The Utility Vehicle category, which has been the major beneficiary of GST-driven rate cuts, particularly after July 1 when the reformative tax kicked in, saw demand rise 19.62 percent to 78,664 units in August 2017, accounting for 26.72 percent of the total passenger vehicles sold (294,335).
The UV segment, which currently accounts for one of every four PVs sold in the country, has done well across the first five months of the fiscal year. In April-August 2017, a total of 355,636 units have been bought (+15.97%), and account for 26.92 percent of the total PVs sold (1,320,990) during the period.
In a bid to make the most of the wave of surging consumer demand, OEMs have been rejigging production to ensure supplies to dealers and customers. The demand for compact SUVs has been particularly strong and with the launch of the Tata Nexon looks to get even stronger.
The top five UVs, which sold a total of 42,808 units, are led by the Maruti Vitara Brezza compact SUV which went home to 14,396 buyers. The game-changing vehicle, which was launched in March 2016, has given the company a new charge in the UV segment as well as market share. Maruti UVs (Vitara Brezza, Gypsy, Ertiga and S-Cross) together sold 21,442 units in August (+27.6%) and cumulatively 73,536 units in April-August 2017 (+41.9%). Not surprisingly, Maruti Suzuki India has seen a spurt in its UV market share to 29.34% from 24% in April-August 2016.
At No. 2 is the Hyundai Creta which continues to bring in the numbers for the Korean carmaker. With sales of 10,158 units in August 2017, the Creta has sold a total of 44,740 units in the first five months of the fiscal year.
With bountiful monsoon across the country and improving rural market incomes, demand is growing for rugged UVs, typically personified by vehicles like the Mahindra Bolero. This warhorse, which is at No. 3, sold 6,215 units last month; between April and August, the Bolero has sold a total of 32,292 unit, proof that this Mahindra is still going strong.
The next two positions are taken up by MPVs. At No. 4 is the Maruti Ertiga which sold 6,076 units. This vehicle, which is a great balancing act between size, practicality and ease of use, has the ability to seat seven and yet compact enough to be easy to drive.
Likewise, for Toyota Kirloskar Motor, the Innova Crysta continues to be a popular buy across the country. In July the Innova clocked its best-ever sales (9,369 units) mainly as pent-up market demand from June but the numbers have come down to a more reasonable 5,963 units in August.
September 2017 UV sales bid fair to see a change though. That's because there's a new contender in town, and a strong one at that. The Tata Nexon has just driven in and from the looks of it, along with its aggressive pricing, there's reason for the competition to be wary of the new challenger.