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From the Year 2011 to the Year 2020.

The Indian Automobile is amongst one of the most alluring in the World.

It promises a huge potential of scale, is not sufficiently penetrated, offering severe challenges of price sensitivity as also complexities due to the vastness in size and demographics of the country.

The average industry size is around 3 Lakh per month, in normal times. Still, in spite of all that it offers, it is overwhelmingly dominated by just 4 players together having close to 80% Market Share: Maruti//Hyundai/Tata/Mahindra ( with Maruti Suzuki having 50% MS in the total market.)

And among individual offerings, the top 10 rankers have been consistently maintaining their leadership over the past decade. If we consider the total sales by the individual car products :

  • 7 of them are from the Maruti Suzuki Stable

  • 2 from Hyundai

  • 1 from Mahindra.

And if we were to see the Top 10 in terms of body styles :

  • 5 are Hatchbacks

  • 2 are Sedans

  • 1 SUV

  • 2 Minivans

Let us consider the cumulative figures of the last decade and analyze the Top 10 Cars: their story in the past decade.

1. Alto:

The Alto ranks no.1 in the cumulative sales for a car in the last decade.

The car is a hatchback from the stable of Maruti Suzuki. .It can be said to be the Bread, Butter, and a little more in the product portfolio of Maruti Suzuki

The reasons for the consistent performance of Alto :

Alto is India’s most reliable and fuel-efficient car in the last decade.

It has been promoted as a family car. Backed by the reach of Maruti across India, especially Rural pockets; and the company's relentless focus on ensuring product innovations and re-engineering, have contributed to the consistent sales of the Alto.

The production of the trailblazer Maruti 800 was stopped in 2014. This also helped in transitioning those customers to Alto swiftly. The company has been regularly promoting various generations of the Alto: Alto, Alto 800, Alto K10, Alto with 1000cc engine.

All these have kept the model fresh and the customer interest in the Alto consistent.

The loyalty rewards, upgrade schemes for 2 wheeler customers, service backups, specialized schemes for government employees and customers segmentwise, etc to have all contributed in unison to the Alto sales.

Challenges for Alto to sustain this position?

The challenge for Alto now is: the markets in the major urban centers are now starting to mature. There has been seen a tendency of these earlier Alto prospects now considering the higher-end Hatchbacks and SUVs.

Bad economic years of 2018-19, 2019-20 as also the effect of the Pandemic have seen the purchasing power of the Alto segment customers come under severe stress. The second wave of the pandemic has wreaked havoc in the Rural Pockets in 2021. The fuel prices have touched the roof and still soaring. All these are factors that worked traditionally in Alto’s favor. These will be the far bigger challenges for Alto, along with the threat of customers upgrading to premium hatchbacks and SUVs in times to come.

2. Dzire :

The Dzire is the sedan version that spawned from the efficient Swift.

It was developed by Maruti Suzuki to cater to the growing Sedan aspiration amongst hatchback customers.

It was an expression of intent by the company to challenge and take over the leadership of the Commercial Taxi Segment from essentially Tata Motors (Indigo) and Mahindra Logan in the Commercial Taxi segment.

It also served to aggressively promote Maruti Suzuki as the preferred sedan of choice amongst the ride-sharing aggregators especially Ola, Uber, Meru, and others.

The Sedan was available in both petrol and diesel versions, with the Diesel version being the preferred version of the customers.

As the aggregator model grew, Maruti Suzuki started marketing the Sedan as simply Dzire. Separate setups of showrooms and workshops were set up by the company to cater to the Commercial Taxi segment customers of the Dzire.

In late 2019, due to the reducing price gap between Diesel and Petrol prices, making Diesel Technology not having the earlier substantial cost saving as before for the users as also the Government of India stiff policies on pollution norms, Maruti Suzuki decided to stop production of Diesel Engine vehicles from March 2020.

This has affected the sales volume of Dzire. The Pandemic and lockdowns also have resulted in the demand getting severely impacted.


The Swift has been Maruti’s premium Hatchback since 2005. The model has been a consistent performer and is the preferred upgrade for its Alto customers. Continuous innovation and the addition of new features consistently have kept the model appealing to the customers.

4.Wagon R: This was Maruti’s answer in the Tall Boy design to the hugely popular Santro, from Hyundai.(The Estello was another model launched by Maruti in the same segment, but has since faded away.)In spite of a square box design, the model continues to command its set of loyal customers.

The Santro was discontinued by Hyundai in favor of the i10, and then relaunched in 2018. This transition too was helpful for the Maruti Wagon R to consolidate its following.

Wagon R has been a consistent volume provider to Maruti.

The new innovations in EV technology by Maruti are being tested on the Wagon R model.

5. I20 Elite

The model has been developed from the hugely popular Santro, which got upgraded to i10 and then i20, with a bigger engine and more features.

The car has been hugely popular and commands a loyal customer base. It has been growing steadily and consistently since 2015.

6. i10 Grande

The Car has been inspired and replaced the Santro initially.

The international styling, sleek design, and superb fit and finish have enamored it to the Indian customer.

The car is hugely popular in the Export markets too and offers Hyundai economies of scale. However, it has not able to cross the threshold of 1.5 lakh pa in the domestic market.

7. Bolero

The only SUV in the top 10 categories, this is an offering by Mahindra.

Its rugged design, powerful performance were the factors that saw it gain traction.

Mahindra was the first mover, gainer when the SUV market started picking up from 2011. In fact, Mahindra was dominating the SUV market and the No.3 player in spite of selling only UVs: against the others selling the entire range of Hatchback, Sedans, and UVs in the early part of the decade.

The entry of new players including MG, KIA, and introduction of new innovative models by Hyundai, Maruti as also the re-emergence of Tata Motors has made a dent in the Sales Volumes of Mahindra.

Hyundai has overtaken Mahindra to become the No,1 SUV player in the market in 2021.

Bolero volumes too have slipped, due to Mahindra slipping and now being challenged to occupy the pole position in customer preference..

8. Baleno

While the car started as a Sedan, it is now being projected as the Premium Crossover by Maruti. The Car is sold from the premium, exclusive Nexa showrooms, giving the customers a premium experience. The strategy has helped in building a premium image.

The car has been consistently a top performer for the company.

9. Eeco

This car is a 7 seater pickup and was introduced as a stripped-down version of the Versa. The car has been promoted as a smart transportation provider especially for large families, school children, hotels, tourism, and the like.

It has established itself in this segment. As of now, it does not have any serious challenges. But the market challenge is that the specific requirement of the 7 seater customers have now moved beyond being functional to now incorporate lots of

technological features as also being more stylish.

10. Omni

The Omni too evolved as a MiniVan that could serve both as a Personal as well as a Transportation model. The Omni was used in meeting transportation of large families, schools, hotels, tourism as well as for transport of goods.

The vehicle had been serving its purpose well but customer aspirations in getting features that make the car more comfortable and convenient were the challenge. The production was stopped in 2019.


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