Contents: I. The perspective: 1. The industry perspective. 2. Global scenario. II. Four wheelers: 3. Passenger cars. 4. Commercial vehicles. 5. Multi-utility vehicles. 6. Tractors. III. Two and three wheelers: 7. Two and three wheelers. 8. Motorcycles. 9. Scooters and mopeds. IV. Auto components: 10. Auto components industry. 11. Production and demand of components. 12. Storage batteries. 13. Catalytic converters. 14. Automotive tyres. V. Technology and quality standards: 15. Technology and standards. 16. Pollution and environmental controls. 17. Quality rating and customer satisfaction. VI. Infrastructure, policy and finance: 18. The infrastructure. 19. International trade. 20. Price variations and dynamics. 21. Credit financing. 22. Financial performance of Auto Companies. 23. Foreign collaborations and investments. 24. Institutional framework. 25. Policy directions and imperative. VII. Annexes. VIII. The Epilogue.
From the foreword: "With the structural transformation unleashed in the early 1990s, the Automobile Industry in India found itself at the threshold of a new era. The change was synchronised and driven by the economic reforms programme which was permeating the entire national economy.
"The first milestone of the new era really dates back to the setting up of Maruti Udyog almost a decade earlier. The entry of the government into the portals of the industry was a great blessing in disguise. It enabled a break-through out of the closed environment of the past three decades. The industry tasted – and tested – the exposure to the competitive technologies and volumes which emerged as the main drivers of the phenomenal transformation of the nineties.
"Liberalisation led to globalisation. The industry opened up and witnessed the rush of the global players coming almost in a spate. Given the small market, the entry of the multinationals with global products was like a dream come true for the car-buyer. The developments opened up a new vista of a vibrant, customer-focussed, dynamic, large, technology-driven industry.
"Nonetheless, the change has thrown up diverse challenges – challenges of technology and skills, of financial mobilisation and management, of global competition and economic size, of outsourcing and joint-venturing, of efficient distribution management and customer satisfaction, of matching component suppliers with global standards, and of course, of environment controls and quality standards. A little too much on the platter.
"Given the income levels in India, the market is limited. Global competition is growing intensifying by the day. The environment is punctuated by oscillations of demand and macro-level interventions. And yet, the industry cannot develop in isolation. The automobile industry has deep interlinkages with other industries and sectors – steel, aluminium, polymers, glass, rubber surface transportation, to name of a few. It depends on their health and efficiency.
"With the sudden march into the new mode, the industry has also been exposed to a great deal of hype and expectations. With jerking ups and downs within a short span of a decade, some apprehensions have plagued it. These relate to the future vision of the industry. Will it be focussed on the domestic market? Will it emerge as a base – and a hub – for international marketing? Is there room for a large number of players? Who will survive and who will falter? Will the Industry settle down to a steady growth or will it continue to face periodic turbulence? All these, and many other questions cry for answers.
"The present study attempts to find some. In so doing it analyses the perspectives, problems and prospects of this vital industry with empirical facts. We shall be very happy to receive informed responses."