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Generating Insights on the Innovation and Business Profile of India's Automobile Industry

Passenger Vehicle Segment, 2000-2015

[Background] [Objectives] [Proposed Methodology] [Relevant Readings]

A project of:

Project team: Rajnish Tiwari, Katharina Kalogerakis and Ram kumar Venugopal Karnan

Start: November 2015

Project status: Completed in March 2016.

Keywords: Automotive; Automobile; Passenger Vehicles; Open Innovation; Frugal Innovation; Innovation Path; Innovation Trajectories; India

Schlüsselwörter: Automobilindustrie; Kraftfahrzeuge; Personenkraftfahrzeuge; PKW; Frugale Innovation; Innovationspfade; Indien


The Indian Automobile Industry is the seventh-largest producer of vehicles in the world. Total production of vehicles in fiscal year 2014-15 in India, as per data released by India's industry body SIAM, stood at 23.4 million units that included commercial vehicles as well two- and three wheelers. The passenger vehicle segment accounted for 3.2 million units and had grown from 2.4 million units in FY 2009-10. The automobile industry reportedly contributes about 7% to the country’s GDP.

India's automotive industry cann look back at a long history pre-dating India's Independence. In the post-Independence period India undertook many policy initiatives to support and/or regulate the industry and thereby contributed to the creation of a robust industrial base, which was however largely protected from competition, domestic or otherwise. In 1991, the government liberalized the industry als opened it also for foreign direct investments (FDI) thereby paving the way for several global firms to enter the Indian market. The resultant competition has led to upgradation of capabilities in production and engineering. As a result, India has grown into a leading manufacturer of automobiles, for domestic consumption as well for exports. There is reason to believe that the Indian automobile companies are starting to also move on the innovation path that includes technological innovation, e.g. on the basis of (in-house) R&D; see Figure 1.

R&D expenditure by Indian Automobile Companies.

Figure 1: Developments in R&D expenditure by Indian Automobile firms
Source: Verghese et al (2014, p. 6)


The objective of the study is to generate insights on the profile and trends in India's passenger vehicle segment by creating and analyzing the profiles of relevant automobile players for the years 2000 to 2015. The study will focus on indicators such as:

  • Development in the revenues earned by the relevant players over the proposed period of time
  • Market segments, geographic distribution of sales, production and development in and outside India
  • Role of R&D and its intensity, number of applied and received patents
  • Analysis of innovations launched in the relevant study period (based on various dimensions of innovation)
  • Role of "open innovation" in the innovation process (collaboration with domestic or international partners)
  • Role of "frugal innovation", by analyzing emphasized product features in new launches based on company press releases (cost vs technological features)

Proposed Methodology

The study relies basically on desk research by combing resources scattered across annual reports and other company documents, reports by industry associations such as the SIAM, and reports in the business press.

Relevant Readings

[ For any enquiries, please contact Rajnish Tiwari ]

Important notice: Research proposals containing project description generally depict initial ideas submitted by students in response to a call for project initiated by the RPGI team, or even on their own initiative. Even though the proposals are cross-checked and edited by the RPGI team before putting them in the public domain, no guarantees can be taken at this stage of the quality and/or other aspects of good academic practices. Their adherence is, however, duly examined when students submit their reports, and prior to any publication of the report.