COVID deals new blow to foreign carmakers’ Indian dream


Foreign automakers’ hopes of a booming Indian car market are fading fast as a brutal second wave of COVID-19 infections and limited government room for more stimulus spending suggest a recovery could lag far behind China and the United States.

Carmakers that saw nearly a decade of Indian sales growth wiped out in 2020 are expecting a bounce back in demand this year. But it is likely to be led by small, affordable cars - a sector dominated by homegrown leader Maruti Suzuki and rival Hyundai - rather than the premium models churned out by most foreign manufacturers, industry executives and analysts say.

"It is a survival issue," said one senior executive with a Western automaker who declined to be named.