While India has been an independent country for over 70 years, the roots of India's automotive industry run a little deeper.
Like the Constitution, the Indian automotive industry also has four pillars:
Bajaj Auto began as a simple imported two and three-wheeler seller in India. After being established on November 29, 1945 as Bachraj Trading Corporation Private Limited, it introduced its first self-manufactured Product — the Vespa 150 — and kick-started its success story.
Beginning with the Italian manufacturer Vespa, Bajaj has partnered with various foreign manufacturers and has given the Indian market countless classics.
These include the likes of Kawasaki, KTM and the most recent, Triumph. Bajaj has introduced the two-wheeler culture to the roots of Indian society by providing a plethora of scooters and motorcycles.
Currently, Bajaj Auto is the world’s third-largest manufacturer of motorcycles and the second largest in India. It is also the world’s largest three-wheeler manufacturer and dominates the segment in the Indian market as well.
Mahindra & Mahindra
Founded as a steel trading company, Mahindra & Mahindra was established on October 2, 1945 as Mahindra & Muhammed.
It entered the automotive industry by assembling and selling Willys Jeep in India. This cemented Mahindra as a heavy-duty vehicle manufacturer. The company soon diversified into light commercial vehicles (LCVs) and kept expanding thereafter.
Mahindra never shied from experimenting and soon entered the two-wheeler market by taking over Kinetic Motors in India. The company also introduced the REVAi electric car in India, at a time when electric vehicles (EVs) were quite unknown to the market. Currently, Mahindra has a host of rugged SUVs and MPVs on offer, as well as a wide range of commercial vehicles.
The company is also an extensive manufacturer of farm equipment.
Tata Motors branched out from its parent company in 1945 and began its life as a locomotive manufacturer. In 1954, Tata Group entered the commercial vehicle sector after forming a joint venture with German Daimler-Benz.
This was followed by Tata’s entry in the passenger vehicle segment with the Sierra SUV in 1991. Tata’s Indica was the first fully indigenous Indian passenger car when it was launched in 1998 and became one of the best-selling cars in the history of the Indian automobile industry.
Tata Motors has also partnered with various foreign manufacturers to diversify its line-up. Tata acquired South Korean Daewoo’s truck manufacturing unit in 2004, a 21 percent controlling stake in the Spanish bus and coach manufacturer Hispano Carrocera in 2005, a joint venture with the Brazil-based Marcopolo in 2006 and the Jaguar Land Rover from Ford Motor Company in 2008.
Maruti Suzuki India
Founded by the Government on India in 1981 as Maruti Udyog Limited, Maruti Suzuki India Limited was formed after it was merged with Japanese automobile manufacturer Suzuki in October 1982.
It ventured in the market as an importer of cars and received the right to import 40,000 fully built-up Suzuki in the first two years. The company began in December 1983 and launched the Maruti Van soon after.
After that, the company launched a plethora of vehicles in the passenger and commercial vehicle segment.
In recent times, the company has diversified into multiple segments, launched its premium dealership called NEXA and has launched various peripheral services for the Indian audience like Maruti Insurance, Maruti Finance and Maruti Driving School.
Along with other brands, these four manufacturers have made India the fourth largest automobile market in the world and even helped surpass Germany in terms of sales.