No ‘Civic’ Sense!

8th Gen Civic (Indian Model)

When Honda launched its D-Segment (Premium Sedan) offering – the Civic in the Indian Sub-continent during 2006; it never expected it’d amass such a fan following for years to come. The product was internationally the Eight Generation model and was an instant hit in India. It sold ~10,000 units in the first 6 months of the launch, a feat that the Japanese Automaker wouldn’t have even dreamt about. And yes, the model deserved the love and success it garnered then – It was generations ahead than the competition models available and it helped Honda enhance its premium brand imagery as well. Civic was Honda’s fourth offering in the Indian market – after City (1998), Accord (2001) and CR-V (2003). Civic set new records in the segment – over 17k units sold in a single calendar year and still holds the record till date. It was the segment leader in the first year of the launch itself and even the global best selling brands (like the Corollas’ or the Camrys’) couldn’t match its feat – the highest that a Corolla sold in India in a Calendar Year is ~10k units.

See how the Civic fared during the eight years of its existence in India –

The success run of Civic was halted by the global recession in 2009; and Indian consumers shift towards Diesel led them to opt for other brands (such as the Cruze). While Honda saw consistent decline year-on-year; it decided to pull the plug on the model in the year 2013. The intent was to focus on mass-volume models such as the Amaze (which was launched in Apr’2013). While we would’ve expected Honda to bring the Ninth-Generation Civic in the Indian market later; the Japanese manufacturer omitted it considering the low volumes it had to offer. However, the decision backfired and the OEM somehow weakened its tag as a premium car manufacturer. While the Civic saw an another upgrade with the Tenth Generation Avatar in 2016; Indian Consumers were kept away from it.

Honda has now shown signs of launching the Tenth Gen model in the upcoming year and it is definitely a positive sign from the Japanese Carmaker. The highlights of the latest gen Civic is as follows:

  • All New Design – Continuing the legacy; the Civic looks futuristic both from outside and inside. It has a very pronounced coupé-like roofline and a notchback rear section. It sports a bold chrome bar across the grille (which Honda terms as solid wing face design) and LED accents.
  • Engine Options – Honda is now equipped to offer both Petrol & Diesel variants in India. It has a wide range of options in hand – from a 1.0-litre turbo-petrol to a naturally aspirated 2.0-litre petrol engine, Honda is expected to bring the Civic with the new 1.5-litre turbocharged petrol engine as well. Also you could expect Honda’s 120hp 1.6-litre diesel engine that is currently on sale in international markets.
  • Better Chassis – As per Honda, the current-gen Civic uses the most sophisticated chassis in the nameplate’s history. An infusion of ultra high-strength steel has improved torsional rigidity by a massive 25 percent. This could lead to segment-leading driving dynamics.
  • Competitive Price – Considering Honda’s foothold in the Indian market for over 20 years, the OEM could stretch for enviable levels of localization and thus launch the model at a very competitive price.
10th-Gen Civic

We expect Honda to take the right call and launch the model as soon as possible. This will not only help it regain its premium badge but also enhance its overall volumes. The 16-20 Lakh Rupees segment is now devoid of options and needs a worthy product to revive the numbers – Civic could surely fit in here!

Passenger Vehicle Sales Rank – FY17

Model-wise Sales Rank for the cumulative figures of Apr’16-Mar’17 (FY17) –

SNAPSHOT –

  • 126 Brands from 17 OEMs reported sales in the previous financial year! The options are plenty in every segment and the competition was never so fierce.
  • Maruti dominates the roost and has 7 out top 10 models from its stable. Hyundai stands second and has 2 models in the Top 10 list. The only other manufacturer in the Top 10 is Renault (all thanks to Kwid).
  • India is slowly emerging to be a value conscious market – that is how Ford’s Mustang sold thrice the numbers that of Mahindra’s Vibe!
  • The overall growth for passenger cars in India was 9% and this year we surpassed Germany as the Fourth biggest Passenger Car market in the world. India is now the focus market for all OEMs – expect Kia & Peugeot to set up their shops pretty soon.

Cars Export Statistics – India – FY17

Near to 38 Lakh cars were manufactured in India in the previous Financial Year (Apr’16-Mar’17). And out of this, over Seven and half lakh cars were exported to different parts of the world. This means that over 20% of the production output is utilized in Exports – and hence the tag of ‘Global Manufacturing Hub’ holds true to India. Just to highlight the scale of Exports from India (>7.5 lakh units) – India exported more cars than the passenger car sales in countries like Argentina* (>6.9 lakh units), Belgium* (>6 lakh units), South Africa* (>5.3 lakh units), etc. The export numbers grew over 16% in FY17 when compared FY16. It was fueled by exponential increase in exports by OEMs such as Ford, GM, Renault & Mahindra. Let us look at the OEM-wise export volumes –

  • Similar to Domestic sales; the exports was dominated by the Top 3 players and they together contribute ~60% of the export volumes.
  • However, Hyundai is undoubtedly the No.1 Exporter of Cars in India. It has consistently utilized India to cater markets like Europe, Middle East and Africa. Just to highlight the reach of its export base – made in India Creta is currently being exported to 92 countries across the world!
  • Ford India is at the tail of Hyundai and with the current pace is all set to dethrone Hyundai as sub-continent’s biggest exporter! Ford export numbers grew to 43% in comparison to last year and is just 5k units short than that of Hyundai’s. Interestingly, the company’s exports were much more than what it sold in the domestic market – 91,405 units.
  • Maruti seems to be concentrating on the Domestic Market and the exports haven’t grown as expected. Though the models which made their global debut in India (such as Baleno) is being exported to other markets, the overall export numbers have not been quite significant. In FY17, Maruti’s export numbers was 1,22,039 units in comparison to Domestic Sales of 14,43,641 units.
  • GM has made commendable inroads in terms of Exports and is currently country’s 6th Biggest exporter. The focus of the American manufacturer has come in tough times where it finding immensely difficult to utilize its production prowess to cater to the local market. GM India currently exports the left hand drive Beat to countries including Mexico, Chile, Peru, Central American and Caribbean Countries (CAC), Uruguay and Argentina.

Exports from India have grew at at YoY pace of >16% when compared to YoY Domestic Sales Growth of >9%. It clearly signifies that the Made-in-India products are now able to clear global standards and our manufacturing prowess will be a boost to the sector. No wonder Global Products Design & Engineering is currently happening in India and more world-class products will be launched in the domestic market in coming future. This is indeed a positive sign for the Industry and we expect the export volumes to cross 10 Lakh units per annum within next 2 years!

*Domestic Sales for Calendar Year 2016 (Jan-Dec)

State-wise Car Sales Statistics – Update

While we had presented the first half state-wise sales in Dec’16, little did we know that the scenario will change drastically in Q3 (Oct-Dec). In this Quarter, West overtook South Zone by quite a margin and Maharashtra remained unshakable at the Top Slot. However, with Dusshera & Diwali spearheading West Zone’s numbers – Gujarat was able to dethrone Kerala from the Second position. A look at the Top Selling States for Apr’16-Dec’16 period:

Do find the Quarter-wise analysis here:

  • Maharashtra alone sells more than all 13 states of East Zone combined!
  • Around an average of 177 cars are sold/month in Mizoram! The perks of such low numbers would be considerably low pollution levels in the state. Do plan your next holiday here 🙂
  • Gujarat’s growth trajectory has been inspiring. Cities like Ahmedabad, Surat, Vadodara, Rajkot, etc have done extremely good numbers and the prosperity of these cities is clearly highlighted in the statistics.

Clash of the Titans – City v/s Ciaz

The C-segment was a comparatively dull segment earlier and the volumes here were never that significant. Also the segment was majorly dominated by Honda’s City wayback since 1998 itself. Many OEMs tried their luck here, but volumes were never that encouraging. However, many OEMs performance still depends on the sales performance of their respective offerings in the segment – To name a few Honda (City), Skoda (Rapid), VW (Vento), etc where the models contribute ~50% of their overall sales. The segment was again ruled by the so called ‘PREMIUM’ car manufacturers since the beginning (erstwhile Opel Astra, Chevrolet Optra, Toyota Corolla, etc were preferred during their times). Mass market OEMs always wanted to have a major pie in this segment – Hyundai was successful with its Verna (for a limited period) and even the SX4 was Maruti’s attempt to break into this category.

But only 1 model evolved to be the undisputed leader in the category – Honda’s City. It sold over 6.5 lakh copies since 1998 and is still going strong. However, Maruti changed the dynamics in the segment and gave Honda a good run for its money. It clearly outsold the market leader in 2016 – Ciaz sold 63,187 units in the year 2016 when compared to 57,619 units of Honda City sales within the same period. Ciaz’s more feature and lesser price played the trick and made it the market leader.

Let us see what helped Ciaz gain the lead in 2016 –

  • Fuel Efficiency: With SVHS for Diesel and lower spec Petrol, Ciaz raised the bar in Fuel Efficiency and offered segment best figures. Petrol claimed ARAI mileage of 20.7 kmpl and Diesel Hybrid offered a mileage of 28.09 kmpl. These kind of fuel efficiency figures were literally unheard in the segment.
  • Price: With SVHS, Maruti could play the price card much better – with subsidies for Hybrid vehicle; the Diesel Ciaz was now almost equivalent priced to the Petrol variant! This allowed the customers (particularly from Tier 2 & Tier 3 cities which were Maruti’s stronghold) to easily upgrade to a C-segment sedan.
  • Feature-rich: It evolved to be the widest and longest car in the segment. Also it offered projector headlamps as standard in all the variants. Higher spec variants also offered a much advanced 7’inch Infotainment system (compared to smaller 5’inch system in City).
  • Maruti’s Network: All are aware about Maruti’s enormous Dealer Network. This particularly helped Maruti gain in-roads in Rural market where Honda was comparatively weak.
  • Maruti Service & Reliability: It became a big factor for customers who were upgrading to the segment. Low maintenance assurance and ease of service worked for Maruti.

Honda’s retaliation was in Feb 2017 – It launched the mid life facelift for the City and launched it on 14th Feb. As the dispatches of the new model started in Jan’17 itself the Japanese OEM was able to garner significant volumes in the first 2 months of 2017. As of now, it has overtaken Ciaz numbers by a thin margin and regained the No.1 position in the segment. Between Jan’17-Feb’17, City has sold 12,640 units v/s 12,416 units of Ciaz.

With City 2017 launch Honda announced features which were again unheard in the segment. It became the only car in the segment to offer LED headlamps, Sunroof, etc. Also the stellar safety package of 6 airbags and larger alloy wheels helped it differentiate itself. The USP of the brand still lies with the i-Vtec Petrol engine. And the pricing announced for the Petrol Variants was nothing less than mouth-watering. However, the Diesel variants are priced steeply when compared to Ciaz counterpart. Lets see how the New City fares in Pricing –

The Price Difference was also highlighted by Honda’s Top Executive, Mr. Ueno in a press conference last month – “That company (Maruti) has gained from using regulations to its advantage. The petrol City sells several times more than Ciaz petrol version, while that company is selling more diesel models because of the subsidies, Excise duty benefits as well as the incentives arising from the FAME scheme, while we get none of them. So they can play the price game as well.”

We did a comparison of the Variant-wise sales of these 2 models and the findings is as shown –

Maruti Ciaz Sales for Jan’17 & Feb’17:

Honda City Sales for Jan’17 & Feb’17:

It is clearly seen that Diesel variants contribute to over 64% of Ciaz sales! And in absolute numbers, it sells over 2.5 times that of City Diesel. Similarly, City is the clear winner in Petrol – its sales is almost double that of Ciaz Petrol. While the market is shifting towards Petrol, we see that City will slowly maintain its hold in the segment and sustain the leadership position. It would also be interesting to see on how Maruti will fare its Ciaz with Nexa and what updates could be seen in the upcoming Ciaz facelift as well. In short, it is going to be an interesting contest ahead!