January 2019 Car Sales – Snapshot

The Passenger Car Sales degrew -1.8% in Jan’19 v/s Jan’18. Due to muted demand and weak consumer sentiment; the Industry is under consistent pressure and last few months have been very challenging. Even though Jan’19 had 3 bigh-ticket launches – Wagon R, Harrier and Kicks; their contribution to the respective OEM volumes wasn’t significant. It is even worrisome to imagine the condition without these new launches. It was also very disappointing to see that there were no major announcements in today’s budget that could have supported the Auto Sector.

Let’s see how the OEMs fared in Jan’19 –

  • The Top 4 OEMs posted a positive / flat YoY growth in Jan’19.
  • Maruti Suzuki reported a meager 0.2 per cent increase in its domestic sales at 1,39,440 units in Jan’19 v/s 1,39,189 cars sold in Jan’18.
  • Nexa seems to be struggling while it reported a -25% degrowth in YoY sales. Even with the launch of New Baleno; Nexa wasn’t able to recover the volumes and post a positive growth.
  • Hyundai could grow 1% in Jan’19 v/s the same period last year. Even post Santro launch; Hyundai hasn’t gained significant numbers. However; Santro has helped Hyundai survive in tough times and maintain its volumes.
  • Honda pips Tata as the 4th Biggest OEM for Jan’19! Honda has registered the highest YoY growth of 23% in Jan’19! Amaze has done wonders for the Japanese OEM and helped it gain considerable volume since launch.
  • Tata posted a degrowth of -13% even post the Harrier launch.

How the Market Shares fluctuated in Jan’19 v/s Jan’18 –

  • Maruti was again successful in garnering >50% Market Share. The Market Share has grown by 1% YoY
  • Tata has lost the highest Market Share at -0.8%.

Indian Cars Making A Splash In The West

Indian automakers are starting to gain mindshare of the western audience with their products. The Tata Nexon recently scored full five stars in the Global New Car Assessment Program and became the first made-in-India car to do so.

The world’s largest auto show is in the books now. The 2019 North American International Auto Show of Detroit introduced us to the long-awaited and longer-rumored Toyota Supra. But the car that impressed the Jalopnik editor, Jason Torchinsky, was the Mahindra Marazzo.
This wagon became India’s car of the year 2018 in Team-BHP’s polls by a huge margin. And now, it’s winning enthusiasts at the world’s automotive capital. Jason called it the most interesting car at the Detroit auto show and for good reason. The Marazzo is indeed a unique thing. It’s the only front-wheel drive car in India (and probably in the world) with ladder frame underpinnings. Driving the front wheels is efficient and helps with the fuel efficiency figure. And a ladder frame is rugged-enough to take the abuse a people-carrier is expected to deal with on Indian “roads.” The packaging also helps eliminate the floor hump and liberate a good amount of space in the second and third rows.

Speaking of Indian cars with clever packaging that impressed Jason, Tata Nano. The automotive blog reviewed a 10-year old Tata Nano and called it an engineering triumph. The Nano and the Mahindra Roxor were also listed as one of the best cars Jalopnik staff had reviewed in 2018; sharing the space with the Tesla Model 3 and Mazda Miata.
Here’s an excerpt from the review:
“I’m delighted to report that this, the cheapest new car you can buy in the world, does its job. Really, it does its job much better than it has any right to, considering the absurdly low cost of this thing.
It is an absolute design and engineering triumph. I don’t care that it’s not selling well in India. That doesn’t faze me a bit. I don’t care because the end result is an absolutely ingenious design.
The Bugatti Chiron is a joke next to the design and engineering of the Nano. The Nano is an engineering triumph, and the Chiron is an engineering stunt.
The Nano is the true spiritual heir of what the original Volkswagen Beetle, Citroën 2Cv, BMC Mini, and Ford Model T strove to be. I can think of no higher praise than that.”

30 Best Selling Models of 2018

  • Maruti is firmly holding the top 6 slots
  • Lower priced hatchbacks are getting replaced by higher value cars. Consumers are now more value conscious rather than price conscious
  • Mahindra, Honda, Renault and Datsun are losing share among best sellers in India
  • Tata’s product onslaught and acceptance in market has put Mahindra on back foot

(The article is written by Rohan Rishi. You can connect with him at emailrohanrishi@gmail.com)

Triumph Officially Unveils Rocket 3 TFC

– Triumph Factory Custom (TFC) range will bring premium parts, higher performance, and exclusivity

– Only 750 units of the TFC Rocket 3 will be made

– Expected to make more than 180hp of power and 230Nm of torque from, a bigger, ~2500cc 3-cylinder engine

– Will get a single-sided swingarm and a new chassis

– Will get the second-generation, full-color instrument console

Unlike a typical British custom bike, which is just an exercise in swapping and chopping parts left and right, the Rocket 3 TFC is a massive upgrade and definitely worth a second look.

For starters, the Rocket 3 TFC will get a brand new chassis. The single-sided swingarm helps flaunt the alloy wheel design. At roughly 2500cc, the engine is 200cc larger than the normal Rocket 3. The power figure is expected to stand at 180; up from 148hp while the torque is up from 221Nm to ~230Nm. Given the higher power output, better rubber and braking hardware is also sure to be part of the package, which will help keep the motorcycle from kissing the ground.

It’ll feature all that, in addition to the liberally sprinkled carbon fiber and hand-stitched leather here and there. The global launch will take place on May 1, 2019. With the production capped at just 750 units, it should make this big bike a collector’s item. Triumph is calling it a concept, but it looks very much production ready and it should carry forward most of what’s visible today over to the production avatar.

2019 Suzuki V-Strom 650 XT Launched At Rs. 7.46 Lakh

– New feature includes the addition of hazard lights/blinkers

– Side reflectors removed from the tail section to the front suspension

– Nothing else changed – not even the price

Suzuki has added the hazard lights, relocated the side reflectors from the tail to the front and called it a day. It’s difficult these days to grab headlines with a middleweight bike – now that Royal Enfield has redefined the meaning of value for a multi-cylinder 650cc motorcycle.

At first glance, this 650 doesn’t stand a chance next to the Interceptor and GT 650. But, look deeper and you’ll start to see what this brings to the table. This adventure bike still continues to offer plenty of value. This bike competes with the likes of BMW 850 GS (Rs. 13.7 lakh) and the Triumph Tiger 800 XCx (Rs. 14.06 lakh.) FYI, the 750 GS and other Tiger 800 variants don’t count since they offer alloy wheels conveying their road-biased personality.

The inclusion of wire spoke wheels without ditching the tubeless convenience of dealing with punctures makes the Suzuki V-Strom 650 a great value. Not to mention, its tractable and refined V-twin engine, which is at home in the city traffic, on the highways as well as on the broken village roads. The engine heat is very much manageable even at city speeds. The reliability is also expected to be better than its European counterparts.

2019 Maruti Baleno Facelift Launched (Rs. 5.45 lakh – Rs. 8.77 lakh)

– Redesigned face with a new grill

– LED projector headlamps replace the HID projector units

– Redesigned 16-inch alloy wheels for Zeta and Alpha variants replace the boring set that looked like wheel covers

– Projector headlamps now also available on the most value-for-money and best-selling Delta variant

– SmartPlay Studio infotainment system for live traffic updates

– 7-inch touchscreen with Android Auto and Apple CarPlay still on offer for Zeta and Alpha variants

– As per the picture of the Baleno RS on the official website, it too appears to inherit the updates but retains the unique mesh grille

– No changes to the engine and transmission options

Variant-wise ex-showroom price list:

Petrol Manual:

Sigma: Rs. 5.46 lakh

Delta: Rs. 6.17 lakh

Zeta: Rs. 6.85 lakh

Alpha: Rs. 7.45 lakh

Petrol CVT Automatic:

Delta: Rs. 7.49 lakh

Zeta: Rs. 8.17 lakh

Alpha: Rs. 8.77 lakh

Diesel Manual:

Sigma: Rs. 6.61 lakh

Delta: Rs. 7.32 lakh

Zeta: Rs. 8.00 lakh

Alpha: Rs. 8.60 lakh

The biggest change with the update is the inclusion of projector headlamps in the Delta and Zeta variants. Earlier, this feature was limited to only the Alpha trim but the customer demand seems to be the reason behind the move. As per most dealerships, the Delta variant is the best-selling model. The Ignis and S-Cross continue to limit the LED lighting to the top trims while the Ciaz offers the cooler headlamps on the top two variants. Baleno’s unique selling point, the UV-cut glass, continues to be reserved for the fully-loaded variant only.

The projector setup is a looker and it makes the Delta variant even easier to recommend and a no-brainer upgrade over the Sigma.

No need to upgrade the alloys

Another positive change is the dismissal of the older alloy wheels, which looked like wheel covers. The S-Cross too hit the market initially with an equally boring set of wheels. The strategy behind such a move could be to push the buyers to upgrade to a shinier set at the dealership, thus helping the outlets improve their revenue. Both the cars now sport a shiny set of rims in their higher variants.

Where’s the RS?

The Baleno RS photograph suggests that it too has received the update including the new alloy wheels. It’s safe to assume that the new infotainment system and LED headlights will be part of the RS’s package as well. Surprisingly, the RS is missing from the list of cars on the Nexa’s official website. There’s only an option to show interest in the car. This move leads us to believe that the demand for the RS has been about the same as that for the S-Cross 1.6. Therefore, Maruti Suzuki may have made the RS a made-to-order option on the lineup. The price tag of the car was also not revealed along with the updated list.

30 Slow Selling Models of 2018

Let us have a look at the 30 slow selling models of 2018. Models which got discontinued in 2018 and those launched in H2 of 2018 are excluded.

  • Renault Captur is nothing but a disaster
  • Hyundai is not able to sell the two most expensive cars in its portfolio at ease, surely needs new brand like KIA to capitalize higher end of mass market segment
  • SUV, though is flavor of the season, but only few car companies are able to make very competitive one

(The article is written by Rohan Rishi. You can connect with him at emailrohanrishi@gmail.com)

Bajaj Auto is now “The World’s Favourite Indian”!

Yes, “The World’s Favourite Indian” is the new Brand Identity for Bajaj Auto Ltd; which was announced today. 

  •  New identity reflects transition of brand Bajaj from being a domestic scooter maker to a global motorcycle player in 17 years.
  • 40% contribution to revenue coming from sales to over 70 countries
  • India’s No.1 in motorcycle exports – 2 out of every 3 bikes exported now carry the Bajaj badge.
  • Achieves milestone 2mn unit exports in 2018
Bajaj’s New Brand Identity

The launch of the Pulsar from its Chakan plant in 2001 marked the beginning of this riveting global ride. Building on its ‘Hamara Bajaj’ roots of providing reliable mobility solutions, the company has significantly invested in technology and innovation to design motorcycles that are sold not only in India but 70 countries around the world. It has grown to become India’s No.1 motorcycle exporter with 2 out of 3 bikes carrying a Bajaj badge. 40% of the company’s revenue is coming from international markets. It has earned USD 13bn of forex in the last 10years and hit a milestone 2mn units of international sales in 2018.

With 15 million motorcycles sold in over 70 countries, Bajaj Auto has set a benchmark for the ‘Make in India’ vision of the government. With availability and customer preference scaling from Russia and Malaysia to Argentina and Mexico, it is today possibly the largest Indian brand name in terms of customer purchase value.

Commenting on this journey, Mr Rajiv Bajaj, Managing Director said, “Our international performance is validation of our strategy of focus and differentiation. Our unwavering commitment towards building the best motorcycles in the world through design, technology, quality and customer satisfaction have made us a truly global brand. Bajaj brand is not only The World’s Favourite Indian, but also perhaps the most illustrious ambassador for Make in India initiative of the Indian government.”

He further added, “In only 17 years since the launch of Pulsar, we have become the third-largest motorcycle manufacturer in the world, ahead of several Japanese and European brands that have been around for much longer. In any market around the world, when people think of motorcycles, they should think of Bajaj. That would help us achieve our vision of being a Global Motorcycle Specialist.”

Outdoor Plan

The new brand identity would be communicated through a aggressive marketing campaign featuring TV, outdoor, print and digital media. The retail showrooms of Bajaj Auto motorcycles and commercial vehicles will also undergo a transformation with new signage and branding in line with the message of The World’s Favourite Indian.

Showroom Transformations to be aligned with New Brand Guidelines

Over 22 Lakh Wagon R sold till date in India!

Maruti Suzuki has sold 22,14,544 Wagon-R’s in the past 19 years in the Indian market!

Wagon-R was primarily launched by Maruti Suzuki to counter Hyundai’s tallboy car Santro. While Santro established brand Hyundai in the sub-continent; Wagon R worked out to be equally significant to Maruti Suzuki India. The Suzuki Wagon R was primarily a kei car produced by the Japanese manufacturer Suzuki since 1993. The R in the name stands for Recreation. Wagon R was one of the first cars to use the “tall wagon” or “tall boy” design, in which the car is designed to be unusually tall with a short bonnet and almost vertical hatchback, and sides in order to maximize the cabin space while staying within the kei car dimension restrictions.

Maruti is now preparing to launch the Next-Gen Wagon R in the Indian market on Jan 23rd 2019. While the erstwhile Wagon R had a visible Tall-Boy characteristic; the upcoming Wagon R has been designed a bit more curvy. Built on Suzuki’s 5th-generation Heartect platform, the new Wagon R gets matte black grille at the front and lower bumper and completely redesigned tall headlights. The car also gets floating roof design as seen on the Swift and the Ertiga. The new Maruti Suzuki Wagon R will be available in 7 variants and 4 of them will have Maruti’s coveted AGS automatic gearbox – LXi 1.0L, VXi 1.0L, VXi AGS 1.0L, VXi 1.2L, VXi AGS 1.2L, ZXi 1.2L and ZXi AGS 1.2L.

Next Gen Wagon R completely revealed

Will the New Wagon-R continue the sales run it earlier generation enjoyed? Will the upcoming model stand true for the tall boy characteristics and give unparalleled space and practicality as earlier? Will the pricing be as attractive? Lot of questions which shall be answered on 23rd Jan.

A look at the historical sales data of the Maruti Suzuki Wagon-R:

  • Wagon-R is one of the few models which is present in the Indian market for nearly 19 years!
  • It has sold an average of 9,756 units/mth in the past 227 months. Rare to see such sales performance!
  • The highest volume Wagon R had sold was 17,119 units in the month of June 2014.
  • 2016 was the year where the highest number of Wagon-R’s were sold (in a year). Maruti recorded 1,73,286 units of Wagon-R’s sold in that year!