Updated Captiva for India
The US car maker Chevrolet is set to join a growing list of automakers as it announces plans to launch the updated version of its 7-seater and 5-seater Captiva in India. When the vehicle is launched on the subcontinent at the end of March, it will join an increasingly competitive market, which has seen a number of automakers, both domestic and foreign, tap into the rising demand for family vehicles.
** Chevrolet Captiva **
More Efficient Engine
First unveiled at the New Delhi Motor Show earlier this year, Chevrolet has immediately upgraded its older model in India with the new vehicle featuring a new grille design, wider headlamps and a more efficient 2.2-litre engine.
Nearly 10,000 unites sold
The move by the General Motors brand marks the latest entry into an Asian market for the Captiva. Chevrolet launched the model first in South Korea in 2006 under the Daewoo Windstorm brand, which was later changed to a Chevy badge as the automaker sought to phase out use of the Daewoo trademark. In the same year, the Captiva was also launched in Vietnam as it teamed up with local company Vidamco, using about 20 per cent locally produced parts. Nearly 10,000 units have already been sold in the Southeast Asian country.
Captiva in Thailand
Chevrolet has also launched the Captiva in Thailand, which is produced within the country at its factory in Rayong. In mid-2011 it was introduced in Japan, the first vehicle to be released since GM’s bankruptcy and subsequent re organisation in June 2009. In Australia and New Zealand, the Captiva has been available since 2006 under the Holden brand name.
Smaller Cars Shunned
The move in India by Chevrolet is an interesting one and hardly surprising given the way the market has gone in recent years. Although India has largely been viewed as a low-end market by automakers, it has defied many market expectations in recent years. Despite a global slump caused by the financial crisis and a lower level of income in India, car buyers there have shunned small, inexpensive cars, such as the Tata Nano, in favour of larger, status-symbol vehicles that have traditionally performed well in other developing Asian markets, particularly Thailand.
Cheaper than the West
Following the lessons learned by the tiny Nano, a vehicle that proved spectacularly disappointing despite its low price tag, Indian auto companies have aimed to sell large SUV-type vehicles at prices below those in the West, often made possible by installing more economical engines. The Chevrolet Captiva therefore fits perfectly into this bracket.
Small Economical 2L Engine
Although the Captiva has been offered at engine sizes up to 3.2 litres in the past, in India the new version, set to hit dealerships at the end of next month, is right at the lower end of this scale, with the smallest being two litres, a diesel.
Given that Chevrolet has waited before releasing its Captiva in Asia, it could prove to be a blessing and a hindrance. The company has clearly seen the way the wind has been blowing in the market there, which is strongly towards family-sized crossover SUVs; but can it compete with the myriad other vehicles in the same segment?