Love or logic: How car companies are wooing consumers at Auto Expo 2016

Just like in the US, China and finally in Europe, the SUV is now king in India.

AFP Relaxnews| Updated: Feb 05, 2016, 16:44 PM IST

Just like in the US, China and finally in Europe, the SUV is now king in India. It’s the most desirable vehicle form and the style that will dominate the stands at this year’s New Delhi Auto Show. However, while some car companies are focusing purely on desire to win consumers' hearts, others are aiming to win over their minds instead.

Jeep has high hopes for India. It's using its 75th anniversary as a way of introducing itself to the market with an initial three-model range -- the Wrangler Unlimited, Grand Cherokee and the incredibly potent Cherokee SRT.

"Jeep has been one of the most awaited SUV brands in India," said Kevin Flynn, President and Managing Director, FCA India. "The SUV segment witnessed a robust growth of 22% over the last five years in India and we expect it to grow exponentially in the future, creating the perfect environment for the legendary Jeep brand."

However, at the moment, it's car companies like Renault that are making all the headway. Since officially launching its Kwid compact crossover hatchback in September it has clocked up 90,000 orders.

"It has generated unprecedented success in its category and has won the hearts of customers' and automotive experts alike," said Sumit Sawhney, Country CEO and Managing Director, Renault India Operations.

Jeep will no doubt tick a number of desirability boxes for Indian consumers, but the Kwid meets most Indian drivers' real-world needs by offering a car that has high ground clearance, is compact and reliable and that sips rather than gulps fuel.

And with the necessities nailed down, Renault is adding a bit of desire to the Kwid with two very different concepts.

The Kwid Climber is about delivering on those rugged looks. It has greater ground clearance still and a wider track for better road holding and maneuverability. Wheel arch extensions emphasize the look and the exterior is completed with rugged body moldings for extra protection.

The Kwid Racer takes things in the opposite direction, offering a glimpse of a sports-focused future production. It sits lower to the ground, boasts 18-inch alloy wheels and an aerodynamics kit. Inside there are bucket seats and aluminum and Alcantara trim, plus a roll cage and a display that incorporates telemetry info for those that really want to improve lap times on a track.

"Both of the show cars are based on the Renault Kwid platform. The front end is distinctive and immediately recognizable as a Renault. The wheel arches are generous and the unique body colors bear design touches common to both vehicles," said Laurens Van Den Acker, Senior Vice President, Corporate Design.