September 09, 2009

Heart Attacks and Car Sales

Ramalinga Raju has apparently suffered a heart attack. So, the usual trend of VIPs in jail suffering from a heart attack continues. So, nothing new there and nothing much to comment about.

All I would like to say is that I do not agree with the overall condemnation of Raju ... the kind of massive avalanche of criticism that he had to face when he admitted to falsifying Satyam's accounts.

People were being too sanctimonious, I thought. I want him to get the credit for building a successful IT company from scratch — a company that has generated direct employment for some 50,000 youngsters and many more if you consider all the trickle down effects of that.

In other news, car sales in India in August have zoomed according to industry data. This is very much a counter-cyclical trend in the global automobile industry. The industry is is decline in much of the world. So, global automakers are all making a beeline to the Indian market which is basically the only game in town.

This upstream swim might be explained by the fact that the market in India is still in relative infancy compared to four-wheeler markets in the West which have basically reached a plateau and are sort of in decline.

This is quite understandable — the bitter truth is that a car is still seen as a symbol of luxury in this poor country while in advanced nations having a car is nothing to shout about.

This is the bigger truth which we need to repeat and repeat and take to heart. We need to aim for the day when Indians will have the same number of cars per capita as people in the advanced nations have today. Is that possible? Ever? Sounds unlikely, right!

That shows how far behind we are. Just an year or two ago, the United States had a 15-million vehicle market while India had a market of about a million vehicles. Remember that the population of the United States is about 300 million while that of India is about 1,200 million.

So, if India and the United States had the same number of cars per capita, India should be having an annual vehicle sales figure of 60 million vehicles. So, we are at one-sixtieth of that right now...

Cheers!!!

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