Even at the turn of the millennium, all we wanted from our cars were practicality and as large a fuel economy figure as possible. I highly doubt that anyone could foresee the sea change that came about in the next fifteen or so years.
Nowadays, there are cars of all shapes and sizes on sale in showrooms here, and the demand for just about every single one of them is high. However, one area where we are seeing demand skyrocketing is in the SUV segment, specifically for automatic models. This is interesting because automatic cars were given a particularly wide berth by car buyers not that long ago citing their awful fuel economy, among other drawbacks. But now, with roads being more jammed up than ever before, an ever-increasing number of people are seeing the benefits of a vehicle where you are not required to endlessly change gears.
Case in point, the replacement for the Tata Aria and one of the best build and best performing Tata vehicles that we have seen, the Hexa, recently went on sale in India. The company offers the top end trim level with four wheel drive but, it is available with a 6 speed manual gearbox only. However, the lower variant is available with front wheel drive only but with the option of an automatic gearbox and it is selling so strongly that the Tata says that there is already a near 2 month waiting list for the Hexa.
Even better is the recently launched Hyundai Tucson, an SUV that returned to India after a sizeable hiatus. Hyundai Motor India has claimed that the variant that is grossing the highest sales is the range-topping 4x4 version equipped with a 6 speed automatic. Toyota had a similar experience as well, as the new launched Fortuner racked up 10,000 bookings within no time. Everywhere you look, the story is the same. As the purchasing power of Indian car buyers increase ever so steadily, it seems clear that we have a strong preference for automatic SUVs, making it a no-brainer for manufacturers to open the floodgates with these vehicles. The times are indeed changing in India, even more so when it comes to the automotive world.