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Cadillac, Lexus to hit the roads soon
Parvathy Ullatil
Mumbai, India

Late Dhirubhai Ambani and Harshad Mehta knew how to be different when it came to their set of wheels. They chose, in that order, Cadillacs and Lexuses over the bread and butter Mercedes-Benz sedans.

It looks like prospective luxury car buyers will be spoilt for choice over the next two years as General Motors and Toyota have unveiled their plans to roll in these super-luxury brands into the country.

Though both car makers rode into India on more mass-market models from their portfolio, they now are ready to drive in their priciest set of wheels into the country.

And according to them, the earlier, the better. With global biggies like Maybach, Bentley and Audi already braving the potholes to establish a presence in India, GM and Toyota seem to have realised the emerging importance of luxury brands in driving growth and enhancing brand value.

GM already has a plan in place for the Cadillac's grand entry into India. It has already established a plant to build Cadillacs in China (the first such plant outside US), which has emerged as the biggest market for the brand outside the US apart from Japan.

The CBU (completely built unit) route has been found feasible since the new generation Cadillacs are engineered for right-hand drive as well as left-hand drive markets.

Early indicators suggest that the Cadillac CTS will lead the brand's foray into the country. CTS is what Cadillac calls an entry-segment luxury car and gives the Mercedes Benz C-class a run for its money in other global markets.

The car is expected to cost around Rs 27 lakh (Rs 2.7 million) when it finally rolls into India.

The next wave of adrenaline-pumping action from Cadillac might come in the form of the SRX- sports utility vehicle, which is currently being adapted for right-hand drive markets.

Toyota, too, is gearing up to target the 'have-money-will-spend-but-not-on-a-Toyota' class of car-buyers with its Lexus brand - a runaway hit in developed markets.

Dato Akira Okabe, director Toyota Motor Company told Business Standard Motoring "There is a whole new market emerging for luxury cars in India. It is important for us to establish a presence in this market."

The Japanese carmaker will test the India soil with its flagship LS 430 sedan. The premium luxury sedan sells at around £54,500 in the UK.

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