1. Maruti Suzuki Vs Hyundai
Hyundai had always wanted to build a small car for India, something that would give its closest competitor, Maruti Suzuki, a run for its money. And that’s how the Eon was born. Except that the Eon didn’t live up to expectations. It was no match for Maruti’s all-time bestselling car, Alto. To make matters worse, when Maruti launched the Alto 800 earlier this year, it received a huge response. In less than a month, it bagged about 50,000 bookings. Despite the setback, Hyundai launched an advertising campaign soon after dubbing the Eon ‘the trendsetter’ and the Alto ‘the follower’. With its aggressive stance, Hyundai has sent out a message loud and clear: The No. 2 carmaker in India is here to upstage the incumbent in 2013.
2. Tata group Vs Mahindra & Mahindra
This one could well turn out to be hand-to-hand combat between the two for defence and homeland security business from the government. They are already fighting pitched battles for major contracts, as the government increases procurement from domestic “defence champions”. In the last two years, both groups have invested crores in building capabilities to prepare for big ones as well as dozens of smaller ‘offset’ orders from foreign vendors. And, though slow in coming, the contracts will be fought tooth and nail.
3. Diageo Vs Pernod Ricard
For over a decade, Diageo had tried to catch up with its French rival, Pernod Ricard, in India. Now with United Spirits in its bag, the London-based liquor giant has its best opportunity. Apart from whisky, the two rivals will square off in the vodka segment. Unfortunately for the French company, besides whisky, it is yet to taste major success in other segments of Indian made foreign liquor, a weakness that Diageo will exploit.
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(This story appears in the 11 January, 2013 issue of Forbes India. To visit our Archives, click here.)