At the airport arrival area in Mumbai, a blue Innova was parked. In less than an hour, over 100 passengers stopped while they picked their luggage off the baggage belts and peered into the interiors of the MUV before they moved on. One row of seats had been removed and in its place was a comfortable 2 seater at the back where the occupants could stretch out, watch tv, access a small fridge and have a cozy party. It redefined the essence of the Innova, a car that packs in large families by the hordes. And because it runs on diesel it appeals, particularly to frugal Indians.
Mod cars are a recent trend and while the customisation earlier was typically limited to the exteriors, this represented a departure – reducing the number of seats and ramping up the luxury components. DC has been one of the earliest companies to do mods and this looked like their attempt at mass customisation. Directed it at a market that wants luxury without flaunting it. There really is no other reason to take up space at the airport in Mumbai (It would easily cost about a million rupees a month) and display a mass market car if they wanted to flaunt their design skills. The airport is chock full of their potential customers – so it’s very focused targeting with minimal wastage
Indian buyers are getting confident about their own design choices. And going after an image that reflects their own personality and aspirations. It’s not that mods were not around earlier – but even expensive cars are getting a makeover. Mod enthusiasts spend a lot of time, money and energy on finding the right creative and automotive talent to alter their cars. But the action was limited to a tight community of those who knew what they wanted and where to get it done. Seeing that a modder exhibits his wares at the most crowded airport in the country is probably a defining moment in market expansion.