When we think about American cars, we think about big American muscle cars or pickup trucks with big roaring V8. In fact, everyone is well familiar with the Ford Mustang and the F150 pickup truck. However, you might never think about an everyday reliable car that fit your daily needs without being loud and noisy. Not everything has the budget or the need to buy a muscle or a pickup truck. With the rising prices, we need something economical. The congested roads and traffic are no place for American pickup trucks consuming the space of an ocean liner. India is a vast market for automobiles. In the last few decades, more international brands have been trying to conquer the Indian roads. However, Indians have been very successful to establish their own home-grown automobile industry. Only Ford has been competing well in India mainly because of their SUV line-ups. All the credit goes to their cross-over EcoSport and their SUV endeavour. But still, they are lacking behind the competition from giants like Maruti Suzuki and Honda.
The reasons behind the failure of American cars in India:
A small line-up of vehicles
When we talk about companies like Maruti Suzuki or Mahindra, we are talking about huge variety. Whereas, the only American company, Ford has only a fistful of models in India. In America, they have so many models that it could create an entire catalogue, but in India only a few. Take the example of Maruti Suzuki, they are selling cars for almost every need and every budget. From hatchbacks to capable off-roaders, they have everything in their arsenal. Maruti Suzuki is competing itself.
Huge competition in the SUV market
Today, there is a huge rise in the SUV market. Everyone wants to look superior in the road with the high driving position. For this reason, car makers are also focusing on the crossover market. Ford has its EcoSport, which has been a great success in the Indian market. Plus, they also have the Endeavour, which is a true competitor to Toyota’s Fortuner. However, if you take the sales figures only Mahindra is the true king of the SUV market. They tons of SUVs in their line up for every budget segment. They are also selling one of the most capable off-roaders in India, the mighty Thar.
Furthermore, the Mahindra Bolero stands as the best-selling SUV in India. The company has reached even the deepest rural areas of India with their vehicles. Whereas, I don’t think anyone in the extremely rural areas barely heard the name Ford. It is truly a proud moment for the Indians, that an Indian brand has badly beaten an American brand.
Maintenance and service costs
The Maruti 800 was introduced back in the 80s. Just after it’s release it became true people car of India and established the foundation of the Maruti Suzuki brand. The brand has a massive reach with its service centres and workshops. Every city or village has one of their workshops. Plus, the mechanics are so familiar with their cars that they can easily work on any Maruti Suzuki model in their private workshop. This is also apparent in other Indian brands like Tata and Mahindra. As a result, finding spare parts and easy repairs are costs only penny from your wallet if we compare it to American cars.
No market for pickup trucks
In making Pickup trucks Ford truly excels. Their trucks are well known for their incredible build quality, value, and muscular looks. In America, pickup trucks are hugely popular for their practicality and utilitarian appeal. However, we need to consider the fact that America has a lot of open space and less population. Whereas, in India, the roads are always filled with tons of vehicles. Even in the European countries Pickup truck has found very less success. Not just Ford, even Toyota with its indestructible Hilux has failed to do anything. Europe is mainly fascinated with luxury cars and Land Rovers. India is also following the same cult as the European market. With less space in the roads, India is primarily a market of hatchbacks and crossovers. Even the enthusiasts would consider SUVs over gargantuan pickups. Plus, people in India often consider trucks with lower social status. Mind you, the status symbol is a big thing in India.
Asian cars in General
The Japanese and Korean car companies are the major players in India. Their practicality, value, and feature rich cars are truly unmatched by other car makers. Even the German car makers (Volkswagen) are having a tough time in India while competing with the Asians. Thus, Ford is nowhere near the competition with its high price tags. The Japanese are very good at making small cars, they are far more practical and economical to run in India. Kia, the Korean automaker is also jumping into the car market of India. After getting owned by a Chinese car manufacturer, MG is also planning to set its foot into the Indian territory. This has naturally created a cutthroat competition in India.
No chance in the luxury cars market
When it comes to luxury cars, no one compares to German cars. It is true that Japanese and the Koreans are better in making more affordable cars, but when it comes to luxury cars German cars rule by a huge margin. Even if Ford tries to release its luxury cars; Taurus, Mondeo, S-Max, it has no competition with the Germans. German cars are well known for their build quality, features, design language, and technological innovations. Mercedes Benz, Audi, BMW, Porsche, Daimler, Maybach and even VW. Indian enthusiasts are a huge fan of German cars, and only prefer German luxury cars than any other brands. Thus, Ford literary has no chance in the luxury car market. Even at its hometown America, Ford sells luxury vehicles than German ones.
India is a very big potential market for automakers. Being an open economy India welcomes more automobile makers than anyone else. What future holds for Ford is still not clear? With their Endeavour and EcoSport, Ford is still intact in the market. But, Ford should consider what happened to Chevrolet in India to improve their position.