Japanese carmakers Nissan and Toyota have started exporting midsized cars made in India, spearheading a strategic change that seeks to make the most of the country’s cost advantage and growing technical prowess. In the next 12-18 months, Nissan plans to export 50,000 units of India-made sedan Sunny to the West, executives familiar with the matter said, adding that rival Toyota will ship Etios cars, made at its Indian unit, to South Africa. Volkswagen, Ford and Renault are expected to join them soon. Experts say exports not only help in dealing with the slowdown in the domestic market, but also act as a hedge against costlier imports, which have turned dearer by 25-30% in recent months. French carmaker Renault plans to export to the UK about 25,000 units of its sports utility vehicle Duster over 12-18 months. The shipments may start in October. Similarly, Germany’s Volkswagen is keen on producing left-hand drive Vento sedans in India for markets in the West. Volkswagen, which exports India-made Vento cars to South Africa and Malaysia, has mandated vendors to develop components for a left-hand drive version of the sedan. The carmaker plans to export 8,000-10,000 such units by 2013. Ford Motor, too, is likely to export its yet-to-be launched EcoSport SUV from India.
Executives dealing with the projects of multinational carmakers say that over 100,000 sedans and SUVs manufactured in India are slated for export over the next 12 months. The depreciating rupee, which ended at a record low on Friday, is only likely to accelerate such plans.
Experts say the growth in exports, which comes at a time the global economy is slowing down, could accelerate once the economy picks up. There are not many right-hand drive manufacturing bases that are as cost competitive as India.