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TheStreet Open House

Automakers Look to Drive Sales in India

NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- India is poised to be the second largest auto market (behind China), and the largest global automakers are jumping at the chance to seize a piece that market at the tenth Delhi Auto Expo Thursday.

Their mission: use the auto-expo as a launching pad to grab market share among Indian car shoppers, possibly gaining an edge over Suzuki in the process. Suzuki controls half of India's market, according to Bloomberg, which reports that India has 50 million middle-class consumers, many with a penchant for global car brands.

India's car buyers are currently on the rise amid the implementation of government tax incentives for automobile purchases; all told, about 1.8 million visitors could show up at the Expo, according to Bloomberg.

The vehicles most likely to create the biggest buzz at the Expo will be small cars and electric and hybrid vehicles, analysts say. Toyota (TM), Honda (HMC), Hyundai and Suzuki will all be putting on display existing or new hybrid and electric vehicle models.

Also on display will be new models of small cars from Honda, Toyota and Suzuki, as well as the Volkswagen (VLKAY) Polo, the Nissan (NSANY) Micra and the Ford (F) Figo.

Ahead of the Expo, GM has launched the compact Chevrolet Beat, as part of the company's $500 million expansion plan into India, according to the Wall Street Journal. As part of the plan, GM will pour $300 million into a car factory in Talegaon city.

GM wants to double its production at the Talegaon plant to 90,000 cars a year, partly to support the introduction of the Beat into the Indian market, according to the Journal.

-- Reported by Andrea Tse in New York >>See our new stock quote page.

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