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

Commercial Vehicle Segment, 2000-2015

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

A project of:

Project team: Rajnish Tiwari and Bhimsen Dattatraya Phadnis

Start: November 2015

Project status: Completed in March 2016.

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

Schlüsselwörter: Automobilindustrie; Kraftfahrzeuge; Nutzfahrzeuge; Frugale Innovation; Innovationspfade; Indien.

Note: An edited and modified of the study was published as:

Tiwari, R. and Phadnis, B. D. (2017): Commercial Vehicle Industry in India: An Investigation of the Innovation and Business Trends (2000–2015). In: Herstatt, C. and Tiwari, R., eds. Lead Market India: Key Elements and Corporate Perspectives for Frugal Innovations. Heidelberg: Springer, 239-254.



Commercial Vehicles (CVs), even though merely 3% of the total market in terms of volume, form an essential part of the Indian automobile industry. In FY 2014-15 there were 697,083 CVs produced in India. Out of this production, 614,961 CVs were sold in the domestic market, while 85,782 were exported to various nations, as per data by India's Society of Indian Automobile Manufacturers (SIAM), making India the fifth largest CV manufacturer of the world. Tata Motors, Mahindra & Mahindra, Ashok Leyland, Swaraj Mazda, Eicher, Bajaj Tempo are some of the main players in commercial vehicles sector. It is predicted that Indian automotive market will be third-largest in the world by 2020. There is reason to believe that the Indian automobile companies are starting to 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 commercial 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.