• FEBRUARY 11, 2000

Hindustan Motors to tie-up with SIFY for customised cars

In a path-breaking move in the auto industry, Hindustan Motors has tied up with Satyam Infoway (SIFY) to develop a website for selling customised versions of its Mitsubishi Lancer cars and spare parts in the country.

Hindustan Motors is one of the oldest car manufacturers in the country with brands like Ambassador, Contessa, and Mitsubishi Lancer.

According to a news report in a leading financial daily, the company plans to network its entire dealer setup. It also plans to launch a website in 2-3 months, which will allow visitors to make variations to the interiors and exteriors of the basic Mitsubishi Lancer. It is also tying up with banks to enable online payments.

Hindustan Motors' seems to have taken a leaf out of some of the US car majors' books. In the US markets, Ford Motors in a tie-up with Microsoft has launched a website - MSN Carpoint where visitors can make changes and develop their own custom-made car. This trend now seems to be catching on in India.

This is undoubtedly a great move for customers who can check a car from the comforts of their homes and make necessary modifications to the exteriors/interiors of the car. However, the mindset of the Indian consumer will have to undergo a sea-change before this idea catches on in a big way. The Indian consumer prefers to visit the dealer and examine the goods before he decides to make the purchase. And in the case of a Rs 700,000-800,000 car, he may actually want to sit inside and take a spin.

So while the concept is great, it remains to be seen whether its ahead of its time. A lot of other car manufacturers are also waiting in the wings and will go online once the Hindustan Motors-Satyam Infoway venture succeeds.

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