From Sonet to Kushaq, why SUVs are now getting an India-first showcase

Made for India is the buzzword for many car manufacturers with a premier for the world being beamed from here.
By : HT Auto Desk
| Updated on: 20 Feb 2021, 01:20 PM
World premiere of Skoda Kushaq will take place in March.
World premiere of Skoda Kushaq will take place in March.
World premiere of Skoda Kushaq will take place in March.
World premiere of Skoda Kushaq will take place in March.

India has always been an integral part of the global automotive scene but perhaps never before have so many cars been showcased to the world from here as has been the case in recent times. From Kia Sonet to Nissan Magnite, Renault Kiger and the upcoming Skoda Kushaq, the market here is getting the first taste of a number of products - mostly SUVs - are getting a world premiere with India in prime focus.

(Also read: Skoda Kushaq world premier on March 18)

The one major driving force for showcasing a car to the world from India is because most - if not all - are designed and engineered keeping the Indian car market and buyer in mind. What works here may or may not work elsewhere but the fact that several global OEMs are concentrating their efforts in India is a good sign.

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Take the case of Sonet. Only the third product from Kia in the country, it was claimed Sonet was taken to production lines keeping the Indian buyer in mind. That it is a sub-compact SUV, sitting under four meters in length, meant that it was tailor-made for Indian road conditions while still offering an SUV-ish appeal. It has appealing looks and is packed with features - two proven parameters to strike a chord with the buyer here.

Most or at least some of these are true for all other players in the sub-compact SUV segment as well. What has furthered the appeal for such vehicles is the affordability factor, something Nissan and Renault have also paid close attention to with their Magnite and Kiger, respectively.

Big may be better in markets like the US but compact SUVs tend to make practical sense here in India. As such, India is at the cusp of expanding its ability to be an export hub for cars to markets like Latin America and South Africa.

The visual elements, features, quality of materials, engine and transmission options - among others - may of course vary from market to market but the fact that Indians are getting to drive several cars before their counterparts elsewhere augers well for the market. And while there are still a large volume of cars brought first to western markets before touching down here - if at all, the recent India-first launches may change the global automotive landscape, one car at a time.

First Published Date: 20 Feb 2021, 01:19 PM IST
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