Indian Car Sales Figures – October 2017

October was a tough month for the Auto Industry and the growth was almost flat. As the figures projected here are the offtake data (dispatches from OEM to dealers); the actual retails will be significantly higher. The lower dispatches here indicate the weak business expected from upcoming month (November) and dealers would’ve also planned to rationalize their inventory. Many OEMs would have also reduced the production in Oct’17 owing to Diwali (and hence plant shutdown during the holidays). Anyhow the sentiments are low post-GST and it’ll be interesting to see how market responds in November. Many important launches are scheduled too in November – the biggest are the New Gen Ford Ecosport and Renault Captur. Both the models are SUVs and will cater to the SUV craze in the sub-continent. The new launches are extremely crucial to revive business for their parent OEMs and lot of hopes are pinned on it.
Let’s look at the modelwise analysis here:

Top 25 selling models of October 2017 –

Top Selling Hatchbacks (entry & mid level) –

Top Selling Premium Hatches –

Top Selling Compact Sedans –

Top Selling Sedans –

Top Selling Compact SUVs –

Top Selling MUVs –

October 2017 Car Sales – Snapshot

October proved to be a tough month for the Industry and the growth was flat. Apart from Maruti, Tata, Toyota, Fiat & Skoda – all other OEMs saw a downfall in sales when compared to similar period in last year. Also as usual, the Top 5 OEMs contributed to over 85% of Market Share!

Global Car Sales Analysis – 2017

Global Auto Industry is growing at steady rate since 2010. With buyer’s preference shifting to SUV, automakers are getting more and more innovative with their products. Let us have a look at the bestselling vehicles across the globe for the first eight months of 2017 (Jan 2017 to Aug 2017).

Top 50 Best sellers

Top 10-Manufacturers of 100 Best Selling Vehicles Globally

Ford seems to be having most successful product portfolio here, dominated by SUV. Ford F-Series, a pick-up, is America’s bestselling vehicle, surprisingly a pick-up and a best seller. Well Americans love their pick-ups! Toyota has very balanced portfolio and wider global coverage, with Corolla being the bestseller globally. Despite diesel gate scandal, VW continues to maintain a steady lead in the list. Success emanates from hatchback led grip in Europe and sedan’s success in China. New design language since 2008 has catapulted Hyundai’s products in global favorites, with Tucson and Elantra being in top 10 in 2016. With 5 of Jeep’s product in top 100 list, one can surely learn that having SUV in portfolio is sure footed success mantra.

Country-Wise-Manufacturer of 100 Best Selling Vehicles Globally

Though Japan and Germany lost the Second World War as villains, now they have conquered the world of automobile and how! I am pretty sure their third partner Italy would appear in the conquering list when it comes to the supercar arena. These countries were defeated, destroyed to rubble and were devoid of resources in post war period. Still with great minds they have in their country, has made them to conquer the world with technology and resurrected giants like Toyota, Honda, VW and likes. Have you ever wondered that we have our independence, freedom and control on our resources since 70 years, still we don’t have such feat. One can always argue that Tata owns marque like JLR, but owning is different from making, for example Chinese car company – Geely, they too own safety obsessed marque Volvo, and they sell blatant copy of Rolls Royce in China! Speaking of China their products are not exported much outside the country and right now the number of product in this list is virtue of China being largest producer and consumer at the same time. America is home of Pick-up, SUV and muscle cars. Their products are more powerful, simple and cheap and Americans love to keep on changing them like a razor blade cartridge. Korean manufacturer, Hyundai and Kia, have really transformed themselves in past two decades and gained huge acceptance worldwide and that’s a feat. Wondering why Romania is in this list, it is because of Dacia which is owned by Renault, it’s the same car company which has conceived Logan and Duster, sold in our country under the Renault brand umbrella. France is anchored by Renault and Peugeot. Ironically the UK which actually won the Second World War is missing in the list.

Body Type Analysis

SUV – Flavor of the season

  • Close to 40% models are SUV!
  • New fondness for compact SUV – Top 10 list is dominated by 5 seater and more of a softroader
  • Ford & Jeep each having 5 models in top 100

Sedan

  • Toyota Corolla is bestselling vehicle in the history and still holds #1 position
  • Volume wise sedan and SUV are neck and neck
  • VW having 3 in top 10 because of China connection

Hatchback

  • Despite being relatively inexpensive, 13 is too low of a number for hatchback!
  • VW accounts for 30% of hatchback sales in top 100 ranking
  • Europe is anchorage for hatchback

Pick Up – American love

  • 6 models in list of 100 is not a surprise, but for pickup it is!
  • Ford F Series, Chevrolet Silverado and Ram Pick-Up are bestselling “vehicle” in USA for years!
  • For reference its contribution to global 100 rankers is 9% slightly less than hatchback in terms of volume!

MPV – Chinese love

  • Only two Chinese MPV in the list of 100!
  • As Americans love their pickup, Chinese find practicality in MPV

 Luxury Cars Sales – 

How 100 Global Bestselling Vehicles Performing in India?

Past – Vehicle which got discontinued in India but still Bestseller Globally

Hyundai Sonata

It kick started a segment where it never was able to make its value realized against the competition. Re launched in 2005 and 2011 with reasonable pricing, but no success at all. Not all global bestseller do well in India.

Wuling  Hongguang

Chinese bestseller! In India it was launched as Chevrolet Enjoy. Chinese cars really don’t go very well with Indian buyers who are used to Japanese quality and pricing since quite a long time.

Ford Fiesta

Older generation of Fiesta was launched in India in 2005 and was quite successful. Later when newer generation was launched in 2011, older was rechristened and sold with classic prefix. 2005 generation was developed in Australia for emerging market. It struck a chord instantly with Indian buyers because of engine under the hood and balanced ride and handling characteristics.  1.4L diesel engine was a gem, having excellent fuel economy. No wonder 85% cars sold in India were diesel, despite being slightly cramped in comparison. Newer generation just bombed due to overambitious pricing, lack of space at the back and a design which did not catch buyers fancy. Numbers has been so bad that Ford has to pull it out even before product’s normal lifecycle end, which in India is around 6 years from launch including mid-life update around 3 years.

Hyundai Santa Fe

Recently got discontinued. Overpriced perception took a toll on its numbers.

Honda Civic, Volkswagen Jetta, Chevrolet Cruze

Refer to my older article which talks about the entire segment (http://www.autopunditz.com/autopedia/mahindra-xuv-500-cheetah-that-killed-a-segment)

Present

Hatchback

Alto got its global 100 ranking because of Indian connection, second being i20. Since launch, i20 has been real money spinner for Hyundai in India. No surprise as its sales is as good as younger sibling i10. Honda Fit in India is known as Jazz, was not able to make much mark in the segment but in its new avatar as WRV, its getting much needed respectable figures. Polo is now too old in India, new generation already launched in Brazil let us see when we will get the new one. Usually global manufacturer take their own sweet time for launching global product in India.

Sedan

Except City all are struggling for numbers. Some really had good run in the past but not now. In India SUV in respective price range are killing the sedans. This phenomena is catching up fast since the introduction of concept called compact SUV, or as what I comprehend – pseudo SUV. Nissan Versa is called Sunny in India, space at the back is simply great, but looks is certainly uninspiring, hence poor show.

SUV

Compass, Ecosport and Creta are boy wonder for respective manufacturer. For others, they don’t stand a chance in India due to their (over-) price (-d) tag.

Future – Cars which May Come to India

Honda HR-V

Biggest question is will Honda be able to slot it in between BRV and CRV? Can it bring numbers for Honda what others have failed to? All I have is dramatized questions, but no answers!

Peugeot

Sometime back, Indian media has reported that Peugeot has planned an investment around ₹ 4000 crore  to set up a plant in India in partnership with C K Birla Group. They even bought Ambassador Car Brand name from defunct Hindustan Motors. Would 208 and 2008 ever touch our shores? Plans are still in air!

Kia

Kia is working on new manufacturing plant in Andhra Pradesh. Product portfolio is still not announced yet, so could we see their global bestseller Rio, Sorento and Sportage in India. Only time will tell.

Jeep Renegade

Being tested extensively in India, may get launched sometime in 2018. Likely to be positioned below Compass, competing against likes of Brezza.

Renault Captur

Soon to be launched in India. But we are not getting the bestseller which shares its underpinnings with Clio. What we are essentially getting is Duster in fancy frock which is on sale in Russia. Renault wants to keep cost low for emerging markets,  thus selling old platforms with new body styling. Same thing they did with Datsun, by introducing older Nissan Micra platform as Go and Go+.

Toyota Yaris (Hatchback) & Vios (Sedan)

India should have got these way back in 2011, instead what we got was bland Etios and its derivative-Liva. Toyota decided to compete against Renault Logan (Now Mahindra Verito) rather than segment Leader Honda City. Etios design too was inspired from Logan. Take a Logan, round all its edges and you have bland tasting Etios! But cost-cutting inspiration came from Tata Nano, it has a single front windshield wiper and dreary looking instrument cluster placed unconventionally in the middle of dashboard. Hopefully Toyota is serious this time with competent Yaris and Vios.

Mitsubishi Outlander

Mitsubishi is well known in India for its macho SUV – Pajero. So what they were thinking when they launched petrol guzzling soft roader with not so mean SUV image. Certainly it reflected on its performance. There is a news that it could be reintroduced.

Nissan X Trail

Sometime back Nissan has showcased hybrid X Trail to Indian Media. No launch dates announced so far. They are already struggling with poor portfolio performance. Moreover, Indian Government’s policy flip-flop is not very encouraging for automakers long term drivetrain planning.

Data Source : http://focus2move.com/world-best-selling-car/

(The article is written by the Newest Pundit on the team – Rohan Rishi. You can connect with him at emailrohanrishi@gmail.com)

India’s most Dzire’able car!

Dzire has been the most successful car in the past 2 months and its volumes have just baffled the analysts. It is not easy to beat the current bestseller (Alto) and Dzire has just been able to do it with considerable ease. So what making the Dzire such a heartthrob?

Recent Phenomenal Growth in Dzire’s Sale

  • 3rd generation of Maruti Suzuki Dzire was launched in India on 16th May 2017
  • Has recently touched the phenomenal mark of 30,000+ for two successive month, quite surprising for a car which cost ₹ 6+ Lakhs  in India

  • Since 2012 it came in close vicinity to Alto’s sales number, Alto still holds the crown of bestseller in India
  • In some of the months Dzire has snatched the title of bestseller as well
  • Just note, later is an entry level hatchback and former is a sedan version of premium hatchback

Undisputed Leader

No doubt Swift Dzire has its core strength but often makes me wonder, is it by design from Maruti Suzuki or is it really a miracle- for both Maruti and Indian customer alike. Competitors came, tried and failed!

Dzire

It is a product which has outlived its own name “Dzire” to become “Addiction”. To me previous avatars do look good in parts but not as a whole, due to awkward proportion. Recent iteration looks more akin to compact sedan.

Generation-1 (2008)

  • Side profile looks like two disparate cars stitched together
  • A near full size sedan having heart and body parts from hatchback model and ultimately cannibalized grown-up stable mate SX4

Generation-2 (2012)

  • Set the charts on fire, though looks like a truncated boot latched to a hatchback
  • Second offering in the unique to India  4m sedan segment, first being Tata Indigo CS – the real innovative answer to Government’s tax laws

Generation-3 (2017)

  • More sublime design and looks good in whole
  • Packaged well with all modern features and gadgets on select variants and safety features on all variants with option of economical automatic transmission system on all variants, except the base one

 Hypothesis : Is this mere a Spike or Sustainable-New-Normal for Dzire

May be “Yes”

  • Despite cut throat competition in the segment, demand is strong, right now there is 2-4 months of waiting period for the car
  • For reference, consider this – Maruti Suzuki has to dish out cash discount of ₹ 25000 on Wagon R to get it out of the showrooms in this festive season
  • New plant in Gujarat has gone on-stream so Maruti Suzuki does not have production constraint

May be “No”

  • Numbers for Dzire started tapering downward since the introduction of Baleno in 2015, as both jostled for same sub – 4m length footprint, in different body forms
  • Essentially Baleno has started cannibalizing both the stable mate – Swift & Dzire, but it was deliberate and well thought out strategy from Maruti Suzuki, as it added more numbers to its overall kitty and catered to overlapping needs of different buyer-segment

  • Recent spike could largely be attributed to initial dispatches, which were too low in May and June, may be due to steering column issues, as reported by few insiders and published on the internet, thus Maruti Suzuki is making up for the lost time – as it is yet to reach it monthly average peak of 2015, for whole year

“For now it seems to be more of a spike, but in future, as this miraculous car’s story unfolds, 30k+ could be new normal!”. Or can the New Swift change the trend?

Note : Only Maruti Suzuki stable is considered for this analysis, as all of the products are respective segment leader.

(The article is written by the Newest Pundit on the team – Rohan Rishi. You can connect with him emailrohanrishi@gmail.com)

Indian Car Sales Figures – September 2017

The Indian Auto Industry continued its growth momentum this festive season and grew over 11% in Sep’17. Dusshera was the prominent festival in Sep’17, and the market was also getting ready for the biggest festival of the year – Diwali. Let’s see how the OEM’s fared –

Maximum number of new car launches happen in the Aug-Nov timeframe owing to the festive demand. Even in Sep’17, new launches were in the limelight. Tata started dispatches of its much awaited Nexon and Skoda bought in the Kodiaq too. Ford too started dispatches of it next generation Ecosport. Hyundai’s Newest Generation Verna topped the segment and pipped City to be the best seller – Again a reason why launching a car in festive season is fruitful! All the new car launches are extremely strategic to its respective OEM –

  1. Nexon – The compact SUV segment can’t be ignored right now. Honda too recently bounced back into action with the success of the WRV. Brezza’s numbers too are testimony of what the segment can offer. Tata launched its model at the lowest price and raised many eye-brows. Not only the price; but the feature list is mouth watering too. Nexon’s success could push Tata’s in the No.4 spot in the ranking table.
  2. Kodiaq – It has been generating a lot of interest right from the time it was showcased in the Geneva Motor Show. Globally, it has already won many awards – (In November 2016, Škoda Kodiaq was named the “Best Family Car in the World” by Top Gear Magazine. Kodiaq won the title of the Car of the Year 2017 in the Czech Republic, Poland and Bulgaria, the SUV of the year in China and France and the all-wheel drive car in Germany. Kodiaq also won in German magazine competition Auto Test for 2017 and is the winner of competitions in British magazines Auto Express and What Car for 2017. Kodiaq also received the Red Dot Design Award for 2017. Source: Wikipedia). However, similarity to the already launched Tiguan and the ambitious pricing can act as a deterrent.
  3. Ecosport – It is the only silver lining Ford can currently depend upon. Over 56% of Ford’s sales in Sep’17 was contributed by Ecosport and the trend will aggravate even further. With new entrants in the Compact SUV space (WRV, Nexon, etc); Ford needs to protect its turf and keep its buyer engaged. The new design and interiors will help Ford in its purpose and sustain the volumes.
  4. Verna – While Hyundai’s volumes had stagnated at 42k mark, it needed a product which could push it ~50k. And yes, Verna comes in. It has all the bells and whistles to be the ‘Hero’ product in the portfolio. However, beating the competition (City & Ciaz) will not be easy.

Let’s look at the modelwise analysis here:

Look at Top 25 selling models of September 2017 –

Top Selling Hatchbacks (entry & mid level) –

Top Selling Premium Hatches –

Top Selling Compact Sedans –

Top Selling Sedans –

Top Selling Compact SUVs –

Top Selling MUVs –

Mahindra XUV 500 – Cheetah that killed a Segment!

Mahindra XUV 500 was launched in September 2011. XUV 500 – read the ‘00’ as O as in superstiti‘O’n.  Ever wondered why after Mahindra Armada all Mahindra’s vehicle names ended in “O” – BolerO, ScorpiO, XylO, VeritO, QuantO, NuvO(Sport)?  Good they have not rebranded themselves as “MahidrO & MahindrO”.

Jokes apart, XUV 500 was indigenously designed vehicle inspired by Cheetah, the animal which we don’t have in India since 1947. And it is quite a design, aggressive and butch in front and sporting muscles all around though looks little MUV like from behind and rear three quarter. It has cheetah inspired, claw like door handles, never seen before in India and it had whiskers too ingrained in front bumper design. Though it shed those whiskers when it got a facelift in May 2015. In human parlance how many actors since 90s use to sport a prominent moustache, barring Anil Kapoor! It had very strong diesel engine and if you recall the post 2008 economic crisis period diesel was tasting ever sweeter because of high price differential between petrol and diesel caused due to lopsided fuel subsidy policy. Unlike its younger sibling Scorpio it was more car like, having monocoque chassis and appeared more sophisticated thus appealing to urban dwellers.

This cheetah had claws with real killer instinct and it hunted down an entire segment of sedans which I christen as Premium Sedan (4.6m) – comprising of still in production but struggling for numbers – Toyota Corolla, Hyundai Elantra and Skoda Octavia, others just got discontinued over time.

*For apple to apple comparison monthly average sales figure is considered, since launch till they got discontinued

Price-Wise This Is How They Stack Up

Segment Classification

For effective segmentation instead of following conventional A, B, C, D category of classification, I tried to personify each segment, what it stands for. Length is considered as primary factor because it defines the footprint of the vehicle and proxy to the overall size and space it offers. Secondary factors are price and positioning. Having said that, some products are really difficult to perfectly fit into well-defined segment. If you see the below classification, XUV500 is case in the point.  Thus, such product may be able to create a unique position for itself, redefine the market and prove to be a differentiator or may land them in no man’s land.

Mass Market Sedan Segments

Mass Market SUV Segments

 

Premium Sedan (4.6m) Segment

This segment came into existence with Skoda Octavia, launched in 2002. It filled in the void between executive segment sedan and luxury segment sedan. Also known as mid-segment, it offered more space inside, with bigger engines in tune of 1800cc for petrol and 2000 cc for diesel engine. Larger space means it qualifies for premium category and larger engine means superior performance. Priced above Tata Safari at that time, still attracted quite a few buyers because of refinement on offer, especially in urban concrete jungle. These cars were ideal for chauffer driven back seat passengers. So if you want to differentiate your status and cannot afford Mercedes at 20 Lakhs, you had a choice.

Over the years new cars got added and pie expanded, accommodating all brands. Competition was from within the segment and not from segments placed above or below. Segment started seeing decline when petrol prices started touching roof as market leaders namely Corolla and Civic came only in petrol avatar and executive segment cars like Honda City started getting more premium touches than before. Launch of XUV 500 has caused free fall of the segment, now majority of them are discontinued and manufacturers do not have plans to re-launch them.

  • Octavia (Skoda)

2002-2010 

The car which actually kick started this segment. Before Octavia there was large void in sedan segment between likes of Mitsubishi Lancer and Mercedes Benz C200, bottom end of Luxury segment. Powerful TDI engine won the heart of many and made them believe that diesel engines could be refined too. It had tank like build and diesel engine propelled like rocket for first time in India at price point of 10 Lakhs. So  2002 onwards, if you want to buy luxury car and cannot afford Mercedes Benz you had a choice.

2013+

Octavia brand resurged after demise of Laura. Car was wearing new family look with crisp lines all around. With option of powerful petrol and diesel engine it is still posting good numbers despite being called niche and not mainstream anymore.

  • Corolla (Toyota)

2003-2008

Best seller globally and Toyota reliability has given instant success to Corolla.  

2008-2014

After launch of Civic, Corolla started feeling as it looks dated in that comparison. Toyota brought in the new generation Corolla to retain its pole position. Initially launched in petrol, it was later joined by diesel though low on power but high on fuel economy.

2014+

This model adopted Lexus inspired design and had added level of flamboyance. Now its third iteration in India is still having leadership position in the segment.

  • Elantra (Hyundai)

2004-2008

Hyundai is the company which has introduced modern engine technology in mass market of India, namely MPFi Petrol and CRDi Diesel engine. Elantra had both of them in powerful avatar, and packed with all bell & whistles, however, it never was exciting to own in the company of Corolla, Octavia and Civic.

2012-2016

In second iteration fluidic design did the magic, it looks like sport car in sedan body. That helped become segment leader for short moment before Corolla snatched the crown back. Numbers tapered down quite fast despite having looks inside-out and powerful engines.

2016+

Third iteration is here now with restrained fluidic sculpture, but number suggest it has lost the game from very beginning. May be not very good time to be in this segment.

  • Laura (Skoda)

2005-2013

This model was replacement of Octavia globally. However, following Maruti and Hyundai’s footstep Skoda retained Octavia as is and positioned Laura above it. Idea was to have incremental volumes from Octavia. Indian context it worked well as Octavia aged well. In 2009 it came up with face lifted version which continued to soldier on till 2013 when it passed the baton to Octavia brand. Laura like all Skoda had strong build quality and lovely diesel engine. Skoda brand itself is considered premium and people love their diesel engine. After-sales-service was, and is, something which people don’t love about Skoda in general.

  • Optra (Chevrolet)

2005-2012

Chevrolet introduced Daewoo Nubira as rebadged Optra in Indian market. It was positioned at lower end of spectrum and it did compete with Honda City. Designed by Pininferina, it was refreshing to look at. In 2007 it was given facelift and had almond shaped headlamps. It continued till 2012 and used to clock good numbers, though positioned below the stable mate Chevrolet Cruze.

  • Civic (Honda)

2006-2012

Civic was launched in petrol only as Honda did not have diesel engine. It was quite unique offering, having sport car silhouette. Look at it from rear and it looks similar to Ferrari because of twin pot tail lamp. Younger buyers jumped off Corolla’s wagon to get into Civic. It was enthusiast car with top notch performance. Step inside and you will be welcomed by driver centric aircraft like cockpit with digital console never seen before in India. On the downside boot space was small and ground clearance was too low that it always scrapes its belly on Indian roads. Non availability of diesel power plant and high petrol prices after 2008 economic crisis has pulled its number down and finally Honda pulled the plug in 2012.

  • Jetta (Volkswagen)

2008-2011

Jetta was part of VWs entry journey into India. VW followed a top down approach by introducing premium products to establish its brand. Positioned alongside Skoda Laura, it has same family characteristic of strong build quality and sweet diesel engine. To me this generation Jetta’s headlamp resembled that of Tata Indica, slightly more rounded.

2011-2016

2011  version followed a completely new family look. Sharp and crisp lines running around and used to resemble a man wearing tuxedo. In fact all VW cars look smart but very much identical, some time you have to see them from side to identify who is who, based on the length. Skoda’s numbers were always higher then Jetta and people perceive Skoda to be more premium.  2016 numbers reduced to single digit and VW threw in the towel. Now question is whether VW decides to bring in MQB platform based Jetta. Seems unlikely.

  • Cruze (Chevrolet)

2009-2017

From beginning it was available only in diesel. Engine was really powerful and had made quite a fan following for itself. Owners love to modify their vehicle and tried to add more x-factor. With Chevrolet now shutting shop here in India its goodbye Cruze.

  • Fluence (Renault)

2011-2016

Renault has followed top down product introduction approach in India. By launching premium product first to establish the brand. Unlike other cars in this segment, it never had any unique proposition to entice the prospects in particular and onlookers in general and died very quickly, unnoticed.

Cheetah and The Killer Instinct

XUV 500’s value proposition for customer can be summarized as

A spacious 7-seater SUV having appealing design and powerful engine packaged well with all the bells & whistles one can imagine for urban dwellers at an aggressive price point undercutting a segment above by a fair margin

Sweet sweet diesel

  • Instinct : Powered by punchy 140 BHP diesel engine only, which has performance on tap and good fuel economy
  • Defense : Sedans were on par and exceeded performance but all of them didn’t have diesel at enticing price point

SUV – lifestyle and aspiration oriented

  • Instinct : High ground clearance is good for Indian roads and SUV do provide commanding position from inside out.
  • Defense : Sedans are more aerodynamic and have good handling characteristic with less body roll due to low center of gravity. But buyers get carried away by aspirational value.

Bigger is better

  • Instinct : Has lot of bulk and enticed those who just want a vehicle which is bigger than their neighbor’s.
  • Defense : Sedans have similar footprint but not the bulk.

3 rows of seats

  • Instinct : Could accommodate 7 or 5 with tons of luggage.
  • Defense : 5 seater but mostly good to carry 4 in comfort. Luggage space is good enough but not great as UV.

Bells and whistles

  • Instinct : Cramped with features of a segment above like touchscreen infotainment system, voice command, auto headlamp and wiper, day time running LED with bi-Xenon projector headlamps and later saw an addition of sunroof and electric driver seats – all this and sold at price segment below.
  • Defense : No sedan was equipped to that level at given price point. Buyers love gadgets both functionally and emotionally.

Virtually no competition from SUV pack

  • Instinct : As Mahindra had cleverly identified the sweet spot and offered more car per car.

Note that, XUV is not best SUV to have either. First the ride is quite wobbly, step inside and dashboard plastic feels little tacky and 3rd row of seats are meant for children only. Still it wins heart over mind.

The Other Hunters – Hyenas

Executive sedan (City, Verna, Ciaz, Vento, Rapid, Sunny)

Have started inching closer in size, more premium and feature rich, though seems slightly underpowered in comparison to elder segment siblings, still a plenty full  for the mass market. They started encroaching the segment from below by offering higher value for lower bucks.

Compact SUV (Creta, Duster, S-Cross, BRV, Terrano)

One can easily argue that compact SUV segment, which was kick started by Renault Duster, could also be considered as a factor that brought down an entire segment. Yes they emerged around 2012, however, they were a notch below in terms of pricing, dimension, engine size and power output. Though less bulk but still have quite a charm of a SUV to lure customer away with budget inching to 15 Lakhs.

Now they are hunting down another Sedan segment in India. See the graph.

*For apple to apple comparison monthly average sales figure is considered

Hunter Is Now Being Hunted

Yes, of late XUV 500 is also witnessing a decline in sales, but it is a normal lifecycle decline which every product will eventually have, except with few notable exceptions like Mahindra’s own Scorpio and Bolero, and Indian’s beloved Toyota Innova. These vehicles have lived beyond their grave, which in India is around 6 years from launch, including mid-term facelift within 3 years.

Moreover story of XUV 500 now is more of a hunter who is now being hunted. There is huge onslaught of SUV in the 15-25 Lakh ₹ price bracket. Ones which are really heating up the competition are discussed ahead.

Current Pack

  • Hyundai Creta

Though a segment below offering, still has power to punch above its weight. Strong engine, premium interiors and has all bells and whistles. It undercuts XUV 500 price and someone looking for just 5 seater, compact and under 15 Lakh ₹ budget, usually looks no further.  That’s what makes it leader in 10-20 Lakh ₹ segment range.

  • Toyota Innova

King in its own right. Had a presence in India since 2005 as a replacement of Qualis. It made a space for itself on its own and never ever looked back. It had a very steady sales data with ever increasing price. No, it didn’t killed the Premium (4.6m) sedan segment, as at the same time, the segment under question flourished well, together.

Crysta – the new iteration exudes more premiumness and seems to be owned largely as personal car now and fleet operators are having less affinity, due to higher pricing. Unlike its predecessor, which was loved both as personal car and premium taxi. Despite being owned as fleet vehicles across India it never lost its premium personality, thus loved to be part of personal car (though it is utility vehicle but inside it feels like a CAR) and that’s just opposite to what happened to Tata’s Indica-Indigo sibling.

  • Tata Hexa

Doing well as compared to its predecessor Aria, and gaining acceptance like never before (just look at Aria’s number). It is quite surprising that Tata chose Aria for another round and not the Safari. Still no match for XUV 500’s number in initial lifecycle phase.

  • Tata Safari

The forgotten underdog. Well Tata never did justice to the product or the brand when it was launched as new generation, on 5th  January 2012, badged as Tata Safari Storme. It received Tata Aria’s underpinning. Looks were kind of sissy as oppose to Hulk it used to be. And look, they even forgot to design an integrated  audio system and fitted aftermarket CD player from the previous generation. They missed a huge opportunity and how!

Remember how Mahindra was successfully able to pull off the same trick for Scorpio. Underpinning has undergone transformation but body shell was retained. The trick was having meaner and angrier looking SUV, packed with goodies and that’s what personality people look for in SUV – intimidating!

  • Jeep Compass

The original Jeep, having grill design which was borrowed by Mahindra in 50s. Now seems to be pointing in right direction for FCA. It is already giving jitters to XUV500 and Hexa which is apparent with Tata and Mahindra’s current advertisement. Pricing of Compass is very aggressive and its acceptance can be seen in the numbers it is doing and bookings it has garnered.

  • Hyundai Tucson

Overpriced & lost in oblivion. Hyundai never had success in terms of numbers for anything priced over 15 Lakhs – Elantra, Sonata, Santa Fe. It is still finding it difficult to transgress the mental boundary created into the minds of customer to differentiate between premium tag it claims for product like SantaFe. Had Tucson been priced starting around 17+ could have made its presence felt or become a star like Creta!

  • Honda CRV

Right now it is an overpriced petrol-urban-soft roader. May be a diesel heart transplant in future and new design can change its fortune. That’s highly likely, unless Honda gets greedy and loose its thinking cap, and end up with poor pricing.

New Members Joining the Pack

  • Renault Captur

Soon to be launched. More premium than Duster but need to be priced right otherwise it will meet the fate of Tucson.

  • Skoda Koraq

Seems highly unlikely that it will be priced below 20 Lakh. But less likely to meet fate of Tucson as in India Skoda is still considered as premium over its parent VW brand. It is given that success and failure will be decided in real battle ground, pre-launch assumption does not help much.

  • Maruti Suzuki Grand Vitara

Previous launch was commercial failure. Brought in as CBU it was overpriced for a car having steering wheel and power window switch from Swift. It was available only in petrol guzzling engine and never had  butch SUV appeal. Now things have changed for Maruti, with Vitara Brezza being a success, older sibling may make it presence felt and catapult Maruti in premium segment, if priced aggressively.

  • Nissan Kick

Nissan want to replay the Duster-Terrano story with Renault launching Captur. This time hopefully it is not just the badge swapping with cosmetic surgery.

  • Honda HRV

Not sure if Honda will be able to position in 15-20 price bracket, if it can with a diesel heart than its better choice over Civic.

  • Toyota Rush

Despite having competent product in its global portfolio that fits well in Indian segment, Toyota has never given serious thought. It is an opportunity to fill the gap what Corolla is ceding now. May be Toyota does not want to cannibalize Innova in the price bracket but lower end of spectrum still looks like sweet spot.

(The article is written by the Newest Pundit on the team – Rohan Rishi. You can connect with him emailrohanrishi@gmail.com)

August 2017 Two Wheeler Sales – Snapshot

~19 Lakh two wheelers were sold in Aug’17! The Two Wheeler Industry grew by a healthy 14.6%. Honda grew at a massive 25.72% and neared Hero Moto Corp’s volumes. Honda is now closest to the Top Slot! However, the fastest growing OEM was Piaggio – Aprilia SR150 just elevated the brand to profitable levels.

Indian Car Sales Figures – August 2017

Aug’17 market the beginning of the festive season and also the second month of the post-GST era. We celebrated 2 big festivals in August – Janmashtami & Ganesha Chaturthi. The aforementioned factors helped the industry grow an impressive 13% YoY and the overall Industry Sales was ~3 Lakh units! The fear of the price in Sep’17 increase also pushed customers prepone their purchase.

The biggest launch in Aug’17 was the New Verna from Hyundai and bought the much required volumes for the Korean Automaker. It was also the second month of FCA’s Jeep – It was heartily accepted by consumers and was able to garner >10,000 bookings in a short span of time. It reflected in Fiat’s numbers as well – The stellar growth momentum continued and the OEM grew by 247% YoY!

Let’s look at the modelwise analysis here:

Highlights:

  • The best thing about Maruti is that they compete with themselves! While, the Market Leader grew 26% YoY; the growth compared to July’17 was -1%. It was able to repeatedly post >1.5 Lakh sale for the second consecutive month.
  • It is no surprise that Dzire tops the Best Seller list! The compact sedan sold over 30k units and overtook the No.2 (Alto) by a huge margin. Just to signify the volumes of Dzire – It outsold the overall sales of Honda & Toyota in India for Aug’17 (Honda @ 17,365 + Toyota @ 12,017 = 29,382). The success of Dzire is still a mystery the other OEMs are unable to crack. While, the latest other entrant (Tigor) is not doing that well – Dzire’s numbers are a matter of envy for all.
  • Baleno single-handedly made Nexa a profitable venture for Maruti Suzuki. The other models in the portfolio (Ignis, S-Cross) are yet to perform as per Maruti’s aspirations. However, the New S-Cross is slated to launch in Sep’17 (right time to launch in the festivity). Also Ciaz’s addition in the portfolio is reaping results to the Nexa Brand.
  • Hyundai was consistently struggling ~42k-43k figures and was in desperate requirement of a volume puller. And there it launches the Verna. The New Verna has been launched at a very attractive price and has been loaded with segment best features. But the Sedan lacks space and the brand will also need to out-perform the already proven City & Ciaz. It is going to be a very interesting competition and we expect the overall segment to grow steadily. The trend is already visible in Aug’17 performance – All Models in Sedan segment showed positive YoY growth.
  • Honda finally seems to have launched a product which could sustain the initial Euphoria and gradually enhance the volumes. The WRV has surely brought in the Wow factor for the Japanese OEM and has helped Honda grow 25% YoY. The City Facelift has also helped Honda push the volumes.
  • Tiago & Hexa were the notable performers in Aug’17 for Tata. While Tiago continued with the incremental volume game; Hexa’s numbers was a pleasant surprise for us. Hexa posted its all-time highest sale in Aug’17 and was the second consecutive month where it has sold >1,500 units! It is indeed a positive sign for the brand and shows slow yet steady acceptance of the model in the market.
  • Toyota is one company which is extremely irate due to frequent policy changes. And Yes, Toyota’s response is understandable. While the Government has proposed to increase the cess in luxury cars in Sep’17; the OEM wouldn’t have been more confused! Innova & Fortuner are yet again under the radar and the best performers of Toyota’s stable will bound to take the hit.

Look at Top 25 selling models of August 2017 –

Top Selling Hatchbacks (entry & mid level) –

Top Selling Premium Hatches –

Top Selling Compact Sedans –

Top Selling Sedans –

Top Selling Compact SUVs –

Top Selling MUVs –

August 2017 Car Sales – Snapshot

The Industry grew 13.3% YoY and the festivities helped the volumes soar to ~3 Lakh units! FCA (Fiat) has already overtaken Skoda with the success of Compass. Fiat has grown the highest (247%) in Aug’17! Renault Nissan Alliance seems to be the worst hit amongst all with both the OEMs struggling with numbers – However, Renault announced that it is going to launch the much awaited Captur this year.