 million vehicles from 2.7 million in 2015.