When Bollywood superstar Amitabh Bachchan had taken the wraps off Dilip Chhabria-designed DC Avanti supercar last year, it had created quite a stir. Labelled India’s first supercar, Avanti had elicited stares from all corners not only for its international-standard styling but also its relatively low price of Rs25 lakh.
“If all goes as planned, the supercar might be produced in limited numbers by 2014 at a plant proposed near Ahmedabad,” Chhabria said.
That would make it the first supercar to be produced in the state, further consolidating the state’s position as India’s future Motown.
The designer was in the city on Wednesday to announce the launch of his brand, DC Design’s, showroom on SG Road, the franchise for which is held by city-based Abhidev Automotives.
Come April 28, the outlet will offer designer body-kits for cars including Renault Duster, Maruti Swift, Hyundai i20, Mahindra Thar among others as well as luxury interior kits for Nissan Sunny, Toyota Innova and larger vehicles such as vans and buses.
In addition, one-off customised designs and options of body armour for any car will also be on offer. It takes 15 to 45 days to fit the designer body-kit, while it will take upwards of six months to get a customised vehicle made, said Shah. The minimum price for a DC-branded kit is Rs3.5 lakh.
Talking about his target clientele for DC Avanti, Chhabria said the supercar is designed keeping in mind young professionals in the age group of 25 to 35 years, with an income of at least Rs4-5 lakh.
“Not just in India, but nowhere else in the world has a supercar been priced in this bracket, which puts it in close reach of automotive enthusiasts in Tier-II and III cities with low levels of disposable incomes,” Chhabria said.
Avanti’s price advantage has made it stand out in a market flooded with imported cars priced nearly double what they cost in their respective countries of origin, and at least 15-20 times that of DC’s car.
“At some point, even we were forced to rethink the pricing, but having locked in nearly all prospective owners for the car’s first production run of 2,000 units, we will retain the price for the moment,” Chhabria explained. Avanti is currently being produced at DC’s facility in Maharashtra.
Elaborating on the proposed manufacturing facility near Ahmedabad, director of Abhidev Automotives, Shaunak Shah said that it would be set up with an initial investment of Rs20-30 crore, and used to produce the standard body-kits with a run of 1,000 cars per annum.
“Depending on the demand for Avanti, we might plan a part of its second production run of 2,500 cars per annum at the facility that comes up here,” Chhabria added.
DC Design is also currently developing an as-yet unnamed ‘super SUV’ which will fit in the same price bracket as the supercar, and could also be made at the Ahmedabad plant, he hinted. In lieu of this, with total production at 3,500 cars per annum, another Rs60 crore would be invested at the upcoming facility which is slated to come up near the automotive hub in Sanand.
Speaking on the sidelines, Chhabria said that in addition to a manufacturing facility, his brand DC Design will also be offering educational courses related to automotive industry at a specialised institute soon. He said that the workforce in the country lacks the vocational skills essential to the up and coming auto industry here.
“With our credibility and experience in this industry, we will be able to offer short-term courses and curricula specific to this need of the hour. Hopefully, the centre in Ahmedabad will be operational within six months,” said Chhabria who already has a design institute, DYPDC Center for Automotive Research & Studies, near Pune.