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India emerges as 4th largest auto market: data

India has emerged as the fourth-largest auto market in the world, which will further intensify the competition among global automakers to expand their presence there, industry data showed Thursday.

According to the data by the Korea Automobile Manufacturers Association, a total of 877,000 new cars were registered in India during the first quarter of the year, rising 4.7 percent on-year, the largest growth tallied among the four BRIC countries -- Brazil, Russia, India and China -- the data showed.

This followed China, the United States and Japan, which registered 6.15 million, 4.04 million and 1.58 million cars, respectively, during the same period.

India stood in 10th place until 2008, but its market size has expanded significantly in recent years, with its standing rising to 6th last year.

India's auto market has posted such a sharp growth thanks in part to the "made-in-India" policy under the current government that centers on nurturing its manufacturing industry, a policy that is also credited with the country's relatively fast economic growth.

As the Indian market is expanding fast, global automakers, including Korean companies, are ramping up efforts to carve out a larger slice of the growth.

Earlier this week, Hyundai Motor Co., South Korea's top automaker, announced that it will launch a small-size SUV named the Creta during the second half, targeting the Indian market.

Hyundai Motor currently runs two plants in India, which have a combined annual production capacity of 650,000 units.

Other global rivals are also accelerating their efforts to strengthen their footholds in India.

Japanese automaker Nissan earlier said that it aims to hike its market share in India from the current 1.9 percent to 5 percent by 2020. Renault S.A. plans to launch a hatchback model in India this September, with a target to raise its market share there to 5 percent by 2016. (Yonhap)