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Most Americans not keen on Indian, Chinese cars

By Motortrend India Staff   |   23 August,2011

A wave of new Indian and Chinese automobiles are poised to make their debut in the US market in coming months, but a new study has found that most Americans are not open to the idea of buying a car from companies like Tata, Mahindra and BYD.

Market research firm GfK Automotive's Barometer of Automotive Awareness and Imagery Study found that Chinese and Indian automakers could face a purchase consideration curve similar to Korean vehicles when they launched in the US. In that case, it took more than 15 years for consumers to significantly increase their consideration to purchase Korean vehicles. The majority of American consumers are not open to buying a car from a Chinese or Indian manufacturer. Such automakers looking to break into the US market face challenges in brand awareness and acceptance, said the study. The study found that only 38 percent of the respondents would consider buying a Chinese car and 30 percent an Indian vehicle.

In contrast, 95 percent are open to buying from an US company, 76 percent from a German manufacturer, 75 percent a Japanese vehicle and 49 percent a Korean model. GenY consumers were the most open to buying Chinese or Indian vehicles, with 52 percent saying they'd consider a car from China and 41 percent open to a car from India.

Predictably, Baby Boomers were the least interested. Supporting its report, GfK cited the challenge Hyundai initially had gaining market acceptance in America.

“However, we would add that the quality, performance, safety and reliability of the models make all the difference. And Hyundai initially trailed in all those regards. Perception took years to change, because the company itself took over 15 years to offer competitive products,” GfK said.

Companies such as BYD (China), Chery (China) and Mahindra (India) have in recent years declared their intent to launch products in the US, only to repeatedly delay their introduction.

“Clearly, the time will come when cars land on our shores directly from such manufacturers. For some, the time is now, as the current parent company for Land Rover and Jaguar, Tata, is an India-based corporation. And Volvo is owned by China-based Geely,” GfK said in its report.

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