Mahindra THAR — India’s own off road champion!

Launched in the Indian market on October 4, 2010, This compact and mid-size four-wheel drive off-road Jeep CJ-like SUV has always been appreciated for its brilliant off-roading capabilities, rugged and masculine robust body-built and legendary jeep styling. This also has been voted one of the top 10 SUVs available in the Indian market.

Let’s see the volume trend for past 5 years –

Monthly Sales Data (2015-2017)

Thar earned a lot of reputation in its segment and won the hearts of many with its off-roading capabilities but what could be a concern for Mahindra is the stabilizing volumes Month on month and has not been able to give any significant volumes addition. Rather we can term Thar now as a Brand building vehicle in Mahindra’s portfolio.

Year 2013 2014 2015 2016 2017
Average Monthly Sale 637 729 742 510 588

Mahindra Thar which is facing almost No competition in its segment but has the closest competitor in terms of sales volume, despite of New (Thar) vs. outdated design Maruti Suzuki Gypsy which doesn’t offer a diesel engine, power steering but still stands as the closest competitor of Mahindra Thar! In the other hand The Thar has a rugged design, masculine robust body-built, while the Gypsy has conventional styling and outdated design. Still Gypsy brings good numbers to Maruti Suzuki and has been able to give competition to Mahindra Thar in terms of sales volume.

Let’s look at the comparison:

The total volumes of Thar models are about 7,700 units a year and of which 65 per cent comes from DI model. Mahindra expects the incremental sales go come from CRDe version in the near future with changing aspirations of urban people and launch of new Thar with more features. Best of Luck for the off-roader!

Swift at 35!

Maruti Suzuki has officially opened bookings for the new Swift. The new Maruti Suzuki Swift can be booked for a token amount of Rs 11,000. The car was also showcased to media today. We decided to track the evolution of Swift as a model and also assess its sales statistics in the Indian market.

Tracing the venerable vehicle back to its roots,the first thing we noticed was the Swift badge has been slapped on a lot of vehicles over the past 35 years! Not just talking about its four generations,each generation itself contains a dizzying range of body styles and engine and transmission options ,not to mention the variants produced for the Japanese and the Americans and other foreign countries.

It all started with General Motor’s M Platform. The GM M platform was the designation used by GM for the platform that underpinned the second and third generation Suzuki Cultus and its offspring (Swift). It was designed at GM’s Technical Center in Warren, Michigan, USA. Suzuki designed all the engines, drivetrains and actual body initially. From 1985 through 1989, all models were imported from Suzuki’s facilities in Hamamatsu, Japan. From 1990 on, all North American M-cars were produced at CAMI Automotive in Ingersoll, Ontario, Canada with the exception of the convertible and turbocharged models which were imported from Japan.

Suzuki Cultus (rebadged as Swift outside Japan)

GM did not find the project profitable and the unfinished design was sold to Suzuki. The project was completed by Suzuki and they launched the car as the ‘Cultus’ in the Japanese market. The Swift name plate was used by Suzuki in the markets of Austallia and the Newzealand. Even GM badge engineered it to launch it as Cheverlet Sprint in North America.(The third generation M platform was only sold by Suzuki as the Suzuki Swift in North America as Suzuki decided to create their own Swift to market around the world.)

This is how the first Gen SWIFT looked like!

The First generation Swift was introduced in the year 2000 as a replacement for the Suzuki Cultus. Outside Japan, the “Suzuki Ignis” name was used! Both three- and five-door hatchback body styles were offered, although the three-door was not offered as part of the regular lineup in Japan.

2nd Gen Swift!

The Second generation of the Swift marked a significant departure with the previous Cultus-based models, with Suzuki redesigning the vehicle as less of a “low price alternative” subcompact and more of a “sporty” subcompact hatch. The Swift’s design and driving characteristics focused on the European market with its chassis refined through a road-testing program across Europe.

3rd Gen Swift

The Third generation Swift is currently in sale at the Indian market. It had its wheelbase extended by 50 millimeters over the previous second generation and has many visual updates. While the new car looks different from the old one, its design is an evolution of the radical second generation styling with a longer and more rounded appearance.

4th Gen Swift

The Fourth generation Swift debuted in Japan on 27 December 2016. The hatchback is built on the ‘HEARTECT’ platform which made its debut in 2015 and is the same lightweight platform used for the production of hatchbacks Baleno and Ignis!

Sales Statistics of Maruti Suzuki Swift in India –

  • ~18 Lakh Swift’s has been sold in the Indian soil till date in past 13 years
  • Swift saw a downward trend since 2015 (post the launch of Nexa Baleno). However, it still sells a whopping 1.67 Lakh units/year!
  • The upcoming Swift will carry the same lightweight platform as the current gen Baleno / Ignis.

Swift at 35 years, clearly has carried on the legacy of the Suzuki and this generation will carry on for more years. Swift has made major contribution in making Suzuki a true global car manufacturer and making Suzuki carrying on pole position in India. Surely it is the most anticipated launch of the year and the buzz will explode very soon.

Data Source: Wiki

(This article is written by the latest addition in our team – Gourav Saksham, a dentist by profession and a Petrohead by passion. You can connect with him at gouravsaksham@gmail.com)

Indian Luxury Car Market

Mercedes Benz was the first luxury car maker which has shown confidence in Indian market and set up assembly plant near Pune after Indian Government has allowed foreign auto makers to set up factory through direct investment route in early 90s. First car launched was E-Class, it was W124 series which was then quite dated in global market as W210 series was ready for launch in Germany. Mercedes corrected the course in 1997 by launching W210 Series E-Class, followed by S-Class (2000), C-Class (2001) and M-Class (2002). For almost 10 years Mercedes was the only Luxury car maker in India. By 2004 global economy was very buoyant, India too was riding on the wave, then other luxury car makers decided to set up shop in India and offer expensive toys to emerging wealthy Indian to showcase their new found opulence. Since then only brand which got discontinued was Maybach, a brand re-introduced by Mercedes Benz to compete against Ultra Luxury brands – Rolls Royce and Bentley. This happened because Maybach (2002-2012) disappeared from global market, as it failed to catch imagination of people across the globe, as it doesn’t have heritage to boast of against the prominent competitors. Bugatti, a member of VW family, too has introduced its hyper car Veyron, which claims to be one of the fastest street legal car in the world. It also happened to be most expensive car sold in India till date, if you don’t consider the armored version of conventional models from other luxury car maker. Veyron has been replaced by Chiron globally and is yet to touch Indian shores. Tesla and may be Alfa Romeo are the only brands which can be expected in near future to join the luxury club.

Country of Origin

Britain has most numbers of luxury car brands to offer in India, ironically, none is owned by the British now, which you will see next. Large volume of luxury cars comes from German stable and ultra-sports car arena is dominated by Italians. Safety obsessed Swedish car maker Volvo too is gaining market share as it has recently started assembly operations at Volvo Trucks’ plant near Bangalore. Company from Far East is the most recent entrant.

Family

Whatever car you fancy about with your wealth, VW here has widest range of brands to offer under its umbrella. BMW can have similar spread if it acquires Aston Martin. Some mass market brands like Tata and Geely got lucky with the acquisition of luxury car brand JLR and Volvo respectively.

Social Stratum

Luxury car maker have their own pecking order and fascinatingly have an upper price ceiling too. When you consider other rich man transportation toys like private Jetliner or Yachts, sky is the limit. But when it comes to cars, the most expensive car you can buy from a showroom is either Rolls Royce Phantom or Bentley Mulsanne, even if you have all the wealth of the world. Here we are excluding cars which are expensive in first place by default rather than by design – Hyper Sports cars (primarily focused on high performance, sometime made up of expensive material like carbon fiber, Titanium, and not meant for everyday ride due to stiff suspension setup, seating position and lack of storage space), limited editions (because you cannot order when you wish to), armored vehicle (conventional vehicle becomes expensive), custom made Limos (elongated version of existing cars) and vintage cars (vanity value). Ever thought on these lines or is this has some correlation with Maybach’s failure? If you have an answer, then please write to us. *(Ex-Showroom Price Range in ₹ Crores)

Luxury Car Sales

Till 2006 Mercedes has enjoyed its monopoly in Indian luxury car market. But in last 10 years all the three German (Audi, BMW and Mercedes) luxury car maker got the chance to wear #1 crown, turn by turn. Change in design language, CEO’s aggressiveness, new product launch, especially smaller and more affordable ones, were key reason for shuffling of top deck. Unlike mass market segment where Maruti and Hyundai have had strongly held #1 & #2 rank and seems they would be continuing to do so, Luxury car market will see new leaders with every successful new product or new generation launch.

2017 happens to be the best year for the luxury car market in India where some companies are rejoicing with the sales growth they achieved over preceding year. Almost all are unhappy with September 2017 GST rate revision, which they feel has dampened the growth, and in future it will remain so. Yes tax does have an impact but it has to do more with the wealth and prosperity of the masses for luxury market to grow rapidly. Let us think from a different perspective. Till late 70s India and China had similar GDP size and in today’s date have similar population. Indian luxury car market size is close to 40k units now, but in China, Audi alone, sold more than 5 lakh cars (46k monthly average) in 2017! 3 decades of double digit GDP growth has made Chinese wealthier than Indians. With India’s current GDP growth rate it will take decades to reach such exponential growth in Indian Luxury car market.

Overall market

If you look at the overall passenger car market, luxury car penetration is mere 1%. Here we did a very conservative estimate of revenue and found that the revenue and tax contribution share is relatively high. When you read these figures just keep in mind, that these are very conservative estimates for illustration purpose only, based on certain very broad assumptions. Actual figures based on variant and fuel type of car and revenue from after sales spares can be on higher or lower side (may have wide variation).

Revenue = ∑ [Number of individual model sold x price of lowest variant (excluding indirect tax-GST/VAT/Excise)]

Halo products

There is handful of niche product from non-luxury car makers which falls into price territory of luxury cars. These are all halo products and are not sold in large volumes in India but are meant to showcase the heritage or technological accomplishment of the company, and add to the brand identity. Since all are CBU import, they are quite expensive for the badge they have on front grill.

For example Fiat 500, in late 50s it used to be cheapest car in Italy and made owning personal car a reality for the masses, similar to what Maruti 800 did in India since its launch in 1983. 500 signify the 479 cc engine it used to have then. Now Fiat 500 has assumed an iconic status. It still has the retro styling and borrowed its underpinning from humble Fiat Panda.  In white color it looks more like a lovely pet mouse.

In India, it was first launched in 2008 and was powered by a 1.3L 90 bhp diesel engine and didn’t do well and was eventually discontinued in 2010. It was re-launched in 2015, this time with Abarth badge on front grill and a new name “Abarth 595 Competizione”, with much powerful 1.4L T Jet petrol engine pumping out 160 bhp. 595 signify the original retuned car of 60s which came with a 595cc engine and Abarth is to Fiat is what AMG is to Mercedes Benz, an in-house tuning company. Company claims that it can do 0-100 kmph in less than 8 seconds and clock a top speed over 200 kmph.

Despite the fact that every automotive brand has an upper price ceiling which is psychologically ingrained in the mind of customer, some of these high priced halo products are doing well.

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

Luxury Car Sales for last 10 years!

Yes, we have been able to collate the data for the last 10 years (2008-2017)! The Luxury Car Industry has grown >5 times in the last 10 years in the Indian subcontinent. Though the overall annual volumes is less in the country, the continuous growth in the segment has attracted many Luxury carmakers to make their presence here. To highlight the significance of Indian Luxury Automotive segment – India is one of the first few markets in the world where the Lamborghini Urus is being launched. Even with a ticket price of Rs.3 crores (Ex-showroom, Delhi), company claims that they have exhausted almost all the Lamborghini Urus SUVs allotted for India, for the year 2018!

In the consolidated Sales of past 10 years, Mercedes Benz take the Top slot with the sales of 88,260 units. BMW stands second with sales of 70,209 units. Audi within a smaller span came close to BMW and sold 67,887 units. It is important to note that while Mercedes is present in the country since more than 20 years, BMW and Audi have completed just half the tenure of Mercedes! BMW’s rise was phenomenal – It was able to dethrone Mercedes as the No.1 luxury OEM, just within 3 years of its presence in India. Audi’s rise has been similar – Though it was founded in 2007, it jumped as the No.1 Luxury Car maker  by 2013 and toppled both BMW & Mercedes. However, the spur of new launches in 2015 drove Mercedes Benz back to Numero Uno position! In 2017, Mercedes Benz commanded a market share of over 39% and is going strong year on year. It also achieved its all time highest sales volume of 15,300 units in 2017!

The ranking table has been extremely volatile over years and the same is depicted in the above table. Also attached here is the latest Ad from Mercedes Benz highlighting the No.1 Luxury OEM for 3 years in a row –

An ode to Tata Indica – 20 years of Indi’genious’ car!

Yeah, Tata Indica was India’s home grown first indigenous (originating or occurring naturally in a particular place; native) car! It was showcased in 1998’s auto expo and shipment to dealers started from Feb’99. It has sold an impressive ~15 Lakh cars in 226 months and is currently in the end of its life. We saw a post on 20th Birthday of the legendary vehicle today, and hence this article! Let’s see some interesting stats on the brand –

  • Within a week of its unveiling, Tata Motors received 115,000 bookings! Within two years, the Indica had become the number-one car in its segment.
  • Introduced with the caption “More car per car,” the ad campaign focused on roomy interiors and affordability. And yes, it was one of the most impressive automotive ad campaigns of all time.

  • Indica was the first Tata to have a monocoque chassis! And the other firsts from Tata Motors were – first car to have a “body in white”, first car to be designed keeping aerodynamics in mind, first car with a transversely mounted front engine, front wheel drive layout.
  • The Indica offered options like air conditioning and electric windows, which were previously restricted to upmarket imported cars in India!
  • Indica was also exported to European markets from 2003. It was rather badged as a MG Rover CityRover!

  • It’s highest sales in a month was 15,283 units (Mar’2007)!
  • Tata Indica has sold 14,69,038 units till date and has been the best selling car by an ‘Indian OEM’!
  • Indica established Tata Motors as a forerunner in the Indian OEM’s race. Other OEMs (like M&M) followed the suit. Indica also helped Tata Motors launch other models (Indigo, Indigo CS) which elevated Tata Motors race to No.3 OEM in Indian market.
  • A glance at Indica’s sales over years –

Interesting Fact – 1998 Auto Expo was iconic in terms of the cars which were showcased that year (Tata Indica, Hyundai Santro, Honda City, Ford Fiesta etc)!

Launch Ad –

Indica V2 TVC –

30 Slow Moving Models of 2017

Let us have a look at the 30 slow moving models of 2017. Models which got discontinued in 2017 and those launched in H2 of 2017 are excluded.

  • Tata Motors is slowly and silently phasing out old workhorse with capable new product range
  • Despite being 32 year old Maruti Suzuki Gypsy is still doing decent numbers
  • Nissan-Datsun-Fiat are in existential crisis mode

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

Top 30 Best Selling Cars of 2017!

As promised in our previous post, we are happy to present the 30 Best Sellers of 2017! It is an interesting point – you may ask why we have covered 30 Top selling cars (why not 5? or why not 50?) . There is not point covering Top 5 (as all 5 are from Maruti Suzuki’s stable!). Also we didn’t want to cover more than 30 models as it would lose significance. We have also categorized Nexa separately to highlight the speed with which Nexa has made its presence in the Top sellers list. We’ve tried to calculate the modelwise YoY growth as well to understand the said model’s performance over last year. So the Best Sellers are –

Interesting Observations:

  • There is no other OEM models in the Top 10 apart from Maruti’s/Hyundai’s!
  • Baleno makes its presence strongly felt and registers itself as the Third Best Selling car of 2017! It sells almost double of Hyundai’s i20!

  • Maruti+Nexa had 12 models in the Top 30 selling cars! Whereas, Hyundai had 5. If other OEMs need to break the dominance of these 2 OEMs, they ought to have a model in the Top 10! It is really needed that Honda, Mahindra, Tata, Toyota, Renault to have atleast 1 model each in the Top 10.
  • Tata has only Tiago in the list. Can Nexon make it to the list next year?
  • Honda & Mahindra have 4 models each in the list.
  • One Product dependent OEMs have a pretty bad time as the entire OEMs performance is dependent on this 1 model!  Ex: Ford (Ecosport), Renault (Kwid), Toyota (Innova), Datsun (Redi-GO).

Indian Car Sales Figures – December 2017

The Indian Auto Industry registered a sales of over 2.35 Lakh units in Dec’17, which was almost 5% higher than the same period last year (Dec’16). Dec’17 was the last month of the calendar year and hence offtake data is not the right measure to assess the sales, because the actual sales would have been much higher. This is the dealer offtake figures and generally the offtake is usually low as year-change is expected on these models. Hence when compared to Nov’17, the Dec’17 sales degrew by 13%! In terms of retails, it was a blockbuster month. We Indians love discounts and Dec’17 is the month where deal seekers finalize their purchases seeing higher bang for their buck. All OEMs had the best offers running on their models (Ex: One could have almost availed a lakh rupee discount on Grand i10 in Dec’17!). Such huge offers were common across brands – And expect the same to continue this month as the dealers would still be carrying some 2017 stocks with them.

Let’s look at the modelwise analysis here:

Top 25 selling models of December 2017 –

This month we tried to innovate we present the sales figures and hence the segment wise analysis have already been shared in the earlier posts. Do share your opinion if you found it useful.

Also would want to leave a clue regarding our next article here –

Source: ET 

2017 Sales Statistics – Hatchbacks & Compact Sedans

We present the most important segments at the last. Yes, India’s highest selling cars come from the entry/mid level hatchbacks & Compact Sedans. Both of them combined contribute ~50% of overall passenger sales in India – In 2017, ~12.4 Lakh Entry/Mid level hatchbacks were sold and ~4.1 Lakh Compact Sedans were sold. These are the segments where Maruti Suzuki predominantly enjoyed leadership over years and is still reigned by it.

Hatchbacks have always been a practical choice for the Indian market as for many buyers a Four Wheeler is a first time purchase and considering the level of investment – entry/mid hatchbacks make a sensible buy. Also considering the country’s infrastructure, parking woes, government taxation structure – Hatchbacks rule! The Global Biggies (Toyota, GM, VW) lose out on the race in India for not having options/expertise in the segment. They’ve tried and failed miserably as well. The likes of Maruti & Hyundai have aced it and thus dominate the Indian Automobile market. Let’s see the sales statistic of the year 2017 for the offerings in the segment –

Dec’17 month sales volumes looked like this –

Compact Sedan’s are nothing but the hatchbacks with a boot. India should have pioneered the segment globally in my opinion and thus products like Ameo, Amaze, Etios were launched in the sub-continent first! The Compact hatches add to the aspirational quotient and thus many Indians do not mind paying extra bucks just for the additional boot. Having a 3-box car is matter of prestige in many Indian families and also considering increase in inter-city travel – having a sedan is sensible as well. The segment was found by Indigo CS initially and was mastered by Swift Dzire. The sheer success of Dzire in the Indian market and should be a case study in the Global OEMs desk. Dzire has been able to topple Alto as the best selling car in many months in 2017 and was just ~32k units short in terms of annual sales. However, apart from Dzire, all other models in the segment struggled all-together combined couldn’t match Dzire volumes (Dzire-2,25,043 units & All Others combined – 1,80,620 units). The refreshed Dzire launched this year was nothing but a generation ahead of the outgoing model and was easily able to pull majority customers to itself. The statistics for the segment was –

We have also collated the Dec’17 segment’s sales numbers separately for reference –

Best Selling UVs in India for 2017

Utility Vehicles have an aspirational value in the Indian market (rather utilitarian). We would either love to have a people/family mover MUV at home or drive an SUV with huge Road Presence. And with infrastructure woes, larger families, long distance travelling, etc these cars makes a whole lot of sense for the buyers as well. The products in the segment have a power of single-handedly establishing an OEM in the Indian market (Duster, Compass, Innova, etc are classic examples).

Both MUVs & SUVs combined sold 5,43,917 units in India. It contributed ~17% of overall sales in India and the segment is growing larger than ever before. It was also evident from the new launches in the segment this year (Hexa, Compass, Kodiaq, Captur, Tiguan, etc).

For better clarity, we have bifurcated the sales volumes of SUVs & MUVs. Let’s start with the sales statistics of Multi-Utility or so called Multi-Purpose Vehicles:

Dec’17 sales – MUV
2017 sales of the cars in the segment – MUVs
  • Innova has always carried enviable positioning in the Indian market and no other OEM has been able to match the success it always had. At the price point Innova sells, no other OEM can even think about it right now. With an exorbitant pricing, it has matched or even exceeded the sales volume of much cheaper Bolero. Though both the products are from different worlds; they sell almost equal in number.
  • Due to good monsoons this year, Bolero has been able to sell considerable numbers in 2017 and has earned the Top slot in the table. It again has an unique positioning and sells at an equivalent price of an hatchback in India. The Rural markets just adore this product and Mahindra themselves couldn’t find a replacement for this legend yet.
  • Ertiga has been a consistent average performer for Maruti till date. The consumers who would want a 7-seater yet compact offering would blind foldedly opt for an Ertiga. The pricing again is a sweet spot for this model and competition is scarce.
  • Hexa came in with a lot of expectations and potential. It tried to capture the market of erstwhile previous gen Innova and not been able to particularly succeed in its ambition. Though this could be the best Tata product one can find on the roads in terms of quality, consumers are still wary to invest the amount the product demands. However, with time perception can change – will it?
  • BR-V had a sinusoidal sales this year and was the choice of people opting for a petrol UV. The 1.5L iVtec engine was the sole attraction for this model and the CVT variant too has been able to pull some buyers.
  • Xylo & Sumo sold whatever it could (primarily in the Taxi segment).

Now the sales statistics of Sports-Utility Vehicles:

Dec’17 Sales – SUV
2017 sales of SUVs in India
  • Creta has catapulted Hyundai as a prominent player in the SUV space! The product was nothing short of a category leader and has sold in similar proportions. It has been able to consistently garner ~9k units/mth for the Korean OEM.
  • Scorpio sold almost 50% less than Creta in 2017. 3 years back no could have predicted that this day would come! Mahindra which used to be considered as the Maruti of UVs segment, is facing a sort of Identity crisis right now. No doubt, it still produces the most capable SUVs for Indian roads – However, consumer aspirations have changed and Mahindra is simply not able to match it the way it used to do before.
  • We have included S Cross into the table with a lot of persistence from our readers. While the product is >4m and some buyers do compare it with the offerings like Creta/Duster; we still believe that it is more of a cross rather than a SUV.
  • Compass makes a historic entry to the Indian market. It has undoubtedly revived Fiat’s fate in the Indian market and it rightfully deserves to do so. The product has allowed Indians to really taste the Jeep brand at a price point which can’t be ignored. We expect the volumes to sore even higher as the network expands and also eagerly await for the next offering from the brand (Renegade).