Maruti attempts to ‘Ace’ LCV Goods Carrier segment with its ‘Super Carry’!

Maruti had tasted commercial success with its passenger carriers like Omni, Eeco & Versa. All the offerings in the passenger carrier segment were petrol-only models and were successful in both personal and commercial usage. Owing to the success of these models; Maruti identified a huge business opportunity in load carrier segment as well and launched the Super Carry in the year 2016. The Super Carry is powered by a 2-cylinder turbo-charged 793 cc diesel engine and an all-new 1200 cc CNG engine variant.

Maruti Suzuki knew that the segment shall cater primarily to the commercial customers and only diesel models shall be viable; hence it decided to have a different network/dealership for the sale of Super Carry. Similar to Nexa; the commercial outlets were offered to existing Maruti dealers and it invested all the focus in expansion of the network. By Nov’18’ Maruti’s commercial vehicle channel was present in 193 cities with 250 outlets.

Maruti Suzuki’s Commercial Outlet

The Mini Truck Load Segment (<2 tons) was dominated by offerings from Tata Motors & Mahindra. While Ace was the undisputed leader in the segment; Mahindra tried to grab considerable share via its offerings Maxximo/Jeeto. Ace (Normal+EX+Zip) is currently enjoying a market share of 66%; while Mahindra’s share in the segment is 23%. The overall segment has grown by 50% in this financial year (Apr’18-Jan’19) v/s Apr’17-Jan’18.

Super Carry’s performance in this financial year has been extremely positive. The model posted a growth of 159% in the first 10 months of this FY over same period previous FY. The model has steadily gained a market share of 10% and at this rate may even match Mahindra’s volume in the next 1-2 years!

Amazon Basics Engine Oil Now On Sale In US

– The engine oils will be sold under the Amazon Basics brand
– Available in four flavours:
— Mineral/conventional
— Full synthetic
— Full synthetic (For high mileage cars)
— Synthetic blend (For high mileage cars)
– Prices appear to be only marginally less than the regular players
– Only for the US market for now

Amazon Basics sub-brand addresses the need to have a quality product at an affordable price. To make the business profitable, Amazon focuses on attaining huge volumes. The strategy targets products that are typically not that expensive, to begin with, but definitely overpriced, such as data cables, phone chargers, AA/AAA batteries, etc. So, buyers are split between coughing up the cash and taking a risk with a cheap alternative that may or may not work as intended. Almost all products wearing the Basics label are the ones with which buyers aren’t even brand conscious.

The engine oil, I believe, sits on the fence. While the big dogs do spend top dollar advertising and growing mindshare, the demand is still largely driven by the car repair shops. They’ll take whatever helps them improve their profit margins as long as it works as expected.

After trying out Motul, Bosch, Castrol, Shell (~Rs. 300/liter or higher) and the bargain basement alternatives like ACDelco (~Rs. 180/liter) I’ve found that there’s no real difference between the labels. As long as you stick with the right grade and blend (mineral/synthetic/blend), there’s no reason to splurge on a fancy bottle of engine oil. They all are probably getting the oil from the same producer anyways. After an oil change, if you find the engine smoother and quicker to rev, then it’s mostly because you removed the gunk and poured fresh oil in it.

The prices, for now, are not too low compared to the established players but that just seems to be an initial phase to warn them of what’s coming. The price war is yet to start and once it does, they’ll either have to participate or lose market share. It is, after all a byproduct produced while refining crude oil. Yes. Even the fully-synthetic engine oil is derived from crude oil but refined and treated differently to give it its unique characteristics. With the oil prices hovering around $50-60 for the sweeter Brent kind, there’s definitely money to be made selling engine oils.


Report Card of Cars launched in 2017

Let us have a look at the performance of the cars launched in the year 2017. Why now? As manufacturing and logistics activity usually stabilize after 6 months from launch date, based on demand-supply situation. Only new generation and new products are considered here, not the mid-life refresh ones.

Hyundai Verna

3rd generation has brought Verna nameplate back in the game, in a segment which is reeling under SUV onslaught. Remember how, once, 2nd generation fluidic design Verna brought aspirational Honda City on its knees. City reclaimed its position later but that was quite an interesting show. Verna’s position seems to be safe till new City comes in 2020.

Tata Nexon

After pretty long time, Tata Motors is showing good growth with an all new productline. Credit should go where it is due, to erstwhile Chairman of Tata Motors – Mr. Cyrus Mistry and the then Managing Director Mr. Karl Slym, and their  Horizonext strategy, rolled out in 2012-13. They transformed the organization and made Tata Motors future ready and put the company on growth trajectory where it is today.

“This strategy rests on the pillars of intense product focus, benchmarking to world-class manufacturing practices, enriched customer purchase experience, consistent and outstanding service and a technology-intensive aftermarket support. With this, we strive for the next level in design, driving experiences, fuel economy and connectivity” – Tata Motors Annual report 2013-14.

Maruti Dzire (sub 4m)

Dzire needs no introduction, it is the best-selling car of 2018. With every new generation it became much more desirable, and yes, Honda’s latest attempt to dethrone it, is not quite successful yet.

Tata Tigor

Tigor couldn’t emulate the success of Tiago. Underpowered engine and body styling is not very well accepted by Indian market. It seems Tigor got some numbers from Zest, and later is pushed into fleet segment.

Volkswagen Tiguan

Tiguan is 6th best-selling car across the globe (2018). But conservative design language is not helping the case of Tiguan in India. Even more expensive cousin Kodiaq is doing better numbers than Tiguan.

Maruti Ignis

Currently it is slowest selling hatchback in Maruti’s portfolio. Other car makers will be more than happy to have such sales numbers, but as per Maruti’s standard, it is a flop. Looking at its some of near predecessor, we can easily gauge in our crystal ball (graph below) where it is heading to. In fact, predecessors had much better start as well. Over-priced perception, polarizing rear end design, and close positioning between Swift (aspirational) and Wagon R (Value for money) has taken toll on its number. So, for all those who believe that Maruti badge stamped on any car can sell, please take a note. Primarily, it is always product and price.

Volkswagen Passat

Previous generation of Passat was launched to build premium brand image for Volkswagen in India. It did fairly well for its part. But current generation couldn’t even hold candle to its cousin Superb. Car is loaded with all bells and whistles, but it looks very bland from all angles and it’s no brainer for customers to go for its stylish cousin. By the way segment is dying way too fast.

Skoda Kodiaq

Overpriced perception and underpowered engine (148 bhp) took a toll on Kodiaq’s number. Its direct competitor Honda CRV brought in newer generation car with even more underpowered (120 bhp) engine. What is going on, a race to bring underpowered engines at insanely high price. Surprisingly, body on ladder frame cars too lost some of steam this year.

Honda WR-V

India’s craze for SUV and sunroof was very well adapted by Honda with minimal investment. But numbers are going down now, and upcoming Mahindra XUV 300 will hurt the weakest first, and very promising Hyundai 4m SUV will hit everyone hard.

Tata Hexa

Hexa is nothing but repackaged Aria. Seems more like a bridging product, till the launch of H5X (2019) and H7X (2020). In competitive landscape it may not have performed that well but in isolation it has really done the job what it is meant to, compared to its super flop predecessor, thanks to Horizonext strategy.

Jeep Compass

It was the most awarded car in 2017. Had a grand opening, as it was tremendous value for money product, given the Jeep brand and heritage. Then what happened?

Lot of product issues, high maintenance cost and below par channel partners (dealerships) are the major reason cited by customers for not going for such an appealing product on paper and in metal. This resulted in bad word of mouth, and numbers just corroborate that. Jeep needs to be very cautious with upcoming Renegade.

Renault Captur

In Europe, Duster is sold under Dacia (Romania) brand, well regarded as no nonsense functional car. And European Captur is sold as premium crossover, based on Renault Clio (Hatchback)- a Maruti Baleno sized car. Both are well differentiated products sold under different brand and have distinct image and customer segment. Then what Renault India has set out to achieve by offering two products having similar dimension and catering to same customer segment, but one of them asking for price premium over other for no apparent reason. Besides that interior plastic is hard, that may work for Duster but not for so called premium Captur, and from outside it looks like grown up stylish Kwid rather than rugged looking SUV (read Duster) or sophisticated looking SUV (read Hyundai Creta). Result is quite apparent.

Nissan is playing the same trick now with Kicks slated for January 2019 launch. Leather trim on dashboard looks upmarket but besides that, all plastic parts looks like carried over from Duster/Terrano/Captur, which is hard and feel cheap. If they price it over ambitiously like Captur, then we know the result beforehand, similar to above numbers.

(The article is written by Rohan Rishi. You can connect with him at

Statewise Car Sales – H1 FY19

We have been analyzing statewise car sales statistics for quite some time and here we present the report for the sales of the first 6 months of this financial year; i.e. from Apr’18 to Sep’18. Snippets as below:

    • 17,41,234 cars have been sold in the first six months! Pl note that the statistics do not include the big festive months and Dec/Mar sales which are the biggest months in terms of automotive sales. Going by the trend; we expect the passenger car sales in India to go beyond 35 Lakh units for entire FY18.
    • West Zone has emerged as the Top Zone and is significantly ahead than the South & North Zone which have been placed No.2 & No.3 respectively.
    • Maharashtra retains the No.1 State Rank and contributes to almost 10.5% of national volumes! UP stands second with 8.7% contribution to the sub-continent’s numbers.

Sales Statistics of the States, Zone-wise:

      • The Zonewise Toppers are as mentioned: Maharashtra tops West Zone; Kerala for South; Uttar Pradesh for North & West Bengal for East.
      • Though East Zone has the highest number of states; the car sales volumes are the least in India. Even the Top Selling State of East; i.e. West Bengal stands in 13th place in terms of overall statewise ranking and contributes to just 3.3% of national volumes. Even the Bottom 7 states belong to East Zone.

Top Selling States Ranking:

We have gone a step further this time and tabulated Maruti’s & Hyundai’s Market Share in the respective states:

      • Maruti + Hyundai contribute to ~68% of passenger car sales in India! The Jodi has made the life of other OEMs pretty miserable as the rest of the OEMs have to fight for the remaining pie (30% of market).
      • Maruti has an overall market share of 52.2% for H1. Maruti’s dominance is clearly seen in majority of the states – Maruti has a Market Share of >50% in 22 out of 33 states! Maruti enjoys clear majority in North Zone and has a Market Share of whopping 54.2%. Even the weakest Zone – South has a market share of 49.7%.
      • Hyundai has a overall Market Share of 15.7%. Hyundai enjoys maximum acceptance in West Zone with 17.1% Market Share!

FY19 v/s FY18 statistics:

    • Only 6 out of 33 states have seen dip in volumes for FY19 when compared to FY18. The trend seems positive in the remaining states.

Passenger Car Market – 2018

Growth Analysis

Passenger car manufacturers are facing headwinds in 2018 and growth rate has slowed down to 6.4% (Jan-Oct 2017 vs 2018), despite some interesting launches like Maruti Swift, Honda Amaze, Mahindra Marazzo and Hyundai Santro. Automakers would be more cautious for the upcoming year because India will have general election in 2019, which may have some impact on passenger car sales due to the nervousness in the market, emanating from the formation of next Government. 2020 will see much larger impact as vehicle prices will certainly go up due to implementation of BS6 (Phase-1) emission norms, particularly for diesel engine powered cars.

Monthly growth rate in 2018 has been slow since the beginning of the year, except for the month of May and June, due to GST base effect. So, we summarized all the factors impacting the consumer sentiments at one place to understand the effect on the growth of passenger car market.

Note : highest monthly price in Delhi is considered as retail fuel price.

Despite nearly all updated productline, India’s largest car maker Maruti too is struggling in the second half of the year, thus dragging the whole industry growth numbers down.

All other industry players too are feeling the heat, with few exception summarized below.

While temporary factors will go away with time but what is here to stay is higher interest rate and highly vulnerable retail fuel price. Also, rising input cost and depreciating Rupee is having direct and indirect impact on the cost of making cars, even for homegrown companies like Tata and Mahindra. This at some point of time may push automakers for price hike, and lead to further worsening of consumer sentiments.

So, all these could lead to the possibility of higher car prices and even higher discounts in future by automakers to keep inventory in check at factory and dealership level and keep the business running at optimum level.

(The article is written by Rohan Rishi. You can connect with him at